Happy Monday Creatives! Uno De Waal, publisher of Between 10 and 5 gives us an insight of what he does and why he does it. Let the questions begin *drum roll.
First and foremost, please tell us who is Uno and what do you do?
I’m the publisher of Between 10 and 5. That means I make sure that our editorial team is producing the right type of content for our audience, and on the other hand I make sure that there is money coming in to finance the running of the site. My instagram feed will tell you that I’m an adventure motorbiker who’s into classic cars and spends a lot of time in Braamfontein.
Before we get down to the nitty gritty, please tell us why the name Between 10 and 5?
We want people to send us in between 5 and 10 pieces of their latest work. Less than 5 and you don’t really get a feel for what they are about, and more than 10 is too much and you gloss over it. We wanted to use 5and10.com, but it was taken so we registered 10and5.com. The name also sticks a bit better and I’ve grown to love it.
People sometimes think it’s because of the hours that creatives work – from 10am till 5pm.
You have a digital background, what inspired you to start a platform for creatives. What is the concept behind it?
I had my own research and strategy company at the time and we had to find South African social media references for toothpaste brands. This didn’t exist. Not only was there no resource for South African (toothpaste) social media campaigns, but there was also no real single resource for South African creativity. There was no single place to go to if you wanted to find out what the pulse of South African creativity was. All the magazines are quite niche in interiors or art and the Loeries served one market while Design Indaba another, plus we felt it didn’t really cater to what we were looking for. So we started it.
How long have you been running the site and how has the journey been?
10and5 will be 5 years old on the 29th of September. It’s been up and down I’d say. We’ve had some great success and even more so in the past 6 months. I ran the site in my spare time while having another day job until April 2013 when I decided to quit and run 10and5 full-time. About 3 years ago we appointed Alix as the editor to run the site full-time and our team has now grown to about 4 (on and off including freelancers). There is no way that 10and5 could be where it is today without Alix’s great eye and contribution to our content.
The next step for us is to generate revenue to make it a viable business and not just a side-hobby. We’re getting there.
Publications generally live off advertising, what are you opinions on South Africans willingness to spend money on digital advertising?
Display display advertising in niche publications is not a way to sustain a business. The audiences in SA are too small and the media planners typically look at doing large deals with big publishers as it’s easier and they get more reach. Also CPM revenue has major downward pressure. Internationally you see publishers getting in to conferences and other type of events.
We’re also going down that route by hosting more events, but we’re also beefing up our custom content offering. It’s easier for marketing managers to spend money on things they know – like activations, TV, sponsorships and radio. There are only a handful of brands that you can secure big, long-term digital deals with. The rest of it is all dime-a-dozen campaign deals that end up being a lot more effort than is sometimes worth. The brands also don’t receive the long term value out of it.
Can South Africans make a living off blogging, if so, how and if not please elaborate?
Blogging is really a lifestyle business. I think you can, but it’s not going to grow to anywhere big. Blogging builds personal brands and profiles that people monetize elsewhere through endorsement deals and offline activity like consulting or public speaking.
We’re not a blog, we’re a publishing business. We just happen to publish in a blog format because that’s the most effective way to deliver content digitally. Digital content is a good way to make a living, but there are many players in the market so you need to step up your game. The means to produce content is also getting more accessible so established players are getting undercut by young guys.
What advice would you give to those looking to start their own digital platform?
Go work for a bigger publication for a while and learn how to write for digital. Understand what the revenue models are and how content distribution works. That’s the biggest thing for us – to know how to get our content in front of the right audience. Video and storytelling is also going to be big in the next few years. Use your phone to make some videos and edit them into a great narrative. That will make your skill set invaluable. And then just do it and make it live. Publish every day. We’ve never skipped a day of planned publishing ever.
What lies in the future for Between 10 and 5 and Uno?
We have plans to host more regular events to bring our community together. We’re also looking at an award show and conference. Something in between Loeries and Design Indaba, but we’re still figuring that one out. We’ll have a print magazine out at some point and there are some other brand projects that we want to get off the ground if we can get the support from who we’re looking for. Our co-working space is also expanding and if we can help more creatives do better work then I’ll be happy. There’s a good shot that we might start playing in Africa – we have some great partners who we’re looking to work with.
Personally, I hope to expand my publishing business to other area’s like the adventure segment. I want to spend more time getting lost on my motorbike and in my kayak paddling big white-water. I hope to learn a lot more about how the business and entrepreneur world works. I’ve always been a bit more creative than financially orientated so now I’m learning the hard way.
What do you see the future of South African creativity looking like in the next five years?
That’s tricky to say – but I think technology will play quite a big role in how people express themselves. People are going to start playing with a lot more tech and it’s going to move from the technologists to the artists as tech gets more commoditised. Africa’s creative undercurrent is also only now seeing the light of day. There is so much creativity on the continent that doesn’t have a channel for people to see it. I think South Africa will play a big role in that, but personally I hope it comes from the rest of the continent.
I’ve also seen a lot more people pack up their jobs at big corporate agencies and follow what they love doing. Our Self-Starters series on creative entrepreneurs is exactly that – showcasing people who followed their creative passions and got out of the dreary corporate environment they were in. The more creative entrepreneurs we can inspire the better our creative economy will flourish.
Lastly, how do people get their work on your website?
First is to do good work and get noticed by our editorial team. If your PR machine sucks then we always have a submission form on the site: http://10and5.com/submissions.