You’ve seen it for yourself. These days, there are a gazillion different ways to broadcast your thoughts online.
Blogging, podcasting, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat — the options are overwhelming. Are you supposed to do all of them? If not, which ones are most important? What if you are talented in one medium and terrible in another?
ARGH! It’s so confusing.
Well, here’s the good news:
In this post, I’ll do my best to answer those questions. Even better, I’ll give you answers that include taking things off your plate, not putting more things on.
In other words, everything is about to get a whole lot simpler. Let’s jump in.
Why Trying to Do Everything at Once Is a Mistake
Some influencers are doing it all. They have a blog, podcast, YouTube channel, a bunch of social media accounts with tons of followers — everything.
From the outside, it’s impressive. You might even think that’s what you have to do if you want to make money online.
But here’s a little secret:
Behind the scenes, most of those influencers are paying entire teams of helpers. In the rare case where they are doing everything themselves, it also leaves them without any time to monetize all that content, so many “social media influencers” are actually broke.
The reason why?
No one gets more than 24 hours in a day. It doesn’t matter how smart, fast, or multi-talented you are — you’ll never be able to do everything well.
You have to choose. The question is… how?
How to Figure out What to Focus on
Thankfully, this one is simple. Just answer one question:
At first glance, this might seem like a strange question, but let’s break it down.
There are three types of media: the written word, audio, and video. Chances are, you’ll be better at one than the others.
For example, writing has always come naturally to me. Even when I was in school, I could write essays 10X better than everyone else and barely exert myself at all.
For you, maybe it’s something different.
Maybe engaging people with your voice and having interesting conversations comes naturally to you. In that case, you should start a podcast.
Or maybe you’re captivating on video. Ever since you were a kid, you’ve been a natural entertainer.
Wherever you shine, that’s the medium you should focus on.
But here’s the caveat:
Don’t just jump in and expect to be successful. Success with any kind of content marketing isn’t about being good. It’s about being among the best.
Here’s what I mean:
The Staggering Difference between Being Good and Being Great
Once upon a time, I was an NFL (American football) junkie, and I was always intrigued by the pay difference between players.
The star of your team might make $20 million a year. The backup to your star, however, might make $2 million or even less.
Was this because the star was 10X better?
Not even close. In a professional sport, even the backup players are among the best in the world. At best, a star might be 50% better than his replacement.
So why do they pay him 10X more?
Because games are a matter of matchups. One player being just a little bit better than his opponent can mean the difference between winning and losing. If you have an entire team of players who are just a tiny bit better, you win the Super Bowl.
You see the same thing in the Olympics. The silver medal runner might be just a fraction of a second behind the gold medal winner.
And content marketing works the same way.
The rewards go to the best of the best. You can be a good writer or podcaster or YouTuber and have mediocre or even terrible results.
In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say something controversial:
Before you get too discouraged though, here’s the other side of the coin:
Let me explain…
How I Became One of the Most Popular Writers on the Web
Over the last decade, my work has touched over 200 million people — about 1 out of 8 people in the English-speaking world.
Crazy, right? Obviously, I must have some secret.
But I don’t. I followed the exact method I’m teaching you here.
I recognized I was a naturally talented writer, so then I spent years improving my writing skills to the point of being among the best in the world. It took me about three years to begin to get noticed and another two years after that for people to start thinking of me as “the blogging guy.”
During those years of practice, I wrote 1,000 words every single day. In the first year, I also wrote 100 headlines per day. Added to that, I spent one or two hours per day reading the work of other top bloggers, dissecting why they were popular, and deliberately practicing incorporating their techniques into my own work.
It’s the same process an athlete uses to become an elite player in their sport. Identify natural talent, practice like hell, and then do your best to be in the right place at the right time.
Content marketing is no different. It’s a sport, and there are winners and losers.
The medium doesn’t matter. Blogging, podcasting, YouTube — the vast majority of the rewards go to the people at the top.
The question is, are you willing to put in the work to get there?
It doesn’t always have to take three years as it did for me. I spent a lot of time running in circles because I didn’t have anyone to guide me. With the right coach, you can progress much, much faster.
And that brings me to my most important point.
The Formula for Being an Insanely Successful Person
It’s all about stacking top 1% skills.
Let’s say you have some natural talent as a writer. You invest in some good training, work like hell, and gradually become a top 1% writer.
But that’s not the end of the story.
Now you’re getting lots of traffic, but you’re not making much money, and you realize it’s because your marketing sucks. So again, you invest in some good training, work like hell, and gradually become a top 1% marketer.
Again though, it’s not the end of the story.
Because now, you’re making some pretty good money, but you’re working night and day, and you want to hire someone to help you. Problem is, you’re a terrible manager and leader, but again, you decide to suck it up, invest in some good training, work like hell, and gradually become a top 1% CEO.
The above story isn’t a fairytale, by the way. It’s the story of the last 10 years of my life.
And it’s actually a pretty common story. Regardless of profession, the most successful people in any field get there by stacking 1% skills on top of each other.
So, let’s bring this full circle:
When to Branch out into Podcasting or YouTube
Assuming you’re a blogger, you should wait until you’ve mastered blogging.
Let’s take me as an example.
I’ve spent the last couple of years improving my skills as a CEO. It’s been a painful, gradual process, but I think I’m starting to “get it,” and that’s one of the reasons why the company is now growing faster than it has in years.
Am I among the top 1%? Not quite, but according to these stats, I’m getting pretty close. I think it’s just a matter of time.
So, what’s next?
I’ll pick another media and become the top 1% there. I have some natural talent with podcasting as well, so that’s probably the next skill to stack on top. On the other hand, I don’t think I have much natural talent with video, so the chances of me starting a YouTube channel where I’m the star are pretty slim.
And that’s fine. We don’t have to be great at everything.
The key is to be great at one thing… and then another thing… and then another thing.
If your first “thing” is writing, I’m your man.
But do me a favor…
Don’t start a podcast or YouTube channel while you’re trying to learn how to write. That’s the equivalent of someone training for an Olympic marathon deciding to become an Olympic swimmer and skier all at the same time.
That’s never going to happen. Not unless you’re inhuman, anyway.
So, pick just one medium. Focus on it. Get really, really, really great at it.
And then enjoy the rewards of being at the top.