🧑🏼‍🚀 Blueprint 035

We're entering the next Tiktok moneymaking era, I'm giving away a free luxury vacation, storylenses, portability

Welcome back to Blueprint, a weekly series where I share an unfiltered, behind-the-scenes look into my journey as a full-time entrepreneur & creator.

My goal with Blueprint is to provide an unusual level of openness and transparency into my highest leverage learnings, frameworks, and ideas. In my view, the only thing better than winning is open sourcing the journey to help my friends win too.

It’s been 35 weeks since I went on my own full-time.

Today’s topics:

  • 📈 | Week 35 metrics

  • 🤯 | I’m giving away a 2-night luxury vacation

  • 💰 | Here comes another Tiktok golden moneymaking era

  • 👓 | Storylenses…how to stand out with content

  • 🚁 | Portability…the 2nd most important content metric

A reminder that the internet game is not zero-sum. Everyone reading this can win at an unlimited scale. I’m writing this for the internet astronauts building their own worlds. If that’s you…let’s ride 👩🏻‍🚀

WEEK 35 METRICS

Strategy recap coming next week

VACATION GIVEAWAY

Our Wander house in Big Sky, Montana

I’m giving away a free 2-night luxury vacation

I spent the weekend skiing in Big Sky, Montana with some college friends (video coming this week).

It was an amazing trip and I’m super grateful that Wander let us stay in their house for free.

Now Wander didn’t pay me to write about them in Blueprint, but I’m going to anyways…because I think it’s the most underrated travel company on Earth.

Wander combines the best of a 5-star hotel and a luxury AirBnB.

Their approach is to build “the best house in the neighborhood” in destinations you want to visit -- Aspen, Vail, Malibu, Sonoma, Joshua Tree, Telluride. They have ~50 properties across the U.S.

Each house is beautifully designed, outfitted with luxury amenities, Sonos speaker systems, and cutting-edge work-from-home desk setups.

Most of their properties also come with things like a gym, sauna, pool or complimentary Tesla in the garage.

So imagine a Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton level of hospitality, but in the privacy, flexibility, and space of a full vacation home. It’s the best way to travel, especially with medium to large groups.

And here’s the best part…

The price is super reasonable. I was shocked how affordable it was to stay at their properties.

Most of their houses are priced competitively with similar sized AirBnBs and much lower than the equivalent hotel option.

Fortunately, Wander is letting me give away a 2-night stay at one of their properties.

All you have to do is make a free Wander account at this link (https://www.wander.com/kallaway) and you’ll automatically be entered. The Wander team will email the winner when they draw. This is a no brainer…make sure you sign up for this!

If you’re planning a trip to locations where this is a Wander, I’d strongly consider checking out their availability. You’ll never want to travel the old way again.

TIKTOK GOLDEN ERA
We’re entering another golden moneymaking era on Tiktok

Let’s set the stage…Tiktok has had several significant headwinds lately:

  1. They overadjusted their algorithmic tilt to prioritize Tiktok Shop content…polluting the experience for most regular users

  2. They are under serious threat of a US divestiture/ban

  3. They are fighting with UMG for music rights (leaving most historical content silent and musicians upset)

All that being said, I think we’re entering a historic moneymaking opportunity for creators on Tiktok.

I like to bet big when beloved things are faded.

170M Americans spend an average of 58 minutes per day on Tiktok. Tiktok also has the best content algorithm in the world.

It is beloved.

3 scenarios that could happen to Tiktok (re: the US legal issues):

  • They aren’t forced to divest and keep rolling

  • They are forced to divest to some American tech company but it gets held up in court for several years

  • They are forced to divest to some American tech company quickly

Either way, it’s not going anywhere.

So if you’re hesitant to make content on Tiktok for fear that it won’t exist in 6 months, allow me to quell those concerns.

We’d have riots in the streets if Tiktok was banned, and even if it’s forced to divest to an American tech company immediately, nobody that could afford the purchase price ($100B+) would intentionally fumble the best content algo ever created.

