Being an influencer isn’t as easy as firing off a few snarky Tweets.
Will Witt learned that after giving his very first speech for a crowd of cynical teens.
Witt, the congenial face behind many PragerU videos, misread the group in question. The assembled teens leaned to the left, but he blames himself for his performance.
“A lot of the mistakes I made were in not doing my diligent research [ahead of time],” Witt says of his influencer-in-training days.
Now, he knows to exhaustively prepare not just for speeches but for fighting the Culture Wars in general.
He’s come a long way, baby.
Will boasts a massive online flock, from north of 400K followers on Instagram to nearly 112K on Twitter. His YouTube presence is even larger, given his prolific output with PragerU.
He regularly teams with fellow influencer Amala Ekpunobi to explore the biggest issues of the day for PragerU. Think lockdowns, abortion, media bias and more, all told from Witt’s youthful perspective backed by serious research.
The Colorado native joined with Ekpunobi recently for a “Ride Along with the LAPD” vlog. It’s the kind of material you’d never see in the mainstream press.
A quick peek explains why.
Witt and Ekpunobi show the hard work, dedication and community outreach that comes with being an L.A. cop.
The context is clear. Black Lives Matters may want to “defund the police,” but the people in crime-ridden communities disagree. Take the teen boxer featured in the video, who only wants a legitimate safe space where she can train without fear of bullets ripping through her home.
“These guys are more than just police officers. They’re community leaders,” Witt says. “They’re going into places that no one else wants to go.”
“Many came from South Central,” Witt adds. “That’s their home. Black cops. Hispanic cops … they’re not going in there to hurt the people.”
Will didn’t follow the conventional career path to his current online status. He attended the University of Colorado Boulder for two years but dropped out after being bombarded by progressive indoctrination.
He signed on with a few pro-freedom nonprofits after that experience before joining PragerU.
Would @thewillwitt ever run for office?
— PragerU (@prageru) December 1, 2021
Witt’s journey from wide-eyed conservative to first-class influencer separated him from the establishment Right. While others published books excoriating the Left, Witt focused on what he dubs “tangible tools and persuasion tactics” to make a difference.
He points to recent events, like the battle over the Mississippi abortion law, as signs of progress.
“The culture is starting to change. People are waking up … I’m glad to be a part of that,” says author of “How to Win Friends and Influence Enemies.”
The “Ride-Along” video offers a prime example of Witt’s philosophy in action. Seeing a teen boxer share her poignant story is far more influential than a series of dry statistics on a given subject.
Data does matter, of course. So does storytelling 101.
And Witt is still learning on the job. He just started his first blog to write longer than what Twitter typically allows. He’s also working on a documentary about the shrinking middle class and a new book project.
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Being an influencer today means absorbing plenty of huzzahs along with more than a few hateful screeds. Witt avoids the latter as much as possible.
“I know there are a great many people out there who want the best for me and PragerU, and a lot of evil people who would love nothing more than to see me dead or fail,” he says.
Witt has some tough love for anyone who wants to join the Culture War battles by his side.
“You are not going to be the next Ben Shapiro,” he says of The Daily Wire co-founder and podcast superstar. Figures like Shapiro know a great deal about a crush of subjects. Replicating that skill set, plus Shapiro’s sizable intellect, is darn near impossible.
Instead, he recommends drilling down into your personal story and expertise.
“Find a niche for yourself – abortion in your state, immigration near where you live,” he says. “When you find you’re the expert on that one thing, people will come to you.”