✅ It's not what you know, it's what you do

Right now, all around the world, creative people are dreaming up brilliant ideas. Some of these ideas may even be better than the one you're working on right now.

But ultimately, they'll go nowhere. Because most people don't take action. Most people wait and watch and wonder how other people got so lucky. As author John Doerr wrote, "Execution is everything."

This week, try questioning yourself less and acting on your intuition more. It already led you this far, so why not see what's next?

💬 In this issue:

  • Pinnacle. Why top creators might not be the best examples to follow.
  • Modeling success. When it comes to business, don't try to recreate the wheel.
  • Conflict. See why expertise could be the most underrated growth hack.

🏔 What mountain are you climbing?

Forbes recently released a Top 50 Creators list where it ranked influencers from across the social sphere on metrics such as total earnings, audience size, and engagement.

The annual income ranged from $200,000 all the way up to $51 million (yes, in a single year). You can see the full list below.

Top Creators 2022
These 49 social media savants—and one dog—are redefining celebrity for our connected age.

What's interesting about this is that it was released almost simultaneously with a massive study on creator earnings performed by HubSpot. They found that "the average salary for content creators in 2022 is $44,192 per year."

So, what's the takeaway here?

  • First, you're doing better than you think. If you're on your way to earning your first few hundred or even thousand dollars a month, that's an incredible achievement — and a significant move towards creative and financial freedom.
  • Second, we should be honest about our odds. Could you make a million dollars a year with your creation...maybe. But, could you build a sustainable full-time income around a small audience while making work you're proud of — absolutely! In fact, the odds of the second option are steadily growing.
  • Third, look for good examples to model your business after. Top 50 creators will have access to opportunities the average person won't. Instead, read stories like the ones our team has published on Tangle, Maker Stations, and The Browser to see how regular people can build incredible publications.  

🗞 Latest tips & stories

🧬 The 5 types of indie newsletter business models

Making great content is the foundation of every successful newsletter. However, that content also needs to be packaged in an attractive way to customers. This packaging is the business model.

The team at Inbox Collective published an excellent guide to five models: Analyst, Curator, Expert, Reporter, and Writer.

It takes the information found in one of the Ghost Resource articles "6 types of newsletters you can start today" and goes one step further by asking four questions of each type:

  • What does this newsletter actually do?
  • How big is the potential audience?
  • How does it grow (i.e. what growth levers are available for this type of content)?
  • How will it make money?

Most creators never take the time to answer these in depth. Do yourself a favor and get clear on what you're building.

⚓️ The revival of reaction content

Do you remember when reaction videos were popular on YouTube? Back when the algorithm was much simpler, any creator could post a reaction to a trending topic and garner millions of views.

Those days of easy wins are long past, but the strategy isn't.

The Publish Press highlighted one example that provides some interesting insights on growth hacking in today's environment. Here's the setup.

  • Johnny Harris, a creator with 2.9 million subscribers, published a video on the history of Europe.
  • The Present Past, a creator with only 77,000 subscribers (who, btw, is an actual historian), published a response titled How Johnny Harris Rewrites History where they point out the errors made in the original video.
  • To date the response video has performed better, gaining 200,000+ more views than the original (1.55 million vs. 1.33 million).
Here is The Present Past's video in full.

Since the video went live, Johnny Harris gave a very thoughtful response and promised to improve their content going forward — a win for everyone involved. With that in mind, here are a few steps you can use to leverage response content to grow your audience:

  1. High-quality responses that are respectfully done can constructively engage the original audience and creator.
  2. People love drama, and response videos or articles can capitalize on the viral potential of internet conflict. (Just don't make this your entire brand.)
  3. Although influencers are liked, it doesn't always mean they're trusted. By positioning yourself as a niche expert, you can build an authoritative relationship with other people's audiences.

👀 Curators pick

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