But let’s focus on the now.

Strategically speaking, Tiktok realizes it has a monetization problem.

It wants to become YouTube + Amazon by building a robust three-sided marketplace where creators want to create, users want to watch, and advertisers want to advertise.

To do that, Tiktok realizes it needs to a) pay creators more and b) increase average watch-time (to create a bigger canvas for advertisers to play on).

Those things go hand in hand.

If Tiktok pays creators to make more of the stuff that users want to watch, AVD will go up, time spent on platform will go up, advertisers will come in, Tiktok can increase pay to creators, etc.

It becomes a beautiful flywheel.

But it all starts with Tiktok encouraging creators to create more of the stuff that users want to watch…and that encouragement is done with cold hard cash.

So that’s exactly what they’re doing. They’ve launched/piloted 2 interesting things:

1. Creator Creativity Program Revamp

Tiktok’s Creator Rewards Program used to pay ~$0.40 - $0.60 per 1,000 qualified views for videos over 1 minute long. I’ve made $17,152 since they launched the program.

The problem for them was that this program could be easily gamed by people repurposing unoriginal content (podcast/movie clips). Users could also start earning money through this program after they hit 1,000 followers.

The program has been renamed Creator Rewards Program and the criteria has tightened. Here are some notable changes:

  • To qualify for pay, you have to have 10K+ followers with a minimum of 100K views in the last 30 days

  • Videos need to be 1 minute to qualify (views of <5 seconds don’t count)

  • Content is scored and paid across 4 criteria:

    • Originality - content quality

    • Play duration - watch time and finish rate

    • Audience Engagement - likes, comments, shares

    • Search Value - relevance of video topic to what users are searching for

This means that the copy/paste, GTA pod clips will stop making significant money…but original content will be heavily rewarded.

Tiktok has mentioned that they are going to double payouts for high performing content across this new criteria.

2. Creator Search Insight

To help creators increase their “Search Relevance” hit rate, they’ve built a tool directly into the Search Bar called “Creator Search Insight.”

If you type exactly that into your Tiktok search bar, you’ll find a curated page of topics that Tiktok ranks by search popularity and matches to your typical content.

They also show a “Content Gap” filter which highlights things that are often searched for with few existing videos.

— — — — — — — — —

All of these moves by Tiktok are designed to bolster that flywheel I described above.

And they’re willing to pay for it.

I still believe Tiktok is in the early innings. Those who are dedicated to creating in an original style and make content that is highly searched for, will be heavily rewarded over the next 6-12 months.

I’ll start experimenting more here and keep you posted on additional insights.

STORYLENSES
How to stand out with content

If you want to succeed with content, you have to separate from the noise.

This is obvious.

What may be less obvious is how to do that. These are the two best ways:

  1. Original Ideas

  2. Original Storylenses

Original ideas are the #1 way to stand out because they’re built from a novel approach to a novel topic.

For example, I had a video idea where I would contact a Times Square billboard operator, get them to give me a billboard for 24 hours for free, fly to New York, film the intersection from a nearby hotel, calculate the impressions of everyone walking by, interview people on the street if they looked at the billboard, and ultimately determine if buying a Times Square Billboard was mathematically worth paying for.

This is an original idea. You haven’t seen it anywhere, and it’s completely fresh [btw, if you see this video after reading this, someone sniped that from me]

Here’s the problem with original ideas…

I consider myself an idea machine, but I struggle to come up with more than 1-2 super original ideas every week.

And if coming up with original ideas doesn’t come naturally to you, your “original idea generation rate” is likely much lower than that.

So how do you stand out consistently with content if you don’t have a ton of original ideas?

Storylenses.

This has been the secret to my success thus far with content.

Think of a storylens like a unique container to put around a story.

Imagine you’re standing on the roof of a building in Manhattan and you’re looking at the Empire State Building.

