With the boom of social media and the amount of revenue it generates for the content creators, many are switching over their careers to try their luck here. Seeing the scope and reach this new media has, many professionals who had excelled in their respective professional streams have switched to the new career on social media. By bringing in their creativity and innovativeness they are making their make here also.
Imad, from Srinagar, is the classic example of that. Till 2018, he was happily pursuing his management career while working abroad. But then one day it dawned upon him to return to his home and here he ventured into the world of social media.
Rising Kashmir’s Humaira Nabi had a detailed conversation with Imad where she tried to know more about Imad’s journey so far, his work and what he aspires to do in future.
HB: Please give us a brief background on yourself.
I: My name is Imad, I belong to Srinagar, Kashmir. After working abroad for almost 10 years, I finally quit my job, packed my bags and returned back to Kashmir in 2018. I am a PGDBM, MBA and hold a degree in Planning & Entrepreneurship from Indian Institute of Planning & Management. Presently I have started a small start up for video Production works, in which we do wedding cinematography and commercial film making. I am also a photographer and YouTuber who makes travel videos across J&K.
HB: When and why did you start making YouTube videos?
I: I started making videos from late 2018. I have now entered my third year of making YouTube content.
HB: Tell us about your YouTube channel.
I: My YouTube channel ‘Imad Clicks’, has around 54,000 subscribers across India. I make videos related to unexplored places in Kashmir, travel videos, videos about the scenic side of Kashmir. Apart from this, I also make adventure Vlogs related to mountaineering, hiking and camping.
HB: Any unexpected challenge that came with YouTube?
I: The challenge was to create Vlogs and put them on the internet. Initially I was among the very few Vloggers here in Kashmir who came up with the idea of putting videos online. It was really awkward and really difficult to make people understand the concept of blogging here in Kashmir. With time people started accepting the content I was creating. Besides, internet restriction is also a big problem in Kashmir. Frequent internet shutdowns and now ban on high speed internet has drastically affected my channel growth.
HB: What do you hope to achieve with your channel?
I: My dream is to put meaningful and good content about Kashmir on the internet. When I came back to Kashmir I saw very little documentation about Kashmir on the internet. It was hard to find any good footage about Kashmir. Any visual document about Kashmir was not in good quality especially on YouTube. Even today with such competition and modernization, Kashmiri content on the internet is in the same shape as was 60 years before. We haven’t evolved in our approach towards presenting Kashmir globally. Our presentation about our place, people and culture is still presented in an old school way. We need to understand that people in other countries look at us through the information available on the internet. Our presentation needs to be upgraded and my aim is to achieve a global respect for the people of Kashmir in terms of a content creator who presents Kashmir in a totally different way. We live in a very beautiful place and the world should know us as competitive people, bright people, smart, sharp, intelligent race who are well educated, well behaved and culturally rich with a history of great heritage and architecture.
HB: What does your typical work day look like?
I: I mostly am busy filming or editing my videos and pictures, doing client project edits, spending time on social media and planning my new videos.
HB: Please tell us about your complete process- from first thought to publishing and marketing the video.
I: As a content creator we don’t have to think much about marketing our videos. Once our video is done with edits, we publish it on our social media handles. If the content is good, it is automatically liked by the people and further shared.
HB: Is being a YouTuber a sustainable career choice?
I: Every profession is sustainable and good only if you are dedicated to give 100 percent to it. Hard work is a key to success. The internet has a global audience and if your content can attract a global audience then you can do wonders with YouTube and content creation. YouTube brings you fame and if your work is good it surely attracts different avenues, like international brands, filmmaking opportunities and creating businesses out of your influence and social media presence. I started as a YouTuber and my work was liked by many which paid my way towards creating supplementary incomes through my other business related to content creation. I have the most successful wedding videography startup in Kashmir presently catering to the needs of over 40 clients annually. My work has been liked by people outside Kashmir and it has resulted in getting me the clients from different parts of India also. So at the end it totally depends on individuals what they aim at achieving as a creator and how they look upon it as a career choice.
HB: How long did it take to monetize your channel? How much do you earn now?
I: There are specific YouTube guidelines for channel monetization. You need to have at least 1000 subscribers and around 4000 watch time before you can apply for monetization. Presently, I make around 20 to 30 thousands per month depending on the response I get for my videos.
HB: In the clutter of content creators, what gives you edge over your competitors?
I: YouTube is a strange place. It is how well you connect to the audience. My aim is to cater to the global audience and I make sure that my content is unique, different with high production quality.
HB: YouTube’s algorithm prefers channels that have regular uploads. This pursues the creators for having a quantity over quality approach. Has this thing impacted you at all?
I: Yes, research says putting frequent videos makes you grow fast on platforms like YouTube, but as a content creator my goal is to provide quality content about places in Kashmir. It's not possible for me to make frequent videos and I have to plan my travels, film them and then publish videos which take a lot of time. My aim is to make sure I publish at least one video a week. I prefer to create short films about me, my journeys and document them in the best possible way so that the content is relevant even after 100 years for future generations. My goal is not short term growth. I look at documenting Kashmir so that people after us can see how beautiful Kashmir has been.
HB: In your three years of YouTube career have you ever experienced burnout?
I: I haven’t felt a burnout yet, but yes I just feel less motivated to create content when I get low response from the people. It’s something which I am working on.
HB: What advice would you give to Vloggers who are just getting started?
I: My advice would be to focus on creating meaningful content. Create content which adds value to our entire community and presents us in the best possible way.
HB: Did you ever imagine your audience would grow to this extent?
I: I am happy that people have started watching my videos and following my work. I am happy people from across Asian subcontinent follow my channel and I am being seen as a Kashmiri YouTuber who creates quality content. This gives me immense happiness. My growth may be slow due to the content I create, but I'm sure with time the channel will grow and reach the audience I intend my content for.