The 2 pillars of content creation – how to build an author career in 2020



There’s tons of content out there, and the content overwhelm is growing and competing for the audience’s attention. Books, podcasts, YouTube videos, blog posts, articles, and the new decade is bringing even more content. So is it still worth it being a content creator in 2020?

Hey, I’m Diana and this is Story Artist.

Hi. Welcome to this new episode in the new decade and I’m really excited to bring this to you. Today, I’m going to share with you the two pillars I’m building my author and content creator business on this year and the coming decade. I had a quite rough 2019 with ups and downs. My greatest achievement was to get back on track and finally get into my routine and start working with my little child, which was kind of a big thing for me because it’s my first one, and it’s a huge change in your life and I’m quite proud of it, but I still have so many more goals. 

And I was talking to you in the intro of this episode about the content overwhelm. And when I thought about this question, I thought about myself and how I look at content.

The thing is, yes, we are overwhelmed, but we filter the content through what we like. So there are tons of YouTube channels and videos out there, but I only subscribe to those that I enjoy and that I like, and I filter them. And those that bring me the best content and the most enjoyable and useful content, I stick to them for years and years.

And I think this is the key to becoming a content creator. Find your tribe, find your audience, and know what your audience wants. And if you know that, you can be a successful creator in this new decade. 

So let’s jump into those two pillars I will base my business on in this coming decade. And I will also talk to you about my goals and maybe it’s helpful for you. Maybe you can also have your own goals through that, I will talk to you about my achievements and everything that I think I can do better in this new year. Feel free to skip forward when I talk about my goals if you’re not interested in them. Just listen to the principles. I will talk to you about the principles first and then I will talk to you about how I want to apply those principles in my own business, and the practical goals in my own business. 

Let’s start with pillar number one. 

#1 Create regular and excellent content. 

This is really my priority number one. 

And when I think about the fact that there’s so much out there already, I get overwhelmed.

But the truth is that the market is still growing. It’s growing beyond the US and the UK because so many people in developing countries like India or other English speaking countries are having access to the internet right now through mobile phones, through mobile internet. So they’re only beginning to grasp what’s happening.

Here in Germany where I live, the self-publishing revolution is just starting. So what has happened in the US in 2012 is just happening right now in Germany, which is kind of crazy. So if you think about it, Amazon has just expanded its Amazon ad market into France and Germany and other European countries. You couldn’t put your ads in those countries before, which is crazy. So it means it’s just expanding. 

And over the next decade, the markets will get bigger and bigger and bigger, and we have to use that by bringing out more excellent content. 

And the second trend in this new decade is that authors are growing more and more empowered.

So if 10 years back, there was no real self-publishing and there were the gatekeepers who decided who will get published and who won’t, today, there’s nothing anymore to hold you back from publishing, so you can just go ahead and publish your stuff on Amazon and all the other distributors just like that.

I think actually Lee Child said in the conference that his career path, the way he made money being an author, is not possible anymore. So if you still stuck in this: I will get published and I will become the next Lee Child, the next Stephen King. I don’t think that this is a possibility anymore because the market is changing and there’s so much out there.

It’s like playing the lottery. It really is, but you have a real possibility because you are empowered and you can move on in your own terms, with your own rules. And it can be scary because you have to know the market. You have to know the rules to bend the rules. You have to work really hard, not only on story writing but on all the other stuff, on marketing, on publishing.

But it’s worth it because, in the end, you get to control what your author’s life looks like and how successful you are with your writing. And it can’t emphasize enough how important it is to bring out new content, not only just to bring out new content, but excellent content. To create an excellent backlist, to bring out new articles, new stuff into the world that is good. I think the days of like publishing an article daily, a short article just to publish and just to have this backlist, they are over. Because Google has changed its algorithm, Bird, into longtail keywords. And it will favor those articles that are longer, that are more in-depth, and that it thinks that they have more quality. 

So quality content is now on the rise. It is about quantity still, no doubt about it, but quality content is what counts now. Look into Google. Look into the long tail keywords because it’s all about how we search also with our language, with talking with audio.

Many people are searching on Google with Siri now. So they’re saying like: Siri, how to write a book? So the keyword with that is “how do I write a book”, a long keyword that sounds like speech. And this is what will be favorite in the future because audio search will rise and audio will rise more and more in the next decade.

