I am a creator and have been since before the days of YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and all of the other amazing platforms out there that give us the opportunity to entertain the masses.

Let’s be honest; being a creator is hard work. From the outside looking in, people think otherwise. “Just film it and put it out!” — “We need more!” — “Why don’t you upload every week?” These are all statements viewers make to us.

In essence, we build, program, and run our own media companies.

What creators don’t realize is that the moment they get their first follower, they are a brand.

Now I know that your first thought may be, “How am I a brand if I have only one follower?” Because all it takes is one person. If one person watches your content and shares it, then another person does the same thing, then another person does it again, before you know it you’re a viral sensation. This happens daily.

What you build your brand around defines you. Once you establish a particular style, your fans expect more of it, and eventually you become known for it.

Here’s a clip of Will Smith talking about why he chose the name “Will Smith” for his character on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:

You should always consider your brand even before posting your first piece of content. I’ve managed and consulted with thousands of creators in the 6+ years I’ve worked in digital. Of those thousands, most don’t know at their core why they create. Therefore, I make it a priority, as someone helping to guide their careers, to lean on ‘Why’, ‘What’ & ‘How’ to help them get things back on track.

The ‘Why’, ‘How’, and ‘What’ of what of what you create is the heart and soul of your content.

Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle explains what makes customers (viewers) buy into your brand (channel). Sinek believes that the ‘Why’ is the most important part because it sticks around long after your last customer (viewer/upload).

Understanding your ‘Why’ is key because it enables you to get to the core of your creation.

Let’s take Kevin Hart, for example:

What — comedian and entrepreneur.
How — two decades of touring comedy clubs and learning business.
Why — he wants to inspire people, bring them joy, and make them laugh.

Now here’s a creator example:

What — I play video games.
How — Twitch/YouTube.
Why — My favorite creator inspired me to get off the couch and stop being sad by doing something that brings me joy.

Even if your ‘Why’ is simply, “I love to play video games,” that’s okay. That’s your core inspiration. The rest will follow.

Your ‘Why’ should be communicated and implemented in all aspects of your content, including:

1. Backstory
2. Creed
3. Leadership
4. Rituals
5. Language

Once your ‘Why’ is defined, building a programming slate and brainstorming content types becomes easier.

Define your ‘Why’. The smartest creators have figured out this out. They know exactly what they’re doing and how to consistently communicate their message, regardless of medium or format.

Whether you have millions of followers or one, it starts and ends with “Why.”

Special shoutout to my two digital mentors Jon Brence and Phil Ranta. Two pros at all things digital media!