Why You Shouldn’t Start a Podcast or YouTube Channel (Seriously)

Why You Shouldn’t Start a Podcast or YouTube Channel (Seriously)

You’ve seen it for yourself. These days, there are a gazillion different ways to broadcast your thoughts online.

Blogging, podcasting, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat — the options are overwhelming. Are you supposed to do all of them? If not, which ones are most important? What if you are talented in one medium and terrible in another?

ARGH! It’s so confusing.

Well, here’s the good news:

In this post, I’ll do my best to answer those questions. Even better, I’ll give you answers that include taking things off your plate, not putting more things on.

In other words, everything is about to get a whole lot simpler. Let’s jump in.

Why Trying to Do Everything at Once Is a Mistake


Some influencers are doing it all. They have a blog, podcast, YouTube channel, a bunch of social media accounts with tons of followers — everything.

From the outside, it’s impressive. You might even think that’s what you have to do if you want to make money online.

But here’s a little secret:

Behind the scenes, most of those influencers are paying entire teams of helpers. In the rare case where they are doing everything themselves, it also leaves them without any time to monetize all that content, so many “social media influencers” are actually broke.

The reason why?

No one gets more than 24 hours in a day. It doesn’t matter how smart, fast, or multi-talented you are — you’ll never be able to do everything well.

No one gets more than 24 hours/day.

You have to choose. The question is… how?

How to Figure out What to Focus on


Thankfully, this one is simple. Just answer one question:

In what medium can you develop a top 1% skillset?

At first glance, this might seem like a strange question, but let’s break it down.

There are three types of media: the written word, audio, and video. Chances are, you’ll be better at one than the others.

For example, writing has always come naturally to me. Even when I was in school, I could write essays 10X better than everyone else and barely exert myself at all.

For you, maybe it’s something different.

Maybe engaging people with your voice and having interesting conversations comes naturally to you. In that case, you should start a podcast.

Or maybe you’re captivating on video. Ever since you were a kid, you’ve been a natural entertainer.

Wherever you shine, that’s the medium you should focus on.

But here’s the caveat:

Don’t just jump in and expect to be successful. Success with any kind of content marketing isn’t about being good. It’s about being among the best.

Success with any kind of content marketing is about being among the best.

Here’s what I mean:

The Staggering Difference between Being Good and Being Great


Once upon a time, I was an NFL (American football) junkie, and I was always intrigued by the pay difference between players.

The star of your team might make $20 million a year. The backup to your star, however, might make $2 million or even less.

Was this because the star was 10X better?

Not even close. In a professional sport, even the backup players are among the best in the world. At best, a star might be 50% better than his replacement.

So why do they pay him 10X more?

Because games are a matter of matchups. One player being just a little bit better than his opponent can mean the difference between winning and losing. If you have an entire team of players who are just a tiny bit better, you win the Super Bowl.

You see the same thing in the Olympics. The silver medal runner might be just a fraction of a second behind the gold medal winner.

And content marketing works the same way.

The rewards go to the best of the best. You can be a good writer or podcaster or YouTuber and have mediocre or even terrible results.

In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say something controversial:

If you’re not prepared to be among the best in your niche, content marketing isn’t going to do anything for you at all. You might as well quit.

Before you get too discouraged though, here’s the other side of the coin:

If you diligently upgrade your skills over time in a medium where you have some natural talent, you can almost always be among the best.

Let me explain…

How I Became One of the Most Popular Writers on the Web


Over the last decade, my work has touched over 200 million people — about 1 out of 8 people in the English-speaking world.

Crazy, right? Obviously, I must have some secret.

But I don’t. I followed the exact method I’m teaching you here.

I recognized I was a naturally talented writer, so then I spent years improving my writing skills to the point of being among the best in the world. It took me about three years to begin to get noticed and another two years after that for people to start thinking of me as “the blogging guy.”

During those years of practice, I wrote 1,000 words every single day. In the first year, I also wrote 100 headlines per day. Added to that, I spent one or two hours per day reading the work of other top bloggers, dissecting why they were popular, and deliberately practicing incorporating their techniques into my own work.

It’s the same process an athlete uses to become an elite player in their sport. Identify natural talent, practice like hell, and then do your best to be in the right place at the right time.

Content marketing is no different. It’s a sport, and there are winners and losers.

The medium doesn’t matter. Blogging, podcasting, YouTube — the vast majority of the rewards go to the people at the top.

