Content creators have created a complaints epidemic.
It’s showing up all over the internet. Squirrels are coming out of their dirt holes to watch the fireworks. Some people are adding to the festivities.
Time separates the content creators we remember, from the wannabes we’ll forget in a day. Or the ones that may wind up on News-Break-Your-Dreams.
Time discovers truth — Seneca
All the evidence of the algorithm apocalypse showing up on platforms like LinkedIn is an illusion. All you have to do is look at two factors:
- When was the content creator’s account created?
- How often do they publish content?
Those damning pieces of evidence tell us the truth. You know what the truth is? They’re impatient. They’re expecting to have a one-hit-wonder.
Worse, they’re desperate for attention. That’s what I hate about the content creator industry. It can quickly become a beauty pageant for attention. We can accidentally do dumb stuff to get ‘likes.’ In case you think I’m innocent, I’m not. I’ve been stupid, too, at times.
Whatever your motive is to be a content creator, time will determine whether you get what you want. Or end up in a Facebook Group full of broken dreams and negativity that will ruin your online career.
The weak hands quit. The strong hands create.
It’s harsh, I know. I’m not trying to be mean, but it’s the truth.
Quitting just means the content creator world isn’t for you. That’s okay. Nothing wrong with that. It’s better for time to reveal a goal as fake than for your time to get wasted on a journey not meant for you.
The creator economy is brutal. It’s easy to become lost or get sucked into the echo chamber of noise about nothing.
The best example of a content creator I can give you is Ayodeji Awosika. I’ve quietly followed his work across multiple platforms for years. The guy doesn’t stop. You can throw whatever mud you want at him and he simply keeps creating.
The best way I can describe it is like this. He’s in a competition with himself.
In the world of Ayo there are no other content creators. I swear a tornado could be ripping through his house and he’d stay glued to his laptop. That level of focus turns any rough cards you’ve got dealt in life into enormous strength and discipline.
Us Aussies call it head down, bum up. Try it.
Many will get revealed as frauds, fakes, or weak hands
As time rolls on by it’s an unfortunate reality.
Some of the pseudonymous names will disappear off the face of the earth. Or they’ll get found out to be completely different genders or members of society. They could even turn out to be professional actors, no better than Hollywood’s band of coked-up misfits.
Some will get revealed as flat-out frauds. One of my favorite crypto content creators ended up being a fraud. He ripped off his followers for millions of dollars. No one knows where he went. He seemed like a good guy. Behind the scenes he did many horrendous crimes.
Some will be not so controversial. They’ll simply get identified as weak hands that didn’t have the drive to keep creating. That’s fine.
Time inevitably reveals the difference between creators and fakers.
As creators churn the patient ones reap the upside
For the serious hard-working content creators the upside compounds.
Patience starts to pay off. Tiny seeds planted in various pockets of the internet start to grow and bear delicious fruit.
It looks like it’s too-good-to-be-true. It’s not
If, as a content creator, you can be patient for 5 years then the internet is literally yours to dominate. You can do whatever you want. That sort of long game just isn’t idolized by the dopamine junkie generation of content creators, platforms like TikTok have produced.
We want it now. We want it fast.
It ain’t going to happen. Not in the world of content creation, and not in any other industry. You have to sit back and put effort in.
Consistent work makes results look effortless if you’re patient enough.
Algorithms massively reward time
You hear about algorithms a lot from content creators. It’s the maker or breaker of dreams (apparently).
Let me tell you a secret. I’ve met some of the guardians of the algorithm galaxies over the years.
They all told me that algorithms have an experience metric. Algorithms reward consistently and time on the platform. No platform is going to grant you access to their gates of heaven unless you’ve earned it.
How? By spending time.
Time is the currency of social media algorithms.
Not lottery luck, random viral hits, silly little tricks, engagement groups where you like each other’s stuff, complaining, blaming, sending letters to the tech giant CEO, messing with the title, tagging influencers … none of that stupid nonsense that gets you nowhere, works.
