How I Work: Salem King, Digital Content Creator

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Published: 2022-06-13

You might recognize Salem King as the gregarious individual on Instagram who posts monochrome films with a signature style in which he offers advice and inspiration. Since 2018, Salem has been encouraging a new generation of digital natives to follow their dreams by persistently sharing the lessons he has learned along his path as a content creator. After four years have passed and he has developed a vast network across a variety of platforms, he discusses the process by which he built his career and how he accomplishes his goals.

Creator of content is my current job, and my location is in Lagos, Nigeria. The most recent computer is a MacBook Air. Current mobile device: iPhone 12 Give us a one-word summary of your working style: Transcendent

How did you get your start in the business world, and how did you work your way up to the position you hold today?

Teaching has always been one of my greatest passions. I always knew that I would work in education in some capacity, but I had no idea that it would be in the field of content. I just have always had a strong interest in sharing my knowledge with others. If you asked me a question about the book I was reading at the time, I would respond by providing you with an interminable amount of detail about it. I was that person.

I made the decision in December 2018 to start sharing what I knew online. At the time, I was learning a lot from the books and videos that I was watching and reading, and I just really wanted to share what I had learned with others; I wasn't sure with whom I would share, but I wanted to share.

2018 was a year in which I occasionally produced videos, but I wasn't really reliable about it. By the end of December 2018, I had made the decision that beginning in January 2019 I would record a video every single day for the next 30 days. I had approximately 1,500 followers at the time. My goal was for the number of people who follow me to increase from 1,500 to 2,000 after this period. My following increased from 1,500 to 5,000 in just one month thanks to the daily uploading of videos to my channel. It was better than I could have imagined. Because other people enjoyed watching my videos, I continued to create more.

I only ended up recording about 21 videos by the end of the month, but because my following was expanding at such a rapid rate, I went from being a nobody on Instagram to receiving hundreds of comments on each and every video I posted. After a few more months, I had 10,000 followers.

My favorite way to explain how I became an influencer is to say that it happened while I was just following my passion. That was the beginning of the voyage.

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What exactly do you do for a living? Please take me through a normal day in which you are employed.

My days are never the same, but I do start most of them with a very long walk in the morning. This is the one thing that is consistent across the majority of my days. It is helpful for me because there are many moments when I need to distract myself in order to be able to concentrate. It's important for me to relax and take everything in, because that seems to be the only thing that can get my creative juices flowing.

When I go for my walk in the morning, I use that time to mentally prepare for the day ahead by reviewing everything that is on my to-do list. In addition to that, while I'm walking, I do some writing. I always take a stroll with my phone, and whenever an idea strikes me while I'm out, I make a note of it right away. A good many of those concepts went on to become some of the most successful content ideas I've ever had.

After I get back from my stroll, the first thing I do is hop in the shower, and then I start my day. The portion of the day that occurs following the stroll is never predictable; instead, it varies greatly from one day to the next. The most of the time, it's me going on a phone conversation with my manager to receive updated information on things that I need to do, meetings that need to be fixed, and so on.

Many people may have the impression that I produce new stuff on a daily basis, but that is not the case. Quite frequently, I use the weekend to get ahead on my article creation for the following week. The other day, I had a session where I recorded four videos for YouTube, and now I'm set for the rest of the month on that platform. The same goes for Instagram. I have a day set aside specifically for the development of material, so when I go for a walk and then shower, I go right into it, and I give it my absolute best effort.

There are also days where I devote my time solely to writing the script. This ensures that when it comes time to shoot the movie, I won't have to begin from square one. I also devote a significant amount of my time to communicating with members of my audience through various internet platforms. That is something that I place a high priority on.

Taking into account the number of messages and comments you receive, how are you able to keep track of everything?

I am going to forgive myself now since I am aware that I am unable to keep up. I am aware that some people can be upset with me, but they are also aware that I make an effort and that I care about my audience. If I didn't want to have a life, I wouldn't even try to keep up with anything since it's impossible. But I try to engage in conversation with members of the audience whenever I can.

Which mobile applications, electronic devices, and/or tools can you not live without? Apps shall be our first topic.

Inshot. Since I started editing videos, I've been using that app exclusively. It's been around five years. It has been a savior in many ways. The application keeps growing better, and every time I consider switching to a different program, they add something new, so I just don't bother downloading anything else. I adore Lightroom as well. It should probably be quite evident at this time that I cannot function properly without my iPhone.

Salem King

It's interesting that you didn't bring up Instagram at all.

The way that I think about social media is perhaps the reason why I did not think to include Instagram right off the top of my head. When I think of social media, I don't only think of the platforms. When I think of it, I picture a large group of individuals.

How will I communicate with the people who are a part of my community if Instagram suddenly ceases to exist, or if they deactivate my account? Because there is the chance of that happening. That might take place at any time. Therefore, I continuously think about community in the context of the individuals that make up the community rather than the platforms themselves.

When we were talking about gadgets, you brought up your iPhone; does this mean that you do not make use of a camera when you are filming?

Yes, I still use my phone for all of my photography needs. When I first started to take my YouTube channel seriously, I was faced with the choice of either teaching myself how to operate the camera and edit videos or paying someone else to do it for me. In addition to that, I, of course, had someone else carry out the task on my behalf.

My creative process is such that if I'm thinking of something and I want to get it done right away, the easiest way to do that is for me to utilize my iPhone, as it has a lot of pre-installed apps. It is a camera of very high quality; in fact, the camera on my iPhone is superior to the largest cameras that were available thirty years ago. If I think about it as "just an iPhone," I'll be constraining myself, and I've had so much experience that I know you're better off just putting it out as it is rather than waiting for it to be perfect. If I think about it as "just an iPhone," I'll be stifling myself.