The question is, are you willing to put in the work to get there?

It doesn’t always have to take three years as it did for me. I spent a lot of time running in circles because I didn’t have anyone to guide me. With the right coach, you can progress much, much faster.

And that brings me to my most important point.

The Formula for Being an Insanely Successful Person


It’s all about stacking top 1% skills.

Let’s say you have some natural talent as a writer. You invest in some good training, work like hell, and gradually become a top 1% writer.

But that’s not the end of the story.

Now you’re getting lots of traffic, but you’re not making much money, and you realize it’s because your marketing sucks. So again, you invest in some good training, work like hell, and gradually become a top 1% marketer.

Again though, it’s not the end of the story.

Because now, you’re making some pretty good money, but you’re working night and day, and you want to hire someone to help you. Problem is, you’re a terrible manager and leader, but again, you decide to suck it up, invest in some good training, work like hell, and gradually become a top 1% CEO.

The above story isn’t a fairytale, by the way. It’s the story of the last 10 years of my life.

And it’s actually a pretty common story. Regardless of profession, the most successful people in any field get there by stacking 1% skills on top of each other.

So, let’s bring this full circle:

When to Branch out into Podcasting or YouTube


Assuming you’re a blogger, you should wait until you’ve mastered blogging.

Let’s take me as an example.

I’ve spent the last couple of years improving my skills as a CEO. It’s been a painful, gradual process, but I think I’m starting to “get it,” and that’s one of the reasons why the company is now growing faster than it has in years.

Am I among the top 1%? Not quite, but according to these stats, I’m getting pretty close. I think it’s just a matter of time.

So, what’s next?

I’ll pick another media and become the top 1% there. I have some natural talent with podcasting as well, so that’s probably the next skill to stack on top. On the other hand, I don’t think I have much natural talent with video, so the chances of me starting a YouTube channel where I’m the star are pretty slim.

And that’s fine. We don’t have to be great at everything.

The key is to be great at one thing… and then another thing… and then another thing.

If your first “thing” is writing, I’m your man. We have some of the best training there is for writers, and we’re expanding it all the time.

But do me a favor…

Don’t start a podcast or YouTube channel while you’re trying to learn how to write. That’s the equivalent of someone training for an Olympic marathon deciding to become an Olympic swimmer and skier all at the same time.

That’s never going to happen. Not unless you’re inhuman, anyway.

So, pick just one medium. Focus on it. Get really, really, really great at it.

And then enjoy the rewards of being at the top.

About the Author: Jon Morrow is the CEO of Smart Blogger. Check out his new blog Unstoppable and read the launch post that went viral: 7 Life Lessons from a Guy Who Can’t Move Anything but His Face.

55 Comments

  1. Jan Orsula
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 15:01:28

    Hey Jon,

    That’s a crucial point. I’ll take it from a different perspective. I remember when I started my blog, I wanted to drive as much traffic as possible. I started 10 different techniques thinking that I’m able to master them all at once.

    Big mistake, hundreds of hours trying to get meaningful results resulted in almost nothing. When I analyzed the results after a few months, I realized, one simple technique brought me more traffic than the other nine together.

    As you said, be master at one thing and then move to the other.

    Reply

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 06, 2018 @ 15:20:58

      Yes! I’m so glad you made this point. Mastering traffic techniques is just as important.

      Reply

    • Ray
      Sep 09, 2018 @ 23:40:48

      Which technique?

      Reply

  2. Mar
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 15:02:53

    This clears out all the confusion in me as blog beginner on planning to do things all at the same time. You’re really a great writer Jon.

    Reply

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 06, 2018 @ 15:21:12

      Thanks Mar. 🙂

      Reply

  3. Aaron Force
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 15:04:35

    That’s some good input, thanks so much. For what it’s worth, I think you would be highly successful at Youtube. I’ll be your first subscriber.

    Reply

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 06, 2018 @ 15:22:00

      Haha, thanks Aaron! Maybe one day!

      Reply

  4. Ignacio
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 15:17:29

    Jon, thank you. Stellar info. This article totally bulls-eyed a question I’ve been wrestling with for a while now.

    Question: if we actually don’t know which of the above we’re best at, or if we think we might have the ability to run in either direction, then from a purely financial perspective, do you see one field as more easily lucrative than another?

