The famously uncensored sisters of Pap Culture: Bongeka Masango; Nwabisa Nda and Thembekile Mahlaba shared their tips and tricks on building a digital presence at the #COSMOHustle2017 career workshop. What started as a love for showcasing the opinions of South African youth, has grown into a highly successful fearless vlogger trio with over 4700 subscribers for their YouTube channel. From a movement to “unembarrass” the period, to #BehindTheseWalls features on real women, these ladies are proving why its important to stand in your truth whether it is pretty or ugly.
So how does one go about turning an honest conversation between three opinionated women into a must watch weekly show? Choosing a platform was the first and most important tip according to the ladies as the medium by which you reach audiences affects how they interpret the message. “This remains a massive challenge as data prices make watching love videos on YouTube inaccessible.” To accommodate this the ladies post shorter excerpts on their Instagram page highlighting the key points discussed. Once you have identified the channel, you also need to identify what the role of the platform is to your show.
With shows of this nature relatability is key and there is a fine line between authenticity and commerciality,” but at the same time “a girl’s gotta eat.” “The best solution is that if a brand sponsorship doesn’t make sense for our brand we don’t do it.” Consistency in your content, the companies you partner with and images you post online is key. “Instagram is the gallery of your life and we work every day at building our show’s online CV.
With anyone is the social media industry, we have to build before the break through comes. “When we hit 100 subscribers we popped champagne we were so happy!” The ladies however warn against the rush to make it big. “Young people are in such a rush to get out there that we are often cheating ourselves – did Oprah not start her career at 30?”
When asked how they come up with their content topics, the ladies note that “daily inspiration is something we all seek, but at the same time plagiarism is real when it comes to crafting shows.” The solution? “Find something that moves you and then ask why it as affected you, then incorporate that element into your content.”
Nigerian feminist scholar Chimamanda Adichie warns of the danger of a single story. Thank you to the Pap Culture trio for expanding our conversation topics, diversifying our discourse and making it okay to speak our minds in a way that is quintessentially authentic.
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