Dear Content Creators
Where you put your content is becoming more important than ever.
If you build it, they will come. That’s all well and good for a baseball diamond for ghosts, but for your content, more is needed. The choice of platforms for your content is a crucial piece of the puzzle. When it comes to regular video content, it’s safe to say that YouTube is the place to be. There are other places to put your video, but they don’t have the reach and, frankly, they just aren’t YouTube.
But the question then becomes “Do I just post it to all of them?” My advice here is no. If people search online and links to your video show up, which one are you clicking on? Splitting your views among multiple platforms will hurt your growth. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take advantage of these other platforms, though. Take your video and make clips, using the clips to drive viewers to your YouTube page to see the whole thing. The clips need to be worthy of your potential audience’s attention though. Don’t just take a piece of the full video and throw it somewhere else. Make the video pop. Make people want to see more of you.
While that one has a simpler answer, other content has gotten a little more complicated over the years. Let’s start with podcasting. This choice doesn’t seem like a big deal, seeing as they all send your podcast to all the big providers (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, etc). But what goes into your podcast host AND what you can get out of it will make all the difference for your personal experience.
When searching for a good podcast host, the main things to think about are price, ease of use, and analytics. Some hosts can be pretty expensive, while others are suspiciously cheap or sometimes free (e.g., Anchor). Be mindful of what the cost gets you. Some offer a cheaper price for a limited amount of upload space per month, which may not match what you need.
There may also be caps on how many listeners you have, making it cheap when you are new, but the price will jump as you grow. Feel free to start out on a free platform if you feel like you can get what you need out of it in the beginning. Keeping costs down while you decide if podcasting is right for you is crucial. You can always make a move later. Most platforms make it very easy to move your show over and maintain all of your old episodes.
“When searching for a good podcast host, the main things to think about are price, ease of use, and analytics.”
Also, beware of monetization options that some platforms offer. It is tempting to enable your platform to insert commercials on your behalf, and they even give you tools to place them where you want, making you feel like you are in control. But the control that you lose is the most important. First of all, you aren’t choosing your advertisers. Getting ads for something that is outside your audience’s interest is a wonderful way to turn off listeners, particularly new listeners.
Also, where do you think most of that money is going? Not to you. Your platform takes the biggest cut of any money your show earns. So, as I have said before, know your value. Be in control of your own content from beginning to end and don’t take the easy way out for a quick buck (or more accurately, 6 cents).
Ease of use is a no-brainer, here. You aren’t launching nukes. You are uploading an audio file. Some platforms can make the process incredibly easy while others have unnecessarily complicated the process in an attempt to look like they are ahead of the curve. In the end, you just want a platform that offers the features that you need that appear to be laid out in the most sensible way.
“In the end, you just want a platform that offers the features that you need that appear to be laid out in the most sensible way.”
Analytics are a crucial tool to measure your growth and in the world of podcasting, not all analytics are created equal. They have to pull data from everywhere because, unlike YouTube, your content is spread all over the place. Solid analytics from your host, however, shows a clear picture of your performance across the internet and can be compiled into a nice one-sheet to show potential advertisers what your audience really looks like. Make sure that the platform you choose has analytics that are IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) certified. If you like a platform that has subpar analytics, there are other services like Chartable that can do the job independently of your platform.
There is no other form of content that requires more personal research to make the choice that is right for you. If you ask a lot of people what the best platform is, you are going to get a lot of answers. If you ask the same people what they think of some other options, every platform that you heard is the best, you will also hear is the worst.
All you can do is do your best to research the available options and find the one that best suits your needs. Keep an eye out for articles in disguise when searching for the best podcast host on the internet. Many articles are sponsored by (or even created by) one of the platforms in question. They are pretty easy to pick out when you have seen a handful of them.
“Streaming exploded in recent years and most of that audience has fallen to Twitch, who dominated the market due mainly to being the only serious game in town.”
The last type of content is ironically the toughest to choose your platform for at the moment because it offers the fewest choices. Streaming exploded in recent years and most of that audience has fallen to Twitch, who dominated the market due mainly to being the only serious game in town. Since then, some platforms have come in hot, attempting to make big moves, but ultimately failing. Only a few serious contenders remain. While there are live features on most social media apps, the biggest platforms for the typical streamer are YouTube and Facebook.
While Twitch remains in the lead, there have been some changes that show some weak points in the armour as they have made a number of unpopular announcements recently, combined with a number of big moves made by YouTube, leading to a number of big-name streamers making the jump from Twitch. Facebook, at the moment, seems content with their place in the hierarchy as they offer 100% of the pay share and that is for a simple reason: Facebook doesn’t care enough about Facebook Gaming as a source of revenue. Expect few changes with them.
So where do you go? Twitch or YouTube? The answer isn’t so simple. Many of the great features on Twitch don’t exist yet on YouTube, or if they do, they exist in Beta for only a select number of streamers, so if you already have a presence on Twitch, now might not be the time to jump. The bigger creators are moving, but they are doing so with contracts and with an assurance that at least some of their audience will follow them. This is not a luxury for a smaller streamer, so you may want to wait until it makes more financial sense to make the move. Keep a close eye.
There is also another option. You don’t have to choose any platform when you can choose them all. Multistreaming is an option that many people look into as it puts you on all the platforms at once. Using products like Streamlabs, Restream or Melon, you can select multiple platforms and stream to all of them, taking the tough decision out of the process. They all even manage the chat, so you can hear from people on each platform. What needs to be kept in mind, however, is that when you stream everywhere, you are diluting your audience, stopping any one platform from reaching its maximum potential and inevitably hurting growth in any one place.
An interesting strategy here may be to multi-stream with the intent of driving viewers to a single platform. You will never get everyone. There are people who are loyal viewers on their platform of choice, but it’s the best compromise for bringing your audience together in one place and maximizing your reach. There is a cost with any of the multi-stream software I mentioned, so, like the podcasting hosts, do your due diligence and find the one that is best for you.
The bad news is that there are a lot of choices to make the most of your career as a content creator, but the really good news is that the choice is yours.