Don’t fall into the trap.
The truth that wipes smiles off content creators
When you spend time creating content you get good. When you slack off your quality decreases. I’m guilty of this.
The truth is, if your content views have fallen off a cliff, it’s likely because of quality. Not Mark Zuckerberg’s minions.
None of us want to admit it. Especially not me.
Sometimes my content sucks. I create too much. I publish too much. I get stuck in my own little world. I write about stuff nobody cares about. I use too much jargon. I forget about the audience. I become too god damn selfish.
Us content creators are responsible for our quality. Nobody else.
I’ll say it again for the kids down the back…
Us content creators are responsible for our quality. Nobody else.
Time in the market beats time out of the market
This is an old investing cliche. There are two types of investors:
- Those who do their research and invest for the long term.
- Those who jump in and out of the market and constantly change the stocks they buy and try to time the ups and downs of the market.
The first type of investor ends up filthy rich with enough money to build an orphanage in a place that needs one. The second type of investor ends up bankrupt, down, and out.
The same applies to content creators. There are those that stay in the game no matter what like Ayo. There are those that jump in and out of the game and spend a lot of the time on the bench or completely out of the ballpark.
Then there are the platform jumpers. The guys and girls that constantly think the grass is greener somewhere else rather than doing the one thing that matters: investing time consistently in one spot.
Seneca was right. Time discovers truth.
If you want to stand out as a content creator then stay in the game, continue to learn, and iterate as you go. Remember that your content stinks sometimes. Mine does too. That’s okay.
Nobody is coming to save content creators. We’ve got to save ourselves by letting time reveal the truth.
Invest for the long term. Stay patient. The rest is noise that will cause you to give up. That’s the truth I’ve got for you after 7 years in the game.
The deafening hate speeches against social media algorithms have to stop.
My friend Todd Brison calls it the algorithm apocalypse. The algorithms that run our favorite content apps constantly change. None of us know why or how Mr Algorithm is going to evolve.
You shouldn’t care anymore.
The title of this story, “Be so Good That You Don’t Even Have to Think About Algorithms” comes from Youtuber Matt D’Avella.
Let’s dissect how to move on from algorithm talk.
The hidden job of the social media algorithm
Social media algorithms don’t exist to make your little content creator dream a reality. Sorry.
Algorithms are set up to prioritize ads, not your free content. So you’re already behind the 8-ball if you didn’t know this, or more likely, you forgot.
You can complain about the algorithms all you want. In the early days of a social media platform like TikTok, it’s designed to make your content get seen a lot and get you hooked on the drug.
Over time the algorithm is programmed to shift slowly away from the interests of the users, to the interests of the owners of the platform.
Understand it or die as a creator.
The #1 thing you don’t know about social media algorithms
They have an experience factor.
If you b*tch and moan like a baby rather than create content, you become less relevant to the algorithm. So your views drop and you post “XYZ platform will die and I’m leaving” in retaliation.
Why would an algorithm reward a lack of consistency? Or a creator that’s been on the platform for 30 days over a creator that’s been on the platform for 5 years? It logically doesn’t make sense when you think about it.
Don’t poke the algorithm with a stick
The worst thing you can do is knock the algorithm and blame your broken content creator dreams on him. When you do, the algorithm that uses machine learning is paid to learn what bad behavior looks like.
When you behave badly, the algorithm takes a note. When you mock its master creator, the algorithm takes a note.
Then every time you publish, your work gets seen by less and less people. You’re no longer a priority because you took actions that were bad for the users and the business model of the platform.
In some cases the algorithm will blacklist you. You won’t be told. You’ll just live through a form of shadowban and be left to cry in the corner.
Be nice to the platforms you post on. If you don’t like what they’re doing then that’s fine. You’re not shackled to one corner of the internet.
Instead, try this…
Cheat on the algorithms if you feel they’re dropping the ball
The way you do it is to repurpose your content for more than one algorithm. If one algorithm is being a son of a b*tch, then simply find its competitor and publish there for a while.
