JUNE 25, 2021

Welcome to The Tilt, a twice-a-week newsletter for content creators who want to be or already are content entrepreneurs. We talk aspiration, inspiration, revenue, audiences, tech, trends, and more to help your content business thrive.

full tilt

Think of Your Audience as People First, Business Assets Second

In a content business, you need a target audience.

Who are you trying to reach? Who are the people who would be most interested in the content you’re creating?

While the phrase “target audience” works for a business model, it has a downside. It removes humanity from the equation and views your audience more as strategic assets than people who have a shared interest.

Thanks to comedian Michael Jr., there’s a better question to ask: Who do you want to serve?

That’s the interrogatory on which he bases his comedic content business, which includes live and digital shows, videos, a weekly podcast Funny How Life Works, and a book with the same title.

Though that probably wasn’t what he was thinking the first time he told jokes in public. Nope, that was a dare from a friend in a movie theater after the projector broke. His fellow moviegoers laughed. After he sat back down, security came in to kick him out. “This white lady, who I don’t even know, stood up and said, ‘If you kick that young man out, I want my money back.’”

More people – bikers with long hair and tattoos, Black people – stood up for him too. The proverbial lightbulb went off. “What I’m called to do isn’t just to make people laugh. It’s to make them laugh and come together for something that’s bigger than just themselves,” Michael Jr. says.

He had found what would become his content tilt. “That’s what happened in that moment, and that’s what’s happening in the moments of my life as I breathe right now.”

The Tilt Advice

Whether Michael Jr.’s on stage or talking in a video or on his podcast, he’s asking himself: “How can I make some positive change into the person’s life who’s listening?”

You don’t need to be as magnanimous as Michael Jr. But it is smart to view your audience goals from two perspectives – your business’ goals and your audience’s goals. The first category centers around subscribers, followers, etc. The second centers around humanity.

His advice for every content creator or content entrepreneur: “Are you asking ‘what can I give’ or are you asking ‘what can I get?’

“If you don’t know the answer … you’re probably asking, ‘What can I get?’ because that’s what we all do by default. You have to make a decision to ask, ‘What can I give?’”

– Ann Gynn

To learn how Michael Jr. really found his life’s tilt when he was a little boy, which advice helped land him on The Tonight Show and Oprah, and why he stopped asking what would make his audience laugh , read the longer story.

ThatDenverGuy Reveals Video Platform Secrets

Entrepreneur: ThatDenverGuy

Biz: ThatDenverGuy gaming content, Zero to Legend YouTube Mastery Course

Tilt: Second favorite phys ed teacher who creates video gaming content

Channels: ThatDenverGuy YouTube (1.08M), Den Top 10 YouTube (259K), Twitch (50.2K), TikTok (70.9K)

Rev Streams: YouTube and Twitch subscribers, YouTube ads, course, merch

Our Favorite Actionable Advice

  • Know it takes a lot of work: Though he found monetary success early, ThatDenverGuy says content creation requires big time commitment.
  • Don’t be a copycat: Resist the urge to replicate what works. Find a mentor who can inspire your work.
  • Stick with YouTube: ThatDenverGuy believes the world’s largest video platform is the best one for creators who want to earn long-lasting revenue.

Some of the Story:

When ThatDenverGuy (whose real name is Denver) started his first YouTube channel, he had just welcomed his first child, worked a full-time job as a fourth grade and physical education teacher, and was generally stressed out. He spent his nights creating content to make a little extra cash to pay some bills.

Five years later, Denver’s main channel has 1.08M subscribers. His dedicated followers return weekly to watch his gaming content, mostly advisory videos on the well-known battle royale game Fortnite or play-through guides for more niche games like Stardew Valley.

Denver always planned to make money from his content and first did so through YouTube’s AdSense program. “I monetized as soon as I could through YouTube but never really got into selling merch and other stuff until much later,” he says. “My main sources were Adsense income and livestream memberships, donations, and subscribers through both YouTube and Twitch.”

His career took off across platforms. Denver now has two YouTube channels (while acting as the creative director for three others), a successful Twitch streaming account, and even caters to a new audience on the ever-rising app TikTok. Though he’s tried them all, Denver continues to return to YouTube as his favorite and most profitable stream of income.

“I believe that YouTube is the absolute main platform all content creators should strive to capitalize on,” Denver explains. “Twitch is excellent, but once a stream is over, it’s done forever, and hours of work will no longer have anything to show for it minus a few long-term viewers.

“YouTube, on the other hand, is still rewarding me years later. I have videos from four to five years ago that still bring in a couple of hundred dollars a month each. YouTube also has the best system in place to promote new creators to a wide audience and gives people the best chance at building a community.”

– Kelly Wynne

All the Story: To learn more about ThatDenverGuy, what he says all content entrepreneur wannabes need, and how he expanded his revenue streams, check out the longer story.

