Dear content creators,
This month, I bring you a little tough love, but a lot of hope.
Your failures are your fault, but so are your successes.
There are over 37 million YouTube channels, over 2 million podcasts, and over 7.5 million active streamers on Twitch alone. If you have chosen to be one of these content creators, you have entered a more competitive space than any other medium in media history. Being competitive is only part of it, though.
You’ve also entered an industry that adapts faster than any other. Trends can change like the tides. This is partly due to a more demanding and, let’s face it, fickle clientele. With so many choices, good content creators are a dime a dozen. Being “good” is not enough in most cases.
But nothing I said is an excuse. You cannot say that your content is worthy of success and that it would have it if it was not aimed at the public or the competition. When you started creating content, you started a business, plain and simple. In any business, winning people over and standing out from the competition is your job. If these obstacles seem too difficult to overcome, then this may not be a business you should have started.
Too many people have too many excuses for why they didn’t become the next big thing:
“I would get more viewers on stream if I could show cleavage.”
“If you didn’t start broadcasting at the very beginning, you can’t become a major player.” “No one will find my podcast with all these celebrities starting their own shows.”
“It is impossible to integrate my YouTube videos into the algorithm.”
“With so much choice, good content creators are a dime a dozen. Being ‘good’ isn’t enough in most cases.”
I hate to be the one telling you this, but technology, celebrities, and well-endowed women on Twitch have nothing to do with you not being the next internet star. There will always be things in your path that might make you feel like you’re on a harder path to success, but none of them should be seen as obstacles. They should be seen as opportunities for growth and if you seize this opportunity, then what looked like a roadblock now becomes just an obstacle that you can jump through.
This is your chance to really find out what you’re made of. Take the time to learn about yourself and your content. The keys here are a brutal amount of self-awareness and honesty. You need to see your own shortcomings, or better yet, your opportunities to improve yourself and your content. Recognize what can be done for your product to make it the best it can be, because if you don’t see the flaws in your own work, everyone else will.
This is not limited to new content creators. You might be the greatest creator at what you do, and it can all go away in a flash if you allow yourself to get too comfortable and stop trying to make your next video better than the last. People who are stars on TikTok today may be nobody in a week because trends change faster than they do. People who once had a successful YouTube channel may find it a ghost town if their subject matter is too saturated and they haven’t done anything on their end to evolve.
When you have manipulated the content, you must start asking yourself “what am I not doing?”. Uploading a good YouTube video or podcast is just the start. Setting up a beautiful stream is just the start. Are you doing everything you can to properly market your product (and I’m not talking about tweeting your link to a Twitch Retweet account)? You need to research and find the best way and place to get your name and content out to the public. This may vary depending on the content or topic. Launching a link and expecting virality is unrealistic.
If you feel like you’ve done all you could do, but the success is still not there, then you still have some work to do. If you don’t see any issues with your content, find people you’re comfortable being brutally honest with to lend a hand, and while you do that, watch your competition. What do they do that sets them apart from you? It’s sometimes subtle, but there’s always more to it than “people already knew them, so it’s easier for them”.
But it goes both ways. While you can’t blame anyone else when you don’t see success, no one can take anything away from you when you’re successful, and trust me, someone will try to do it. There will always be someone who seeks to tear down a person’s accomplishments. I really don’t know why. Maybe they’re the next person in line looking for an excuse for their failures. They may just be trolls, and the anonymity of the internet gives them every chance to bring out the worst in themselves.
Remember to enjoy every success you have, no matter how small. Did your last video get more views than another? Have you seen an increase in subscribers? Did you receive a comment or review that made you feel good? Savor those victories. Don’t allow yourself to belittle everything you’ve accomplished. In fact, take those small victories and use your wonderful self-awareness to recognize where and why they are happening, so that you can continue to grow and turn small victories into bigger victories.
Once you have the mindset of owning everything about your content, including its successes and failures, you begin to realize that the only thing stopping you from achieving your goals is you. Once you see that, it’s much easier to stay out of your own way.