    Eg, do you see podcasting as less competitive/cluttered than blogging these days, or creating good YouTube vids as more in demand/valuable than podcasts?

    Reply

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 06, 2018 @ 15:25:09

      They are all highly lucrative if you are skilled. There are people doing eight or even nine figures in each.

      And never worry about a space being too crowded. I actually need to write a post about that.

      If you’re not sure which one to choose, try them all for a short period of time (like a month or less) and see which one seems to fit you the best.

      Reply

  5. Alba
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 15:20:00

    Honest as fuck 😀

    Reply

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 06, 2018 @ 15:25:23

      Hell yeah. 🙂

      Reply

  6. Anne
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 15:39:57

    When you say to read other blogs as a way to learn and improve, do they need to be in the same niche? Most of the blogs I’ve read in my niche are pretty amateurish, and what I’ve learned from them is what not to do.

    Any thoughts on this?

    By the way…great post! Really hit what I’ve been struggling with since I’m being encouraged to set up a YouTube channel, but honestly, video is just not my thing! 🙂

    Reply

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 06, 2018 @ 15:43:29

      It depends what you’re studying. If you’re researching what topics are popular, then yes, read the blogs in your space. If you’re learning how to structure your posts, design your site, build your email list, etc, those skills apply across niches, so you want to learn from whoever is best, regardless of what they are writing about.

      Reply

      • Anne
        Sep 06, 2018 @ 16:42:45

        Thanks, Jon! So I’ll be checking out both, for different reasons. : )

  7. Will Hawkins
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 15:57:32

    Thanks, Jon, for a thought provoking post. You are right, dammit. I’ve been learning too many things recently, including shooting and editing videos, creating podcast, YouTube optimisation and more. It’s exhausting!! I need to focus…

    Reply

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 06, 2018 @ 16:20:08

      Yep, focus is everything.

      Reply

  8. Donna M Patterson
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 16:17:34

    Thank you Jon, I’ve been all over the place … which means, I get nothing done because my focus is everywhere. I’m taking your advice starting today and just focus on my writing. And start your training course again.

    Reply

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 06, 2018 @ 17:01:04

      Yes! It’s never too late to turn things around.

      Reply

  9. Ruth
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 16:24:16

    Hi Jon,
    It’s taken me a year to come to the same conclusion. After much soul searching, not to mention financial losses and migraines. Yada Yada.
    You are right on the money.
    Ruth

    Reply

  10. LUSEKELO MWAKITALU HUDSON
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 16:51:44

    I was about to start my own youtube channel, after reading this post I think it will be smart if I wait a bit longer, as always great thank you, Jon, I am blessed to read your blog.

    Reply

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 06, 2018 @ 17:18:55

      Glad the post helped!

      Reply

  11. Kevin J. Duncan
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 17:17:16

    Hey Jon,

    Great post. Great thoughts. Reading it reminded me of advice you gave a couple years ago regarding social media: Don’t try to be on Facebook… and Twitter… and Google Plus… and (fill in the blank) all at once. Pick one and focus. Spreading yourself between ten different platforms is a recipe for failure.

    I’m paraphrasing, but that was my takeaway.

    Unfortunately, it’s the common trap many bloggers fall into. We try to be everywhere and do everything. And, as a result, we’re average (at best) in several things instead of being truly great at ONE thing.

    We’re Bobby Bonilla, basically.

    Remember him? He could play third base, first base, left field, and right field on the baseball diamond. He was versatile. That and a decent bat led him to some big paydays in his career. Thing was he pretty much sucked at all those positions. Sure, he could play a lot of positions. He just played them poorly.

    Thanks for the reminder, Jon. Top 1%, here I come! 😀

    Off to tweet…

    Reply

    • Jon Morrow
      Sep 06, 2018 @ 17:19:59

      You’re already in the top one % of bloggers, my man. No question about that. 🙂

      Reply

      • Kevin J. Duncan
        Sep 06, 2018 @ 17:49:39

        Thanks, Jon! You just made my day, week, and year. 😀

  12. Ana Gray
    Sep 06, 2018 @ 21:19:56

    Just what I needed to hear today! This applies to other life skills as well. Jon, thank you for laying it out so clearly 🙂

