The concept of being an online “creator” has exploded in popularity over the last decade. Spurred by platforms like YouTube and Substack, millions of people now aspire to build audiences around their content and make it a business. However, sustainably monetizing content and turning casual hobbyists into full-time creators is easier said than done.

I know better than anyone…

In an attempt to consolidate the creator toolset, Automattic recently launched a packaged offering called Jetpack Creator. For $119.40 the first year, it bundles relevant parts of Jetpack into an all-in-one product targeting creators. To learn more, I spoke with one of the leads behind Jetpack Creator – Mike Stott.

His startup produced a simple CRM plugin for small businesses called Zero BS CRM which was eventually acquired by Automattic. After being folded into Jetpack’s offerings, Mike now oversees product direction for various components like Jetpack CRM and the new Creator package.

We had an insightful discussion on the goals, competition, and differentiation of Jetpack Creator compared to other options creators have available. We also debated the level of effort required for creators to successfully monetize content through WordPress, even with streamlined offerings available on the market.

Key Takeaways:

  • Jetpack Creator bundles existing Jetpack features at a discounted price, focusing on blocks, patterns, and creator networking
  • The CRM feature in Jetpack emerged from Mike’s previous startup, with a goal of simple functionality for small businesses
  • Creators need consistent content output to build an audience; Jetpack aims to streamline publishing but won’t replace that effort
  • Monetization through WordAds, Stripe payments, and other tools can come later as traffic and subscriptions grow
  • There is still fragmentation across WordPress products for creators; opportunities exist for more tailored user experiences

3 Reasons to Listen:

  1. Learn how Jetpack Creator aims to compete with platforms like Substack and Ghost for creators
  2. Understand Mike’s vision for unifying WordPress creator solutions
  3. Get insight into the origin story of Jetpack CRM coming from Mike’s startup

Chapters:

  • 0:01 Intro
  • 0:35 Mike’s background with Zero BS CRM
  • 1:52 Bundling existing features in Jetpack Creator
  • 3:29 Competing with other creator platforms
  • 5:16 Making money from creator content in WordPress
  • 7:21 The challenge of consistent content creation
  • 9:14 Unifying WordPress products for creators
  • 11:34 Who is the Jetpack Creator customer?
  • 13:52 Impact on the WordPress ecosystem
  • 16:31 Tools for repurposing and amplifying content
  • 19:14 Unlocking WordPress.com features for self-hosted sites
  • 21:29 Defining what a “creator” is
  • 25:54 The difficulty of creator sustainability
  • 27:49 Ad revenue challenges on platforms like YouTube
  • 30:25 Approaching content creation as a business
  • 32:16 Additional ways to share and monetize content
  • 34:09 Cryptocurrency payment options
  • 36:06 Wrapping up

Mike Stott

Mike Stott

[00:00:00] ​

[00:00:00] Matt: [00:01:00] Hey, Mike, welcome to the program.

[00:01:32] Mike: Hi Matt, thanks for having me.

[00:01:34] Matt: We’re gonna talk about, um, all things jetpack creator suite. You’re also the. I said sweet. I threw on the word sweet. It’s not sweet. It’s just Jetpack Creator. I don’t know why I threw on the word sweet there, but Jetpack Creator recently announced in a blog post. I’ll link that up in the show notes on November 6th.

[00:01:52] Matt: Take your content to the next level with Jetpack Creator. What’s that all about? We’re going to talk about it. You’re also the co founder of, uh, No BS [00:02:00] CRM, which was acquired by Automatic, which was folded into the CRM solution that Jetpack has in it today.

[00:02:07] Mike: Yep, so it just became the CRM solution of Jetpack. So Jetpack didn’t have a CRM offering at the time, and we wanted to fit it somewhere. So, the original product name had a swear name in, and a swear word in even, and one of the conditions of the acquisition was we don’t have swear names in automatic products.

[00:02:26] Mike: So,

[00:02:27] Matt: an automatic thing to do. I mean, come on, let’s keep it in there.

[00:02:31] Mike: So it was, um, So, BS CRM, and then we sort of Re branded it a little bit to just ZBS because like people could still understand like the BS in it and then Decided to either just re brand it under Jetpack

[00:02:47] Matt: I know why you named it that, because there’s a lot of BS in CRM. Um, and, uh, we can talk about that. There’s a lot of BS in In content marketing in the creator space, right? A lot of platforms out there. Largely I’d [00:03:00] say the fact that things are so darn expensive when you get into the, like, you know, the enterprise space, which often dips down to, to the average creator.

