So you want to get started building a career or hobby as a creative: you want to share your content with the world and be recognized for it, make a positive impact, make money, or maybe you just want to make a few friends who share your interests and improve in your craft? You dream of finding success in your goals, but no one knows you from dirt outside of family and a few close friends. You have creations you wish to share but you don’t know how to get it to those who wish to receive it – your only thought is to post the content on social media, put in a few hashtags, share it once or twice (thrice if you’re truly desperate), and cross your fingers the right people find it.
Determined to build a following, you continue to post your content; focusing on quality or quantity. Surely if you just post enough of your work the following will build right? Frustrated at the lack of response and feedback (you might as well be shouting into the abyss, but not even it would listen to you) you start comparing yourself to established creatives with the following you desire. You question your work; maybe it’s not good enough? Maybe you’re not good enough? Maybe you’re just on the wrong platform? So you start joining multiple platforms, all of which to share your work. You’re so committed you download all those platforms on your phone and post, post, post.
Suddenly you’re having trouble keeping up with the posting standards and followings for each platform. XYZ requires this, ABC requires that, you’ve got a responses to respond to on 123. You’re spending more and more time just trying to post and build a following on each platform that it becomes stressful and, even worse, none of those platforms are showing much growth, let alone leading to sales. Then you figure, maybe advertising is your best option, that’ll surely get you out in front of people and “noticed” right? Maybe you start spamming your contacts’ inboxes with your work, showing up in their posts with links to your work, putting your links in your own name because you’re so committed to your goal. Heck, maybe you just outright buy your followers to get yourself started.
No Platform? No Problem.
If any of this sounds familiar, it’s the modern day case of creatives who have, what I like to call, a case of, “Triple-A dreams on a zero dollar budget”. This represents creatives who wish to be as successful as other established creatives and corporate entities without understanding the strategies and systems that built them to where they are. The curse of the creative with dreams is the same as their gift – grit. When a creative doesn’t know what they should be doing to progress, they end up working much harder, not smarter, which inevitably results in overworking, self-induced stress, disappointment, and the arch-nemesis of all creatives appearing – burn out.
This blog series will cover the fundamental aspects of getting started with building your platform when you have absolutely no one in your contact list and your own mama won’t even view your work. After all, how can you expect to be a successful creative when you can’t even sell 10 T-shirts in support of your work? We’re going to go through, step-by-step, to get you up and running and getting your work out there!
The First Step Towards Building Your Empire
First, understand that these actionable steps are going to be different based on what your goals are and what your genre is. Obviously, a dancer won’t find nearly as much success on something like deviantart as a painter would, and a painter won’t find nearly as much success on something like sound.fm.
Regardless of what your talent or project is, the goal is ultimately the same. You need to establish yourself as a credible creative – something or someone that anyone can find via a Search Engine. That can take on many forms, but the goal is to get viewers/listeners/players on your work. It does not matter what platform you are discovered on, you want to take that respective person to your website where you can better showcase your work, control how the user views you and your work, control how they can contact you, and establish a retention relationship with that person by creating a newsletter which is the best way to build a loyal following and, subsequently, a distribution system that can be conduit for goodwill.
First time hearing about or working with the concept of a Newsletter? See: What is a Newsletter.
So first thing’s first, go and create an email account that you will specifically use for your creative endeavors. Keep the name professional or related to what you do. I recommend Gmail as it offers ease of use and log-in convenience with all social media platforms. With it, you’ll also get access to the free Google suite.
Once your email account is created (or you’re using one you’ve already established and keep up with), create your own website based on you or your work. You can do both but you want the domain name (what appears in the url) to be a clear indicator to the viewer what the site is all about – you don’t want something misleading, overdone, or obscene. There are lots of different website creation and hosting options out there and your decision on which you would like to use will ultimately come down to the time you’re willing to sit down, learn, and customize.
I’ve a Masters in Software Engineering and have coded my own websites line by line, but even I admit there’s no need to reinvent the wheel with your endeavor (unless you’re doing something extremely specific) when there’s better solutions out there. In 2021, there’s a plethora of high quality, simple, and organized content management websites that will quickly get you going without the headaches of a web developer. For a small monthly subscription fee, you can have a professional domain as well.
I go through furhost.net, as they offer, by far, the best deal when it comes to hosting and utilize wordpress.org (a content management site that offers a large variety of design and functionality options). Though this is a little more hands-on. I also purchase my domain names from namesilo.com .
If you wish to quickly get started, I recommend checking out and reviewing the big four:
Create your website with the goal of having your viewers learn about you, showcase your work (be it art, music, podcasts, designs, games, etc.,), have links to your social medias, and sign them up for your newsletter. (I strongly recommend MailChimp – more on this in another blog). If you’re selling a service or product, make sure your site showcases that. Content creator mewTriple does a good job of showcasing how to build a portfolio site:
Your options are not limited to simply art portfolios:
Understand Your Funnel
In marketing there is a term called a “Sales Funnel” which is best explained here:
Your funnel doesn’t necessarily have to be sales, it can be something as simple as garnering followers on your social media platforms , getting names for your email list(s), or getting members to join your Community Page/Patreon/Discord. Regardless of what your goal is, the purpose of your site is to serve as the foundation of your funnel. No matter what you do (online and offline), your goal is to get people all the way through your funnel and to do the action you want them to do.
With your website, you’ll have a way to set yourself apart from the bot accounts on social media and your prospective followers will be able to take actionable steps towards supporting you and your creative endeavors. It does you no good to have a million followers on social media if you can’t funnel them into an action.
Step One Complete. Step Two.
Once you’ve established your own website, complete with the information about you and your work, and a call to action, congratulate yourself on a job well done. You’ve done what most people can’t, and that’s take the first steps towards their dreams. Always celebrate the little things.
Still, this isn’t 1996. A personal website isn’t going to build your entire platform, it only serves as an information tool for an action. What you need next is to build upon your funnel with choosing the correct social media platforms and strategies that fit your needs, which we will discuss this all in Part II.
In conclusion, the key to establishing your platform starts with having a platform to establish from. Too many creatives get caught up in the idea that they need lots of followers and lots of contacts in order to be a successful and recognized creator, but that comes from the perspective of only seeing the end result of large accounts and followings, not what they did to get there – it’s a backwards misconception.
With this the first steps have been taken for a creative to benefit from contacts and accounts they interact with. For more information, be sure to subscribe to the Kzmaster Entertainment LLC 2020 Newsletter above!
Till next time!