It may cost you everything you’ve built so far.
I see so many new writers doing all of these things right:
- Publish articles consistently.
- Spend a good amount of time learning and researching subjects in the niches where they want to become an authoritative voice.
- Write for the right audience.
- Build a following.
- Engage with their audience.
- Etc, etc, all the things professional writers do.
They seem to do everything needed for them to be successful, and then…
…you realize that…
They’re doing all of this on a platform they do not own!
Why? Why risk your work like that?
Here are just a few reasons why you need your own website or blog:
- Audience connection. On external platforms, you may have thousands of followers, but if your account goes bye-bye, so does your ability to communicate with them. Some platforms allow you to export your subscribers’ list, but many international laws would prevent you from simply importing those contacts into a newsletter audience. On most platforms though, that is not even possible, and what you consider your audience is actually theirs.
- Freedom of speech and expression. I’ve been saying everything I wanted, exactly how I wanted it, and when I wanted it, for about 14 years on my own blogs — the main one being Psychology Corner. I make my own guidelines, I set what’s allowed or not as content. What I write on Medium is tailored to their audience, their style, their goals. What goes on my blogs fits my style, my goals, and whoever shares my views and interests discovers me with a simple click via Google Search.
- Self-promotion. On external platforms, self-promotion is discouraged or looked down upon. The platform uses your expertise, your work, even your audience if you lead them this way, and maybe you’re allowed to post a link to your website, mention a course, or include an affiliate link. Sky is the limit on your blog.
- Meaningful connections. Most of the collaboration invites that I received from publishing houses, independent authors, or editors were the direct result of people discovering my website. They’ve read my work, browsed through years of samples, saw my professional presentation… and they decided I was a good fit for their project. Their attention was targeted. On external platforms, there’s so much noise — “Read this, jump here, maybe you’d like that” — that it dilutes most of the interactions. I’m not saying meaningful connections cannot happen on external platforms, no. In fact, that’s where the best ones may start. But then you need a quieter place to have a serious conversation. Take the person to your personal gallery of great stuff. Visit theirs. Otherwise, that connection will always have to deal with a third wheel.
Do what’s best for you but those were my two cents on relying on external platforms when you’re an online content creator.
They’re great if you want to increase your reach, but as far as audience growth and retention go… a big no-no.
Thanks for reading.
Have fun and be great, wherever you’re writing.