[00:03:10] Matt: Perfect example would be like HubSpot, right? Where HubSpot is many, many thousands or tens of thousands a month for some brands out there. Um, they try to dip down to the low end, right? Where, hey, just spend a couple hundred bucks for HubSpot. And then you get in there and not only was that expensive, but there’s so much stuff in it.

[00:03:29] Matt: Do I need all this stuff? And I assume, I never used your product back in the day when you first launched it, but I assumed it was a more minimalistic approach to CRM inside WordPress?

[00:03:40] Mike: Yep, so that one started off on the back of, um, so the co founder’s dad works in construction and he tried using Salesforce at the time and it was just too complicated and he just needed something simple to send invoices to his, um, people that he’s putting roofs on houses to. And so we just built something very bare bones using custom post types at the time to sort of get.[00:04:00]

[00:04:00] Mike: Easy to use for people that didn’t want to do a masters in CRM software. And that was a similar theme that we had across, like, we had a few testimonials on the old YouTube channel of people just saying it’s really good to be able to just use something integrated to my website without needing to learn all of this extra stuff and just pay a ton of, like, money to, like, the big players.

[00:04:23] Matt: I always wondered, um, the acquisition of your product into Jetpack. I always wondered, like, why roll it into Jetpack? Why not just leave it standalone? It seemed like it could be just a standalone product. I mean, I know Jetpack has, like, the modules these days and, uh, or you can modularize it and you can say, I want this, I don’t want that.

[00:04:44] Matt: I always felt like it would have been a great standalone product, just like I feel video Uh, video press would be an amazing standalone product where I don’t need anything else. Even jetpack. Just give it to me straight. Uh, the video press. I say the same thing for CRM. What particular strategy? I mean, I [00:05:00] get it now.

[00:05:00] Matt: I get the strategy, but what are the, what are the thoughts of like tying jetpack so closely to CRM?

[00:05:06] Mike: So it’s down to the whole general strategy of the individual plugins now in Jetpack. So CRM was probably the first one. We wanted to fit it under an automatic brand, and Jetpack has a wider reach of websites that are using Jetpack and Connected and a number of business sites, and it fits quite well to these sort of smaller, probably even smaller than small business, so you wouldn’t Like if it’s a one man person trying to manage his, create a business, and he wants to start building a little bit more data around the people, then it fits in quite well.

[00:05:38] Mike: And so it sort of fitted into that side of things, was the sort of thinking around it.

[00:05:44] Matt: Yeah. Was your original product. Is it SaaS based?

[00:05:47] Mike: Now, it was always a WordPress plugin, so

[00:05:50] Matt: WordPress plugin data stays right inside WordPress.

[00:05:52] Mike: Yep. Yep. Which was quite popular in like definitely in Germany, so around GDPR. Like you, people want, wanted to keep their own [00:06:00] data and not just have it sitting on the cloud somewhere. So that was like one of the main selling points of it at the time was that people just could have the data, download the data and not get worried about it going outta business and you’re losing all your contacts.

[00:06:13] Mike: So that was a good, and we, and that’s still the case today. It’s still all in your own install, so you can take it

[00:06:20] Matt: okay. So even with Jetpack, it’s not like hosted at com or something like that. That data still lives in the, in the database of the website.

[00:06:28] Mike: Correct, yep.

[00:06:29] Matt: Oh, that’s fantastic. Um, are you continuing to improve the CRM product and launch new features for that? Or is it more like publishing and content creation as a whole?

[00:06:40] Matt: Like we’re about to get into with Jetpack. Um. Do you all still invest in the CRM side of things?

[00:06:46] Mike: Yep, yep, so there’s still work going on in the CRM. There’s been a lot of like, bringing it in line with the Jetpack look and feel as well. So if you installed CRM before version 6, you’d just get the black and blues of the old, um, [00:07:00] ZBS plugin. Whereas now it’s moving more in line to fit in with

[00:07:04] Matt: Literally and figuratively the black and blue

[00:07:07] Mike: Yeah

[00:07:07] Matt: of Insta.

