by Arlan Jay Jondonero
It can seem difficult or even nearly impossible to combine passion with profession. But for Filipino Vlogger Rei Germar, a job that not only pays the bills but creates a positive impact across a wide audience is very much within her reach.
Now running a three-year old channel, Rei found that the key to connecting with her viewers is and has always been her being truly and genuinely herself.
Seeing how empowering the platform could be, Rei took it upon herself to use vlogging as a tool to share her thoughts. Starting with makeup and fashion videos, she has since created content about lifestyle, travel, and even the issues she cares about.
It didn’t take long for Rei to amass a huge following. From merely having over a thousand subscribers, it only took her one Divisoria Haul video to earn 8,000 followers and jumpstart her way to the Youtube ladder. Now with over a million subscribers, Rei is now eager to share her secret to making a living on social media through her conscious use of the platform.
For sure, a pretty face coupled with a pleasing personality and sense of style could earn anyone social media attention these days, but for Rei, her rise to YouTube success was more than just that.
As a Communication Arts graduate, Rei made good use of her academic background to familiarize herself with the workings of the platform. The advertising and marketing courses she took play a huge part in how she manages her content online. Searchability and relatability, for instance, are two concepts she’s greatly conscious about in putting out content. Besides that, she relies on one more crucial factor.
“If you’re just starting in YouTube, you can’t just make videos and then your titles aren’t searchable and catchy enough, because no one would click it. No one knows anything about you yet so you have to make content that is searchable and relatable [to] other people.”
Besides that, her dedication to her creative process also plays a big part in making her channel work. With her handy notebook, she writes down her talking points, so she doesn’t forget anything during filming. She employs her own pre-production, which she learned back in college. With how she shoots, directs, faces her camera, and even edits her own vlogs, Rei is basically a production crew of her own.
Certainly, there’s no rulebook that dictates a definite way to becoming a compelling content creator. Or a Youtube influencer for that matter. If anything, there’s only one thing that Rei has religiously stood by in her three years in the business.
“Just create content that is true to who you are and true to your branding, true to what you believe in,” she says, insisting she could never sell her short by producing anything that is not in line with her personal branding. With hundreds of online content creators in the video-sharing platform, she sets herself apart by becoming as raw and personal as possible, may it be in the way she edits her content or in the kind of stories she tells.
Di ko naisip na gawing branding na maging super open to other people – it just happened. I just felt like it was really really important to be true to who you are, so parang, why not, na lang na ganito na lang yung format yung videos ko, because personally, I enjoy being personal. I enjoy being super honest to other people and it’s gonna be hard if I try to change pa, just for the sake of making this another version of myself online.
In today’s day and age when standing out online has become a career in itself, it’s easy to lose yourself in the process. Clout chasing, as today’s netizens call it, has become quite a challenge especially for those who aim to make their mark online and earn for a living.
“I feel like that’s the reason why I love vlogging; because I don’t have to act. I chose not to go to mainstream media like TV, commercials and all because you have a script, you’ll portray a role, but with vlogging, it’s just me, 100% me, just being me,” she said.
And with great power comes great responsibility, as Rei’s rise to popularity was not without its own challenges. Upon entering the business, she’s made it clear that she wants to use her platform for speaking up against social issues she’s deeply passionate about. And so in 2018, when Rei openly criticized the current administration’s policies and its treatment of women, she remained steadfast in speaking up despite drawing massive flak from some of her own followers.
What’s important for Rei is taking advantage of the opportunity to spark conversations which could lead to her viewers becoming informed about a particular issue. And more so, influencing them to stand for something she believes is right, even at the cost of losing a huge chunk of her following.
“‘Di ko isto-stop ‘yung sarili ko from expressing my stand or something just because you’re telling me you’re gonna unsubscribe. Mas okay na yun sakin. Mas gusto ko yung i’m being a hundred percent me and then people accept me for who I am and it’s enough for them to stay,” she affirms.
Rei’s social responsibility extends even to engagements she deals with. Before working with them, Rei makes sure that this brand would mirror her values, that’s why brands with causes greatly appeal to her. Still valuing authenticity, she refuses to endorse brands that are known for facing any issue that go against what she stands for.
“When you’re starting in YouTube tapos you get brands, you feel excited eh kasi parang, ‘oh, this is the dream,’ you actually exist in their world – in the marketing field. At first, you will feel like you have to accept everything ‘cause you know, it’s what you do for a living. Pero I realized that the brands that you work with reflects kung sino ka, it reflects your branding, and it says a lot about you. So yes, you can’t say yes to all the brands,” she shared.
And with all the pressure and challenges that come with being in the business, Rei says the important people in her life – her family, friends, and her boyfriend – keep her grounded.
“They always tell me, ‘Oh, you’re not supposed to just conform to the norms.’ This is also what I remind myself during times when I wanna give up or when I question [myself], ‘Why am I doing still this?’ I just go back to page one and remind myself why I started, what I really wanted, and what was [my] purpose.”
In riding with the times, staying true to one’s branding is key. In building that branding, making a positive influence on people should be the goal. Rei is and has always been a content creator with a purpose. She stands firm on the idea that content shouldn’t be just viral; it should be of virtue, as all things should be.