Students at the University of Sussex this week received a talk from online content creators on how to become successful YouTubers.
The local content creators spoke to students at the event on Tuesday (February 26) about how they have used YouTube to steadily grow their communities, generate positive discussions and effectively build their own businesses.
Luke Hyams, who talked about his role as YouTube’s head of originals for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: “The Brighton and Sussex region is home to some of the most interesting, creative and talented YouTube creators in the last few years, so it was a pleasure to give insights about YouTube Originals alongside them.
“I hope we’ve helped to inspire some of the students in the room today to one day build their own YouTube community, and build it around a passion or interest they really care about.”
Other speakers at the event included Jessica Kellgren-Fozard, a deaf LGBTQ+ creator who makes videos about her sexuality and disabilities; Doug Armstrong, a musician; Heather Moorhouse, who makes make-up tutorials; and Matt Jackson, who makes vlogs about football and a range of other topics.
Michelle Gordon, director of external relations at the University of Sussex, said: “We are aware of the immense talent we have within our vicinity and are very happy that our students have had the opportunity to learn about what it takes to become a successful YouTube creator.”
Izzy Langstone , digital media student at the University of Sussex, said: “It's such a great opportunity to have these YouTube stars on campus willing to share the inside scoop on how to successfully use YouTube as a platform.”
How to be a successful on Youtube
Brighton Youtub creator Jessica Kellgren-Fozard makes videos about vintage lifestyle and fashion, and disability and LGBT+ awareness. In her videos she talks about these different aspects of life and makes travel vlogs with her wife, Claudia.
She spoke at an event at the University of Sussex earlier this week, about what it takes to become a successful YouTube creator.
Jessica said: “As a disabled creator, YouTube offers an opportunity like no other to be in the creative industry, build a community and have a fulfilling self-employed career on my own terms.
“The flexibility of YouTube has allowed me to be my own boss, set my own schedule and decide which projects I want to be involved in all whilst managing my disabilities.
“I started making videos around two and a half years ago, partly because I’d never felt represented in the wider media and partly because I'd received rude comments online about not being 'disabled enough' since my disabilities are largely invisible."
Jessica’s disabilities are genetic conditions, called Hereditary Neuropathy with Pressure Palsies, which makes nerves more susceptible to damage and can lead to temporary paralysis, and Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, an auto-immune disease which can cause a variety of problems including chronic joint pain, fatigue, neurological issues and digestive problems.
“I wanted to make videos about topics that were important to me but would also hopefully educate people who hadn’t thought about these issues before."
One of the themes of Jessica’s videos is educating her audience about disabilities.
“YouTube is an excellent platform to educate because lessons are available in bite size content and presented in an informal, personable way, with real life examples.
“Just under half of British people say they've never met someone with a disability and don't think they would have much in common but by watching disabled creators on YouTube they can get a real-life look at just how 'normal' our lives are and that makes them more likely in the future to engage with disabled people.”
Jessica added that she believes YouTube “creates a special, personal bond between the viewer and the creator who is directly addressing them.”
However, she also thinks that education about disability and LGBT+ issues needs improvement.
“I think it’s unfair to put the burden of education on minority groups themselves," she said.
“Disabled and LGBTQ+ content creators are helping educate people, but so much more needs to be addressed in education and media.”
Jessica’s YouTube career followed a path experienced by many of its successful creators.
She explained: “For the first year the channel grew very slowly to 18k subscribers but then jumped to 100k in just one week after one of my videos went viral.
"A year and a half later I have over 400k subscribers.”
With YouTube continually expanding as a platform, it can be difficult for new creators to stand out, but Jessica believes it is possible.
“You have to set high but achievable goals and you have to work hard in order to reach your maximum potential. Find your niche — YouTube is so large you'll find your people.”