How can I make money as a blogger, vlogger, podcaster, influencer, or Youtuber?
In the past decade, it has been interesting to watch the Youtuber industry be born. Every day a new influencer or podcaster pops up. My own son now says he wants to be a Youtuber (like father like son... lol). Recently I ran into someone who buys and sells Instagram channels and in doing so makes over $100k in revenue every year. Pretty crazy, right? It makes one wonder how they can do that.
Observing this phenomenon, I have learned like anything that seems like you can make easy money, it isn't so. There's a lot more to it than meets the eye. You have to be creative, post daily, and understand the algorithms. So to help those who are curious about doing it themselves, I decided to break down the three essentials that every person should know before getting started.
It is important to note, this topic is extremely complex and it would require a Ph.D. in a field someplace between computer science and business marketing to qualify as an expert. I do, however, have my "ten thousand hours" on the subject matter. In fact, I was living in San Francisco in 2005 when YouTube first came online, which was before Google bought it in 2006 for $1.65 billion. At that time I shaped a travel series called, AdventureBTV on adventure and surf. I also started making episodes of a show called, Wild Andy (read more details below) with all the hopes of seeing it grow. The fact was I wanted to be a Youtuber in 2006 before I knew you could even be one. That dream has since passed, but the industry has exploded.
AdventureBTV's first episode in 2005
Since that time, I learned that to have success in this industry you must have the three C's, which are Content, Code, and Consistency. These are like the three legs of a bar stool. They are the trifecta that makes it all come together. Master these and you are assured to have success, leave one of them out and you don't stand a chance.
The first one is Content and as the saying goes, content is king, but that is about it. Over and over again, I have been approached by people who are full of great ideas and potentially have the talent to make those ideas come to life. Sometimes those people will have a one-hit wonder and break the internet or go viral. But just like Vanilla Ice's song, Ice Ice Baby, sooner than later, it's going to melt. If you want something that's a repeatable and consistent success you'll need more than content.
The second piece is Code and if the content is king, code is queen.To be clear, Code is my made-up word. It translates more literally into keywords, hashtags, tagging, sharing, cross-collaborating, and much much more. It's basically the tools to maximize distribution and reach.
In the modern age, it is deceptively easy to post a video. Anyone with a phone can do it, but the reality is that the process of distributing content is the most complex and essential piece of making it work. Major corporations hire groups of people to oversee this process. Podcasters have teams that work non-stop on partnerships, ad spend, analytics, and more. Each one of the areas mentioned requires time to execute and expertise to exploit. If you wanna build a foundation for success, you need at a minimum to know how to code your content for success.
The last piece is Consistency and in full disclosure, this has been my personal downfall in the space. In 2018, I created a video on the topic and still didn't live up to it (here). At that time I started Vlog Endlessly to bring recognition to my brand Endless Media and share my company's growth and trajectory. I aimed to create one new video a week and I lasted for a total of 14 weeks. Then, I stopped.
In the process of Vlogging, for that time period, I was amazed how much the process took over my life. I began to walk around with a camera everywhere and started showing parts of me that I was not always comfortable showing. Access is the name of the game here, that's what the Kardashian's, and all suddo influencers in the space, are selling. Access to you is the key, but access can feel like you're exploiting yourself. At times it leaves you feeling pretty naked to society and it surprisingly hard to manage in the context of what is real and what is production.
For me, by the time I reached week 14, I was tired of sharing everything about myself. At that time I decided to back off the weekly edits and be more stratigic in what I share, but I do I have a new perspective on all those influencers, Youtubers, and the like, that do this day in and out for years. They are both champs, extremely hard working, and capable of managing their exposure and sense of self in a way that I was not.
In closing, that is my breakdown of what it takes to be a blogger, vlogger, podcaster, influencer, Youtuber or who know what comes next. If you want to do it, I say get out there and get it done. Tons of people with great messages to share. But you need to be smart about how you execute, and be sure to use the three C's of Content, Code, and Consistency for success!
Entertaining footnote: In 2006 when living in San Francisco and working for Hoff Productions on shows for NatGeo and Animal Planet. Myself, and a close friend (aka Reggie), created a travel show idea called Wild Andy. The idea was for Wild Andy, a stranger to the world raised on an island, to make it up through the ranks of society by getting clothes and going on a date. His efforts were to be based solely on the kindness of strangers. We only made one episode and I did actually run through the streets of San Francisco in a Loin Cloth. The tourist on the Embarcadero loved me and in the Tenderloin, San Francisco's ghetto, where a random stranger gives me a t-shirt. That was completely unplanned. That actually happened impromptu. I still can't believe I did it.
Episode 1: Wild Andy
Thanks for reading!