Keep them both as life partners. Say “I love you” to each of them.
The key is to repurpose like a badass. Don’t just copy and paste content from one platform to another. That’s lazy. You’ll get nowhere.
Each platform has its own quirks. Learn the quirks and then edit your content accordingly. For example don’t copy and paste a self-help piece of content directly onto LinkedIn. It has nothing to do with work or careers.
Edit the advice for a business audience. Remove swear words. Make the users of LinkedIn look good in front of their bosses. Get to the point.
Success Formula = Publish for multiple algorithms
Lazy effort, lazy results
I’ve watched the algorithm angry mobs closely. I’ve gone to their creator profiles. Here’s what I noticed: Around the time they say the algorithm died, their content got lazy.
They started inserting overly used stock images. Their headlines began to suck. They didn’t remove mistakes. They posted way too much garbage. They kept asking the audience for stuff. They tried to take the audience off the platform too much with external links.
Don’t get lazy and blame an algorithm.
Focus on this instead … quality.
Quality defeats even the most broken algorithm
Quality content always wins. Let’s go through the ingredients that make up good social media content.
- Add personality every time. Stop imitating other creators and copying them. Be yourself. Use strange words. Make up your own words. Talk about stuff you love, not what’s cool and trendy.
- Do research. If all your content is from your point of view then something is wrong. You’re not uber-successful like Gandhi. We expect you to back up what you say and pull from external resources to show depth.
- Format to make the audience’s lives easy. Lay out the content clearly. Use the magic of white space. Change up the structure so all your stuff doesn’t look the same. Add graphics. Use pull quotes. Throw a video in. Mix and match content from other social media apps.
- Start with a bang. Make the first thing you say memorable. Write good titles every day to become a master at it. Be clever with chapter headings. Make us want to consume your work.
When your work is high quality, you won’t need to care about algorithms.
The audience will relentlessly share your content. And the reason they’ll share your work is because 99% of the content on the internet is garbage.
When your work is shared a lot, the algorithm of whatever platform you’re on is programmed to pay attention and reward you by letting your posts be seen by more people. Make sense.
The bottom line is this:
Stop blaming algorithms for low-quality content that focuses on your interests and is lazy.
Instead, create better content. Share it on more platforms. Get good.
Writers need one illicit drug: traffic.
Without traffic to our work, any goal we have to earn a living from our writing is dead. Social media is how we get eyeballs on our writing. We don’t own those eyeballs though. We can’t message them whenever we want and say “howdy mate, how ya been?”
That’s why email subscribers matter.
So, if your online traffic is down then here’s the formula I’m using. I have over 50,000 email subscribers and know what I’m talking about. This formula is how I’ll easily get 100,000 more in the short term. Steal my strategy.
The platform many writers have snoozed on
There’s one platform I’m extremely bullish on. They’ve been around for 15 years: Twitter. It’s a great tool for writers. Here’s why.
- The time required to write short tweets is low.
- Writing tweets is fun.
- Tweets give you data that can help decide which are your best ideas.
- The organic reach on Twitter is still high after all these years. Meeting a new audience via Twitter isn’t hard if you invest a small amount of time each day.
- You probably already have Twitter and have used it, therefore, zero learning curve. High five.
The way I’m using Twitter is different from how I’ve seen most writers use it. Let me explain.
Use Twitter (like this) to find a brand new audience
Twitter released a feature a few years ago called “Tweet Threads.” They’re like blog posts but better. Why? Tweet threads are a series of up to 25 connected tweets in a row.
What makes them special is each tweet is still limited to 280 characters. This matters because many of you, unfortunately, don’t get to the point fast enough in your writing.
Tweet threads force you to get to the point.
All the filler has to be deleted. The long intros go out the window. Full essay-style conclusions are dead too. Twitter Threads take you from being a traditional writer, and transform you into an online writer. This type of writer does better in the long run because you’re forced to respect the reader’s time, and this is so rare!
