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#26 - 7 Habits of Highly Effective Creators: Embrace different mediums
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Top creators earn significantly more than average creators. What sets top creators apart from the rest?
These key habits help creators succeed in a very competitive field.
This is part 6 — Embrace different mediums.
Embrace different mediums
Creators entertain, inspire, and inform the world through content and storytelling. They do so through various “mediums” — tools and formats for content creation and distribution.
Today, creators are flocking to TikTok, Reels, and YouTube Shorts as a medium.
It feels like a gold rush moment.
Who can blame them? Big numbers are shoved in our faces every day — “Creator X has 3M followers, and their videos have 200M views in just 1 year!”
But FOMO could lead many to making costly mistakes. Why is that?
Different mediums let creators get their message across uniquely. This is akin to an artist having a broader color palette and diverse materials (e.g. oil, watercolor, acrylic, charcoal). Choosing the wrong tool will diminish the impact of the artist’s work.
So just pick the right medium. Easy peasy?
Which medium is right for creators?
While early (pre-2000) content creators were extremely constrained on mediums, creators in 2023 have an abundance of options:
Text-based: Blog posts, articles, books, and other written content.
Audio: Podcasts, audio recordings, live audio stages (e.g. Clubhouse), and music.
Video: Long/short form videos, movies, and television shows.
Visual: Photographs, illustrations, animations, infographics, memes.
Interactive content: Games, quizzes, polls, choo-your-own-adventure paradigms that allow users to interact with the material.
Events: Conferences, webinars, live streams where people engage with each other.
Virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR): Immersive experiences to create a sense of presence in a simulated or augmented environment.
It turns out having too many options is a challenge itself.
Smart creators evaluate a number of factors to decide their format, distribution platform, and potential revenue strategy.
For instance, creators considering videos as a format might lay out the following to decide how specifically they will invest in video content.
By laying out trade considerations, it becomes clear that depending on the creators’ content and goals, short form video might be a terrible option to invest in!
Clearly, this can be a useful exercise.
However, creators who start with this exercise without publishing anything may get stuck in analysis paralysis.
Realistically, it’s better to just get going on something based on gut instinct. Creators can develop this intuition by asking themselves:
Where do my customers hang out?
Where could I uniquely stand out?
Where do I personally enjoy spending time online?
What creation processes are aligned to my strengths? What can I stick to even when it’s not fun?
Embrace different mediums, but not at once
There are lots of examples of established creators who leverage multiple content formats and platforms to build their media and business empire.
Casey Neistat: Filmmaker, writer, and story telling master who creates a videos, articles, and podcasts.
Gary Vaynerchuk: Business and marketing guy who produces videos, podcasts, articles, Q&As, NFTs.
Tim Ferris: Author, podcaster, and entrepreneur who has published books, articles, podcasts, and online courses.
Humble the Poet: Poet, artist, and author who creates videos, podcasts, and other social media content.
Ramit Sethi: Personal finance expert who produces content in the form of books, articles, podcasts, newsletters, and online courses.
While it’s tempting to look at a streamlined portfolio of content publishing, it would be a fatal mistake to emulate them without adequate resources and a team.
There's nothing wrong with trying multiple mediums. But it doubles or triples the workload to try several simultaneously, which makes it harder to publish consistently.
All in all, signing up for too much work is a recipe for burnout and disappointment. This is especially true for aspiring creators thinking about publishing content on multiple platforms to grow an audience.
To grow an engaged audience on any platform, there is a ton of invisible work beyond simply publishing great content. This includes interacting with viewers, nurturing relationships with other creators, and honing your content and voice to deliver more value to audiences.
Therefore, it is more advisable is to focus on 1 (maybe 2) distribution channels for your content medium of choice.
Medium matters for brands and businesses
Bonus story. On Jan 26, 2023, Midjourney became the first Discord server with 10M+ members. (Disclosure: I work at Discord)
I share this as an example of a business whose customer facing UI was bootstrapped entirely on Discord (the medium), rather than its own web or mobile app.🤯
Midjourney is not a creator, it doesn’t produce content.
It is an AI image generation tool. When people enter text prompts and parameters, Midjourney’s ML algorithm takes that text input, and produces unique images based on a massive amount of image data it has been trained on.
Rather than choosing to build their own medium (e.g. a mobile app) that requires design / engineering work and technical infrastructure, Midjourney leveraged Discord as a platform. This let people find and experience Midjourney all in one place, where they were already hanging out with friends and communities.
It took off like a rocket ship, partly because of Discord as a community medium.
Discord is made for shared, interactive experiences. And Midjourney’s founder, David Holz, knew instinctively that watching and learning how others use Midjourney would be the best way to onboard anyone who stumbled into it.
This drastically accelerated Midjourney’s launch, and its rise in popular culture.
To recap, different mediums help creators reach new audiences, and express themselves in unique and effective ways. Creators:
Consider key trade offs between different formats, distribution platforms, and potential revenue strategies.
Answer key questions about themselves and their target audience, and use intuition to pick a starting place.
Focus on 1 (max 2) distribution platform to make room for audience interaction and relationship building with other creators, without burning out.
Which mediums appeal most to you as a creator or consumer, and why? If you have questions and thoughts, leave a comment below, or Tweet at me.
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