Imagine you have just moved into a new, hip neighborhood. Around the corner is a craft coffee shop known to be the best in town. You wander in for the first time to see what all the fuss is about and find they only serve hazelnut lattes. You end up ordering one and it’s tasty, but you would have preferred a cold brew.
Coffee can be brewed and served in so many ways: espresso, cappuccino, Americano, French press, pour-over, etc. Some take their coffee black; others prefer milk, sugar, and flavoring (which I contend is coffee for people who don’t like coffee). It’s certainly possible the right coffee shop owner in the right location could serve hazelnut lattes exclusively and make a living. The more sensible approach is to not assume that all coffee consumers want their drinks made the same way.
And yet, if we’re honest, many content creators are like a coffee shop serving just one drink. Many are stuck delivering their thoughts, ideas, and creations in one particular way without regard to changing consumption patterns. It’s all too easy to get overly tied to a certain technology or platform for content delivery.
Maybe you’ve been a podcaster for several years but haven’t made the jump to video. Has your blog grown to a point that you should consider self-publishing a book? Perhaps you have a large enough following that hosting a conference around your content makes sense. It might be the case that you’re an influencer on Instagram but have not made an earnest attempt to connect with consumers on other emerging social platforms.
Maybe you need to consider a completely new way of packaging your ideas. Continuing with our coffee analogy, there are almost as many non-beverage ways to get your java fix: chocolate covered coffee beans, coffee-flavored ice cream, and coffee stouts come to mind.
Here’s the critical part of the analogy, though: when it comes to coffee, the quality of your product is entirely dependent on the caliber of the bean used to make it. If you don’t start with great beans roasted to perfection, no amount of milk and sugar is going to save your cup. Likewise, with your content, it’s less about how you deliver, and more about the ideas behind it all.
What are you trying to say? With whom are you trying to connect? Why should anyone reward you with their attention? What problem are you trying to solve? What question are you trying to answer? Finding those answers is the hard part. Once you have, it’s worth exploring how your ideas could be articulated in different environments. Who else could you reach if you packaged your content in new ways?
One real-world example of a content creator that I believe has mastered delivery diversification is Dave Ramsey. If you’re not familiar, Dave has developed a set of principles around personal finance with a particular focus on getting out of debt. You can read his books, listen to his radio show, download a podcast, see him on cable news shows, attend live events, or take local classes that teach his philosophies in-depth. He’s developed a robust set of ideas (the coffee beans) and found several ways to brew his content in an attempt to reach as many people interested in personal finance as possible.
Bear in mind, though, Dave Ramsey has successfully diversified his content delivery because he’s been working at it for decades. He has carefully built his empire one piece at a time. I’m not encouraging you to go out and attempt to conquer all media at once. Pick a method or two and master those before adding the next logical piece.
Before the internet leveled the playing field, it was expensive and cumbersome to publish content in multiple forms. Today, that’s no longer the case. Creators large and small are communicating with their tribes through new processes and platforms we could not have imagined thirty years ago.
Whether you’re an independent creator or if you work for a large traditional media company, it’s time to serve your content in new ways. Expand your menu. Try something new. Don’t assume that everyone looking to hear what you have to say will access your content the same way.