[00:07:08] Mike: So turning it green making it a bit more of a consistent view across all of the jetpack products and then Leaning into the creator side of things if you’re building You subscribe a list, then you can then complement that with CRM.

[00:07:21] Mike: That’s sort of the longer term plan there that like, if you try and remember, like we had this conversation before about our kids, we can make a little note about how many boys I’ve got, what age they are. And then when we talk again, you’d be like, Oh, what were the code? And you can just bring it up nice and easy.

[00:07:36] Matt: Maybe you can explain. I don’t want to put, I don’t want to put words into your mouth. But, um, like I, I’m really friendly with Jesse Friedman who is probably now doing WP cloud project. Uh, I know Jeff Galinsky, uh, used to work for me. He designs for jet pack.

[00:07:52] Matt: Um, I feel like You still have like that entrepreneurial spirit in you. Like I see your tweets. I see [00:08:00] the way that, you know, like when you were talking about creator, um, is that something that they like entrust you with? Cause I feel like you might, you feel a little bit different than the average automatic employee, I guess.

[00:08:12] Matt: So like you seem like more of like a product guy, but you’re out there like talking about it with more marketing speak my, is my compass correct with that? Or, or. Is it just like, Hey, you can’t help yourself. This is the way you are.

[00:08:25] Mike: I think it’s just ingrained in me in the, like, that’s my passion is like. The product vision and just as a sign of your own business, you, you talk about it, you’re building public and you try and get the word out more. And I sort of carried that across other Jetpack products that I’ve worked on. So creator was me just using Jetpack more noticing these areas and like, well, we could package this and present it in a way that, um, it displays the value of what’s in Jetpack that might be quite hard to find.

[00:08:56] Matt: Yeah. I, uh, I’m going to keep burying the lead of [00:09:00] a jetpack creator for a few more moments. Jetpack has always been something that, uh, obviously look, if you go back 10 years, uh, there was a lot of bad sentiment around jetpack. I think it slowly has. You know, improved for, uh, for the team, for the company, for the product itself.

[00:09:17] Matt: Like I think people are maybe less, um, opinionated about jet pack these days. Rightfully so. I think the product, you know, has become, um. In line with a lot of hardcore WordPress user expectations. For example, being able to uncheck and check off things that we don’t want, you know, in the, uh, in the install bloat and speed and performance was always the thing.

[00:09:40] Matt: I think the team has done a little bit better with that over the last few years. I would say that the goal, my, my. Hypothesis to the goal is Jetpack looks at WordPress and says, this is the best way to experience WordPress. How far off am I from that theory or [00:10:00] hypothesis?

[00:10:01] Mike: I think it gets closer every day, the more that the team works on like the performance plugin. So Jetpack Boost is out there. And because we’re behind a performance plugin, then we need to make sure that Jetpack is also performant. So we have the performance team, not only looking at making websites faster, but looking at like on the admin pages, like what are we being as efficient as we can be there and always like making modules easy to turn off, to turn on and just only use what you need.

[00:10:29] Mike: Uh,

[00:10:29] Matt: um, because Jetpack does have like so many things, right? Stats, payment. I mean, there’s a million things in there that you probably know about way more than I do. Um, but. I’ll use Jetpack on a friend’s site, you know, a friend comes to me, here’s an example, I have a friend, actually he’s my barber, and he started a small, like, little ice cream stand, um, and, uh, it’s seasonal, so it’s not open, you know, year round, and I helped him build a site, and I put Jetpack on it, because one, he was [00:11:00] using, like, affordable hosting, we all know what that means, so I use Jetpack for the CDN, you know, for the images, For the stats, um, and for the newsletter subscription, right?

[00:11:11] Matt: So, you know, just subscribe to the, to the, to the post. And when he updates a post, people will get the, the email notification, uh, and of course security. So. It would to me, it was like, man, I don’t want to mess with this website. I never want him asking me any questions about it because I’m not going to be his support guy.

[00:11:27] Matt: Um, so I put jetpack, I certainly wasn’t going to give him like Google analytics and I wasn’t going to sign up for, uh, whatever, uh, MailChimp account, like I wasn’t going to even like go to that route because I didn’t want to teach him, train him. And I knew we would forget. Um, and jetpack was. Was a good solution for that.