What are some of your favorite time-saving tips or tricks that you use to get things done faster?

Creating batches, to tell you the truth. I have mentioned it before, but the fact that I maintain a high level of consistency across many social media sites, such as Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, is something that truly is a blessing in my life.

Recently, I've started updating both my Instagram and my TikTok accounts twice a day. When someone looks at me, they could think, "This man is a productivity junkie, how does he accomplish all of this?" It's not hard for them to form that opinion. However, I do not believe that I am a productivity addict. Laziness is the source of both my efficiency and my effectiveness as a worker.

Laziness is something I identify strongly with myself. Work is not something I look forward to doing, but it is essential to my life and my mission as well as all the people I want to connect with and all the incredible things I want to accomplish in the world. So I figure out how to make it work by capitalizing on my busiest times of the day. I am aware that there are times when I do not feel inspired or motivated, and there are times when such feelings are there. I would say that about eighty percent of the time I have absolutely no interest in doing anything other than relaxing and watching stand-up comedy. However, I am aware that there is work that needs to be done on my end. I have duties. I have contacts that I'm trying to get in touch with, and I know that at least one person is going to be more successful as a result of hearing my ideas. Consequently, a significant portion of each weekend is devoted to the process of producing new content and preparing future plans.

Because I am aware that there will always be a scarcity of ideas, I make it a habit to take notes constantly. There will be times when I won't have any ideas, so when that happens, I'll have to look through my notes, choose anything that interests me, and then expand on it.

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When it comes to taking notes, do you prefer using pen and paper or the Notes app on your smartphone?

Both are true about me. For the sake of ideation, I prefer to use pen and paper. When I need to get my thoughts down on paper, I need a pen and some paper. However, I really like the Notes app since all of my notes are backed up in the cloud, so even if I lose my phone, they won't be lost. Therefore, despite the fact that I enjoy writing with paper and pen, I am aware that this method is fraught with peril, and given how valuable my thoughts are to me, I do not want to risk losing them.

What are some of the unpleasant responsibilities that you have to carry out?

Talking on the phone, sending emails, and writing up proposals. I despise items of those nature. If it were up to me, I wouldn't bother responding to any of your emails at all. To tell you the truth, it is one of the reasons why I was able to get a talent management so early on in my career. I had the ability to learn, but I chose not to because I would rather remain inside my area of expertise than attempt to make even a slight improvement on a deficiency. Let me instead focus on getting better at the things I'm good at.

However, I am still required to complete these activities on occasion. When you're working with individuals in different time zones, with different schedules, and with different priorities, there are going to be moments when you have to do things that you don't particularly enjoy. You simply take a few deep breaths and try to bring the best version of yourself to the situation, no matter what.

How can you make sure that you don't forget anything that you have to do?

A to-do list. I simply make a list of everything I need to get done, and I try to be practical about it. Even if there are days when I have about ten tasks to complete, I just tell myself, "Okay, today, I need to complete these three things." If I accomplish these three tasks, then I can consider the day a success. And after that, I make sure those are front and center; I either jot it down in my notepad or type it into the Notes app on my phone simply so I don't forget what it is that I want to do today.

What do you do to refresh yourself or take a break from the work?

I enjoy spending time alone myself, as well as watching stand-up comedy specials. Even if a lot of people aren't aware of my introversion, they don't trust me when I say it because they don't think it's true. After spending time with other people or actively interacting with other people, I find that I have expended a lot of energy, and as a result, I need to take some time to recharge by being by myself. Since I don't get out often, my typical night consists of staying in, watching some stand-up comedy or one of my favorite relaxing television shows like "The Big Bang Theory," and generally just taking it easy.

Salem King

What are you listening to, what are you watching, and what are you reading right now?

The show that I'm watching right now is Silicon Valley. I'm currently tuning in to the podcast titled "Fight Hustle, End Hurry." Even though there are only ten episodes, I sometimes play them all over again. And right now I'm working my way through Jordan Peterson's book, 12 Rules for Life.

What is the most useful piece of guidance that somebody has ever given you?

That presents a challenge. One piece of advice that I believe made a significant impact on my life was to "never compare yourself to those who you should be learning from."

This was a pivotal moment for me, particularly at the beginning of my career in content creation. Due to the nature of content creation, you have access to information about what everyone else is doing, how well they are doing it, and what their content looks like. This had a profound impact on my life. After that, you run the risk of processing your work in accordance with the given circumstances.

There are occasions when the difference between you and the other individual is not necessarily talent but rather the amount of time that they have put in. You shouldn't compare yourself to them because they have simply put in more time than you have. Instead, you should learn from them; you should be motivated, rather than intimidated by them.

What is a challenge that you have not yet conquered to the best of your ability?

Profitability for creators, or more specifically, profitability for Nigerian and African creators. It pains my heart to think that many creators are unable to engage in their work on a full-time basis without being concerned about the need for financial support. It is still a relatively new sector, and there are many places where it is not yet recognised as a job; for example, our parents do not consider it to be a legitimate occupation.

Therefore, there are still very few people who graduate from school and say, "I want to be a content creator," because there is so much uncertainty about how viable it is going to be. This is due to the fact that there is so much competition in the industry. My mind immediately goes to that issue the moment I open my eyes each morning.

Who among the following do you wish would respond to these questions?

Kuyet Bamai, a blogger specializing in fashion; Alma Asinobi and Precious Gaza, digital content makers I believe that their responses will be quite interesting to hear.