If you’re a full-time creator—or you’re rocking a creative side hustle—you know how overwhelming it can be.
With so many creators out there and so many channels to spend time and money on, where do you even begin?
All of this creates a lot of stress and pressure at first, but we promise, it gets better. In this episode of The Future Belongs to Creators, our hosts sat down with Ben Schoeffler, an expert creator—and a member of the ConvertKit product team—to hear how he found his medium and his stride.
How to choose the medium you want to create in
When Ben started his podcast, his initial goal was to hit 100 episodes. He created a bank of ideas, created episodes from those ideas, and shared them with the world. Remembering advice that he heard from YouTuber Ali Abdaal, he planned on creating valuable content for his audience once or twice a week for at least two years. That way, he could solidify his message and audience, all while he improved and modified his creative process.
In the beginning, Ben felt like he was shouting into the void, but once he hit his stride, he started to grow a fan base and had subscribers reach out to him with compliments and comments on his episodes. It felt good, and his creative endeavor was succeeding.
“If you’re creating consistently good content, if people can discover you from one episode or one video or one piece of content, with a nice backlog, they can dive in and binge your work.”
The only problem was, Ben didn’t come up with a plan for after he hit episode 100. He was enjoying podcasting, but it wasn’t bringing him any money. It was costing him money—the technology and software it takes to create don’t come free. And lots of dedicated listeners doesn’t equal lots of dedicated money, either.
After a few months, Ben decided to move to YouTube. He enjoyed the platform and felt he could succeed with it, and it was easier to monetize. He was able to find a platform that satisfies both his monetary needs and his creative itch.
When it comes to choosing the right medium for you, that’s the most important thing: personal enjoyment and the right benefits for you and your creative business, whatever those might be.
Yes or no: Creating content across multiple mediums
What if you enjoy and excel at two or more different mediums? Should you cast a wide net and reach as many people as possible?
The answer, as always, is that it depends. If you’re creating the things you want to be creating, that’s one thing. But if you’re burning out because you’ve taken on too much work, the cons outweigh the pros. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering creating content across multiple outlets:
1. Are you working on this creative endeavor full-time or as a side hustle? If you’re creating content for your chosen mediums after you’ve worked a full-time job every day, it’s probably not feasible to fit in time for everything. When you’re doing this, you have to actively say no to other things, and that might not always be the easiest or best thing to do.
2. Are you deprioritizing other parts of your life to work with more mediums? If you’re providing every possible audience a place to go for your content, that can cause burnout quickly. And if you’re actively neglecting parts of your life like your family, friends, and personal health, you’ll feel that burnout even worse. Growing a big, dedicated audience is a good goal, yes—but not at the expense of you.
3. Where are your true fans consuming your content? Find where your audience lives and engages with you and your content the most. They’ll be more likely to convert there with whatever you’re selling. Podcasts and YouTube channels may be all the rage right now, but if your audience is on Pinterest, head that way.
4. Creating content across multiple outlets doesn’t mean you have to create brand new content every time. There’s something to be said for repurposing content. It’s a divisive subject, but if you’re short on time and multiple mediums are doing the trick for your business, there’s no harm in turning a YouTube video into a podcast, or reading and analyzing a previous blog post of yours in a podcast episode, for example.
“Not only does the medium you choose shape your content, what you’re creating, and how people engage, it also shapes how you create. When you have the medium in mind, it’s going to change the creativity, art, and audience.”
You don’t have to do it all to thrive as a creator.
The right way to move from one medium to another
Maybe the question isn’t “should I create content on multiple mediums?”, but instead “how do I move from one medium to another and take my audience with me?” Ben did just that when he moved from his podcast to his YouTube channel.
When he announced he’d be taking an indefinite hiatus on the podcast, the reaction was an even split. Half were thrilled to follow him over and half said their final goodbyes because YouTube wasn’t for them. The bottom line is, moving mediums is possible and can create slow, steady growth. And if you have people willing to switch platforms for you, that’s a true fan.
If you take anything away from Ben’s creator journey, it’s this: focus on the platforms you love, set your expectations and milestones ahead of time, and make your primary medium financially sustainable so you can continue to grow and succeed.