[00:11:41] Matt: Um, it’s a interesting thing to say because there’s a lot of my friends, probably your friends and colleagues too, who build products that compete with Jetpack. What I’m getting at here is Jetpack is going to be one of those things where with enough users might say, you know what? Just use [00:12:00] Jetpack, um, to solve that issue.

[00:12:01] Matt: That might also impact. The smaller product creator that’s out there who maybe is doing stats, who is maybe doing a newsletter, who’s maybe doing a payment link as a product owner, yourself, a product creator. Do you think about that when you’re, when you’re rolling out the products, like how to integrate into the ecosystem?

[00:12:21] Matt: Um, is it the, you know, the most fit products win at the end of the day? Like, do you have an ear to the ground of sort of the blue collar product maker that’s out there?

[00:12:30] Mike: yeah, so I personally follow quite a lot of indie makers and like the product people and certainly in the UK, there’s very few of us in that have done products and have Essentially a few have taken to acquisition. So and there’s a lot of people building different things So I think the fact that automatic it might be in jetpack and we’re leaning into a certain direction I think just helps with the healthy competition of some of these smaller, um indie developers that can Even if they’re [00:13:00] focused on the right thing if they like know Directly down on a small area, they can even execute better than a bigger organization organization could do.

[00:13:09] Mike: So I think it helps with, with that, that the fact that so a company like automatic is looking at the creative space and offering tools to help people grow newsletters that the other newsletter plugins will be sort of taking note and thinking, okay, I can take a little share of this market as well.

[00:13:28] Matt: I just recorded a news roundtable for the WP minute plus podcast and We were talking about let’s say wordpress. com versus jetpack versus woo Express and woo. com and like you had All of these different pockets of like ways to do things with WordPress all under the umbrella of, um, of automatic and it makes it pretty challenging, right?

[00:13:52] Matt: So if somebody came to you at automatic and they say, Hey, Mike, the goal is to launch something for creators. [00:14:00] But you have to do it with just like the tools you have right here. Like we’re not going to give you wordpresscreator. com. No, no, no. You’re going to do this in the, in the thick of all of these things, the jetpack stack, the wordpress.

[00:14:13] Matt: com stack. I don’t think it’s fair. I think it makes your job a little bit more challenging because. WordPress can do so many things and WordPress and automatic itself doesn’t give like the tight funnel lane on how to achieve that. Like sell things with your WordPress website. It’s massive WooCommerce. Become a blogger.

[00:14:35] Matt: It’s the entirety of WordPress and the ecosystem at wordpress. com. It’s be a creator, like maybe say ghost or beehive. Um, Um, but those are real tight UIs that do one specific thing. We don’t get that in the WordPress world, or maybe it’s just slow baby steps to get there. Uh, is Jetpack Creator that initial step in that direction?

[00:14:59] Mike: I [00:15:00] think it’s starting to pull things together that way. So if you try to use it today, the, like I say, that type, somebody new to it, wanting to create something, there’s a lot of different directions. So if you’re creating a course, you, it’s not just Jetpack Creator, you’d need to look at something like Sensei, uh, Sensei on the side.

[00:15:18] Mike: And so there’s, like, if you wanted to run a community, then it, you’d look at Again, thinking of WordPress, things like a buddy press alongside the type of things. So the, it’s sort of trying to bring that together a little bit. And, but those like definitely you, UX flows of somebody coming in with a specific like vertical that’s, I think that’s still got a way to go, but I think that it is starting to happen more in like the word, the WordPress community, like the Ollie WP theme.

[00:15:47] Mike: That’s been some good steps in life. What, what is a theme and what is a plugin? And there’s some other similar things like that, that are leaning on the Gutenberg side of things to say, look, you can create this, but we’re going to make it a little bit easier. [00:16:00] Because I’ve got a number of friends that like, maybe try and do something with WordPress, and then they’ll just jump to another solution.

[00:16:06] Mike: Because it’s like, oh, this, I’m being shown all these extra areas, like that I’m not really interested in.

[00:16:12] Matt: And maybe we’ll see a future where, when the admin gets redesigned. Because I’m not a developer, so I have no idea, like, what kind of effort this takes. Um, but when the admin gets redesigned, maybe turned into blocks, it might be easier to build. An admin experience that is more, uh, you know.

