Growing an audience is equal parts science, art, and luck. However, there are actionable ways to stack the odds in your favor.
💬 In this week's issue:
- Newsletter boom. Growth continues to spike for newsletter creators, but is it here to stay?
- Trendjacking 101. Overnight success isn't real, but this may be the closest thing to it.
- Creator diseconomy. What does the career path for aspiring creators really look like?
🗞 Newsletters are exploding
This trend underscores the willingness of audiences to pay for content from their favorite writers directly.
Sara Fischer of Axios recently explained the immense growth occurring in the newsletter space, with popular writers now boasting tens of thousands of paying subscribers.
But all this growth begs the question, are newsletters a trend or a fad?
Fads are built on hype. They emerge out of nowhere, often promising something extraordinary. But then, they disappear once people realize their promises lack substance.
Trends, on the other hand, have staying power. They typically grow as the result of resolving a long unmet need. Then, when people dive into them, they discover that it's even more promising than they initially thought.
Newsletters are a trend because they solve a host of unmet needs. They offer:
- journalists a way to build sustainable publishing businesses
- creators a platform to control, share, and monetize their work (without algorithms acting as the middlemen)
- consumers with a privacy-focused, content-rich experience plus a more direct relationship with their favorite creators.
So, if you've questioned whether it's too late to start your newsletter, the answer is a resounding no. In fact, reading this newsletter about newsletters makes you incredibly early!
🗞 Latest news
- A new Blue: Twitter officially launched their $2.99 subscription earlier this month, sparking a conversation around long-form content.
- Reply challenge: Writer Josh Spector released a 30-day guided challenge to help creators grow on Twitter.
- Fusion: WNIP explains why merging ideas, topics, and industries is a new hack to finding one's niche.
- Stuck in the middle: NiemanLab shares the unique struggle of rural journalists and how their communities rallied to keep them afloat.
- Writing shed: Cal Newport examines the curious trend of odd writing locals, and why they often lead to success.
💥 How trendjacking works
Two years ago, YouTuber Jennelle Eliana was on everyone's radar after achieving one million subscribers only two weeks after starting their channel.
Recently, YouTuber Niklas Christl hit a smaller, albeit similarly impressive, milestone of 100k subscribers in 30 days.
How is such rapid growth possible?
And in case you're wondering: they didn't spend money on ads or have huge teams helping them. They were solo creators who took advantage of a strategy called trendjacking.
Trendjacking occurs when you align your content with a trending topic so that you benefit from the increased attention it gets.
When done well, it enables creators to stay true to their content while leveraging a trend to grow their audience. When done poorly, it produces low-quality content from creators who are more focused on what's popular than on providing value for their audience.
- Jennelle documented their van life precisely when that topic started to take off. But, they had spent years crafting photography and videography skills on Instagram before launching the channel.
- Niklas spent hours each day for years watching and interacting with their favorite YouTubers. They then experimented with vlog content before committing to a niche that led to immense growth.
- One more example is Gary Vaynerchuk, author and entrepreneur who recently broke sales records by getting one million preorders for their new book by tying its promotion to the launch of an NFT collection. For context, this is their sixth book launch, and they've published (literally) hundreds of videos explaining the NFT phenomena.
If you want to use this strategy, look for trends that make sense for you, your skills, and your audience. The best trendjackers look for the overlap between what they do now and where people's interest is heading.
👩💻 What is the future of the creator economy
Never before has it been so easy to build a life around making things, and to do so on one’s own terms.
In the latest post from tech writer Nadia Eghbal, they ask some hard questions about the creator economy:
- How can creators find freedom when there is constant pressure to publish new content?
- Will today's content (articles, videos, podcasts, etc.) have staying power, like books, movies, and music did in decades past?
- Are creators just entertainers? Or are they part of a new professional class, on par with teachers, doctors, and others?
At the heart of Nadia's piece is the following idea: "Content is a means to an end, but it shouldn’t be the end goal."
Many creators get into this space because they feel a pull to create. They genuinely have something to say, to add, to build; a problem they're uniquely qualified to solve.
It can be difficult to remember why you wanted to make content in the first place. But taking the time to identify the original reason will motivate you forward. When growth is slow and your audience is small and your skills are new — your why will keep you creating.
The answers to Nadia's questions will come in due time, but only if genuine creators persist and transform the creator economy into everything we think it can be.
👀 Curators pick
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