Dear Content Creators: It’s Time to Find Your Voice.

dear content creators 23012701

Dear Content Creators, 

It’s time to find your voice.  

It’s 2023 and, how does it go? New Year, New You? Well what if the old you is just fine, but you don’t know how to present yourself to people yet? Don’t get down about it. As a teenager, I spent a lot of my time on stage in school plays and as an improviser. That didn’t mean that I wasn’t equally anxious about every performance. But, as a content creator, I didn’t have to worry if I was going to flub a line or if people weren’t going to laugh at the jokes. I was worried that a rejection of my videos was a rejection of me, personally.  

But that’s simply not true. What do Mr. Beast, Pokimane, MKBHD and Joe Findlay all have in common? Our first videos were terrible. Making great content is a process that requires you to present your best self inside a compelling video, podcast, stream or whatever you are doing. The quality of your content will always get better with practice. You’ll learn how to use the equipment better, find slicker ways to edit and so much more, but getting a handle on who you are as a presenter can be trickier, but is infinitely more important to becoming a successful content creator. 

So where do we start? There is no one roadmap to getting better on camera or on the mic. Some people naturally pick it up, but even the most interesting people can have a hard time translating that into media. The good news is I have a few tips, but they are all going to require something big from you; self-reflection. You will need to look at yourself with a critical eye to understand how to apply these tips moving forward. 

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Step 1: The Yoink and Twist 

What on Earth is the Yoink and Twist, I hear some of you saying. It is a very effective practice, particularly for beginners, to try to hit the ground running. Content creators like Ludwig and Harris Heller have discussed this in their own content. What it is at its core is you deciding who you want to be as a creator. In the beginning, you’ll have no idea what that even means. So what you do is find the creators that inspire you the most. Take what you like about them (personality, style, how they create content) and work it into yourself.  

It’s always at this point that I have to disclaim: Do not steal anyone’s content. That is not what any of this means. It is also why I suggest finding multiple creators to do this with. This is where the Twist comes in (and we’re doing it without M. Night Shyamalan). You should be finding only aspects of the people and their content and making it your own. Yes, two people can make similar content, but what is your spin on it? Yes, two people can review the same product, but what are you going to do to make it your own?  

For example, I want to make a gaming channel and I love watching channels like Lazarbeam and Mr. Beast Gaming. They both pace their videos well and there is a point to the videos beyond “watch me play this game.” I obviously can’t provide huge cash prizes like Mr. Beast and Lazar does a very specific type of video for the most part. So I take from them their overall style and then need to find other pieces to the puzzle to create what I want. I may take some storytelling tools of creators like Casey Neistat or Ryan Trahan, for example, to provide a different kind of content. In time, the format will be tweaked from video to video until it has been moulded into something truly unique.  

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Step 2: Be Prepared 

When you are talking to an audience, and you don’t know what you are going to say, it shows. Even if you take the time to edit out all the ums and uhs in your delivery, there is a tone that can’t be masked by a little post-production. Know what you are going to say ahead of time. 

Now I don’t mean your whole video needs to be scripted, but you have to have something laid out. Do some bullet points about what topics you want to hit, so you don’t forget any of them when recording. You’ll also be able to see ahead of time how what you are going to say flows. If one point works better immediately following one that is further up your list, move it, so you don’t have to call back to points made earlier or have to move it all around in editing. 

If you don’t feel comfortable with only a loose outline, then go ahead and make a full script. Some people feel more at home knowing exactly what they are supposed to say, word for word. However, if you find it best to gather your ideas in one place, do it.  

Step 3: Have the Right Friends 

This is actually a two-part step. When you are presenting on your own, it can sometimes feel like you are giving a Ted Talk to nobody. Certain types of content require that and that’s ok. But when are you ever more yourself than when you are hanging out with friends? When I started my podcast over seven years ago, I embarked on that journey with my best friend of over 30 years. Our natural chemistry together made it feel like it was less of a recording session and more of a hang. You’ll spend less time in your head and more time in the moment. 

The other kind of friends you will need are other content creators who aren’t afraid to be honest with you. In an interview with Mr. Beast, he talked about the early stages of his YouTube career where he would have regular long calls with a group of fellow YouTubers where they discussed everything from their own content to trends to how to make better titles and thumbnails. In addition to giving honest feedback (sometimes brutally honest), the creators all learned from each other. So if you had a group of five people, you are learning from not only your mistakes but theirs as well, improving your content at five times the speed. You need to hear when a piece of your content is not good, and you need to know to not take the criticism as anything but constructive because they are your friends and they want what’s best for you. 

Dear Content Creators 23012601
Mr. Beast

Step 4: Don’t Make Drastic Changes 

If you get ten views on your first video or never go above three viewers on stream, that isn’t a sign to start from scratch. Incremental improvements are the key to making you a better content creator. If you change everything all at once because your stuff isn’t getting the audience you expected, you’ll never know what was working and what wasn’t. But, if you make a small change, and you see some growth, you know you’ve found one of the weak spots, and you can move forward, looking towards some other aspect of your content to improve upon. 

Step 5: Invest ONLY In Things That Make You Better 

This is another one that is mostly for beginners. Too many content creators start their journey having spent thousands of dollars on unnecessary gear. They spend $400 on a mic when a $60 mic would have been fine. They got a $1500 camera when the $150 camera looked great.  

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Invest your money and your time in things that improve you. For example, join Skillshare and learn about scripting and storytelling. Get editing plugins that speed up all of your processes so that you can put the bulk of your time into production. Take the time to learn everything you can, so you are not someone who knows just enough to get through their videos. As you grow, your knowledge base should grow with you. 

Step 6: Interact! 

Your relationship with your audience is everything if you want that audience to grow. Take the time to respond to your comment section. Engage with your chat if you are streaming. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, because the more you do, the better they get to know you.  

Once you’ve done everything above, you’ve become a personality; a content creator who viewers/listeners will follow because of who you are and not what you are talking about. 

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