So my goals are regularity. Definitely regularity because it was really hard for me to do that in the past year, and I hope I can accomplish that. And I want to bring to you one podcast episode a month, two articles per month, one article on my own blog and one on Medium or a guest blog. 

And I’m thinking about starting a Medium publication. 

I’m not sure about it yet, but I’m kind of excited about this idea and I might start writing a travel memoir and a little bit more fiction on this Medium publication. I’m not sure if it will bring me any readers, but it’s just something I want to do for me. And I want to try out. 

I just read in James Clear’s email – which is by the way, amazing, he always sends his email I think it’s on Wednesdays. And he said that you can only know if something works by trying it out. So just try things out, do trial and error and those things where you see that they’re working – double down on them. And this is what I actually kind of want to do with this publication.

I just want to see if it’s gonna work, how people receive it. If it’s not working, I can just stop. But if it’s working. I might really enjoy it. I want to double down on my email marketing. I want to send regular emails to my fiction list and my nonfiction list. And I also want to publish two books to see are two fiction books.

I’m really excited about that because I’m finishing my trilogy, finally, and want to start a new series. And that the story writing idea for the series has been lingering inside of me for years already, so I can’t wait to get started on that as well. And I really want to finish my trilogy. I finished the rough draft by the end of the year, the first draft.

And I love the editing stage, so I’m so excited to start editing and to start polishing, and I will Polish all of those three books to make it a good, solid trilogy that I can market now, and start with my new series. 

Thinking about writing a nonfiction book maybe, thinking about it for years already, but I’ve never done it. It will be about storytelling, obviously, and I’m wondering, yeah, does the world really need another storytelling nonfiction book? But I think what’s been missing out there is: How storytelling can change our lives; how we can use storytelling for ourselves; how we can use storytelling to change our lives and lives of the people around us.

This is something that’s really on my heart. And I really want to emphasize again, the importance of storytelling. Maybe something like that, but I’m still not sure about that. 

And I want to create more bonus material for my two courses that I created last year which I’m really proud of. I want to give more bonus material, market those courses more, create excellent content for those who have bought them already.

And I really want to improve my writing and copywriting. I already bought, bought two storytelling books, two writing craft books, and I’m watching Masterclass and I love the classes in Masterclass from other writers and directors. I really want to improve because I saw in the last year I improved a lot through learning and practicing, writing irregularly and learning.

And it helped me and I want to keep doing that and I’m going to keep improving my language, my writing craft, and getting better in what I do. 

#2 Reach more new readers. 

So traffic has been a huge issue for me. 

Last year I built a lot on my plot platform, so I did a new website design, improved my email marketing, did two courses, blog posts. But the traffic has been missing. 

So this year, I really want to double down on getting new readers, getting more subscribers, getting more traffic. And I think the readers are out there. There are still people and you only need to find your 1000 true fans, and they’re out there.

So I’m going to keep searching for them and I want to meet my readers where they are and focus on all the platforms. So, I still am an advocate like Joanna Penn for going wide with your books because I want to reach a lot of readers, not only those who are on Amazon. And I want to reach them where they are, and I want to have several streams of income from several mediums.

I wanna do audio. I want to do video because I know that there are people out there who want to watch YouTube, and there are people out there who want to listen to audio, people who want to read blog posts. So wherever my readers are and whatever they need, I want to give it to them. I want to serve them with my content.

And this is why I’m going wide on all the platforms – to reach the readers. And now let’s look at the trends in this new decade, in this new year. 

So there’s the global reading growth, like I said before, in pillar number one as well. People from all the countries outside the US and UK starting to read digitally and especially on the Google and Android platform.

So if you’re not on Google with your books and your content, you should be. You should definitely be on Google and be available for those people who don’t have an iPhone and don’t have a Macbook. And the trend is also to decentralize and distribute wide. 

And I know that there are people who still depended on Amazon. It’s absolutely your choice, but I’m an advocate for going wide just because you never know what happens to Amazon and if they change their algorithm. And you don’t want to depend on one platform. This is why I also think, or I don’t want to be a YouTuber and just depend on YouTube for my income. I want to be someone who’s not dependent because I’m an independent author and I don’t want to be dependent on any platform.

