I’d like to take a few minutes to talk to you about the care and feeding of content creators.
What’s a content creator? Anyone who produces a podcast, writes a blog, creates YouTube videos, writes books, etc. If you’re not a content creator, you are a content consumer. This is for you too.
We live in a time of abundance when it comes to information that we can consume. We live in a time where everything we want to know is at our fingertips, most of it offered free or charge. Being able to upload a video from your phone to YouTube, the ease of creating a website, self-publishing of books has made it possible for anyone to be a content creator- to take our ideas and share them with the world. Yet, not all content creators are created equal. This can create tension between content consumers and creators. This article is for both. If you’re a consumer, I will tell you ways you can support your favorite creator. If you’re a creator, I will tell you how to help your audience help you. Make sure you stay to the end because in this case, I’m saving the best for last.
On one extreme, you have content creators with sponsors or with paid advertising, or work for a company. On the other end of the spectrum, some people blog just for fun. Some people drop a YouTube video every once in a while for friends and family.
And, in the very, very broad middle, you have content creators who do it for passion, similar to the people who do it just for fun. However, they would like to create more content and have day jobs. Therefore, they must find a way to “monetize” their content. Monetize should be a four-letter word. Content consumers don’t like feeling like they are being manipulated into spending money. And, content creators don’t want to feel like they are constantly selling or begging for support. Creators can wind up resenting to audiences who they feel just take and take. Or, they may feel no one is even listening because they aren’t getting any feedback.
I’m going to let you in on a secret. No content creator is creating content for “free.” Some sort of exchange is expected, no needed. It doesn’t have to be monetary. Often it’s not. Several years ago, my daughter Shayna asked me to if she could make a blog. She knew I blogged and loved it. She had a passion for writing. So, I set up a blog for her. A few weeks later, she asked me to shut it down. The reason was there was no interaction. She was pouring her energy into her blog and not getting anything in exchange for it.
Recently, I listened to a podcast that told content creators we need to tell our audiences how they can help us. Most, or at least many, content creators are hesitant to accept ads, ask for money, or even ask their listeners to support their endeavors in other ways. Yes, some viewers don’t care about supporting the creators. But, many do want to provide and don’t know how to do it.
Let’s not beat around the bush. We’ll get the hard one out of the way first. Financial contributions.
This is the most obvious way to support a content creator. However, our society has become accustomed to information being “free”. Television and radio are supported by commercials. The internet has a seemingly infinite amount of information for free. Who among us has not clicked on an article, hit a paywall and searched for a free version of the article? We don’t want to pay for a podcast or to watch a YouTube video. Yet, we complain when YouTube forces us to view ads..
As a content consumer, consider making small financial contribution(s) to your favorite creators. It doesn’t have to be a large amount. It doesn’t have to be ongoing. For many content creators, it’s not the amount that counts. Let me repeat that. It’s not the amount that counts. It’s just the fact that you took the time to make the contribution that lights us up.
As a creator, make it easy for your consumers to send money to you. There is nothing wrong with asking for money. You are spending your time creating content. You have to eat. You have expenses. I’m on my third microphone for my podcast. There are hosting fees, etc. Podcasting is not free.
I recently set up a “tip jar” that I am promoting in my e-mails and YouTube videos going forward. It’s an easy way for an audience member to contribute one time, in as small or as large an amount as they want. So I’ve included that link in a button in the footer of my webpage.
You might also want to consider a service like Patreon for supporters who want to feel like a part of the show. You can provide exclusive content for your patrons. I post exclusive content for them monthly. They are charged monthly until they cancel. Don’t get your hopes too high. The vast majority of your audience won’t be interested in supporting you in this way. But make it available for those who are.
When you finish watching that YouTube video, take an extra few seconds to hit “Like” (the thumbs up). In addition to the thrill you’ll give to the content creator, liking a video helps in tangible ways. YouTube recommends videos that people “like”. Just liking the video in your head isn’t enough. Hit the button. That helps the creator reach a wider audience.
Subscribe to your favorite YouTube channels and podcasts. But, once you’ve subscribed, you have to hit the “bell” to get notifications when new content is there. So, remember, Like, Subscribe, and hit notify.
Reviews are the lifeblood of podcasts. Getting reviews on a podcast is one of the most difficult content creators attempt to do. I have approximately 85,000 downloads of my podcast and fewer than 40 reviews on Apple Podcasts. If you’ve listened to more than a few episodes of a podcast, please write a review.
Just as important as liking and subscribing is sharing your favorite podcasts and YouTube channels with your circle of friends. We all take something much more seriously when it comes from a trusted source. Creators can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on advertising. But, the best and most effective advertising is when one listener tells another potential listener, “Check this out.”
Have a prompt somewhere in your video or your podcast telling people how to like and subscribe. I encourage you to include this as a midroll or read it at the beginning of the episode after your intro. People will tune out at the end of your episode. Anything after your “goodbye” with the guest won’t be heard.
I recently purchased a service called “rate this podcast”.It provides an easy and memorable link for listeners to rate my podcast. Apple doesn’t provide you with a deep link to get consumers to this point easily. Include this link in every email you send out and on your social media pages. Mine is www.ratethispodcast.com/grief2growth
Remember when I said I was saving the best for last? This is it. When Shayna started that blog, she gave up because she didn’t feel as if anyone was listening or she was having any impact.
Most content creators aren’t doing it to get rich. We can spend hours a week doing this. It’s more than just a hobby. It’s more than creating the content. We do it because we want someone to consume the content. And we want to know we are making a difference.
Recently, I was in a Zoom meeting with a group of people from England. I had never met any of them. But, several of them told me that they listen to every episode of my podcast. Some said if they were having a rough night dealing with their grief the podcast helped them tremendously. However, I had not heard from a single one of them in a comment or an email.
Many of my videos get hundreds of views. But, they often won’t get a single comment. But, even a negative comment is better than none at all. All it costs to provide positive reinforcement for your favorite creator is a few moments to drop a comment or write a quick email. These are like gold for us. If I had to make a choice, I’d take more comments/emails over more financial support.
Just a couple of days ago, I received this:
Hi Brian, Sometimes we are unaware of how we help others. I just felt compelled to tell you this morning how often you have helped me. Even at times saved my life. I still wake up often wishing I wasn’t on this earth to face another day without my son. I immediately go to your podcast and listen to my favorites. I often listen to the one where you answered my question about our loved ones being given a chance to stay or leave.
I also like your interviews with other shining light parents. There are more but those are especially endearing.
As we approach Thanksgiving, I am thankful for you and your gift of your book and the podcast. Also, for all the times I reached out to you, and you quickly responded.
Please know you make a huge difference in so many lives and especially in mine.
That’s the stuff that keeps me going. There are times when I feel like I’m wasting my time producing content, and I think about doing something else with my time. But, I create because I feel the need to share. It’s so nice when someone lets me know that makes a difference to them.
Whether you’re a content creator or a content consumer, I hope you found this useful. If so, leave a comment or drop me a line.
If you’d like to leave a review for me, visit https://www.ratethispodcast/grief2growth
If you’d like to throw a few bucks into my tip jar, visit: https://www.grief2growth.com/tipjar