As a creative entrepreneur, it has become important to diversify your portfolio and have multiple irons in the fire. Many successful creators end up having a podcast, a newsletter, a YouTube channel, and a solid online presence. They might not start out with all this, but they work towards it intentionally. If you aim to create a brand for yourself, consider taking inspiration from them.
By diversifying your portfolio, you can reach a wider audience, stabilize your income streams, and protect yourself from the ups and downs of any one platform.
I talked to Jay Clouse about content diversification this week, and I feel this topic deserves a deep dive.
Platform risk is real and can stop your creator journey in its tracks. It can hit you particularly hard when you’re already invested in any one platform with years worth of content and audience-building.
So let’s look at five methods I found to stabilize, diversify, and de-risk my creator portfolio.
The one thing that is non-negotiable in this list is owning the means of communication. This is something you need to do from day one. Disregard all the following tips if you want, but please implement this one.
You don’t have an audience if you don’t have the means to contact your followers when you’re logged out of your social media platforms.
That’s what’s so scary about social media platforms: they own the means of communication. They block your account, and you have zero ways to reliably get information to your audience. That’s because they’re not your audience in the first place: they’re a rented audience. Twitter owns the “follower data.” If they decide to ban you, you’re out.
This article was inspired by this conversation with Jay Clouse:
Experience this article as a podcast, a YouTube show, or as a newsletter:
That’s why it is imperative for your content strategy to eventually get people to allow you to follow up, which most creators do by offering a newsletter. Getting someone’s email address is hard because they have to trust you before they hand it over. A Twitter follow is just a click, and unfollowing a person is very easy. But once you hand over your email, you have little control over what gets sent to you. That’s why any email list is so valuable: it’s trust, expressed as a list of email addresses.
Your media presence is only as safe as how reliably you can re-establish your content after being de-platformed. And while this probably won’t happen to you, you have to understand that it could, for whatever reason, happen at any moment. That’s a risk I am not willing to take, which is why I strongly encourage my social media followers to also subscribe to my work on other platforms and ultimately join my newsletter.
Beyond that, I regularly back up my email list, podcast episodes, YouTube videos, and Twitter data to a cloud backup storage. Ownership in these digital days is about access, and I want to have, at the very least, a local copy of all my work.
For that reason, you should have your own domain and blog. This makes you more independent from social media platforms and gives search engines a place to send people when they look for you. Your content can (and should) also live on that blog, where people (and machines alike) can find it forever.
Ownership of your data and the means to share it with your audience is central to de-risking your creator life.
Reusing content between formats
But let’s talk about the content itself.
One way to diversify your portfolio is to reuse content between formats. For example, if you have a successful podcast, you can transcribe your episodes and turn them into blog posts or social media updates. Or, if you have a popular YouTube channel, you can turn your videos into written articles, podcast episodes, or ebooks. By repurposing your content, you can reach new audiences and make the most of the work you’ve already put in.
My weekly content strategy is centered around this repurposing idea. I write a single article at the beginning of the week, often inspired by an interview I recorded with a subject matter expert for my podcast — right after the recording, I note down the most salient idea I had during the show. That’s the topic for my article, which I often outline right there on the spot.
Once written, that article is also the script for a YouTube video I record on Thursdays. The audio from that video then serves as the podcast episode I release on Fridays, while the article is also the content of my newsletter. One source, three formats.
Beyond that, I have the interviews that I record whenever my guests can find the time. I record in video format, so I have content for the YouTube channel. The audio of those interviews also gets turned into a podcast episode, which I release on Wednesdays. The transcript of the recording is then turned into a blog post. I embed the interview video and link to the podcast episode in my Friday newsletter.
This sounds like a lot of work, but it’s very quickly done — because I have established a system around it. In fact, several parts of the editing and distribution process are now handled by my freelance-based team because I have a step-by-step process for them to step through. The hardest part is editing the raw video. Everything after that takes minutes.
Every week, I end up with an engaging newsletter, two blog posts, two videos, and two podcast episodes — all the direct consequence of an idea I had during my interview with an expert.
This leaves me with a lot of time to share my work and engage with those who consume it. By using a single idea source and multiple repurposed target formats, I diversify my creator portfolio, allowing me to focus on creating engaging content and engaging with my audience rather than worrying about platform risk.
Iterating on Old Work
Another way to diversify your portfolio is to iterate on old work. This might mean updating an old blog post with new information, turning an old video into a blog post series, or revamping your internal learnings from building an old product into an info product. By constantly improving and updating your old work, you can keep your audience engaged and bring new life to your content.
It generally pays to repeat yourself. You can already see this in how one piece of source content can be turned into three different formats. But it works over time, too. That’s because your audience is a shifting thing. New followers join your circle of influence daily, and even the ones who have been with you for a while develop new needs and preferences over time.
New followers may not be familiar with your back catalog, but you can give them something new to learn by repurposing your old content in a modernized context. This way, your existing followers will get a fresh perspective on existing insights, but also, new followers will get a chance to familiarize themselves with the content you have previously created. By presenting old content in a new way, both your existing and new followers will benefit from your past works.
This method not only allows you to reach a wider audience but also to explore new ideas and themes that might have been overlooked before. As you will notice once you dive into your old content, you have also grown over time, and your insights of yesteryear might feel crude and unrefined. It’s a great opportunity to close knowledge gaps and expand your repertoire.
Collaborating with Other Creators
The best way to integrate new thoughts and ideas into your content strategy is to have vibrant exchanges with other people who think a lot about your domain. My content is largely driven by the conversations I have on and off the record with other major contributors to the indie hacker and creator community. Every Twitter conversation is a treasure trove of ideas that might warrant being explored in great detail.
And it doesn’t have to stop at inspiration.
Collaborating with other creators is another great way to diversify your portfolio. By joining forces with other creators in your field, you can reach a new audience, learn from each other, and create new, exciting content together. Co-host a Twitter space, record it, and publish it on both your YouTube channels or podcasts. Write an article together and expand it into a joint eBook.
Besides the cross-promotional opportunities, this can generate a long list of potential content ideas. Interacting with other experts allows us to find new perspectives and things worth talking about. You will create an Idea Backlog, in which you keep track of ideas to use at a later point.
Treating all interactions as a Teaching Opportunity
Finally, as a creative entrepreneur, it’s important to treat all social interactions as teaching opportunities. This means being open to questions from your audience and taking the time to educate them about your work and the field in general. By sharing your knowledge and expertise, you can position yourself as a “thought leader” and attract new followers and customers.
This isn’t about being a social media influencer. It’s about becoming an expert in your field in public. And there is no better way than sharing your learning journey with them. This approach combines the time-delayed repurposing of your old content with the emergent opportunity potential of collaboration: you share how you’re constantly learning and improving, and people will trust you much more than if you waved a degree in front of their faces. There is humility in publicly correcting yourself. Your followers will resonate with that.
Richard Feynman said that teaching is the ultimate form of learning. You can’t reliably teach what you don’t understand, so you have to learn it first. By forcing yourself to share your learnings, you’ll ensure that you have the underpinning knowledge to prove it. And that knowledge, when crystallized into a piece of content, is one of the many traces of your expertise and ambition you can leave for people to find.
You don’t “get” a reputation as an expert. You build it, slowly, one day at a time, by teaching enough people, so they end up talking about you as a teacher.
So there we have it.
Diversifying your creator portfolio is a key to success as a creative entrepreneur. By reusing content between formats, iterating on old work, collaborating with other creators, and treating all interactions as teaching opportunities, you can reach a wider audience, increase the stability of your income streams, and position yourself as a reputable expert in your field.