VERGE spoke with Aaron Wright – a young entrepreneur in the social media world. Since 2014 Aaron has worked and managed a range of brands on YouTube successfully creating strategy plans and content ideas which have featured across some of the biggest brands in the world. He has generated millions of views across several brands for the likes of Universal Music, Comedy Central UK, Sony Music UK, EOne Entertainment and Vevo.
How do you come up with your ideas
I start with a channel by channel basis. One idea might not work for two channels, so I take into consideration many things;
- who the audience are
- what’s the regular channel content or channel idea
- is anyone else on the internet doing it, if not what success do they have and how can we emulate this
- is it shareable?
What has been your most successful moment to date?
It’s been the growth of Comedy Central UK YouTube Channel or the creation of Sony Music UK’s YouTube channel. SMUK was special to me because this was the first channel I was allowed to grow and experiment what works and what doesn’t. Taking it from 0 to 30k subscribers in less than a year on limited content and content I wouldn’t choose for YouTube was great because I uncovered what YouTube was aiming towards without ever making it known, that long form is the next step for big views.
How did it all happen, where did it begin?
I got fired from an internship in May 2014. I hated the place and I felt they didn’t like me at all, so I was hanging on and trying to stay strong but they got rid of me. It was in events and PR and I actually wanted to go into doing events as a living. In my short time of being unemployed, I decided to look into YouTube and start my own channel. For about 1/2 weeks I learnt about YouTube and within that time period, I saw an internship with a chance to become permanent doing YouTube channel management. I didn’t even know this was a career option or even a thing the week before but I took my chance and here I am.
Did you always have a passion for brands?
To be honest no. I’ve always had this feeling of I/we should do more for ourselves and build with each other rather than always turn to a big brand. That’s what attracted me to my first YouTube channel management job at Diagonal View. They were small and cared about actually making a difference in content creation. But then I learned to work with brands wasn’t a bad thing, but also wasn’t the “be all and end all.” I do sometimes take that very literally today; I tend to stay away from very visible branding on clothing (apart from trainers) lol.
What was it like working with youtube?
Challenging for me because I have all these ideas but depending on the channel and the limitation of the platform I can’t do all I want, but also challenging and rivalling the “norm.” Working with/on YouTube, you can push so many limits which you can’t do on TV and you can also just do it off your phone and then you’re a star. I do feel YouTube as a company do listen to creators/channel managers and do try and make changes to positively affect the platform.
How did dope vision ldn come around?
I was in New York in May 2015 and when I got back to London I was looking outside of the window and thought, ”why am I in an office when there is sun outside?” Then I realised to pay these bills! But it occurred to me I’m talented enough to do this for myself and by myself, all I need is a laptop and good internet and I can do this from wherever and whenever. So I did a test with working with smaller/grass root channels on my own to see if I could actually build channels or am I reliant on brands? It worked. I began building channels and increased the number of channels I was working in both quality and quantity.
Who would be your top person to work with?
I’m currently working with Universal Music Group and that was big for me, but to extend that, I think a channel like ABC Network or Disney because I feel TV companies miss a trick by ignoring YouTube. Yes, I understand because of digital rights there are restrictions and limitations but there are so many things I think I would be able to achieve working with them.
Do you feel your role has opened up doors for you?
It has more installed the confidence for me to go and knock doors down with both voice and talent. I’ve never been one to blow my own horn and I’d rather let my results do the talking for me. But I have learned that people won’t know how wavy you are unless you present the opportunity for them to see. I do believe my possibilities are endless.
Where do you see yourself going next?
Extending a number of clients I have on my books and the possibly being able to hire people to work for me. Then eventually have a sizeable company making leaps and bounds within the online sphere. Ideally, I would have a majority black company and that isn’t because I’m against races working together but because being a person of colour in the media is very difficult and rare. I’ve worked in many places where I might have seen three or four other people of colour and one of them is black. I also feel that if I’m in a position where I can give back, then it’s my duty to.
I also want to be in the Forbes 30 under 30 list. I’ve got five years and a lot of work to do, but if I was able to make that list, then it means I’m on the right path to what I want to achieve.
If your role could take you anywhere in the world where would it be?
This is going to sound mad cheesy, but I remember seeing a booking.com advert where this family moved all around the world, educated their kids and somehow maintain this good living. I wanted that, I do love London but it’s not everything and I feel that now being 25, no kids and being single, this is a great time for me to try and explore the world as much as I can. Then eventually open a rum shack on a beach in Jamaica with my future wife cooking dumpling, ackee and saltfish ready to feed me hahaha.
What’s your favourite campaign you’ve worked on so far?
With Comedy Central UK. The task was how can I turn a slowly growing brand into something worth talking about. I took a channel which was on 42k subscribers and in about a 1 year I managed to get it to 150k subscribtions. I found the content they weren’t using and I backed myself to make it work if I make the right social moves. It was clips from Chappelle’s Show and I knew people would love but they had to know it was there. So I reached out to World Star Hip-Hop and got the ball rolling and the views came rolling in.
Any advice for those trying to get into your role, or media in general?
The first step is trying to find out what you like, what you think you can grow into and what interest you. No role is going to be perfect when you start but look for things which make it enjoyable or make you happy. If you’re not happy you may end up resenting your job, yourself and the whole industry.
Once you’re in do not get complacent. Work hard and take opportunities which come your way, don’t be afraid of a no!