During this pandemic there’s one YouTuber who has dominated the platform – KSI (real name JJ Olatunji). It is not news that he’s big on YouTube but the views and subscribers he’s managed to rake in on his second channel, simply titled ‘JJ Olatunji’ over the lockdown is truly impressive. Just a few weeks ago he joined a very elite group of YouTubers when he got his second diamond play button – an award given by YouTube when a channel hits 10 million subscribers.
To put his success in perspective, last year, between May – July his second channel ‘JJ Olatunji’ grew by 279,000 subscribers. In the same period this year, when his options for content were a lot more restrictive, his channel grew by over 1,270,000. His views have been equally staggering, managing only 20 million views between May – July in 2019 but getting a whopping 127 million video views in the same period this year.
In this article, I want to breakdown what he’s done to garner so much success in a period in which a lot of YouTubers and other influencers have struggled to produce content.
1. JJ put out a lot of content
JJ became a content creating machine during lockdown uploading regularly every 2 – 5 days. This high turnover allowed him to really get ahead of the competition who were maybe struggling more for content. He didn’t just put out trash though, he revived some old series such as his Reddit videos which proved extremely popular. He also made several ‘try not to laugh’ videos and even hoped back on Fifa, both of which proved a hit with his audience. One of the things I also noticed when looking back through is content was his clever use of titles. Rather than simply calling his Reddit videos something quite matter of fact such as ‘Looking on my Reddit’ he’s very good at picking titles that draw you in such as ‘This was a mistake…’ and ‘How to be KSI’. He does this while managing to avoid the trap of click-baiting because the title is always addressed in some way within the video.
It is worth noting that part of the reason why he has been able to upload a lot more content during this period compared to last year is that, unlike last year, he is not preparing for a major boxing fight. That being said, JJ has proven that uploading consistently is key when it comes to building success on YouTube. You could be the best content creator in the world but if you just upload sporadically you will always struggle to build a following long-term.
2. JJ is the King of YouTube Beef
Let’s be honest, there really isn’t anyone better at beefing than JJ. For those that don’t know, ‘beefing’ is when you have a problem or complaint with someone. Often, beefing is done quite publicly and can be subtle or quite open. It’s fair to say JJ is no stranger to beef and has beefed with a number of people including Logan Paul, the Sidemen and RiceGum.
You could argue his beefs have been incredibly successful for him. They have not only gained him lots of views but also helped to elevate his status and stay relevant whilst growing from the exposure to other people’s audiences.
His beefs have led to him becoming a professional boxer and selling out a 20,000 seater arena. It was his (fake) beef with the rest of the Sidemen that led to the explosion of diss tracks on Youtube that brought in hundreds of millions of views to the Sidemen including KSI himself. He’s even managed to turn the collapse of his relationship with his brother into a way to get views, often featuring him in video thumbnails along with titles such as “I can’t believe he’s done this”. Thankfully, they are now on much better terms.
It’s hard to pin the secret to why JJ’s beefs have been so successful. I think part of it is his ability to recognise who is relevant and popping on YouTube. By beefing with creators who are on the up he has been able to ride on their momentum and make it something big. The other factor is his ability to pick apart other people whilst also being able to take a joke himself. You can’t get into beef with another YouTuber and not be prepared for the onslaught of comments from either their followers or the YouTuber themselves. Beefing isn’t for the faint hearted and JJ has always managed to rise to the occasion.
3. Behind the scenes he’s been working very hard
Earlier, I talked about JJ’s ability to create a lot of content during the pandemic despite the physical limitations that came with it. A big factor in helping him do that was that for a number of years now KSI has been working on his skills other than just making YouTube videos.
Back in 2015 JJ really started to focus on developing a music career. This would turn out to be a great move as in the same year he was signed by major record label Dcypha Productions. On 25th March 2015 on his KSI channel he released his single ‘Lamborghini’ which charted at 30 on the singles chart and whose music video currently has over 115 million views. Earlier this year he released his debut studio album, Dissimulation, which has proved a big hit with a combined total of around 249 million streams on Spotify.
Now to be successful on YouTube you don’t have to be a good rapper or singer. The point is, JJ has not settled down and got comfortable. He’s constantly been working hard to improve his skills as an entertainer and get more strings to his bow. It’s this graft that has allowed him to regularly provide a wide range of quality content to his audience and has meant he’s never allowed his channel to become stagnant.
One of the factors JJ has mentioned when he’s talked about success is his work ethic. At the end of the day part of the reason why JJ has been one of, if not the most successful British YouTuber, is that he’s worked extremely hard. He’s constantly been perfecting his craft and has always had the hunger to keep on growing on the platform.
So there you have it, there’s a lot to learn from JJ if you’re an aspiring YouTuber. His natural talent coupled with his incredible work ethic is what has got him to where he is today. JJ has consistently defied expectations of what a ‘YouTuber’ can achieve and has already broken several barriers and he’s still only 27. It will be interesting to see where he goes in the rest of his career but one thing is for sure, he’ll continue to be around for a very long time.
Don’t forget to follow The Modern Influencer on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to be kept up to date with our latest pieces and interviews.