⚙️ Why you already have the leverage you need

Many creators view leverage as an external instrument: relationships, funding, etc. But that's only one type. Leverage is anything that gives you an advantage — any tool, opportunity, or skill that multiplies what you do and its impact on others. Sometimes we just need a little help identifying what those are.

💬 In this week's issue:

  • Content machine. Discover how one team turned their bursts of creativity into a reliable process.
  • Local growth. As smaller-scale news publications prosper, they have some advice for those on a similar path.
  • Podcasts galore. See how anticipating a platform's move could open up entirely new audiences.

How to generate stellar content ideas

When your business relies on content, ideas are your most valuable asset. So, what systems and habits can you build now to ensure your idea flywheel never stops turning?

The team at Ahrefs, known for their consistently high-quality articles, shared 16 strategies they use to stay ahead of the game. Below are a few of the best ones.

  • Find trending topics. Also called "trendjacking," this technique allows you to take something everyone's already talking about and shape it to fit your topic or audience.
  • Take a contrarian stance. Opinions drive attention. Part of the reason we gravitate towards certain writers and influencers is that our values align with theirs. The clearer you are about what you stand for, the easier it will be for you to find people to stand with.
  • Talk to your customers, partners, and coworkers. Great content is a social sport. The more you can borrow from the experiences and expertise of others, the better things you'll be able to produce.
  • Revisit and update old material. Ideas are like seeds that sprout and grow rapidly when well-taken care of. Going back to see your old thoughts can recharge the vision of where you want to go next.

🗞 Latest tips & stories

How four start-ups are figuring out the business of local news

One of the most promising trends to come out of the publishing industry in recent years is the resurgence of interest in local news. As trust in national entities declines, people around the globe are finding reliable alternatives in smaller-scale operations.

This article presents four US examples: The Mendocino Voice, Santa Cruz Local, Borderless, and San Jose Spotlight. Each began with a unique purpose and audience in mind, but have found their challenges to be quite similar.

For those of you who may be working on locally-focused publications, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Have a realistic timeline. Most of these newsletters took 2-3 years before they were financially self-sustaining. Make sure to account for this transitioning period by setting aside funds, pursuing the project part-time, or finding a patron who can provide a monetary runway.
  • Mixed revenue is key. Every outlet interviewed spoke to the power of multiple income streams. Although subscriptions tend to be the most lucrative and reliable, they require time to grow. The teams have found that ads, sponsorships, and merchandise are great supplements for a local audience.
  • Leverage an ungated content strategy. Finally, the publications cited that keeping their reporting open and accessible to everyone was a major factor in their growth. Hyperlocal content can often provide help for serious issues (related to health and safety), so keeping that information public is essential to building trust.

YouTube may be getting into podcasts

TechCrunch spotted signals that YouTube is making heavy investments into the podcasting arena.

Why would a video-focused platform want more audio content? And won't this just put more pressure on creatives to do more work?

It's hard to answer these questions or call out YouTube's true reasoning as an outsider. But what you, as an independent creator, can do is make sure content repurposing is a key part of your strategy.  

No matter what you make, or how excellent it is, there are people who will never see it unless you deliver it to them in a different way. That could mean recording yourself reading your articles aloud, transcribing video content, or hiring a designer to turn your ideas into visuals.

Look for the easy wins so that every item you publish accomplishes more.  

👀 Curators pick

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