I recently stumbled upon a video about all the YouTubers who are either quitting the platform entirely, taking an extended hiatus, or pivoting to different types of content. This includes creators like Tom Scott, Matthew Patrick (aka MatPat) of The Game Theorists, and Jordan Maron of Captain Sparklez. While they straddle many different niches, they’ve all been wildly successful–many of them have subscriber counts in the millions. But they’ve ultimately decided that it’s time to move on. But what caught my attention was the fact that many of them said they simply didn’t enjoy the act of creating content like they used to. Or in the words of MatPat, “I miss the days where I could just sit down on the couch with her and play video games and it's not for content, or I'm playing a game and I'm not thinking about what theories are gonna come out of that. I miss it.” This hints at an unpalatable truth of life as a creator: no matter how much you enjoy making your content, that doesn’t mean you’ll live happily ever after.
Last month, I talked about how I came up with my personal brand as a specialist blogger. Today, I’ll be talking about what it’s like to live with that decision. Identifying your brand is only the first step in the process. You need to sustain your brand on a day-to-day basis. This can be challenging when we’re constantly bombarded with unfiltered content, from eccentric relatives ranting about fringe political theories to celebrities who seem determined to prove that they have more money than sense. But if you’re looking to make a name for yourself as an authoritative content creator, you’d be well advised to resist the urge to share whatever crosses your mind and stick to the brand you’ve chosen for yourself.
Over the past few years, there’s been a lot of hand-wringing about the effect of ‘cancel culture.’ Hardly a day goes by without some well-known person or company being excoriated for something they’ve done or said, whether it’s Lizzo being condemned for her alleged treatment of her backup dancers or Bud Light being criticized for working with a trans influencer. It’s easy to be angry on the Internet. Whatever your beliefs, you can find plenty of people who seem to stand against everything you hold dear, and it can feel cathartic to share your rage with the world. For creators, this can be an intimidating environment, and it can feel like you have to walk on eggshells to avoid ending up in the digital pillory. But the good news is that it’s possible to be authentic without constantly having to look over your shoulder.
If you’ve read any advice for content creators, chances are you’ve seen countless discussions about the importance of creating a personal brand. Now the word ‘brand’ may conjure up images of lavish marketing campaigns and influencers hawking their latest merch. But branding doesn’t have to look like that. On the contrary, it’s possible to have a perfectly serviceable brand without those things. In this post, I’m going to talk about my experiences developing my own brand as a specialist blogger.
The other day, a friend was complaining that their blog posts weren’t getting the level of attention they wanted. As I learned more about their content, I began to see why they might struggle to stand out from the crowd. They only seemed to use secondary sources while leaving primary sources untouched. I think there are a lot of content creators like my friend. They know research is important, but they don’t understand the importance of using a balanced array of sources. In this post, I’ll be talking about primary sources and how they can help you produce better, more authoritative content.