Risk-Free Baby Steps In Content Creation

How to experiment with content creation when you're not sure what you like.

Risk-Free Baby Steps In Content Creation
Photo by Kari Shea / Unsplash

Hey Creator! It’s time for the next step in your journey. In the last article, we discussed how to choose the type of content creator you want to be. In this one, I will give you risk-free ways to experiment with the most prominent ways of creating content:

  1. Blogging
  2. Podcasting
  3. Short-Form
  4. YouTube
  5. Newsletters

Each path has enough free tools to go around, and you can try them out. A good way for you to know if you like doing this or not.

Let’s begin, shall we?

How to Experiment With Blogging

The fastest way to experiment with Blogging is to start writing on Medium.

You could get distracted by the community and the dangling carrot of the Medium Partner Program - but don’t get it twisted. You can definitely start a free blog on Medium and start writing right now.

Medium’s Editor is fantastic and will give you everything you need to publish beautiful posts. The platform supports comments, and if you want to take it to the next level, you could even start a publication and curate email addresses.

The email thing works on your personal profile as well.

The one thing you need to remember is This blog is not yours. You don’t own it. You own your words - but the premises are owned by someone else. So, you might get booted if you don’t adhere to the rules.

Back up your work often.

In addition, make sure you export your email subscribers as well. Those people who opted in to get emails from you can come with you to other platforms as well.

I hope that’s helpful! Now that you have an idea about blogging let’s move on to Podcasting!

How to Experiment With Podcasting

If you ask a random person if they think starting a podcast, I bet they would have varying opinions about the difficulty involved.

What if I told you, you could start a podcast even before you finish reading this whole article? It’s that easy.

To experiment with podcasting, I encourage you to start with Spotify for Podcasters, formerly Anchor. It’s free and intuitive to use.

It takes exactly a minute to sign up. Your podcast won’t be pushed to podcasting networks until you publish your first episode, but that’s also easy.

Starting is not the difficult part. Making a fantastic podcast is hard work. Nobody said you have to be fantastic from the start.

How to Experiment With Short-Form

If you’re reading this on a smartphone, you have everything you need to start with short form.

Let’s define short form correctly: Publishing short videos up to 1 minute on social media. Which social media? TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube make the most sense.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t publish on X (or Twitter) for that matter.

What’s important is what you post about. And the best way to know what to post about is by indulging in TikTok and Instagram for a bit and seeing what people are making.

I’m not talking about scrolling in your feed. You probably won’t find what you’re looking for, only what’s trending. Search the platforms for a tag related to what you want to post about or something that interests you and discover the community from there.

Here’s an example: Let’s say you want to create videos in the Writing topic. You search for #writing on TikTok and start going through the videos.

As you continue with your scrolling, you suddenly discover a sub community of writing that loves talking about books called #BookTok. Same for IG, only there it’s called #Bookstagram.

When you use those tags, and the content fits, people will discover you faster.

So how to make the videos?

Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the editor of each of the platforms. See what you can make. Maybe watch a tutorial or two. Then get cracking. Remember - you’re creating short videos. Don’t cram points. Either create a listicle video or create a video about a specific point you want to make.

In terms of equipment, your phone is enough. And if you don’t have good lighting, maybe create videos next to a window in the daytime. You don’t need to buy lights to experiment with short-form.

Constraining your filming time to only daytime hours will help you separate the work. Write videos as a batch, film them as a batch, edit them as a batch, and schedule them in a batch.

A good experiment with short-form content would be to publish 3-5 videos daily for a month and see what happens.

You don’t even have to start publishing right away. 3-5 videos a day means you need to write, edit, film, and schedule 84-100 videos. If you start working on this now, keeping your head low, and just doing the thing, you’ll have a month of content in a few days.

If you start getting traction, don’t forget to engage with the comments. You’re building a community.

Now let’s move on to the ultimate community you can ever build.

How to Experiment With YouTube

My journey on YouTube started in 2020 when I gifted myself a YouTube channel for my birthday. It was and still is a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it.

As of writing these words, I have a little under 4000 subscribers on my Podcast channel on YouTube. It didn’t start as my podcast channel. It started as my personal channel. I got monetized by YouTube in early 2022 which means I hit 4000 hours of watch time in the last year and at least 1000 subscribers. Those are the old-school monetization rules that still apply today.

The beginning was a lot of experimentation for me. Sometimes I’d publish something, and it would get crickets. Sometimes I would publish something that would blow up within 24 hours.

One rule always applies on YouTube: Optimize your title and thumbnail for people to click and get them to watch as long as possible.

If people click on your video and immediately bounce, that’s probably because you’re not giving them what you promised in the title and thumbnail. And if they bounce, YouTube will show your video to fewer and fewer people, deeming it a negative viewing experience.

On the other hand, if you optimize clicks and make people watch longer, that’s how videos get shown to more and more people and eventually get millions of views.

Combine the rule above with engaging with people who decide to leave comments on your videos and making sure your video topics help the intended people. Your audience will find you quicker than by publishing whatever and hoping for the best.

YouTube also rewards consistency, especially with shorts. So, if you can batch-record a few shorts and spread their publishing over the week, that should allow YouTube to send some traffic your way from the shorts feed, too.

YouTube is a long game. So, think about every video you publish as an investment. Create more timeless videos than topical ones, and you’ll have better viewing potential in the future. Nobody reads yesterday’s newspaper, and nobody will watch your topical videos when the topic is no longer trending.

Now let’s talk about an important part of content creation you should try regardless of what content creator you choose to become - Newsletters.

How to Experiment With Newsletters

So, newsletters are a broad topic. There are so many of them. I think a good newsletter is one that offers direct communication with your reader with less friction.

A Substack publication allows people who subscribed to your newsletter to just reply to the email you sent out and appear in your inbox. That fosters a 1:1 relationship with your community.

The same is true for Beehiiv.

Both are free to use.

The type of content you publish in your newsletter is totally up to you. If you want people to subscribe, it needs to be a service to them somehow. Sure, it’s a way to contact you, but it should also be in their best interest to be there. Ideally, it should be a continuation of the content you already publish on social media that brought them to your newsletter in the first place.

For instance, if I signed up for your newsletter from a YouTube video where you taught me how to start an Etsy store, I probably want to see more about e-commerce and entrepreneurship from your newsletter.

It doesn’t have to be lessons, by the way. It could simply be sharing your own journey with the people who signed up.

That’s it for me in this post. Let’s discover what's next, shall we?

What Next?

My plan for this blog and newsletter is to share my personal journey and what I learned doing content creation for the last 4 years, and blogging for the last 13 years.

I’m not a millionaire and don’t have a huge audience because I was never consistent. But I’m that dude you go to ask why something isn’t working. Acknowledging that has been an important part of who I’m working towards becoming.

My family always asks me about tech stuff. And family and friends always ask me about social media stuff. I can’t deny I love trying out new things. That makes me very helpful to people.

My aim with this newsletter is to help you who’s also trying to become a content creator. I’m closer to you than that guru with millions of subscribers.

Hit subscribe if that resonates with you, and I’ll see you in the next one.