YouTube is a full-time job for Topeka teen ‘Pancho’


India Yarborough
 
| Topeka Capital-Journal

After officially getting his YouTube account going early last year, one local teenager in recent weeks has seen his following on the platform increase dramatically.

Topekan Pancho Witt, known on YouTube simply as “Pancho,” uploaded the first video to his YouTube channel about a year ago. As of early February 2021, that video had garnered close to 3,000 views.

But the videos he is producing now are a different story, as some of his most popular uploads in recent days have gotten anywhere from 300,000 views to more than 2 million.

“I was stuck in the few hundred subscribers for a while — I’d say probably a good six months or so,” Witt said. “Then, I had a friend shout me out who has 1.3 million subscribers. … It gained me around 5,000 subscribers that night.”

Since then, he has tried to post a video to YouTube almost every day.

As of a couple weeks ago, Witt said, about 30,000 people had subscribed to his account. Unlike with some services, a YouTube channel’s subscribers don’t pay to view that account’s content. Instead, when they subscribe, it indicates they want to see more from that channel, allowing them to stay updated when new videos are released.

“Consistently, every day for the past eight, nine days, I’ve been gaining around 20,000 (subscribers) a day, sometimes 30 (thousand),” Witt said.

And on Thursday, he hit more than 275,000 loyal followers.

“It’s kind of like, ‘Oh wow, I finally have an audience to where I can actually take this seriously and focus on my content a little bit more,'” Witt said. “It’s definitely pretty cool.”

That increase in subscribers, though, isn’t just about having a greater number of people interested in his content. It also allows him to tap into the business side of YouTube, and Witt says he has made producing video content on the platform his full-time job.

Witt — a recent graduate of Washburn Rural High School, who is now taking classes a couple days a week at Washburn University — is known for videos that feature video-game play with voiceovers of social commentary.

On a good day, Witt can rake in up to $4,500 from that content.

“As of right now, I’m only getting my source of revenue from the views I get,” Witt said. “Pretty much how it works is there’s a dollar amount you get per thousand views.”

But he is also trying to land a few sponsorships, which could potentially increase his income.

“I have some buddies who have managers, and I’ve been speaking with those managers to land sponsorships, because I’m at the point where I can,” Witt said.

Gen Z understands gig economy

According to Hyunjin Seo, an associate professor at the University of Kansas who teaches social media marketing and social media strategies, the power of YouTube is being harnessed by young people like Witt, especially those in “Generation Z,” who see it as a way to tap into to the gig economy.

“They read about this trend toward a gig economy where temporary jobs are common — like freelancers, project-based workers and temporary, part-time positions — and this emergence of digital technology really contributed to the growth of gig economy, as an increasing number of tasks can be completed remotely,” Seo said. “So I think that also affects how Gen Zers think about their future career and how to make money. That’s really what we’re observing.”

Gen Z is generally considered to include those born in 1997 or later, and as Seo noted, they haven’t experienced the working world without smartphones.

“They are true digital natives,” she said. “So it is not surprising that Generation Z is a huge part of social media marketing.”

She said that generation is particularly fond of more visually oriented social media platforms, such as Instagram, TikTok and YouTube. They have discovered how to market themselves on those platforms to make some serious cash. And Seo said she considers it a viable form of income, especially for those who enjoy generating original content and being their own boss.

“Things have changed, and these younger generations are creative in really producing opportunities for themselves,” Seo said. “They understand that if they are smart and creative and good at engaging with and interacting with people on social media platforms they can create a lot of opportunities.”

Success depends on content research

And that is something Witt is keenly aware of, as he continues to do research on what content performs well and what doesn’t.

“The longevity aspect of it,” he said, “is really kind of dependent on how well you can make yourself relevant and how well you can maintain that audience that you do have, because it’s really as simple as them getting uninterested and not watching your content anymore.”

Though Witt doesn’t see himself being a YouTuber long term, he does plan to continue producing content for at least a couple years. In the meantime, he said, he is trying to be smart with his investments.

Witt’s dad, Francisco Witt, said he thinks his son — who he describes as responsible, committed and enthusiastic — is handling himself well. Francisco said he just hopes Pancho is staying out of trouble.

“I’m proud he is doing something he likes to do,” Francisco said. “He’s very smart with what he’s doing right now. I’m not controlling anything. He decides what to do. Basically, I hope he’s not getting in some kind of controversy.”

Pancho would argue he is doing pretty well for himself, and he encourages other young people to get involved with video production, too — as long as it’s their cup of tea.

“I’d suggest it for anybody who’s willing to go and sit down and make sure they’re doing it the right way,” Pancho said. “Or if they want to make videos just for the fun of it — that’s what I do, as well.”



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *