Last year, I decided to move my attention from radio to become a content creator. It’s been an interesting year…
Why the change?
I had been settled in my role of radio host for around 6 or 7 years. I presented three live shows per week, covering new release soul, very rare soul and jazz. The jazz show centred around interviews with some pretty big names. All shows were produced by me, and broadcast from my purpose designed studio at home. I have always loved radio, and still do. But, there was a problem looming.
The shows had grown to a point where I was giving over around 30 hours a week to producing, researching, interviewing and hosting/presenting. That is a working week. The station I worked for, had always made it clear from day one, that they would not be paying. I got some very minor financial contributions, as I had sponsors for two of my three shows. I sent show reels to all the stations and programmers I could think of, but the door was very firmly shut. Despite having a good resumé, I could not get a paying radio gig anywhere. In my heart, I knew I was resenting all this work, for no reward. Like many, COVID had made me re-focus on my options about my working future.
Time was ripe for a change.
The content creator economy beckoned
During lockdown, I started to watch a lot of YouTube. I had never been much of a consumer of the platform until then. With more time on my hands, and wanting to keep my skill levels up, I watched Adobe tutorials that were on daily. That then spread to some audio workshops, and finally, I found ‘techTube’.
The more I consumed and watched, the more it started to appeal. I heard the creators speaking as if this YouTube lark were a business. Now I was reallyinterested. I had a studio, mic, and audio knowledge. OK, so I had never edited a video, or, so much as, opened Premiere Pro. I knew, or thought I knew, how to host and present, so it was game on.
I spent the summer of 2021 watching as many (perversely) YouTube videos on video editing as possible, honing my skills, and planning. Not only that, but I recorded many ‘test’ videos, just to help me practice on workflows and editing. I spoke to some other content creators, and then planned a launch.
The back-end of last year was a little hectic. I still have my graphic design business, I was still hosting the three shows, but now I was also making videos (and starting to write). I was aware that was not sustainable, and my heart was no longer in radio. I almost felt as if music radio had snubbed or betrayed me – in short, I had lost the love. I made the necessary arrangements to leave radio, and one by one, the shows ended.
By December, I was totally free to concentrate on my design business and the new Talking Tech, content creator brand.
After so many years of radio being part of my life, I hoped I was not making a bad decision. But, here we are, 6 or nearly 7 months on, and I have never looked back. 100% it was the right choice. I needed this new challenge.
Turns out though, YouTube and video creation, was only going to be part of the new, content creator future. I learned all about the benefits of blogging from one of the other creators I mentioned that I had spoken with.
Writing and blogging caught me surprised. What I had initially seen as the less glamouress brother of the video creation, actually turned out to be something I loved. Just wish my mum was around to see me writing…. I was so lazy at school!
The difference here is that I really enjoy what I am writing about. At the back end of last year, I wrote just once a week. I was then still finding my style and personality in blogging. Plus of course trying to find content that I had energy and verve about. Since February, this year, I decided to make blogging central to my day – it is pretty much the first thing I now. I write 4 times per week, and tend to come up with the ideas early that morning. I actually wake up excited, buzzing with thoughts of what today’s blog should cover!
I found a great writing tool in Ulysses. I turn on a Do Not Disturb focus mode on the Mac, pop in my AirPod Pro, and that’s it…I am off.
Just part of the story though
As much as I love writing, that is only part of what I now do for Talking Tech.
Today is a prime example. Once this is written and posted on my website, and then to Medium, it will be time to switch hats. Next will be to edit a video that I shot last night, and hopefully get scheduled on YouTube for later. Then? Well, then it will be audio & podcast time.
I have a podcast, Minus Sixteen, that comes out fortnightly, and tonight, I will be recording an interview with a guest. Tomorrow, I will edit it together, then get thatscheduled for release this Saturday. I am delighted that I am once again back interviewing. I loved that part of my jazz shows, so to bring that skillset back has both surprised me and made me happy. Interviewing, and the skill of making a guest feel at ease, is something I learned over years. In the jazz world, I found it easy to line-up guests, as I had some good connections.
With Talking Tech, it was a new challenge. I knew nobody in this space, and more importantly, or as importantly, no one knew me! But, my luck broke, I got one big name guest to come on, which has now opened the door. It’s all about a bit of luck, huh!
The video bit
Being on camera is much harder than I thought. Put to one side the editing, exporting and publishing, just being natural on camera is tough. I am not there yet, but way better than I was (hopefully!). The trickiest part, is telling a story. Sounds simple right? Trust me, it is far from. Trying to engage a viewer’s attention, and make them want to watch your video, is hard. Oddly, the radio skills were not transferrable at all to video – that caught me by out, big time!
The YouTube algorithm is also a harsh mistress! I’ll have one video that gets 4000 views and the next 40! It baffles me, but I have learned to take it much more in my stride now. YouTube is only a part of Talking Tech. I need to learn to be better in every aspect, and, with every video or blog, I try to bring something new or improved.
No longer is YouTube Studio the first metric I look at, as my eyes open in bed of a morning. Now, I am focused on the full picture of this new content creator life I am trying hard to forge.
Recently, there have been seeds that indicate I am heading in the right direction..small shoots of growth, but positive signs at least.
And my advice to you
In the words of a great global brand, just do it! If getting into this odd, digital world of creation is something you are feeling, roll your sleeves up and give it a go. You have nothing to lose do you? It will take up hours of your day and consume you…so be ready for that. But…it is a fascinating, creative journey, and the best bit is, you are in control!
Right – and now for Premiere Pro…that video won’t edit itself.
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