Once you master Twitter Threads you have a superpower that can drive fresh traffic to your writing. As crazy as it sounds most Twitter users don’t utilize threads. It’s a feature that doesn’t get used often, but one the Twitter algorithm gives a lot of extra support to.
The key with Twitter Threads is to hook the reader with a strong first tweet that explains what you’re about to say, and has a strong curiosity factor.
Then you hit them with the meat in each tweet.
Most writers stuff this part up (it contains all the growth)
The second part to the formula is to capture the email addresses so you own your audience. This is done in your tweet thread.
You write your tweet thread. Then you make the second last tweet a link to a Substack newsletter. Many writers unknowingly make their last tweet a link to a newsletter. This doesn’t work.
When Twitter shows your thread to an audience they’re going to see the first and last tweet. You don’t want people who don’t know you to see an external link as the first thing.
Instead, make the last tweet a TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) which summarizes each of your points. That way, a reader who finds your Twitter Thread gets the first tweet that contains your headline and subtitle, and your last tweet that summarizes the thread and helps them work out if it’s worth their time.
The Substack factor
This formula works the best if you use Substack. Let me explain. Twitter users are very familiar with Substack. It has a premium feel about it.
People are used to paying for newsletters offered through Substack. So when you use Substack to capture emails instead of something like ConvertKit or MailChimp, the chance you’ll convert a follower into an email subscriber is higher.
The best part is it’s free.
The alternatives cost money. If you’re not currently making money as an online writer then you’re best to start with free. The other part that’s missed is that landing pages, personal websites and email software require customization. This is often bad.
Most writers have not done the A/B testing work to know what looks good, what will convert, and what readers will fall in love with. Substack has. Their number goal is to help writers convert traffic into email subscribers.
Substack has a superpower
There’s another reason to use Substack to collect email subscribers. Substack enables writers to become media companies. Making money from writing and newsletters is a very narrow field. Substack is building other formats like podcasts into their platform.
These extra media types give you other income sources later on and allow you to expand beyond just writing, if and when, you’re ready.
This simple formula is pointless if you forget this
Many Twitter timelines are full of external links and content creators who keep asking for money. It’s modern-day begging. Don’t do this.
Sell in private not in public.
Forget websites. Forget eCommerce. If you want to sell digital products and services then do it via email. Add value to the email list you built on Substack and occasionally offer a paid upgrade. The secret is to underdo it.
Sell less than your ego tells you to.
Resist the urge. The more value you give, the more email subscribers might decide to invest money in your side hustle later. If you overwhelm them with ‘asks,’ they’ll simply unsubscribe. Then you’ll be stuck on the hamster wheel of always needing huge amounts of traffic forever and crying about platforms.
Fire up your Twitter account. Make sure most of your followers are still active. Write one tweet thread per week. Make the second last tweet a link to your Substack newsletter. Ensure the last tweet is a TL;DR.
That formula is going to easily get me another 100,000 email subscribers. It can do the same for you. Once you build your own list, don’t oversell. Instead, be generous and you’ll become a highly successful writer.
Follow me on Twitter to watch me implement this strategy in real-time.
“Abandon that platform right now! They’re allowing misinformation.”
That’s a message I got. The reader wants me to turn my back on an entire platform because they claim that misinformation is allowed to be posted. I totally disagree.
Tech platforms can’t be the nanny police. They can’t protect grown adults from misinformation. Here’s why.
Misinformation is a problem in of itself
I don’t expect any platform to save me from misinformation. It’s an impossible ask. In doing so they will accidentally destroy freedom of speech. What’s misinformation, is up for debate. Let me give you a clear example.
For the last two years I’ve lived in lockdown. Now before you jump to conclusions I’m a double jabbed, mask-wearing, follow the government health advice kind of guy. And that’s exactly what I’ve done.