[00:16:31] Matt: Pinpoint to like what we want to do. Oh, only show posts because listen, anybody just, they’re just here to make blog posts or show products and pages. Cause it’s just a basic e commerce site and never have a blog on it or something to that effect. And maybe WordPress can become more modular because I’m using a P2 instance for my WP minute.

[00:16:52] Matt: Uh, some of my WP minute members and like P2 is pretty cool. It’s still just WordPress like, like it doesn’t [00:17:00] like, it’s like, man, you could compete against like a slack or a teams with, with P2, but no, it’s still kind of just like rough around the WordPress edges. Um, you know, which is not your fault, but it’s just like, there’s so many things that WordPress does and automatics trying to solve it, it can kind of make, you know, the task a little bit more challenging.

[00:17:18] Mike: Yeah, and P2 definitely, it’s got some cool features that I kind of wish were available elsewhere. So like the mention system and a lot of the things there that are, it’s sort of like a good thing to start a community, but then on the other side of it, it’s very more like workspaces. So you create a workspace as opposed to a community.

[00:17:38] Mike: So it could be another angle that P2 would fit would be if someone wants to create a community. So like the WP minute podcast. Or like a post status that, instead of being on slack, could be running on something like P2.

[00:17:52] Matt: If you’re listening to this mad, I’m using P two hook, hook us up, Let’s get, let’s get things going. All right. Let’s talk about, uh, Jetpack creator. Is [00:18:00] it modules collected together? I keep calling ’em modules. They’re, they’re modules, right? Is that what j, how Jetpack refers to ’em

[00:18:06] Mike: Yeah, it does. So it’s sort of a little bit of blocks. So I don’t know if you’ve, when you sort of start a new post in WordPress and you press the little plus button in the corner, if you type Jetpack, it’ll bring up a load of green colored blocks. So that’s all of the tools that you can use to help create content.

[00:18:23] Mike: So things like you can embed a. A link to booking slots on your calendar. You can do business hours. There’s the AI block that helps you create content or edit content. Um, so there’s a lot of tools in Jetpack already that You can find if you know what block you’re looking for, but if you if you don’t you’re sort of a little bit in the wild so Um things like a map box Um, so if you want to show like where your office location is, there’s a nice straightforward Jetpack block that can do things like that for you.

[00:18:52] Mike: And unless you go looking for it, we don’t really show it anywhere in like the Jetpack settings pages. So that’s sort of like the first [00:19:00] thing, is making content a little bit easier to create through blocks and patterns. There’s not really many patterns shipped in Jetpack just yet, but there are plenty of blocks and you can build them with any sort of block based theme.

[00:19:14] Matt: When somebody is subscribing to creator, um, so I’m just looking at the site. We’re recording this during, um, a pretty hefty 70 percent off now, uh, black Friday week, this is going to air a couple of weeks after, uh, the sale, but it’s 19 a month, uh, for the first year build yearly. Uh, I believe that’s what it’s going to be without the discount.

[00:19:34] Matt: Is that. just these specific features in Jetpack, or is there like a whole other sort of creator plugin being installed?

[00:19:42] Mike: And it just enables them, the features that are in Jetpack. So there’s no plug in, stand alone plug in for this yet. It’s all running from Jetpack on that side of things. Um, as for the, so it’ll be the first year you get a 50 percent discount. So it’s showing,

[00:19:59] Matt: bucks a month.

[00:19:59] Mike: [00:20:00] yeah, so 10 bucks a month once the Black Friday discounts drop off.

[00:20:03] Mike: Um, but yeah, so it’s, if you, you can do a lot of it. Pretty much all of it for free, with just Jetpack, but the transaction fees are a little bit higher. If you were to use the donation block and start accepting donations, then there’d be a bit higher transaction fee on top of the Stripe fees. So there’s nothing in Creator at the moment that’s really, um, that you can’t try for free in the free one.

[00:20:28] Mike: There’s a few, like things around the creator network that are a little bit different if you’re a paid subscriber or a free user and we can talk about that a little bit more. So, there’s not new blocks that we’ll unlock if you subscribe. Everything’s already in Jetpack.

[00:20:45] Matt: When you and the team set off to build the sort of creator package Jetpack and make this sort of creator offering, is it sort of trying to compete with some of the folks I mentioned before, like a substack or a [00:21:00] ghost, where It is sort of one of these, uh, turnkey solutions that does one or two things really good or, or do you see Jetpack Creator competing with something else?