Know a content creator who’s going full tilt? DM us or email [email protected].

quick talk

Caught on … Twitter

Creating a two-way communication with an audience is everything.” – Ishneet Singh

things to know

  • Revenue from search: Ahrefs’ new web search engine is close to going public. They will share 90% of ad revenue with the content creators. Why? One reason is that Ahrefs wants those creators to influence their followers’ switch to a new search engine. (Dmitry Gerasimenko, Ahrefs founder)
    Tilt Take: Since we’re champions for creators earning money from their content, this sounds like a good deal. However, don’t budget for that new revenue stream just yet. It’s going to be a lot of work to convert Google search users.
  • Twitter cash: Twitter is accepting applications from creators for its new Ticketed Spaces and Super Follows features. Spaces is for event creation, while Super Follows is all about paid subscriber content. Twitter says creators can earn up to 80% of the revenue minus platform fees after they’ve reached $50K in lifetime platform earnings. (Twitter)
    Tilt Take: You can start earning money right away but don’t forget to calculate the fees and cut for Twitter.
  • 2 essentials: Patreon CEO Jack Conte says creators who do the best have strong connections with their audience because they deeply love them and vice versa. The other essential ingredient? Exclusive content for subscribers. (The Verge)
    Tilt Take: Jack’s full interview with The Verge is worth the read. His advice for creators to have a strong reciprocal community and offers of exclusivity should be heeded.
  • One-node videos: “If you’ve had less than 500 views, as apparently over 50% of YouTube videos do, chances are you got stuck in a node. But this might not be a bad thing. Sometimes going deep is better than going wide.” (Media Insider)
    Tilt Take: Nodes are the things that build the social networks – each is made up of people with strong ties. And that’s preferable for content entrepreneurs focused on a niche, which is usually a more profitable audience rather than going viral.
Tech and Tools
  • Making the assist: Facebook added comment moderation to its Admin Assist tool. Admins can set up criteria to automatically moderate posts and comments. These include restricting people who don’t qualify to participate, limiting promotional content with links, set definitions to resist spam, maintaining positive discussions, and resolving conflicts. (Facebook)
    Tilt Take: A strong community requires a strong moderator. Facebook’s latest additions can help make it easier.
  • TikTok looks out: The new TikTok Jump app lets creators link to content from select third parties, including BuzzFeed, Wikipedia, and Quizlet. Now, when you create your content, you can share a link with viewers to discover more about it, from recipe ingredients to detailed bios. (Slash Gear)
    Tilt Take: TikTok is forward-thinking, recognizing its viewers might want more from the creators’ content. Since its existing format didn’t make that possible, the mini-app feature makes a lot of sense.
And finally
  • Snapped: Digiday Research says marketers think TikTok before Snapchat nowadays. (Digiday)
    Tilt Take: If sponsorships and advertising are part of your revenue streams, make sure to be where marketers want to be.
  • Happy 10th: Twitch hit the tin anniversary this month. It was launched from Justin.tv, one of the founder’s general livestreaming sites. The intent? Make people interact online and give each other money. It worked. They have over 9M streamers who attract 140M visitors a month. (Wired)
    Tilt Take: The play by Twitch was so innovative, it took years for any similar platform features to come along. Having a platform to create and attract a paying audience is a great step toward content entrepreneurship.

shout-out in the tilt

Shout-out to MarTech Alliance, a learning solutions business with marketing technology & ops events, courses & resources.

Also, special thanks to the This Old Marketing podcast sponsor, MarcomGather, for their free trial offer.

With MarcomGather you can quickly centralize assets, eliminate unorganized file storage, and best of all – never lose track of your files again. Experience MarcomGather free for 30 days at https://marcom.com/tom/.

Now, you can send the next shout-outs. Spend your $TILT coin to create your shout-out and we’ll publish it in an upcoming issue. See here for details.

we’re a stan for Deere

Five years ago, makeup artist Deere built a following on Twitch when she morphed two subcultures into one: video games and drag. The streamer explains to NBC News, “I was thinking to myself, ‘I have a new computer, it has the capabilities of streaming, and I just want to be a drag queen, so why not be the video gaming drag queen? It just made sense.'”

She then formed a collective with drag streamers called Stream Queens, which now has over 80 members, hoping to cultivate a supportive community for queens (and kings) on the platform.

Well, pushing for inclusivity online pays. According to the Twitch Money Calculator on Influencer Marketing Hub, Deere’s channel (42.2K) has an estimated media value of $14.6K. Paid subscriptions, donations, and influencer marketing, along with ads, affiliate sales, and sponsorships account for her various income streams.

Why we’re a Stan: We love that Deere saw the power in collaboration. Making space for queens and kings also allowed for her account to become a recognizable part of drag gaming.

the business of content

Joe interviews Nathaniel Whittemore in his weekly podcast, Content Inc. Hear how The Breakdown with @NLW went from zero to millions of downloads. From launch to audience to revenue, they cover it all.

In the latest This Old Marketing, Robert and Joe discuss who will win the social audio wars as Spotify gets into the competition. Also listen in to hear the rants and raves of the week, including Link-in-Bio startups, which really isn’t a thing and how big tech is taking over the creator economy.

the tilt team

Your team for this issue: Joe Pulizzi, Ann Gynn, Laura Kozak, and Dave Anthony, with an assist from Kelly Wynne, Shameyka McCalman, and Don Borger.