Exclusive Interview With Marketing Director of Spiritual Word
Yusef Reown was born a natural leader. As the Marketing Director of the globally recognized digital platform Spiritual Word he is the go-to guy for industry execs, artists and advertisers. The creative risk-taker helped to accelerate the company’s growth to over 2.5 million followers on Instagram using his innate strengths of amplifying businesses and their bottom lines. Yusef has proven to be successful in generating revenue through gen-z research and increasing traffic by implementing initiatives that resonate with their audience, improving company policy and spearheading collaborative partnerships with legacy organizations. He’s a solutions-driven expert who contributes wherever an impact can be made.
Yusef has built himself into an authentic multidisciplinary talent with a range of titles that include marketing guru, standup comedian, and entrepreneur. Rising up the entertainment ranks on charisma, formidable hard work, grit and determination. Whether he’s partnering with Fortune 500 companies or engineering grassroots rollouts that go viral like he did with Glorillas “FNF” campaign, Yusef is a bonafide businessman and brand.
Thisis50 caught up with the young business man to discuss his journey and how Spiritual Word is bridging the gap between culture and Christianity.
How has Spiritual Word been since the year started? What has changed so far?
I think so far what has changed is just the growth. Spiritual Word continues to accelerate and increase in our reach, our audience and our influence.
I think at the start of this year, we had kind of like a change in direction, how we wanted to run things, and we got different contracts and different businesses coming in, so we were able to do a lot of different things when it came to the business. But I think the biggest change is just the growth. We’ve grown substantially in the amount of a couple years just during COVID and especially within the last year. We just continue to go up. A lot of changes comes with growth within the business and with personal life and just in itself.
So it’s a work in progress, but it’s a learning journey as it is with any business. So I think just the growth is probably the biggest change.
Can you talk to us about where you’re from and how you got started?
I’m from a small city about 30 minutes south of Dallas called Waxahachie, Texas. When it came to marketing I started back in like 2010 when I saw a different change in direction. When it came to social media, I first started on Twitter and I saw a way to kind of monetize and promote for people and make some money from it. I thought it was like a great idea. I kept playing with it. I studied it, and I used to code, and I would make codes for different things. Then I got on board with Spiritual Word and had some ideas and started working with them. Once I started working with them, they heard me out and gave me the keys to work. And I just got to work, and I was able to bring it to where it is now.
What is your upbringing like? Was it religious? How did it make you who you are today?
I grew up with a very religious upbringing. Both of my parents were pastors in the church, like older Southern Southern church folks. So I could quote the Bible up and down for you if I wanted. So it’s been crazy because my parents, they kind of beat me with a Bible growing up. That honestly kind of deterred me from the church when I started getting into my adolescence for a while. But my parents always instilled in me that you have to come to a point where you find God for yourself. I think that was the beauty of it all, because I just was able to come back and really just see it for myself because I just had so much misunderstanding because I knew so much of the Bible, but I didn’t get it. I didn’t get what everyone was talking about. The older I got and the more that I got into Spiritually with myself and things just started to make more sense and it all started to come together.
So I’m grateful that I grew up with parents that instilled something within me early so that I could have that embedded in me growing up, so I can make that decision, that choice for myself.
How did people first respond to Spiritual Word when you launched?
Honestly, it was something that took hold like pretty quickly. It started off with a bunch of different quotes on Spiritual Word, different relatable posts when it came to spirituality. So it was definitely something that gradually you start to grow because a lot the people are feeling it and people want to grow spiritually. So being able to tap into that with other people and with the audience and make it relatable and engaging gets the shares, it gets the comments, it gets the likes, and people continue to grow from it and follow and stay in touch.
What are some highlights of your career so far?
We’ve been able to work with every single artist known to man right now and we’ve met so many different people, got to work with so many different labels and networks as well as artists and celebrities and just being able to connect with people. I think that one of my biggest assets is my connection with people and being able to connect the dots with other people. If I see a position that I think you would be good for then I’m never going to gatekeep you. I’m going to always try to put my friends and my people in positions that I know that they’re good at. So I think that’s probably the biggest highlight when it comes to me, when it comes to the platform, just being able to connect with everybody. I think connection, genuine connection is needed in life right now.
What can we expect from Spiritual Word next?
There’s so much our CEO Shawn McKenzie has planned. We’re growing and our team is growing. So the more that we do grow, there’s going to be different things that are going to pop up that people are going to see. Our website is going to launch soon as well.
You are going to see a lot of different things when it comes to shows and you’re just going to see us everywhere. Just put it like that. You’ll start to see us everywhere. We’re going to be more of a media outlet you can rely on and count on other than just Instagram itself. I’m excited for the new year to come because we just have so many great things in store.
Who was the first person to tell you you’re good at this?
Myself, for sure. So I started doing this when I was younger, I did it as a hobby and then once I started to learn I could make some money and monetize it, I was like, okay, I could do this. I got good at it. Then I started because I also work in entertainment as I did comedy and comedy skits and sketches when I was younger as well.
With comedy I kind of blew up on Vine so I took my knowledge from the marketing side of things and I put that towards my following with Vine and I was able to make money from that. Even though my parents at that time, were telling me to go to college, go to this and that, and they kind of despise you for the videos that I used to make. Sometimes they wanted me to be like other adolescent teenage boys not doing all this crazy stuff online, but I would do it to grow my following and then I would monetize it. Then once I started seeing the money that I was able to bring in they were like what? how is this high schooler making money like this off of 6 second videos?
So that’s when I knew I was good at it. Then being shown mutual respect by artists and different celebrities. Many of them would say like hey you said you’re good at what you do, I respect you. There’s no awards you can get from it out here for what I do in marketing, but just people’s words and actions and checking in is always worth it, always.
Who did you want to prove it to?
Also myself. I’d say to everyone, actually, just because I knew I was good at something and I used to study it for fun and I wanted to prove it to everyone at Spiritual Word. I wanted to prove it to myself and my family. I think that no one even really saw the scale of things or what I envisioned it to be.
Once I was given the keys to do what I wanted to do with this side of the business, I was able to grow it the way it is and I’m really proud of myself for it and I’m just grateful that people believed in me to take it where it is now. To be honest, I’m just getting started. I have more plans and I’ll be more proud of myself next year. At the same time, next year.
In the beginning how was your confidence at running a platform?
I think it was pretty good. That was in the boom of social media, so social media was starting to grow and everyone was on social media. I think the confidence of self is just being able to find your niche, find what works, and then stick with it and then kind of just play around with it. Once you’ve got your audience and once you understand the game of social media, then you could kind of persuade and make things happen for yourself. But yeah, I think the confidence is always there. There’s never any hesitation or nervousness about posting something or what’s going to be the backlash. I think we always just moved in confidence and moved in ourselves and always kept true to what we believe was right and what we thought was going to work. It always does.
How do you see your brand evolving?
The way I see it now, this is going to be an incredible industry and legacy. When it’s all said and done, I think that it’s going to be something that’s going to blow up out of the water. We are just getting started. Even though we do have such a huge platform and such a huge following, I think that we’re up there with names like World Star Hip Hop and with names like The Shade Room, like TMZ. I think that we have the potential and the ability to really become one of the biggest media outlets out there. So I really believe in us evolving in that type of aspect. I’m excited.