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If you’re a creator, you’ve probably heard about the importance of diversifying your revenue streams. Chances are, you’ve done it successfully and if not, you might be wondering where to start.
Like any industry, the manufacturing economy is not immune to inflationary pressures. As dwindling brand sponsorship offers and ad revenue payouts squeeze revenue, creators look for more ways to extract value from their businesses. But for many, the question becomes how and when?
Not only do I believe that diversity is one of the key trends that will define the creator economy in 2023, but a recent survey we conducted revealed that 70% of respondents are considering additional income streams because of this economy. And with good reason: Variety can help complement and cross-sell existing offerings, leading to greater engagement, retention and customer lifetime value.
But while it can be tempting to dive in, creators need to strategically approach diversification to ensure it provides increased revenue and career stability by complementing and strengthening existing content rather than becoming a distraction.
I don’t just work with creators; I am one, which has given me a front-row view of the overlooked pitfalls and powerful possibilities of diversification. There are no easy answers to getting this right, but here are some rules that any creator hoping to diversify their offerings to stay competitive, meet evolving audience needs, and survive in this economy.
Related: Why creators can weather the recession better than big business
Don’t diversify without purpose
Let’s get it out. Yes, diversification can be a powerful strategy for business growth, but you don’t have to diversify just because everyone is talking about it. And you certainly don’t need to be on every platform, trying to tap into every possible revenue stream. Basically, there are two main scenarios in which diversification can be a good option for your business: when things are working and when they aren’t.
Diversification can be an effective strategy for creators who are already successful and want to take their business to the next level. If you have a large audience, generate significant revenue, and have the bandwidth to do more work, it’s a good time to consider expanding and reaching a broader customer base.
By diversifying, you can tap into new revenue drivers and key resources and engage with your audience in innovative ways. Twenty-five percent of full-time creators earn between $50,000 and $150,000 per year, according to a recent survey by ConvertKit. Most involve combining multiple revenue sources, including paid newsletters, appearances, coaching, merchandise or other streams from online courses. Our research shows that full-time creators rely on an average of 2.7 income streams, and the number of creators who rely on multiple streams has grown nearly 50% over the past five years.
On the other hand, if your current strategy is losing steam and you’re having a hard time generating audience engagement and revenue, it may be time to look for more clickable content and revenue streams. Used this way, diversification is a slower pivot than a true expansion, but exploring new types of content, products and services can help you energize your community or find new audiences more receptive to your content, leading to long-term sustainability. your business. Simply put, if your content isn’t resonating with your audience or you find it difficult to generate revenue, it may be time to consider a new approach.
Related: Recession Creates Opportunity for Creatives
when to wait
Despite the best possible diversification offers, sometimes it’s better to wait and focus all your energies on what you’ve got. If you’re new to the creator economy, still seeing growth and achieving your milestones, it may be best to focus on your existing content and channels rather than adding additional obstacles. Diversification can easily be overwhelming, especially if you’re still on the learning curve.
Even experienced creators should recognize that diversity requires more attention and effort. I’ve seen many cases where creators with shiny object syndrome ignore successful and profitable business channels and lose out on both. If your current approach works well, staying focused on growing existing channels and hiring a team to increase your capacity in those successful ventures may be better than dividing your attention.
I always recommend that you do a quick ROI check if your efforts in this new opportunity are likely to create more returns than leaning on your existing business and doubling down on what’s working.
This is not a one-size-fits-all approach
If diversity is your move, the next logical question for many creators would be: How? And the truth is, there is no golden ticket. The right tactics for diversification depend heavily on your unique audience and business.
One way to diversify is to expand your topics using your existing channels. For example, if you have an online school for yoga instruction, your student community may be interested in meditation and healthy eating. By expanding into related niches, you can diversify the topics within that niche to keep your audience engaged and attract new followers. This approach allows you to grow your brand while focusing on the platforms that serve you best.
Another approach is diversifying your revenue sources to complement and cross-sell successful content. A physical product can drive revenue, while the curriculum and community can be an engagement engine that keeps people coming back. Synergies create a virtuous cycle – hot topics of conversation in the community can be the basis for a new minicourse or ebook; Courses can be gateways to paywalled communities where everyone has a common baseline of interests and skills.
Creators can build strong and sustainable businesses by combining channels in unique ways. Take John Lee Dumas, host of the podcast Entrepreneur on Fire, who has combined his daily podcast, short courses, and even regular reports about his own entrepreneurial journey as part of his diverse offerings.
Related: For Savvy Entrepreneurs, Economic Downturns Create Opportunity
A well-executed diversification strategy can turn your community into an engagement engine that builds customer loyalty and delivers rich customer insights. The key is to always be strategic. When considering diversification, map out the workflow for your content production, syndicate it across channels and re-evaluate the impact on your bandwidth before making further changes.
Diversification can be a game changer for creators looking to build thriving, sustainable businesses, but there’s no single way to go about it or one right answer that meets every creator’s needs.
Random sprawl, or feeling the need to be everywhere all the time, is not a successful strategy—it’s a recipe for burnout. But by strategically identifying new content and revenue streams, creators can stay on top of the game.