[00:21:10] Mike: So there’s a lot of work being done on WordPress. com around Competing with like the, the substacks and Jetpack historically has been you get the best of WordPress. com on your self hosted site. So Creator is essentially unlocking all of the work that’s been done there for people that are just hosting their own self hosted website.

[00:21:29] Mike: So that’s. What it’s competing with, so any enhancements that are made to how fast you get subscribers or where your site’s recommended across the WordPress reader, there’s a lot of, um, it’s just enabling that for people that are using Jetpack that wouldn’t be part of that otherwise.

[00:21:44] Matt: I’m curious, do you all have a definition for a creator? Like a user, a customer avatar, you know, back in my agency days, kind of profile who somebody is, come up with a fake name, what their interests are, how they approach it, like, what, how do you, how do [00:22:00] you think of a creator? What, what does she do with her website?

[00:22:04] Mike: I think it covers a lot of different people, so from podcasters to even just like personal trainers that are wanting to. Take the business online. There was a lot of it that happening during COVID that the gyms had to shut. So a lot of personal trainers would go on and they’d start doing zooms. So, or having like a 12 week training program and just having that ability to have a website that can do that sort of stuff.

[00:22:30] Mike: Um, so there’s a lot of different angles you could go. You could even go as far as like, um, a cat rescue that wants to start. Accepting donations, so they can set all that up, um, without really, um, they can, worrying too much about paying a lot for hosting and anything like that, they can get up, get Jetpack installed and start setting up and accepting donations.

[00:22:50] Mike: So there’s a lot of different angles you could look at, um, which is the most used creator use case is a completely different question. So I think it depends.

[00:22:59] Matt: Yeah,[00:23:00]

[00:23:00] Mike: It’s targeting a lot of different verticals that you could cover. So the blogger, the YouTuber, that could start putting content using something like Videopress instead of YouTube.

[00:23:10] Mike: But then YouTube does bring other benefits to being on YouTube as you’re well aware.

[00:23:17] Matt: In this day and age, which, listen, I am a still a diehard, you know, blog, own your. com, like have your website, you know, build your foundation, you know, obviously using WordPress, but over the last few years, which is still funny to say, because it’s really like over the last 20 years.

[00:23:35] Matt: Marketers are always saying, like, grow your email list, have an email list, that kind of thing. Is there a sense of, like, what creators use more in terms of, of what kind of content they’re creating with WordPress and Jetpack? Is it still blogs? Are you seeing a rise in email newsletter, uh, creation? Like, what is that, that content that’s being created most?

[00:23:57] Mike: That’s a good question. So I think it’s [00:24:00] my gut sort of saying this people are still blogging a lot and the more people that blog the more people that want to blog and then the the network effect sort of picks up that the more people that are writing the more people that can find things to follow so it feels like with WordPress that like taking E commerce to one side like people are trying to do that and build their own following because like it say you do it on Twitter or X and then there’s a big platform risk there that if you can’t really get at your contacts or they shut down whereas if you’re building something that you own and that I think it’s still people are trying to grow lists and trying to Then monetize those lists, and there’s a lot of different ways now that is easier in WordPress that maybe wasn’t as easy a few years ago.

[00:24:47] Mike: So things like accepting paid subscribers, so you could be growing a list, you could have 10, 000 subscribers, and then have specific content going out just to people that are paying you a certain amount per month to be part of a community, for [00:25:00] example. So there’s a lot of different things now, and I think it all just comes to you.

[00:25:04] Mike: There’s a lot of different ways to put content out there. So whether it’s a YouTube channel, um, a Twitter account, a TikTok, but ideally you want to get everything, you want to get that person’s email to then either, depending on like your goal, do you want to make money from your email list or do you just want to have an impact with the content you produce?

[00:25:23] Mike: So, at the end of the day, you just, you want that audience to be able to feel good about what you produce as a content creator. And it’s, it’s not easy, like, I think you’ve been podcasting over 10 years now and

[00:25:37] Matt: Mm hmm.

[00:25:38] Mike: you need to be passionate for what you do, like the thing on the underlying thing with creator, like if you use Jetpack, if you pay for the creator plan, it’s not going to fix the issue that you need to be producing that good content and consistently producing that content.

