Only one in four full-time content entrepreneurs say they have a primary content distribution platform, according to The Tilt’s 2021 benchmark content entrepreneur research. Seventy-two percent say they do not.

Those findings might prompt creators starting their new content businesses to say: “I should be publishing content wherever and whenever I can. After all, the more places my content is, the more people will see it.”

While that might seem like a sensible plan, it is not.

We only need to go back 2,500 years and listen to Socrates to be reminded why: “Better to do a little well than a great deal badly.”

Listen to Socrates: Resist the temptation to publish on every channel. Do one well rather than many badly. #contentbusiness #contententrepreneur Click To Tweet

And coming back to 2021, we can offer another couple of reasons. Almost half of content entrepreneurs (49%) cite lack of time as a barrier to developing a content business and over one-third (36%) say keeping up with content creation is a challenge.

So what’s an early-stage content entrepreneur to do?

Tilt Advice

Pick a primary content distribution platform. Devote most of your time, effort, and money to growing your audience through that channel.

Pick a primary content platform. Devote most of your resources to growing your audience on that channel, says @AnnGynn. #contentbusiness #creatoreconomy Click To Tweet

And if you’ve been reading The Tilt or heard or read just about everything our founder Joe Pulizzi puts out, you know the next piece of advice: Make that primary channel one that you own.

It’s one of the key differentiators of successful full-time content entrepreneurs. The research found owned channels were the top two used by full-time content entrepreneurs: 71% have blogs while 63% create e-newsletters. On an owned channel, you also are more likely to convert visitors into subscribers (i.e., their direct contact information.)

By controlling your primary channel, you have direct access to all available analytics so you can better understand your audience. You also don’t have to fret over algorithm and policy changes on social media channels. Another benefit? You can more easily add revenue streams that have healthier profit margins.

Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go on social media or other third-party platforms where your prospective audience might be. You can (and probably should)  go to that rented land as part of your brand’s marketing strategy.

Set up your profiles on all relevant platforms. Make sure to craft bios or about pages that encourage visitors to go to your primary channel. Incorporate your primary in most, if not every, call to action. Instead of creating content from scratch to post, repurpose and repackage the content that you’re already creating for your primary channel. 

(Here’s a tip: Craft your social media posts, from text to images or video, at the same time create the original content. Since the topic is fresh in mind, it will go more quickly.)

Finally, set goals for your primary channel that are quantified and to be achieved within a set timeframe.

Here’s a brief fill-in-the-blank strategy (downloadable PDF version):

  1. I am focusing my efforts on building my content business on _____________________________ (primary content distribution platform).
  1. By using this channel, I will be better able to reach _____________________________________ (target audience).
  1. I will use these social media and other third-party channels to promote my content to the target audience: _____________, ___________, __________, _________ (promotional channels).
  1. On these promotional channels, I will use CTAs to drive visitors to ________________________ (conversion).
  1. My first income from my content business will be through __________________________________ (revenue stream).
  1. My goals for this channel in the next six months include: __________________________ (e.g., subscribers, visitors) and ___________________________ (revenue).

(Note: Don’t set big revenue goals in your first six months. The Tilt research found it took an average of nine months before a content entrepreneur earned their first dollar.)

Once you have completed your primary channel goals, take time to review what’s working and what’s not in your content business. Then, decide if you can keep that going while adding a second content-focused channel. Or maybe you’ll opt to do more with your primary channel, adding new revenue streams and growing the audience exponentially.

About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.