Content Is King, But Is It Paying The Bills?

While Botswana is currently not available on the monetisation list of YouTube, there is still an opportunity for local content creators to monetise their content. Staff Writer GOSEGO MOTSUMI reports

Now that people are online more than ever before and are spending money on applications for entertainment, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a perfect time for content creators to access revenue directly from their followers.

As YouTube is considered the leader in creator monetisation, most content creators opt to countries that are part of the YouTube Partner Programme to earn money from their craft. However, local creators have often felt left out on the monetisation options as Botswana is not available on the monetisation list.

“The fact that monetisation is not available in Botswana is purely based at YouTube’s discretion,” said software engineer and tech entrepreneur, Itumeleng Garebatshabe, in an interview. “The only speculation from the listed countries is demographics who actually spend time on the platform for them to consider them into the partner programme.”

With so many content creators ready to share their stories and creativity with the world, Garebatshabe said there are other ways they can cash in on their content. Social media platforms are creating more and more monetisation options that help creators earn money, build a meaningful business and achieve their financial goals.

While local content creators may not be able to monetise their YouTube channels, they can adopt other ways of making an income online. Creators can make sponsored content, do product reviews, sell show merchandise and license out content for monetary compensation.

Said Garebatshabe: “For local content creators, it means being creative. Monetisation can only happen when content creators are smart with their craft because there is a bare minimum for being a part of the YouTube partner programme.

“Realistically, internet opportunities aren’t regionally locked; it’s all about how creative an individual or their team is. Understanding why YouTube has a selective list of countries in Africa is the start. Regionally it’s only Zimbabwe and South Africa who are recognised as partner countries, which means volumes in those countries make business sense for YouTube.”

The creator economy is defined by a group of businesses built by independent content creators, curators, and community builders, including social media influencers, bloggers and videographers. Better phone cameras, accessibility to the internet and creator-focused social networks have spurred an inflection point for the industry. Even so, creators need more than a phone, an idea, and a willingness to be judged by strangers to join the club. They need to be incredible storytellers, relentless hustlers and leaders of their fan base.

“My only advice for content creators is to engage the experts, digital marketers when they embark on their online content creation journey, study the markets and find a niche,” Garebatshabe said.

Asked about what it would take for Botswana to be listed for the YouTube Partner Programme, Garebatshabe answered: “Honestly, as a country we are very far. Technology is all about demographics and we honestly don’t have much.”