[00:25:54] Mike: It just makes it easier with the introduction of AI. Maybe not make as many typing [00:26:00] mistakes or If you need a bit of help, like getting the skeleton of a, an article or some ideas for some new videos, then you can use the AI to help with that. But in the end, you still have to be putting out that content consistently.

[00:26:13] Mike: And because otherwise it’s sort of like, I always. Liking it to turning on a TV channel and then if there’s no content you just see that fuzzy Screen or the one with the person holding the doll saying like programs will resume shortly that no one’s going to Want to follow you if you’re just not producing the content

[00:26:30] Matt: yeah.

[00:26:31] Mike: And it’s it is hard to do it’s hard to do consistently if it’s not your main 95

[00:26:39] Matt: so there is definitely a, uh, desire, you know, a lot of people look at becoming a creator, right? Um, yeah, becoming a YouTuber, right? If you focus on, and I come from a unique angle, right? Because I’ve, I’ve I’ve been podcasting for over a decade, never stopped. Well, I mean, I [00:27:00] stopped, but I switched from season to season or whatever, but I haven’t, I haven’t quit the, the medium, um, my YouTube channel just crossed 15, 000 subscribers.

[00:27:08] Matt: And I worked in the audio industry, my last role for two and a half years at a podcast hosting company that actually automatic, uh, had some seed investment in. And I had, I talked to a lot of podcasters that were like, Hey. I want to make money with my podcast, right? They just thought they could just publish the podcast and money would appear.

[00:27:28] Matt: Uh, which is sort of like what YouTube has granted upon creators for many years. Like you get to a certain threshold, you get to a certain amount of views. And if it’s a quality audience, you’re making, um, X amount of dollars per month. It could be hundreds of dollars per month, thousands of dollars a month, many multiples of that.

[00:27:49] Matt: If you’re like crazy, like pop culture, YouTube created with millions of subscribers, but you hit the nail on the head is that you can’t give up creating this content. [00:28:00] And there are not many other platforms other than YouTube that actually, air quotes, guarantees payments to creators. In other words, Instagram’s not paying me to do anything.

[00:28:11] Matt: Uh, Twitter doesn’t, although they have a program that I think you can get sponsored dollars from, uh, but it’s like a top secret program or something like that. Or you have to have like this massive reach. Jetpack has, through wordpress. com, Blaze? Is that a way? To monetize, uh, through Jetpack Creator.

[00:28:31] Mike: Blaze is promoting your content, so it’s, yeah. So, the other way around is Word Ads. So you can, again, through a creator that unlocks the Word Ads network, so you can start showing ads on your content through, um, a number of ad partners that partner with WordPress. So that’s a way to monetize the traffic to your website.

[00:28:52] Mike: So it’s just, it’s not quite a Google AdSense, but it’s similar. So you’ll see similar types of adverts popping up on your [00:29:00] So we’ve got a travel blog that I’ve enabled word ads on and things like loveholidays. com is popping up at the bottom of those. Content, um, I don’t get a ton of traffic to that travel blog because we’ve unfortunately stopped traveling since having boys So it’s sort of like again, we’re not producing that content.

[00:29:17] Mike: We’re not doing like those Um, influencer marketing where you’re standing on the edge of a waterfall and, um, like walking down into the pool, like not wearing very many clothes. So like we don’t do that sort of stuff, so we’re not getting that type of, hardly any traffic to that site, but if we were producing more and more content, then that is one way to monetize the, the traffic that you’re having to your website.

[00:29:41] Matt: it’s a challenging thing, right? And it’s something that I think is going away. I mean, I’ve seen my ad dollars from YouTube, um, get cut in half, get cut in half again, get cut in half again, you know? And it’s just like, wow, this is a tough game. There’s a lot of people who aspire to do these types of things.

[00:29:59] Matt: [00:30:00] And, you know, even with Tools like you’re providing and YouTube. I’m still a big believer and you’re going to have to Understand that if you’re if you’re looking to make any kind of substantial amount of money through content creation That you have to look at it objectively as a business you have to approach it as a business and you have to think like a business where Half your time is spent creating content.

[00:30:25] Matt: The other half is going to be doing like direct sales, um, and partnerships and sponsorships. It’s what I’ve done with the WP minute again, unless you are. Half naked jumping into a pool off the, off of skyscraper, then most people aren’t going to, going to click that, that YouTube video. If it’s just an average video, then you’re going to, you’re going to see less traffic.