I’ve been pro lockdowns and so have most Australians I know. If during the global health crisis you said anything bad about lockdowns, where I’m from, then you’d be accused of spreading misinformation.
But the narrative has slowly changed.
Suicide rates have increased. Mental health issues have exploded. Even my own health has deteriorated.
I recently had sharp pains in my leg. I went to the doctor and he sent me to a physio. It turns out a disc in my back is stuffed. In fact my whole back has been screwed from sitting at home for nearly two years.
Then I screwed up my hearing and got tinnitus by listening to music every day through headphones for long periods of time. My fitness level has dropped too. My core is weak. I can’t run anymore. A one-hour walk leaves me tired.
Many people in my country are feeling the after-effects of lockdown. In a matter of months we’ve done a complete 360. We are now no longer so sure that lockdowns are the answer to coroni-macaroni.
How the heck does a tech platform decide whether the lockdown conversation is misinformation that’s harmful to humans, or a legitimate conversation that needs to be had on their platform.
No platform should play god
When tech companies try to play god it’s a giant flop. Look at all the examples from 2020. Did all of the moderation and banning stop anything bad happening? No.
Instead, humans found other apps that allowed their conversations to be had and switched to them. Did countries who oppose the internet stop it? Nope. Did governments successfully stop torrents? Nope. Did any country ban bitcoin and successfully stop their citizens from buying it? Nope.
The internet can’t be stopped. The internet has more power than any tech platform. If big tech plays god then users will go to platforms that don’t interfere with humanity’s desire to have important conversations.
The problem with big tech playing god is they’re too tempted by financial interests to make decisions that don’t align with the good of the users. Most content platforms are funded by ads. If an advertiser says “ban this content or we’ll stop paying you,” do you really think a tech company will ignore them? Of course not.
Advertisers outrank social media users.
Those who pay the bills determine the rules.
It’s too late to save the world from misinformation
Web 3.0 is already here. Every app and service we use online is being replaced by a decentralized one. Decentralized Youtube, Spotify, Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp are right on our doorstep. It’s only a matter of time.
That’s why the reader who contacted me about their disgust with a certain tech platform is tough out of luck. A decentralized internet works differently.
Take bitcoin for example. If you’re angry about bitcoin you can’t abuse the founder on Twitter. There is no bitcoin office in Silicon Valley that you can go and cry to. There’s no media relations or smug startup bro in a t-shirt you can reach out to on LinkedIn.
A decentralized internet is run by code. Code has no feelings. Opt-in or opt-out — that’s your only option. I admit it’s going to be a completely different future. Intervention by governments and authorities is going to be a lot harder.
You could argue we’re moving from each being part of a sovereign country, to becoming entirely sovereign selves. The web will become one big country. Code governs the rules. Global democracy enabled by digital votes from all users determine what can and can’t happen on each tech platform.
Content moderation is done by the users. Each app has its own guidelines. If you don’t like the guidelines you change the content apps you use to ones that you do agree with. That’s the best solution there will be based on the current Web 3.0 structure.
I won’t stop publishing content on any big tech platform because they refuse to take down content.
Misinformation is subjective. Freedom of speech is more important. Allowing conversations to occur is how we come up with important solutions. And even if they did agree to take down misinformation, it doesn’t matter. Pretty soon you’ll be using entirely decentralized apps (dApps) built on top of blockchain technology such as Ethereum.
We’re on our own folks.
It’s time to be adults and not let our minds be easily manipulated anymore by misinformation. You’re mature enough to dissect the content you consume and decide to be influenced by it or not. As soon as we start to protect adult minds from certain types of information we destroy free thinking.
In doing so we nuke creativity. Nobody wants to live in a world like that. It’s time to stop expecting tech platforms to do the right thing. Those days are over. They had their chance and proved the model to be flawed.
Web 3.0 is scary, I get it. But it’s here whether you like it or not. That’s why it’s every man and woman for themselves.
Work on your critical thinking ability to stay safe from misinformation.