Salem King, Digital Content Creator

You probably know Salem King as the feisty guy who offers tips and motivation in typical monochrome videos on Instagram. Since 2018, Salem has been inspiring a new generation of digital natives by continually sharing his lessons as a content creator. Four years later, with a huge community on different platforms, he breaks down how he built his career and how to get the job done.

current role: Content creator
Place: Lagos, Nigeria
current computer: MacBook Air
current mobile device: iPhone 12
Describe the way you work in one word: surpass

Briefly describe how you started your career and how did you get to where you are today?

I have always been passionate about teaching. I know I’m going to be a teacher, but I don’t know it’s going to be through content. I’ve just always been passionate about passing on knowledge. No matter what book I’m reading, if you ask me about it, I’ll just bore you with the details; I’m that person.

In December 2018 I decided to start sharing what I know online because I’ve learned so much from the books I’m reading and the videos I’ll be watching, I really want to share, I don’t know who to share with, but I want to share.

In 2018, I used to shoot video occasionally, but not very steady. By December 2018, I decided to make one video a day for 30 days in January. At the time I had 1,500 followers. What I want is that after this period of time, my followers will increase from 1,500 to 2,000. But within a month of making videos every day, my following grew from 1,500 to 5,000. It exceeded my expectations. People love my videos and I just keep doing more.

I ended up only making about 21 videos by the end of the month, but because my following grew so fast, I went from being a nobody on Instagram to getting hundreds of comments on every video. After a few months, I reached 10,000 followers.

I would say I became an influencer by accident, just doing what I love. This is how the journey begins.

What does your job require? Come with me through a typical workday in your life.

I don’t have a typical day, but one thing that exists on many of my days is that I start with a long walk in the morning. It helps me because a lot of times I need to distract myself to focus. I just had to immerse myself in the sights and sounds and it somehow got my juices flowing.

When I take a morning walk, I mentally organize my day, reviewing everything I have to do. I also write something when I walk. I always take my phone for walks and ideas pop up and I always write them down. Many of these ideas have become my most successful content ideas.

After the walk, I took a shower and started my day. The period after walking is unpredictable, and each day is different from the next. A lot of times, it’s me and my manager on the phone to get an update on what I need to do, meetings to resolve, etc.

A lot of people might think I’m creating content every day, but I don’t. I often batch create a week’s worth of content on weekends. I went to a conference the other day and made four YouTube videos, and I spent the month on YouTube. Same with Instagram. I just do content creation one day, so after my walk, I take a shower, and I just dive right into it, I just go all out.

There are also days when I just write the script so that on the day I have to shoot, I don’t have to start from scratch. I also spend a lot of time interacting with online audiences. This is really important to me.

Given the amount of comments and messages you receive, how do you manage all of this?

I forgive myself in advance because I know I can’t keep up. I know some people may be mad at me, but they know I’ll try and I care about my audience. I can’t always keep up, which is unrealistic unless I don’t want to live my life. But as best I can, I engage with my audience.

Which apps, gadgets or tools can’t you live without? Let’s start with the application.

Creampie. This is the app I’ve been using to edit videos for five years. This is a lifesaver. The app is getting better and better and every time I want to move to another app they add something and I just don’t go anywhere. I also love Lightroom. I think it’s pretty obvious at this point that I can’t live without my iPhone.

Salem King

Funny you didn’t mention Instagram

I think the reason I didn’t mention Instagram off the top of my head was because of my view on social media. I don’t think social media is just platforms. I think it’s a gathering of people.

If Instagram is gone now, or they deactivate my account, how will I find my community members? Because it is a possibility. This can happen anytime. So I often think about communities in the context of people, not necessarily platforms.

Speaking of gadgets, you mentioned your iPhone, does that mean you still don’t shoot with a camera?

Yes, I still do all my shooting on my phone. When I started getting serious with my YouTube channel, I had to either learn how to use the camera and edit or have someone else do it for me. And, of course, I let other people do it for me.

Since my creative process is like this, if I’m thinking about something and I want to get it done right away, my iPhone is easy to do. It’s a high-quality camera – the camera on my iPhone is better than the biggest camera from 30 years ago. I’d kill myself if I thought of it as “just an iPhone”, and I’ve had a lot of experience knowing that you’re better off rolling it out as it is than waiting for it to be perfect.

