When you’re first starting in a creative field, no doubt you’ve seen no end of blog posts and videos telling you how to grow your base. There’s a whole industry based on how to be a podcaster, or a blogger, or a vlogger, photographer, and more. These folks are very good at getting people to spend money for those classes, and if those ‘students’ get something out of it that’s fine. However, I see a pattern emerging: students who graduate from these classes don’t deviate from the norm, and this leads to media becoming homogenous. A decent analogy would be the General Motors cars of the 1980s and 1990s. Each brand had cosmetic differences, but the basic body designs were the same. So it is with the podcasts and other media from these content creation courses, and when everything looks and sounds the same, nothing stands out. It’s a kind of platform gentrification.
If you want to stand out, don’t copy what others do. That said, I don’t there’s nothing wrong with saving examples of blog posts, podcasts, and other media that you like. I like to think of it as a treasure chest of ideas. For example, if a YouTube video I’m watching has a shot or a transition that I like, I’ll like that video and save the link somewhere with a note in Drafts reminding me why I liked it. You may want to highlight and save passages in a popular blog post you come across, or a blog post headline that got a lot of attention.
The key here isn’t to imitate these examples, rather it’s to reverse engineer them. It’s to find out how they did it and why it worked. This is how you learn the rules of how things work in content creation and promotion. Once you learn the rules you can take these trinkets in your treasure chest and refine them to find your voice and your style because here’s a reality check: Quite a lot of the time the information people search for on the internet doesn’t change, but the way it’s presented does. People subscribe to the personality of the person giving that information. That’s how you grow your base.
That’s the treasure inside your treasure chest.