🧊 The iceberg illusion of creative work


No matter how simple another creator's success may appear from the outside, you can be certain that, for anyone who's achieved a significant milestone, there's a whole lot more happening beneath the surface. This week, learn how to get the unseen pieces just right.

💬 In this issue:

  • Breaking in. The practical reason everyone needs a niche.
  • 10 types. Templates are the secret weapon for many of the internet's most creative people. See why.
  • Productivity overload. When does getting a lot done become a bad thing?

🪓 Why every niche should be a wedge

axe icon gradient

Finding your niche is the first piece of advice many creators receive. But at times, the reasoning behind why this step is important isn't communicated very well. What does having a niche actually help you do?

This question came up during a conversation between two newsletter authors and they explained it as follows.

💡
[A niche] is like having a wedge that you're trying to drive in. I grew up in the mountains and we split lots of firewood. Imagine trying to split wood with a sharp axe (e.g., a nice wedge) versus a mallet. The mallet is like trying to hit everyone all at once with all of the different things you can do. The axe or wedge is when you narrow in and say I'm only here for this. — Nathan Barry

If you've ever heard the expression "cut through the noise," this is exactly what defining your niche helps you do. It allows you to break into your market and find the opportunities, audience, and revenue waiting for you.

Here's a strategy for finding yours:

The unexpected way to find a niche in the creator economy
Figure out exactly how to identify your niche and differentiate your work in a crowded space.

🗞 Latest tips & stories


📄 10 types of articles and how to use them effectively

writing laptop with background

Sometimes you can fall into a publishing rut and feel like you're sending out the same ideas over and over again. Experimenting with different formats, structures, and purposes can help with this.

The team at Ahrefs shared the ten configurations they use to keep their content feeling fresh and their idea machine turning.

  1. How-to guides — Teach your audience something.
  2. Content hubs — Organize all of your thoughts on a specific topic into one place.
  3. Expanded definition posts — Offer insight into a topic you know well.
  4. Listicles, aka list posts — Give your readers an easy way to see lots of ideas in one place.
  5. Expanded list posts — Similar to the one above, except take your time explaining each one and give lots of examples.
  6. News — If you don't normally cover news-related subjects, try experimenting with a time-sensitive topic and see how your readership responds.
  7. Data studies — What research can you conduct and share that would be helpful for others in your niche?
  8. Case studies — Share one of your success stories in a way that helps others who are after the same goal.
  9. Cheat sheets and checklists — Take a complicated task you've mastered and give step-by-step directions for beginners.
  10. Templates — Is there something you use in your business regularly? Find a way to make a version of it public. This is a great way to build trust.

☠️ What is toxic productivity? And 5 tips to overcome it

Being a creator can be one of the most intensive career pursuits, especially when things are just getting started.

Although it's important to work hard on what matters, you also need to know where that line of too much is so that you steer clear of it and avoid falling into burnout.  

Writer Dave Schafer offers the following perspective.

Toxic productivity is a mindset that manifests as the need to constantly “do.” You may feel that you can’t rest or take any downtime. And when you’re forced to, you can’t turn your mind off and enjoy it—you’re too busy worrying about what else you “should” do.

A few of their recommended remedies include using the Eisenhower Matrix to let go of unimportant urgent tasks, block out time daily for walks and meditation, and establish boundaries with consequences when they're not followed.

Remember, creativity is a long game so stack the cards in your favor by crafting a sustainable path forward.


👀 Curators pick


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