What’s your favorite shortcut or trick to get work done?

Honestly, batch creation. I’ve talked about it, but it saves my life because I’m pretty consistent across social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.

Lately, I’ve been posting on TikTok and Instagram twice a day. It’s easy to have someone look at me and be like, “This guy is a productivity addict, how did he do all this?” But I don’t think I’m a productivity addict. I am productive, and my productivity is the result of laziness.

I consider myself a lazy person. I don’t like work, but work is important to life and purpose, all the people I want to reach, and all the amazing things I want to do in the world. So, I found a way to use my peak to make it work. I know I don’t always feel inspired, I don’t always feel motivated. Like 80% of the time, I don’t want to do anything, I just want to calm down and watch stand-up comedy. But I realize I need to do some work. I am responsible. I have some people I’m reaching out to and someone will do better because they hear my thoughts. So, I spend most of my weekend creating and scheduling things ahead of time.

I always take notes because I know there will always be a run out of ideas. Sometimes I’m out of ideas, so I just go to my notes, pull something out of there and build on it.

Speaking of notes, are you a pen and paper person or your note taking app?

I am both. I am a creative pen and paper person. When I need to pour my thoughts out, I need pen and paper. But I’m also a note-taking app guy, because even if my phone gets stolen, my notes are kept forever in the cloud. So even though I love paper and pen, I understand it’s risky, my thoughts are important to me and I don’t want to lose them.

What tasks do you dislike but still have to complete?

Phone, email, write a proposal. I hate those things. If I had my way, I wouldn’t reply to emails at all. Honestly, that’s one of the reasons I found talent managers early in my career. I could have learned something, but I’d rather stay within the confines of my genius than try to slightly improve a weakness. Let me improve my edge.

However, sometimes I still have to complete these tasks. When you’re working with people with different schedules, priorities, and different time zones, sometimes you just need to do things you don’t like. No matter what, you just need to take a deep breath and bring out your best self.

How do you keep track of what you have to do?

To-do list. I just write down everything I have to do and I’m realistic about it. Even though I sometimes have about 10 things to do, I just decide, “Okay, I need to do these three things today. If I do these three things, I’ve had a successful day.” And then I Put them front and center, and I’ll either write on a notepad or put it in my note-taking app so I know that’s what I’m trying to achieve today.

How do you recharge or take a break from get off work?

I watch stand-up comedy and I spend some time with myself. I’m really introverted, but a lot of people don’t know it, they don’t believe me when I say it. When I spend time with people or actively interacting with others, I’m draining energy, and after that, I feel so exhausted that I have to spend time on my own. I don’t go out very often, so I just stay at home, watch stand-up comedy or watch my comfort TV shows like The Big Bang Theory and relax.

Salem King

What are you currently listening to, watching and reading?

I’m currently watching Silicon Valley. I am listening The battle is hustle and bustle, it’s almost over podcast. It’s only 10 episodes, but I listen to it on repeat sometimes.i am reading 12 life rules Jordan Peterson.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

It’s a tough one. I think the life-changing phrase for me is, “Don’t compare yourself to someone you should learn from”.

It was life-changing for me, especially when I started my content creation career, because the way content creation is, you can understand what other people are doing, how they’re doing it, and what their content is like . Then you are tempted to handle your work in this situation.

Sometimes the difference between you and the other person is the time they put in, not necessarily the talent. They just put in more time than you, you shouldn’t be comparing them, you should be learning from them; you should be inspired, not intimidated.

What problem are you still trying to solve?

To be precise, for creators in Nigeria and Africa, the profitability of creators. It breaks my heart that many creators cannot do what they do full time without worrying about money. It’s still a new industry and in many areas it’s still not accepted as a job – our parents didn’t think it was a real job, all that.

As a result, almost no one comes out of school saying “I want to be a content creator” because there is so much uncertainty about its viability. So this is the question I wake up to every day and think about it.

Who would you like to see answered these questions?

fashion blogger Kuyet Bamai; and digital creators Alma Asinobi and Precious Gaza. I think their answers will be very interesting.

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