    Reply

  13. Glenn Cooman
    Sep 07, 2018 @ 00:01:20

    Straightforward; You put me back with my feed on the ground. But it feels right

    Reply

  14. Chinmay Joshi
    Sep 07, 2018 @ 00:14:44

    Woww!! Thanks for clearing some of my misconceptions on doing everything at once! You really showed me a clear path on how to achieve success in one thing at once. 🙂

    Reply

  15. Carson
    Sep 07, 2018 @ 00:54:35

    Great post John. I was going to try blogging, but I’ve always been a better speaker than writer. I am a former pastor, so speaking is more natural. However, I have know clue how to monitize a podcast. Nor am I able to vision a clear path to success with a podcast. How in the world does SEO relate to a podcast?
    Anyway, I will be recovering from back surgery next month and will have allot of time on my hands. I hope you start a podcast and offer a course on podcasting as I would be first in line to sign up

    Reply

  16. swati pankaj gawande
    Sep 07, 2018 @ 02:42:27

    it’s good idea about starting my own podcast channel
    but i need more time for this
    thanks for information

    Reply

  17. Anastasia
    Sep 07, 2018 @ 06:26:47

    Hey Jon,

    really loved this post! Can’t thank you enough for motivating me to focus on one thing at a time. As a DIY blogger this will be Pinterest – so image related content rather than video, audio or wrtiting. I’ll rest my other channels which – of course – I started all at once because I thought it’s a must. Let’s see how it works out.

    Reply

  18. Nicah Caramba
    Sep 07, 2018 @ 07:37:44

    Hi, Jon

    As someone who kind of lacks focus, this came at the right time. I follow a top digital marketing agency and they seem to do everything right! Podcasting, blogging, social media, etc. but you’re right, that’s because they have a team behind them and they started out with being good at one thing.

    Reply

  19. Saeed
    Sep 07, 2018 @ 10:05:19

    Hi, very interesting article you’re discussing over here, thank you for sharing, good luck.

    Reply

  20. Linda Vaughn
    Sep 07, 2018 @ 13:21:35

    Totally inspirational and frees me to build my 1% skill set with blogging. The perfect reality check–and kick in the pants–that I needed! Thanks!

    Reply

  21. Jay S Warner
    Sep 07, 2018 @ 17:37:13

    Great advice. It really resonates with me and I can apply these principles right now.

    Reply

  22. Kevin Taylor
    Sep 08, 2018 @ 10:57:59

    This post speaks to all of the overachievers in the world (like me) who want to do All The Things. Today.

    BTW, public speaking and book writing might be added to the list of 1% skills for building an audience.

    Reply

  23. Karen Kinley
    Sep 08, 2018 @ 12:06:47

    Thank you! I needed to hear this. I thought I wasn’t doing enough. So now I will just focus on my writing (blog and novel!). Thanks!

    Reply

  24. Oby
    Sep 09, 2018 @ 11:55:50

    Brutally honest! My number one reason for being on the FM course. Thanks Jon.

    Reply

  25. Scott Ferguson
    Sep 09, 2018 @ 23:42:17

    Hey Jon,

    Awesome post. I’ve went the Podcast route thru JDL’s course, I’m sure you know what it is.

    I’ve had a blog now for 4 years, Have some content, but I’m just not passionate about writing. I am on FM radio here in South Florida have my ‘radio voice’ I feel would transfer right into podcasting. Now I’m thinking If I post the show notes and maybe a quick vid on a blog post I might just get some traction with the blog.

    Thanks so much for all you do! 🙂

    Reply

  26. Elna | Twins Mommy
    Sep 10, 2018 @ 13:05:05

    Jon,

    Great advice that is real and proven and should be followed. Many new bloggers get FOMO (fear of missing out) and that’s hard to shake off!

    But, if you put your head down, focus on what you know you do well and that generates income, you will succeed. I opened up my plate two years ago after I got a handle on freelance writing. Now I have several blogs and am learning & mastering new things!

    Thanks for this timely post!

    Reply

  27. BSS Commerce
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 04:55:28

    Hi Jon Morrow,

    This is a great advice for everyone who is attempting to start a podcast and Youtube channel. But through trial and error process that blogger should either follow or unfollow their path to success. It’s the result of hard work and learning from failure. Just keep moving

    Reply

  28. Danny Boice
    Sep 12, 2018 @ 04:51:42

    Great post. You have cleared the doubts in my mind and I can easily decide that what to start with.

    Reply

  29. Elana Bregin
    Sep 13, 2018 @ 06:19:22

    We love you Jon!! 100% good guru advice always, from someone who has been in the trenches.

