YouTube, Instagram, and a Website. These are the three platforms that can maximize the rewards of our content. At least the content that I am creating.
And now let’s see how and why I am planning to build a business with this content distribution strategy, becoming a key part of my 10-year project that will see me set for life and be financially independent by 50.
Creating content wasn’t my dream job. In fact, I never thought of myself as a content creator. And to this day, I am not one. But if I want to make money online, creating content is almost unavoidable.
As a web publisher that owns and manages several domains and content-based websites, creating content is a task that must be outsourced. Hiring freelance writers to create the content that the websites need is an essential part of the process. Social marketing requires even more content to… promote the original content.
So, a lot of content creation is taking place in order for the websites to operate and gain traffic so that we eventually sell advertising space, products, or services to that audience.
All this content, what for?
But what happens with me personally, with the personal brand I’ve created 15 years ago?
For 15 years I’ve been creating content online. That content is scattered in a bunch of places. Beginning with creating my very own blog in 2005 led me to syndicate the content (remember when that was a thing?), add it to RSS feeds (still exist) and be active on niche-related forums.
Then came social media and I found myself creating and sharing my content on them. Actually, that was the only reason that I created a Facebook account, since, as an introvert, I didn’t see the point of tracking down my schoolmates and old friends. Besides, I firmly believe that having a social presence should only be done for business purposes.
Anyway, I was still blogging, so I was sharing my blog posts on Facebook and Twitter among myriad others. I even have a Pinterest profile. Why not? Every social network can be a source of traffic. And then I had the genius idea to focus all my marketing efforts on Google Plus. That didn’t turn out my brightest moment but taught me the lesson of “Never build a brand on rented land”.
Eventually, I was lured into the social media world so much, that I began neglecting my blog and I became a lot more active on social networks. Updating all those profiles would take me time, so I opted for efficiency and automated the process with online tools. Yet, I was still creating content on rented land and even worse, I was using all the social networks in an identical way. That’s bad since every network needs a different marketing strategy.
But as I wasn’t selling anything, social networks were the place for me to communicate with the world outside, as I was working from home and I was already making my living.
Coming down with a content creation plan
Things evolved, influencer marketing came along and nowadays good content creators are earning their income by… influencing people with their content.
So, I thought it’s about time to make something out of the content and brand I had been creating in the past 15 years. However, having too much social presence is actually counterproductive. Focusing on just a few outlets will certainly lead to better results and be time-efficient, instead of mindlessly updating tens of profiles with the same content.
The question was which of those outlets should I be focusing my efforts on?
Picking the best platforms to create content for
Why having a Website is Most Important
Obviously, having a 15-year-old website is the number one outlet that needs content.
In domain investing, the age of a domain is one of the key metrics for the value of the domain or website. So, neglecting such a valuable asset is a no-brainer. In addition, having full control over a website allows for all kinds of creative and writing freedom, not to mention peace of mind that we are not building on rented land. Over the course of the last 15 years I’ve seen social networks crash and burn but my own website is still present with posts dating a decade back.
A personal website can also speak for itself when it comes to style and appearance as well, further embracing our personal brand’s aesthetic. By the time a new audience is entering my personal website and begins reading my posts, I hope they get that clean, organized feel of the layout that speaks volumes for my own character.
But even if a website isn’t updated often or merely acts as a landing contact page of a person, its value can only go up. It’s an asset that will never lose value. And several famous influencers are smart enough to have their own website, even if it’s just for reference. Always learn from people who have more success than yourself.
The world craves for Images and Videos
I have grown to enjoy using a camera.
It all started when I started a family and the more I got involved with YouTube, the more I found myself filming and taking pictures on a daily basis. But I have reached the point where every time I am about to take a photo or shoot a small video clip, the thought of WHY I am about to create that content boggles my brain. And that has led me to take fewer pictures and use my cameras less often, despite the joy I find in photography and filmmaking.
So, I needed to have a real purpose for my creativity and not just fill up the hard disks.
Unsurprisingly, Instagram and YouTube are the two social networks that allow their users to express their creativity the most in my opinion. YouTube is much more than a social network of course, as it makes our content searchable and helps in building a huge audience using video.
Instagram on the other hand, does not allow links in our posts, severely diminishing the potential returns of our efforts when it comes to marketing. Compared to YouTube, our posts are not indexed as properly in Google search engine either. However, for sharing pictures there’s no better outlet on the internet. But there’s one more reason that I’m opting to share content with Instagram.
Platforms that Actually Make Money
Given we are using social media for business, the goal is well defined: growth. And business growth translates into one thing: money.
We need money to operate and grow a business. And a growing business usually brings more money that can then be reinvested into the business.
At this time, I think YouTube and Instagram are the top two choices for any content creator who is building a business out of their content and is naturally looking to make money. YouTube offers plenty of options. From native advertising to sponsorships and affiliate marketing to name the most important ones.
Instagram meanwhile is known for the sponsored posts. By the time an Instagrammer hits it big and their posts enjoy huge engagement from their followers, sponsorships come knocking on their door. I may be wrong, but I have yet to see such a phenomenon on Twitter or Facebook. Obviously, depending on the business we are building and the audience we are going to target for, other social networks may work better, such as Pinterest for an eCommerce business.
So first, we need to find out where our audience is most active and start from there. But given YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world and almost everyone has an Instagram account, chances are we’ll find an audience easier there.
Creating content as a business
For all these reasons, I have opted to focus my content creating efforts on my website and the two most eye-candy social networks.
The problem now is that I don’t have a product or service to sell. For 15 years my goal was never to sell something. As I was making money in other ways, creating content was just a way for me to communicate with like-minded people and share any knowledge I had acquired. Much as I am doing right now, to tell you the truth.
As my content was attracting attention though, several companies approached me and introduced me to the world of affiliate marketing. But I was probably the worst affiliate they could find. I never focused my efforts to promote a product or service.
But nowadays, with all these options to monetize our content, I saw an opportunity to build a proper business out of my content and be happy at the same time. And that’s because making videos and taking pictures are making me happy. So, I’m killing two birds with one stone. A genuine win-win situation.
That doesn’t mean that this specific workflow is the best for everyone out there of course. I simply laid out my thought process of how I ended up singling out those three outlets. Depending on your services, product or brand other social networks may be more efficient for you. The take is that we should have a marketing plan before bursting out loads of content online. Otherwise, we risk creating that content in vain and without a goal or purpose. And this content WAS created on purpose. See you in the next one!