Newsletter 1 - "Pilot"

Newsletter 1 - "Pilot"

Jun 26, 2023

TLDR (Too Long, Didn't Read): Payette Forward and I have parted ways. I'm working on several personal projects, which are linked below. iPhone Significant Locations is good, actually.

I don't know what to write about (probably not something a newsletter author should say in the first sentence of their first attempt), so my wife is advising me to just write about what I want to write about. Here goes:

A Big Change

Growing up, I never saw myself having a traditional office job. My favorite film is OfficeSpace, and my favorite character in any form of media is Peter Gibbons.

I've always had creative energy, and I've always enjoyed sharing knowledge and information with people who are looking for it.

When I was heading into my senior year of college, I started a WordPress blog sharing daily fantasy sports picks for a now defunct website known as DraftFury. I made a few hundred dollars by referring customers to the website. That's when I knew I wanted to be a full-time content creator.

For the past 6+ years, I've been working as a full-time content creator for Payette Forward, Inc. I started as a freelance writer. The position continued to evolve, and I ended up the co-host of a YouTube channel with more than 1,000,000 subscribers. I don't think that number ever really sunk in.

Last week, we decided it was time to part ways. I have nothing but respect for David Payette and everyone I worked with, and I'm excited to see the creative direction they head in.

I'm now unemployed. This weekend, I updated my résumé for the first time in seven years. I've never felt more uncertain about my future, but I've never been more excited about where things are heading.

What's Next

Over the past 6+ years, I've worked on several of my own projects — many failed websites, a Shopify store that never launched, a YouTube channel about baseball cards that I recorded videos for but never got around to editing. These projects had a common theme — I wasn't truly passionate about any of them.

The most important piece of advice I've given to anyone who asks me about becoming a content creator is this: do something you're passionate about, otherwise you'll burn out before you can really get started.

It's with this in mind that I can confidently say I'm excited about what I'm working on. And it's these projects that I'll keep you updated on through this newsletter:

  1. ADK Rover: I pay close attention to my local government (I hope you do too!). Here in the Adirondacks, tourism is one of our primary economic drivers. We also have an aging population, and the most prominent regional tourism company primarily targets people aged 55 and older.

    Being the professional content marketer that I am, I suggested to local government officials that they expand our tourism content marketing strategy to include emerging short-form platforms, primarily TikTok and YouTube Shorts. Two years passed and it didn't happen.

    Earlier this year, I had a week off, so I started to walk around town and record some videos. I'm happy to say those videos have generated more views on YouTube and TikTok than the videos our regional tourism company has made. (They also have a seven-figure budget).

    I realized the potential of this channel when a local politician suggested I apply grant funding to create short-form videos. It's something I'm going to look seriously at next year.

    For now, I'll be funding my own videos for this channel, with the hopes of building a strong portfolio that can earn grant funding in the near future.

    And I have one massive video in the works. In Saranac Lake, we have an annual Winter Carnival. It's a two-week affair, with events, a parade, and a massive Ice Palace. There's a new theme every year, and this year's theme will be horror-related.

    That's why I'm planning to dress up as Michael Myers and recreate some of Halloween's iconic scenes (like the one pictured below) while taking part in all the festivities. I think it's going to be a lot of fun, and I think it'll make our small mountain town go viral.

  2. The Electoralist: I got my start on YouTube in 2016 by making videos about political polls and electoral college maps. The 2016 Presidential election was...fascinating...and the content I made did well, as few others were doing it at the time. But after the election, I didn't know what to do with the channel, so I stopped uploading altogether.

    Fast forward to 2021. I was reminiscing, and decided to see what the niche looked like. To my surprise, there were two channels making similar content. Both had more than 100,000 subscribers, and both started uploading after I had abandoned my channel.

    For a little while, I was frustrated wondering what could've been. But I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself, and to start uploading again. I haven't been as consistent as I would like to be, because the more in-depth videos take a long time to research, record, and edit.

    But now that I have some free time on my hands, I'm going to jump back in. And I have a big project in the works — a deep dive into the current state of the Republican primary, with polling and predictions for every primary contest.

    I know as well as anyone that television news isn't what it used to be. I stick to the facts and the data to create a piece of content that's as objective as possible.

  3. Baseball Maniacs: I really love sports compilation videos. I feel they have a very entrancing quality.

    I thought to myself, "I could do this." When I get that thought in my head, it usually doesn't leave until I try to do whatever it is I think I can do.

    So, I spent one Sunday afternoon about a month ago working on three compilation videos. No one was watching, which is understandable. Brand new channels don't typically blow up overnight.

    So, I developed a new strategy — one I plan to write about in more detail on my new blog. I'd upload a baseball highlight going viral on social media to YouTube, then add my compilation video as an End Screen. I can't believe how quickly it worked.

    In the past 28 days, this channel has generated more than 1.4 million views. It's rewarding to see a new strategy be so successful, but I'm truly disappointed I'll never be able to try it out with Payette Forward.

    As you can see, the channel has really slowed down over the past few days. I haven't uploaded as consistently, and I haven't put out an original compilation in several weeks. I'm also not sure this channel will ever get monetized, since so much of it is copyrighted content.

So this is where I'm going to ask for your support. If you're looking for something tech-related, I promise, you're almost there.

If you've made it this far, I really appreciate it. Writing this newsletter has been very therapeutic for me.

Subscribing to one of the channels listed above would be a big help. YouTube has tough monetization thresholds — and one those thresholds is that your channel needs 1,000 subscribers before you can start earning money from ads. If you're interested in the content being posted to one (or more) of these channels, a subscription goes a long way.

You can also support me right here on Buy Me A Coffee. The next two newsletters will be made Public, but after that, newsletters will only be available for Supporters and Members. I'll spend every dollar I receive building my own content marketing operation.

Dude, Where's My Tech?

I want to share a thought I had today about an iPhone feature I've told you to turn off for years: Significant Locations.

After using the iOS 17 Developer Beta, I've come to the conclusion that you should turn on Significant Locations. At this point, the pros outweigh the cons.

Significant Locations is required for Optimized Battery Charging, which reduces the aging of your iPhone's battery.

Significant Locations is required for Clean Energy Charging, which helps reduce your carbon footprint.

And with iOS 17, Significant Locations is required for a new feature called Check In, which allows your friends and family know when you've arrived home safely.

Yes, it's true that Significant Locations will drain a little bit of battery life, because it uses your iPhone's GPS. And yes, it's a little weird that a list of places you've visited gets saved on your iPhone. But that list is end-to-end encrypted, so even Apple can't read it.

The biggest concern with Significant Locations is that if the list falls into the wrong hands, that person now has a list of all the places you go most often. That's why you shouldn't share your iPhone passcode with anyone, and why you should change it regularly.

I recommend turning on Significant Locations in Settings -> Privacy & Security -> Location Services -> System Services.

Get Off The Stage!

Well, I've been writing for the past three hours, and I think it's time for me to wrap this up. If I was at the Oscars, they would've played me off the stage 10 paragraphs ago.

I hope there was something in here that you found valuable. That reminds me of my mindset when attending conferences...maybe I'll write about that next time.

And if you found this boring, unhelpful, vain, self-indulgent, or some other probably fair criticism, let me know what I can change so you'll keep you coming back.

It feels like I should end this with an inspirational quote, so I'll leave you with one of my favorites:

"Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you that way." – Christopher Hitchens

David Lynch

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