When it comes to content, many new creators follow this approach:
- Create content they enjoy making
- Hope people watch it
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach if you’re finding success with it, whether that success is internal or external, enjoying the process or garnering lots’a views. However, this approach often leaves creators wanting more.
While many of us enjoy the process of creating, we often also have that dream of making it big with lots of followers, subscribers, views, and the like. One of the biggest obstacles between us and seeing numbers go up is lacking a niche.
But I have a niche! It’s me making the content, and I’m the only me!
That may be true; it is true. You are the integral factor in your content, and you are a major part of the niche you create for yourself. Don’t change who you are…
… but there are some strategic changes you can make to improve your odds and make your niche stand out! It’s like wrapping a gift. It’s still you inside: you just need to change how you present yourself.
- Work backwards from what you want to be
The biggest problem with the approach in the intro is that the strategy begins with the content when it should end with the content. Most people create this way, and some get lucky and achieve external success (followers, revenue, etc). No matter what you make or how well you plan your strategy, luck will always be a factor.
The idea is to maximize your luck with solid goals and a well thought-out strategy to reach them.
What are your goals for content creation? These are what you work backwards from.
- Do you want to do this as a hobby for enjoyment or to develop skills, or do you want to make this a career? If your goal is to create as a hobby, keep doing what you love! If your goal is to make a career, you need to build a strategy.
Type of content?
- Do you want to be a competitive streamer for a particular game, a variety let’s player, a vlogger, or something entirely new and unique? The next section will go deeper into this.
- Will you be easily accessible to a community and build your channel to heavily involve it, or will you maintain some distance between yourself, your content, and your community? This is a consideration as your community starts growing.
Carefully consider the answers to these questions (and note that this is a non-comprehensive list of example questions)! Start figuring out your goals and work backwards from there.
Goal: I want to be able to make a modest but comfortable living off of content creation so I can do what I love and share passion with a community.
Considerations for your strategy to reach this goal:
- How many followers/subscribers/views/whatever metric will you need to make enough money to live off of?
- What platform(s) and content format(s) should you focus on?
- How many hours per week can you reasonably (and safely) spend working toward this goal?
- What kind of content can you make that…
- Is unique?
- Engages viewers?
- Can be made regularly / Is sustainable for you?
- You are good at?
- You enjoy making?
We’ll delve into the content part in the next section.
- Do it better or do it differently
There are two paths: do it better, or do it differently
Once you’ve at least started thinking about your creative goals, you need to start making content to get there. Content requires a strategy as well!
If the type of content you want to make already exists, you have two choices: do it better or do it differently.
With how saturated so many niches have become, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a niche that has yet to be tapped. If the niche you are aiming for already exists, can you do it better? If not, can you do it differently?
You mean I won’t make it big if I just play games and record/stream it?
You might, but it’s unlikely. You won’t be able to join the symphony just because of the instrument (game) you play or the fact that it’s you playing it. Sure, you may end up being the only person who plays that instrument (game) and get lucky, but chances are there’s a lot of competition you’ll need to differentiate yourself from.
Many people believe they have to be the best at a singular thing to earn respect (and thus, views) in a particular community, and while that works, it is simply not the only way.
You don’t need to be the funniest let’s player to be engaging—maybe you are great at telling stories that are relevant to a particular community you belong to but have a hard time gaming and telling them. Consider finding a like-minded friend to bounce off of and take some of the stress off!
You don’t need to be the best speedrunner or competitive player at a game to make engaging content—add your personality, add creative editing/stream features, and add challenges. Find ways to combine other relevant things with what you’re already great at to make something unique.
Everyone is unique. Everyone has a unique set of communities they belong to, skills they’re reasonably good at, and passions they want to pursue. It’s very likely that within these communities, skills, and passions, you’ll find points of overlap between those things that lead to new content that is uniquely you.
Make a list of these communities, skills, and passions and brainstorm how they might overlap! If the overlap is something new that you’ll enjoy making, go for it! If it already exists, don’t give up! Do it better or do it differently.
- Consider how your favorite creators got to where they are
When people think of variety let’s players, they often think of the Game Grumps, Markiplier, or Jacksepticeye. They can play just about any game they want and do fine, so copying that strategy for yourself would work, right?
Let’s use the Game Grumps as an example. The Game Grumps comprise Arin Hanson (AKA Egoraptor) and Dan Avidan (a comedic musician), as well as other staff. Arin began making gaming animations that were both generally higher quality than others at the time and had a unique spin to them. Dan’s music career already had a following.
They both already made unique, engaging content to earn an audience that cares about them, so they now have the freedom to succeed in variety let’s playing. On top of that, gaming is really only a medium for them to do an improv comedy talk show, so in reality, they aren’t just variety let’s players.
They earned an initial following with great, unique content, and they arguably are now among the best of variety let’s play channels through their unique spin on it as an improv comedy talk show.
This is a long-winded way to say that a successful format is often successful equally because of how that format came to be and because of how well the format is done now. The Game Grumps did it and continue to do it better and differently.
If your content is inspired by that of popular creators and is facing stagnant growth, consider what led the creators who inspire you to their current formats. You may find that what made them successful and grew them from a small audience to a large one is very different from what they do now and that there are factors beyond the format that make their content great.
First of all—if you are making content for the fun of it or as a passion and don’t particularly care about goals, just keep doing what you love! This advice is for creators who specifically hope to make it big someday.
Consider what makes you unique and create content that reflects that! It takes envisioning your goals and working backwards to develop a strategy that highlights you. Find unique ways to combine the communities you belong to, skills you have, and topics you’re passionate about to make your content. Differentiate through quality or uniqueness, and let your content grow and change with you. The content you make at 100 followers will look very different from what you make at 100,000, and that’s a good thing!
Everyone’s path is different, and it’s those differences we have that allow us to make our best, most unique content!
Best of luck, and remember…
We are all creators.