How To Become A Successful Creator (Even If You Don’t Know What To Talk About)
Hourglass Curve TL;DR
Instead of spending months trying to somehow figure out what you’re “meant” to talk about, the Hourglass Framework suggests you start talking about everything you’re curious about, then analyzing what people actually show interest in and you enjoy talking about.
This is your Super Niche, where you will spend most of your time as a creator, earning the trust of your audience AKA True Fans.
Once you have an audience of True Fans, you can begin to create content about multiple topics and your audience will follow because you’ve already earned their trust.
Here are the 6 steps to becoming a content creator using the Hourglass Framework:
Step 1: Talk About Everything
The purpose of this stage is to figure out two things:
What are you interested in talking about
What do people want to hear you talk about
Instead of spending months banging your head against the wall and waiting for a Eureka moment, the best way to figure this out is to instead throw everything at the wall and see what sticks
Start creating content about anything and everything you’re curious about, and keep an eye out for topics that…
you enjoy talking about
you’re naturally curious about or feel drawn towards
received attention (likes, comments, questions, shares, etc)
The amount of time you spend in this stage depends on how much content you produce.
The goal is to collect as much data as needed to move on to the next stage.
An important note here is to never select a topic only because it gets traction…
Make sure it’s something you’re at least also curious about, otherwise, it could spell trouble down the road!
Step 2: Remove Outliers
Once you’ve played around with a bunch of different topics and collected some data points it’s time to remove any outliers.
What topics received little to no interest or you really did not enjoy creating content about?
Get rid of those and instead keep a handful of topics that you either got traction on, you really liked, or are curious about.
Step 3: Double Down
Once you have your selection of 2 to 3 topics it’s time to double down on those, break them up into sub-niches, and see which of those really connects.
For example, let’s take Freelancing.
A few possible sub-niches of Freelancing include:
You can see how we can take a niche like freelancing and break it down into a bunch of different sub-niches.
What we’re looking for here is a sub-niche that you can turn into your Super Niche!
Step 4: Claim Your “Super Niche”
Your Super Niche is your domain. Your kingdom
It’s the topic you plant your flag in and become THE person people think of.
Here are a few creator-super niche examples:
Matt Ragland → Bullet Journaling
Justin Welsh → Million-Dollar One-Person Businesses
Codie Sanches → Buying Boring Businesses
Ali Abdaal → Notion for Productivity
All of these names are now huge creators, but they all built their “creator moat” in these Super Niches.
It may be hard to compare yourself to them now but this is exactly how they got started.
An example of a relatively new creator with a great Super Niche is Gabrielle Judge.
Gabrielle has amassed over 145K+ followers on TikTok in less than 6 months and it’s because she has doubled down on her Super Niche of “lazy girl jobs”.
You can see that her content at first covered a whole bunch of topics - remote work, crypto, layoffs, etc, but then she struck gold with this topic and has doubled down creating more content around it
Career advice for women who don’t know what remote job to apply to. You can bay your bills at not feel tired at the end of the day. Women ... See more
You will spend the majority of your time here, talking about your Super Niche and earning the trust of your growing audience but don’t feel like you can ONLY talk about that, have fun and mix it up from time to time…
Just don’t lose focus of your Super Niche.
The great thing about a Super Niche is that it should be small enough that you don’t have a lot of competition and can claim it as your little slice of the internet.
No one is competing with Gabrielle for the lazy girl jobs throne.
This is where you will find what Kevin Kelly calls your 1000 True Fans
Step 5: Introduce Related Topics
Once you have your Super Niche and have gained the trust of your True Fans you can start to introduce new topics into your content.
Often times you know you’ve reached this stage because your followers will actually start asking your opinion on different topics
The reason why you want to expand once you’ve claimed your Super Niche is that by definition a Super Niche is small and there is only so much growth you can achieve by sticking to it.
Let’s take Gabrielle and her Lazy Girl Jobs Super Niche…
While it’s a great Super Niche and by creating tons of content around it she will attract True Fans that are interested in the same things as her, realistically speaking the number of people who want a Lazy Girl Job isn’t that big.
After a while, Gabrielle would be smart to expand her content into more general “career advice” while maintaining the same thesis of her Super Niche - your job doesn’t have to be everything.
Also, it would probably get really boring talking about the same thing for years and years.
Once you’ve gained the trust of your audience through your Super Niche, it’s a lot easier for them to follow you and trust you in other related topics.
Step 6: Talk About Everything
Ironically, the final stage of the Hourglass Curve is exactly where you started - Talk About Everything!
Not all creators will reach this stage, or even have to. However, it’s much easier for someone to trust your opinion on a wide variety of topics when you originally earned their trust on a single topic and then proved you’re trustworthy on a few related topics.
Your Super Niche is no longer a topic, now you’re the Super Niche!
Perhaps one of the best examples is of someone whose gone through this whole process is Gary Vaynerchuk
Looking at his oldest YouTube videos (not counting Wine Library) Gary started out talking about a bunch of different things like business, news, sports, and general life advice.
Oldest GaryVee videos, lots of topics, no general theme
Then his content becomes much more focused on social media.
He begins creating videos breaking down different platforms, the future of social media, how to sell on social media, and why building a following on social media matters with a few random videos here and there.
This may seem like a really broad Super Niche, but remember this is 2007… social media was a VERY niche topic on its own.
GaryVee starts doubling down on social media
Fast forward to today and Gary once again talks about everything.
He has created tons of content around Crypto and Web3, he regularly talks about the music industry, sports, trading cards, and marketing for Fortune 500 brands and personal brands alike, and creates plenty of content on life advice and relationships.
He has become the Super Niche!
And you don’t have to be GaryVee to become a Super Niche.
I’m sure there are people you follow online who you initially found because of their content on a certain topic, but now you feel like you know and like them and would continue to follow them even if they started talking about different topics.
This is the Content Hourglass Framework…
A way to navigate content creation and build an audience of True Fans who will eventually listen no matter what you decide to talk about.