Having a large following on the Internet is the new age celebrity status. People’s jaws drop when they find out you’re boasting hundreds of thousands of fans behind your content — and that sort of attention is alluring.
The problem, however, is that the shiny glamor of digital celebrity tends to lead many astray. They set out to be seen, instead of providing real value. They post with the hopes of being ‘liked,’ instead of posting with the intention of teaching, sharing, and empowering.
But that’s not even the number one reason most content creators fail. In fact, the reason for failure is much more simple.
Content creators lack patience and persistence.
The truth is, most people fail because they don’t stick with it long enough to go through the hard work that is required to find their voice.
That’s the part everybody wants to skip, because that’s also the scariest part of the journey: singing without knowing if you are any good or not.
Go watch the early videos of any now-famous YouTuber, and you’ll see a wide-eyed and ambitious vlogger with an unrefined approach to their craft. Go read the early blog posts of any full-time blogger and you’ll find a haphazard writing style with no clear aim (usually filled with grammatical errors). This is something I feel so passionate about, I actually included my very first blog post I ever wrote on the Internet (ten years ago) in my first book, Confessions of a Teenage Gamer, because I wanted people to see how rough the writing was when I first started out.
And yet, if you look closely enough, you can hear how even back then it was still “my voice,” it just wasn’t refined yet.
It’s this long and grueling process that weeds through the people who set out with the hopes of being crowned “Internet famous,” and those who genuinely want to master their craft and provide value to others — and it’s the latter that always wins.
You have to be patient.
You can’t expect for your first YouTube vlog to be amazing. You can’t expect your tenth blog to go viral. You can’t expect to just stroll up into an industry and immediately have everyone start clapping for your arrival. It doesn’t work that way.
Becoming someone worth watching, reading, or following takes time. Not only does it take time for people to find your content, but it takes you, the creator, time to really understand your style and your voice. It takes time to learn what topics resonate the most with the people you are trying to reach. It takes time to figure out what styles attract the most attention. It takes time, and in our world of distraction, that’s something a lot of people struggle with — being patient.
But we all know this is the path to success. Famous YouTubers share all the time how they made videos for a year or two before anyone took notice — sometimes longer. Famous bloggers talk about how they have been blogging for years (myself included) before attracting any sort of sizable audience. Even big time Instagrammers, for as young as that platform is, will attest that building a big audience required a lot of time and hard work. They worked hard to create valuable content every single day for months, even years, and to this day continue to work to keep their audience engaged and growing.
All of this takes patience.
There is no shortcut. There is no “fast track.” Because it’s all the result of understanding yourself as a content creator, what you’re really truly good at, and how you can successfully deliver that unique value that ultimately resonates with readers and followers.
By Nicolas Cole
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