I see a lot of young marketers making the same mistake
They spend all their time building marketing channels that they don’t own and have zero control over.
So they end up building a business that relies entirely on social media.
Or PPC ads.
Or YouTube, Medium, whatever.
They don’t realize how bad of a position that puts their business in.
They don’t realize that their entire livelihood can be wiped out instantly.
And they don’t realize that it happens all the time.
But smart marketers know better.
They don’t build businesses that rely on third-party platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Medium, etc…
They build marketing channels that they own and control.
- Algorithms change all the time
- Platforms lose popularity
- And you run the risk of getting kicked off
Algorithms Change all the time
You probably know this already, but search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, duckduckgo…
And social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Medium…
Are all run by algorithms that index, categorize and display your content to the people on their platform.
Those algorithms decide if people see your stuff… they decide who gets to see it… and they decide when, where and how those people see it.
The problem is, those algorithms change all the time.
Platforms constantly update what content they’re going to reward with more views, and what content gets penalized and hidden.
So why waste time tailoring your content to please an algorithm that’s just going to change again anyway?
Never mind the fact that you end up making content that looks exactly like everyone else’s…
Which is the last thing you want as a marketer by the way…
But it’s really stupid to build a business that relies on you gaming algorithms in hopes of generating a couple bucks.
I get it, some people like playing the game of trying to figure out an algorithm and exploit it for profit…
Me? I prefer playing the game of building my own marketing channels, like an email list, instead.
Then I don’t have to worry about algorithm changes.
Platforms Lose Popularity
I remember when people published on their Blogger and Tumblr accounts.
Then Ezine articles became the hot platform and everybody started writing there.
Today, writers mostly publish on Medium… for now.
The same thing happened with social media.
Everyone had a Myspace profile. Then we jumped ship to Facebook. Then Twitter. Then Instagram. Then Snapchat…
Now there are dozens of social media platforms to build an audience on.
The point is, platforms change.
The popular platform, where everyone is hanging out now, won’t be where everyone is still hanging out in 5 years.
Because new platforms are always emerging while old ones die off.
So don’t build a business reliant on a platform that probably won’t be popular in 3 years, definitely won’t be relevant in 5 and may not even be around in 10.
Sure, you might get lucky.
And find a platform that’s getting ready to explode.
And time it just right so you can ride the wave of popularity.
And build a massive following that jumpstarts your business.
Or you might waste a lot of time building an audience on a platform that never takes off and people can’t remember the name of in 3 years.
So why not just build your audience on an email list instead?
Then you don’t have to stress about which platform is best to build on and which one will end up a ghost town in a couple years.
And you run the risk of getting kicked off
Search engines stick websites they don’t like in the “sandbox” where they’ll never see the light of day again.
Social media platforms throttle your reach, make it impossible to find you in their search function and even flat out remove your account if they don’t like your content.
Whether you agree with it or not, the reality is, platforms can easily kick you off if you don’t play by their rules.
And since they’re the judge, jury and executioner – they can basically remove you for any reason they want.
All it takes is a few people complaining about your content…
Or some middle manager thinking your marketing style is a little too aggressive for the platform…
And just like that, with the click of a button, you lose access to the audience you built on that platform.
You might scoff at the idea of being deplatformed – insisting you don’t post anything that would warrant it.
But why take the risk?
Why put your livelihood in the hands of a platform that can cut you off from your market without notice or justification?
Especially when you can just build an email list.
Where you don’t have to worry about being thrown out on the street.
For the record…
I’m not saying don’t use these platforms as marketing channels.
You absolutely should use any and every marketing channel you have at your disposal.
Use social media. Run PPC ads. Take advantage of SEO. Upload videos to YouTube. Write on Medium and Substack.
Post your content all over those platforms.
But do it with the objective of getting people off that platform and onto a platform you own – like your email list.
Don’t rely on other people’s platforms
Instead, build marketing channels that you own and control.
Because when you have a marketing channel that you own…
Like an email list…
You’ll sleep a lot better at night knowing your business isn’t at the mercy of algorithms and tech companies.