Why should you own your content and community?

Posted on October 29, 2021

With the growth of social media and video streaming platforms, more content creators are seeing tremendous growth, but even more are experiencing the darker side of hosting their content on these platforms. In this Breakfast Chat, we'll talk about some of the downsides of exclusively hosting your content on major platforms, and what content creators can do to mitigate the risks.

Let's get into it!

Your content might be modified

Creators that are active on streaming sites know the impact of this one the best. Both YouTube and Twitch streamers will frequently report their content getting proactive copyright strikes against their videos, leading to blackouts on the video, muting portions of the video, or even removal entirely. Copyright strikes are a reasonable measure for legitimate breaches of these strikes, but the majority of cases on these sites are due to the platform or major brands having bots proactively scanning and reporting content. This creates many false reports for which there is not a clear recourse for creators. Since advertisers and large brands pay the bill, these platforms will rather take action against creators first than make sure that it's a legitimate complaint before taking action.

Your content risks being demonetized

Discussion is always healthy, but for platforms that generate all their revenue from advertising there will always be a need to cater to baseline popularity in order to keep advertisers continuing to spend money on the platform. This is how you see creators getting demonetized by Youtube for discussion on themes like recreational drug use or even the use of inappropriate language. YouTube's own terms even say "controversial issues" are grounds for demonetization, leaving it wide open for them to interpret as convenient. While we at Cereal believe there is a line for appropriate content to distribute, we don't believe advertisers should be the ones drawing it.

Your audience can be redirected away from you

The core issue on this list most clearly shows where content creators are vulnerable, and that is, at the end of the day each of these platforms care more about promoting themselves than you as a creator. When a loyal fan of yours finishes the latest episode in a series you've shared, YouTube doesn't make sure that they go onto something else that you've created next. They send them off to whatever the algorithm believes will keep them on their website, not on your channel.

So what can I do about this?

What can content creators do to de-risk themselves from the way platforms operate? The best strategy is to reduce your direct dependency on individual platforms, and move your loyal fans somewhere you control. That doesn't mean not using the major platforms anymore, it just means to use them with a better understanding of the risks, and using them as ways for new fans to discover you.

Some of the ways creators that you follow do this today are:

  • Create a link aggregator page, so you can swap out content and platforms to where they are investing the most energy
  • Create a direct subscription, so you can email your fans directly when new content is available
  • Launch a website, hosting your content directly can be time-consuming but you have control over your true fans
  • Create multiple video channels, so actions taken against one channel doesn't impact another

At Cereal, we take this a step further. By creating a Cereal site, you can easily accomplish all of the above in 5 minutes or less and even attach your own domain name, and automatically sync videos from multiple sources.

Photo by Nubelson Fernandes on Unsplash

Sign in to view comments!