    Reply

  30. QbEnterpriseSupport
    Sep 14, 2018 @ 08:26:17

    I also want to start blogging worthful experience you shared will follow your tips…

    Reply

  31. Nexcy Hernandez
    Sep 15, 2018 @ 23:37:43

    Hello Jonh
    Wow. Really enjoy this article, it keeps me want to read and read more.
    Thank you for the clear and straightforward advice:
    – ” So, pick just one medium. Focus on it. Get really, really, really great at it” –
    I’m a yoga educator, on an endless journey to teach in English or Spanish, I love helping people to shine with their light and freedom, proud to be the wonderful person as they are, connecting, enjoying the simplicity of life, without prejudice, with strong, safe yoga foundations.
    But sometimes I’ve been struggling to communicate with the proper words, editing, rewriting. I feel stuck, waisting hours to find the appropriate words to use in my IG. Also, I’m being encouraged to start a YouTube channel, because people like my voice tune, but again I’m afraid of my communications skills. I need to focus on my writing now, it’s imperative for me, I’ll like to start a course or something that helps me with my writing. Can you help me out? Thank you in advance!

    Reply

  32. Gaurav Kumar
    Sep 16, 2018 @ 02:57:02

    Your guide is quite helpful for the people who want to start a podcast. I must say that most of the people struggle when it comes to start a podcast. Thanks.

    Reply

  33. David Leonhardt
    Sep 16, 2018 @ 10:01:16

    Oh, boy. You hit the nail on the head about the 24 hours per day. The list of things I would love to do (that I feel I should do) would take at least 48 hours per day. That doesn’t count sleep. And podcasting and YouTube aren’t even on that list! You really have to choose what to focus on.

    What gives the biggest bang for your buck?

    And also what smaller things can you fit in when a few spare minutes suddenly show up (surprise!)? Or when your mind is like a jellyfish trampled by the annual wildebeest migration, then left to bake in the hot sun, and you need something less taxing than being creative.

    Reply

  34. DiscountParkingJFK
    Sep 18, 2018 @ 07:34:25

    Such a wonderful post.

    Reply

  35. Jack
    Sep 19, 2018 @ 19:25:34

    Great post Jon!
    There you said “During those years of practice, I wrote 1,000 words every single day.” Did you use any speaking software to speed your typing? Or what tools did you use for writing?
    Thanks for your time.

    Reply

  36. FutureTricks
    Sep 20, 2018 @ 06:10:27

    Such an amazing post. very helpful. such a wonderful article. great blog. thanks for sharing with us.

    Reply

  37. topcasinosoffer
    Sep 20, 2018 @ 08:15:44

    I am really inspired by your blogging skill and article writing, and also thank you for this wonderful piece of information.Thanks Once again.

    Reply

  38. Avinash
    Sep 20, 2018 @ 08:29:53

    Hello, Jon. You have shared plenty of knowledge in one post. I accept the fact that no one can be perfect in all fields but being great in at least one is of great use. I can relate too close with the fact that practice makes a man perfect, what you were doing all these years. Thanks a lot for publishing this article.

    Reply

  39. Inna
    Sep 20, 2018 @ 11:31:19

    very nice ! by the way We believe that our general contractors are your best choice when it comes to home remodeling, home improvement and construction services, and there are many reasons for that. Our general contractors know the job from a-to-z, they know to listen closely to your needs and desires and will act properly. We will handle it all for you!

    Reply

  40. Raj Sidhu
    Sep 20, 2018 @ 11:38:20

    Fantastic post Jon! I agree you don’t have to everywhere and on every social media platform out there to be successful.

    People end up spreading themselves thin, without ever going deep on one thing until its successful.

    F.O.C.U.S = focus on-one course until successful like you said, be a 1%er in 1 thing until moving on the next

    Great post

    Reply

  41. Bilal
    Sep 21, 2018 @ 09:07:29

    Hey jon,Im a newbie in Seo world.Your post has been really helpful to me and it’s really comprehensible.Just landed on this page out of nowhere only to find such goodness. Thank you anyway.And keep us updated with more of these helpful and interesting posts.

    Reply

  42. Rishi trivedi
    Sep 22, 2018 @ 09:37:58

    this solved one of my doubts about opening a youtube channel while i am hestaited to do it but i will do it .

    Reply

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