The most common “lens” to see the building would be with your naked eye.

Other common lenses might be looking through glasses/contacts or maybe even through a digital camera viewfinder.

But what about binoculars or a drone or a telescope?

All of these are different “lenses” or ways to look at the same object.

Storylenses are different ways to look at the same story.

For example, let’s take my video about Taylor Swift at the Super Bowl. This was a fairly popular “story idea.”

Assume thousands of people were making a video about it.

The most common story lens is “the news angle”…reporting on what is happening. Hundreds of people did that.

A less common storylens would be to talk about facts around the logistics of how she got there, or drama/gossip around her plans for the weekend, etc. Still fairly common, but less so than the news angle.

I tried to look for an original storylens…a one of one.

The angle I took was trying to understand how much money Taylor had generated for the NFL this season, simply using the fact she was at the Super Bowl as a way to drive the initial traffic.

My approach was much more unique…it was the only video like it, which is why it performed well.

The best content comes from an original idea (which will inherently have an original story lens).

If you don’t have an original idea, take a popular story and wrap an original storylens around it.

The videos that have the lowest chance of success are ones about a common story with a common storylens.

PORTABILITY
The second most important content metric

The most important audience metric is depth/trust. 

The deeper your trust goes with a fan, the more durable their fandom and the more willing they are to support your new ideas, products, launches.

The second most important audience metric is portability. In other words, is that fan willing to travel across platforms/experiences to show up for you across the internet.

The healthiest audiences are comprised of extremely deep fandoms within each channel and actively traveled superhighways between them.

When you think of Mr. Beast, he has fans that follow him on Twitter, watch his YouTube videos, and even swarmed to Tiktok when he started making short-form content.

If Mr. Beast launched his own YouTube competitor tomorrow, he’d have millions of people jump to that new platform to watch his videos.

That’s high portability.

As a creator, if you have low portability, you have higher platform risk.

If your IG account gets compromised, and your audience won’t follow you somewhere else, the value of that audience is highly contingent on the IG platform.

I spend an ungodly amount of time thinking about the mechanics and psychology behind cult audiences…mostly because, there is no bigger unfair advantage.

So how does one increase the portability of their audience?

For one, the best way to increase portability is to lean into the cross-platform connections that have the lowest friction.

For example, I’m finding it much easier to get people that follow me on Instagram to sign up to my Blueprint email newsletter than to subscribe to YouTube.

This means that the friction of portability from IG → email is less than IG → YouTube.

Knowing that, I should lean into the IG → email opportunity and double down there.

Another way to think portability is based on the value of the channel.

Most creators would agree that high depth/trust in email is the most valuable channel…because you have zero platform risk and super high open rates/deliverability.

Knowing that, you should design your workflows and content priorities to maximize portability to email over other channels.

Another way to increase portability is to deliver on paid value.

If someone buys a $20 product from you, and gets $2,000 worth of value from it, they will have a higher likelihood to “travel with you” across the internet, because they know you will present more high ROI opportunities for them.

Conversely, if someone buys a $20 product from you and gets <$20 worth of value, they are less likely to travel.

So to increase portability, sell a product that is an obvious home run and dramatically underpriced.

Why? It’s possible that a highly portable fan is worth more than the revenue earned from a single product.

  • High ROI = superfans

  • Superfans are highly portable (following you on all platforms)

  • Portability leads to unconditional support

  • Unconditional support leads to internet echoes (loud support across many channels at the same time)

  • Internet echoes lead to high exposure of new fans

CONTENT FROM THIS WEEK

My best content from this week:

  1. 🎰 | Mr. Beast launched the world’s biggest game show: Watch

  2. 👁️ | Is this the best new AI website builder: Watch

  3. 🎨 | Building an audience will change your life (with Oren John): Watch

  4. 🧑🏼‍🚀 | Blueprint 034 - The Wall, suffering, luxury everything, creators are underpriced, Devin, whiplash, expectations: Read

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