Choosing the best platform for your creative content
With the rise in popularity of content creation, there are now more options than ever for promoting your writing or other content online. Substack, WordPress, Patreon, and Medium are just a few industry leaders. The choice can feel overwhelming when you’re trying to figure out which platform to choose.
But with so many options, one has to be better than the other, right? Not exactly. This article will share how each platform may be better suited for different types of creators, their advantages and disadvantages, and how you might want to approach using them in your self-publishing empire.
What is a content creator?
A content creator is someone who writes, designs, records, or broadcasts content with the intent of having it shared with others. Content creators may include:
- Visual artists
- Business thought leaders
As you can see, just about anyone who desires to publish original work online is a content creator.
Various new platforms have been launched over the years to help these diverse creators promote their work in unique ways. Different platforms offer different benefits and disadvantages that you should consider before choosing one for your work.
Diverse content platforms for diverse artists
Different people have different content publishing needs. Some may need a low-key platform that can be used on mobile devices, while others may want a robust system with a community of followers.
Some creators have a business model where creating content is their primary form of income, while others may have a job outside of their creative life and use online publishing as a hobby or side-hustle. Keeping this in mind, it’s essential to figure out which type of platform would work best for you.
The Substack platform is an excellent choice for independent writers, journalists, and those who want to push their writing to a broader audience. This newsletter platform is free for anyone to use, so you can get your work out there without spending much money.
Substack writers can also earn money through the platform. You can set up paid subscription options for subscribers who value your content enough to pay you a monthly or annual fee.
A key fact about Substack to remember is that it’s designed as a newsletter service, with email as the primary form of distribution. So it’s critical to think about your audience and whether they are likely to engage with email content. If not, Substack might not be the platform for you.
- Freelance journalists
- Comic book creators
- Local news journalists
- Industry thought leaders
- Frequent subscriber updates
- Novelists and fiction writers
Medium is a popular option for writers because it’s free to use and has an easy-to-navigate interface. It also has an active, loyal user base that supports and shares content and authors on Medium, while there are also a plethora of specialist topic communities and groups where you can find the ideal place for your content to be seen. Medium also offers the ability to publish your posts on social media with one click, making it easy for people to share your content.
The downside is that Medium only showcases trending posts- something you may not find beneficial if you write about niche topics. While you can embed photographs and other media types, it’s not a great showcase for visual artists because the platform vastly prefers text-based content.
You have to fight for a finite amount of traffic on Medium, which can be difficult. Many authors are very competitive and spend hours a day optimizing tags, commenting on other Medium articles, and trying to be seen. Since Medium requires a subscription fee for unlimited access, readers genuinely come at a premium.
- Tech writers
- Twitter power-users
- Political bloggers
- Aspiring business influencers
- People with a lot of time to self promote
WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems in the world. It’s also one of the oldest, having been in development since 2003. In fact, Substack, Medium, and Patreon each owe a lot of credit to WordPress, as their predecessor heavily inspired the content publishing process.
WordPress has various native publishing tools that are free to use, making it easy for beginners to get started. WordPress is an open-source platform, meaning that it is perpetually updated by hundreds of people with new features and changes.
However, WordPress can have drawbacks. One major disadvantage is the lack of customer service or tech support from WordPress developers, although this can be avoided by choosing a managed hosting service. And while WordPress is highly customizable, some users find that the limited options of Medium and Substack make them easier to learn.
But if you’re looking for a solution that offers more flexibility and scalability while still maintaining a relatively easy interface for beginners, WordPress is worth consideration.
- Writers & journalists
- Travel bloggers
- Small businesses
- Full-time, professional content creators
- Creating a custom user experience
Patreon is an excellent option for creators who want to monetize innovative video, audio, and photographic works through monthly subscriptions. Podcasters and bloggers love using Patreon in conjunction with other platforms as a way to monetize premium offers while still publishing some free content.
Similar to Substack, your fans can become patrons by pledging a certain amount of money every month to support your work. The subscription model also encourages your fans to give you consistent money, which is more predictable than one-time donations and fundraising campaigns. As far as pricing, Patreon simply takes a small percentage of your monthly subscription fees, based on how many features you need.
While it’s easy to get started with no upfront costs from the creator, with commissions of up to 12% going to Patreon, it’s critical to think about just how much profit you want to give away to the platform.
- Video creators
- Visual artists
- Selling online tutorials
- Paid podcasting
How to decide which platform to use
It can be challenging to choose which platform to publish your work on. But the decision is a personal one that will depend on your needs and goals as a content creator.
Substack is a solid place to start if you’re just starting and want to build your email base — it’s free, easy to use, and doesn’t require any coding knowledge. For more experienced content creators, Medium is a good option, with a large community of writers and an active audience. For visual creators who want to make money off their work, Patreon offers an extensive set of features. And for creators who want a maximum level of customization and control, WordPress is likely the best choice.
No matter which platform you decide to use, the key is to determine what’s suitable for you and your audience. Be sure to let us know your deciding factors in the comments below!