Don't be Homeless Batman, or Content Entrepreneurs Need a Website, Newsletter

Discover why every content creator needs a website to control, showcase, and monetize content effectively.

An AI generated image of Batman at a Starbucks.
Batman needs the Batcave in the same way that creators need a website and newsletter.

Content creators need a home on the Internet—a digital space they can call their own, a central hub from which everything else emanates.

What if Batman worked out of a Starbucks? There would be no Batcave full of crime-fighting gizmos and gadgets, just a tiny table and a poorly made latte.

Homeless Batman is what it's like to be a content entrepreneur without your own website.

Whether you're a blogger, a newsletter publisher, or a video creator for platforms like YouTube, Rumble, TikTok, or Reels, having a website is crucial. It's a space uniquely yours, regardless of your content type.

PESO — Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned media

This article is not the first time I have written about the value of a website for content creators. But here, I want to focus on the PESO model of understanding media.

PESO stands for paid, earned, shared, and owned. It is a way of thinking about the various channels your content business uses to address your audience; frankly, it has been around for years.

In fact, I wrote an article for Practical Ecommerce in 2017 titled "Ecommerce Marketing: Paid, Earned, Shared, Owned."

I will not recreate my previous work, but I want to define these terms before emphasizing that your website is owned media.

  • Paid media is any marketing or advertising you pay for. So, if you pay to promote one of your videos on YouTube, you are using paid media to increase your content's exposure.
  • Earned media is positive publicity you gain through channels you don't directly pay for or control. For example, if you get invited to a podcast, you are the recipient of earned media. Your good work and content earned you that opportunity.
  • Shared media is your content shared on social media or other channels.
  • Owned media encompasses all content channels that you directly control. A website is the highest form of owned media since you have the most control over it.

These definitions have changed as social media has evolved and become more familiar.

For example, a Facebook page used to be considered shared media even if it was "your" own Facebook page. Marketers and content creators felt this way because Facebook (now Meta) ultimately controlled the platform and any content published on the platform. The audience was Facebook's, not yours.

If you think about Twitter before Elon Musk bought it, you can see the problem. The platform was canceling accounts because it didn't like a creator's ideology.

In spite of this risk, social media channels are now often considered owned media. As a content creator, it is very likely that you will reach most of your audience through a social media platform.

Having your own website, however, is still better.

Your Own Home

An AI-generated image of Batman holding a drink from Starbucks.
As you will recall, Batman needs the Batcave, and you need a website.

Remember homeless Batman at Starbucks.

Unlike social media, where algorithms and platform rules change, you maintain complete control over your website's content, design, and functionality.

Sure, things can go wrong. You have to think about search engine optimization (SEO), etc. But your website is the central location for all your valuable content, like blog posts, videos, case studies, and products.

You can showcase everything you create, making your website a powerful tool for educating audiences and attracting them organically through search engines.

Well-designed websites incorporate clear calls to action, lead capture forms, and persuasive elements to guide users toward becoming customers. They are the place where you can directly convert interest into action. And, I would argue a website is an essential step in growing from a "content creator" to a "content entrepreneur."

Finally, your website provides a wealth of first-party data about audience behavior that is unavailable on a social media platform.

Your Newsletter

Here is the last part, and I am done.

Your website is also home to your email newsletter. When you have an email newsletter, you "know" your audience's email address. You can proactively communicate with them, and you have the best chance to generate revenue.

Thus, your email newsletter is how your website projects into the world.