I want to learn from them. I want to deliver to those platforms, but I want my income to be from several different sources. And serve the platforms and go wide with my distribution. 

And obviously, audio and video will grow even more and more so become a master of both of them or one or two of them. If you don’t like video, I know that many authors don’t like video, but I myself as am someone who studied film, I’m actually quite excited about the growth of video. I would love to do more with video than just sitting around here and telling stuff, but filming. But it’s just too complicated it for now. But I plan and I hope I can do that in the future, especially with traveling and so on.

And if you like audio, I know many authors prefer audio because it’s just something that – you feel freer, you don’t feel that observed. You can just focus on one of those if you want, and become a professional in those. 

So don’t think that if you’re doing audio or a video, you can get away with bad quality. Please. I know that there are authors doing videos out there and the quality is just so, so bad. Please don’t do this. Be a professional, become a professional. And do good quality content, not only with the content itself but with the format as well. And buy a solid microphone, they’re not that expensive.

Buy a good camera and, learn how to use this camera because a good camera won’t help you make an amazing image if you don’t know how to use it. So become a professional for one of those two mediums because it’s growing and this is how you can reach your readers and get more traffic.

Definitely, I think those authors and those content creators will thrive who know what the reader wants. Who meet them where they are, and who provide what the reader is looking for. 

So my goals for the coming year are keyword-friendly articles. I talked about the Google bird algorithm, and I want to go into those long keywords, searchable keywords, and also in-depth articles that are really qualitative and that are rich in information and that serve the readers in the best way. 

And also want to use Medium and, guest blogging as a means to gain your readers, see how it goes. And I want to double down on YouTube and learn about this platform in itself because I want to learn how to be more efficient on YouTube.

How to also know the YouTube algorithm, the YouTube keywords, and SEO and YouTube. So I want to really learn about this platform and how to get the most out of it. 

And once I’m finished with my trilogy, I really want to start aggressively attacking paid ads because I have been avoiding them for a long time. It’s quite complicated, but I thought it’s no use advertising and paying for ads before I finished my trilogy. So once it’s finished, I will start trying paid ads, Amazon, maybe Facebook and BookBub definitely, and start testing and start finding the best ways to use paid ads to gain a larger readership and sell more books.

And I know that audio is the new trend and I really dream of having my books in audio. But it’s quite expensive. So I’m not sure if I can do it this year. Maybe next year, we’ll see how it goes and how my business grows this year. I really do him about it, definitely do. And I know that Findaway Voices has a great deal for authors where you I think you pay 50 or 60% to the narrator, and then you have like a royalty share deal.

And I definitely want to do that, but it’s still too expensive for me. I have this dream of an audiobook and then definitely want to do it. But first I need to polish my trilogy, start doing paid ads and see how it goes. And maybe, if I’m successful, I can do also audiobooks this year, because I think this is where the trend is going.

Definitely, we need to have audiobooks. I will, if not this year, I will definitely do an audiobook or audiobooks in the coming years because this is a trend we need to understand and a train we need to jump on before it drives away, a wave we need to ride before it swallows us.

Don’t be afraid of the trends. My recommendation is: always know the trends. And I always listen to Joanna Penn and the creative Penn, her amazing podcast. And the Alliance of independent authors has a podcast as well. And I listened to that one where Joanna Penn and Orna Ross were talking about the new trends of the new decade and the new year. And it was really helpful for me to derive the trends that are relevant for me and for my business and to see how I can use them to my advantage. And this is what you should do. I help it helped you. I hope it gave you more ideas on how you can grow your business in your writing and your readership in this new year.

Don’t think that there’s too much content out there. There is, but if you have great content, your tribe will be there to read your content and to consume it. I think there are people out there who need your content still, who are still looking for someone just like you, to bring them what they need because everyone is unique and every individual is bringing something of their own self into their content. And people need it. And your 1000 true fans are out there, as are mine. And I think we can do this. 

And this is going to be an amazing, exciting decade to be a content creator because the possibilities are as big as they’ve never been before.

And it’s an exciting age to live in. I think it’s the best age to become a writer.

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