[00:30:45] Matt: If you’re not posting, you’re going to see less traffic. If you’re not recording audio, you’re going to see less traffic. And it’s a lot of work. Yeah, I don’t have a direct question there, but the creator space is challenging. Um, the money doesn’t just show up. Like you have to put in the work for this stuff [00:31:00] to, to, uh, to become a business for you.

[00:31:03] Mike: Yep, I agree with that. So it’s, for the people that are starting out, like I said earlier, it’s not the magic pill. It’s not the diet pill that you’re going to lose 20 pounds overnight. You have to be creating that content and just sort of like, whether you’re also tweeting at the same time, or you do like a video version or a podcast version that’s then on.

[00:31:26] Mike: The various, um, podcast apps that is getting every little bit of content you’ve produced. It’s sort of like, how can you repurpose that and amplify that? So there’s, again, I’m, I’m keep sort of leaning to different areas of Jetpack. So with Jetpack social, then you can write and it’ll ping it out to all of those networks of, um, like Twitter used to be automatic, but now there’s just like a very quick.

[00:31:49] Mike: One click share option that’s came out in the last, I think the last release of Jetpack so that you can continue to You write your content and then you can just click and share it to Twitter And [00:32:00] there’s Mastodon is another one that sort of getting your content out in more places. You’re likely to get more people to come and find your website and then hopefully subscribe to a Newsletter or to the particular blog post comments or whatever else that you’re producing

[00:32:16] Matt: Uh, I want to wrap it up with, uh, one other question here. So I’m looking again, looking at the pricing page. There’s a, for creator, um, there’s a 2 percent transaction fee. Is that going on? Where does that, where does that come into play? The 2 percent transaction fee.

[00:32:30] Mike: So that’s only if you make a transaction through any of the blocks that, um, so if you have a paid subscriber and they pay you, um, say a hundred dollars, then that 2 percent of that would only happen if that payment is made, but then there’s the, the strike processing fees on top of that. So that, that’s the difference there is that you could get started. Building an audience and then when you come to monetize it later down the line, you can then make the decision of is it worth me upgrading to lower that [00:33:00] fee I’m a happy saying I’m paying a little bit of a higher fee while still using the things

[00:33:07] Matt: That could be like a donation form or like, uh, you know, access this private post but pay me 5 or something like that

[00:33:13] Mike: Yeah, or downloadable content like an e book you could put there behind like the premium content block so you could say Um, start the content and then you have to pay to download the ebook at the end of it.

[00:33:25] Matt: Pay for payments probably not put you on the hot seat a little bit but for for payments. Do you all ever talk about? Bitcoin payments or anything like that. Cryptocurrency payments. There’s a, there’s a digital wallet called get Albi, which is really popular in the, in the podcasting space.

[00:33:39] Matt: I hate to use the terms Bitcoin and crypto because a lot of people start freaking out about it, but get Albi does make life pretty easy for podcasters who are looking for, um, you know, other means of monetization.

[00:33:51] Mike: And I’m not sure on that one with Bitcoin. I think with it integrating with Stripe, I think if Stripe is offering that as a payment option, then you can [00:34:00] just lean into whatever Stripe offering because it’s, um, when you do choose to set up a paid plan or set up a donation form, you go through the Stripe.

[00:34:09] Mike: Connect flow and so it’s, whether those options available in Stripe could then come through into the website. I don’t think we’ve had much feedback about people wanting to accept Bitcoin just because of all the ups and downs of like holding your cash in crypto can be a little bit scary for most.

[00:34:28] Matt: Yeah. Yeah. For the creator side, just to paint the picture for podcasters, one of the, there’s a whole like another sort of, uh, almost similar to WordPress. There’s an open source RSS standard called the, the, um, podcasting 2. 0, uh, movement, and it’s really just enhancing RSS and the capabilities. And one of that is payments through, um, the lightning network, which is like a smallest form of Bitcoin payments.

[00:34:54] Matt: And, and the reason why it’s so effective is it because it doesn’t have to go through traditional[00:35:00] means of, uh, merchant accounts like a stripe. That’s always taking the 30 cents plus the 2. 9 percent because what they’re doing is they’re micro, micro transactions. Like you could be listening to a podcast and just love that moment of the podcast and give somebody 25 cents, right?

[00:35:18] Matt: A quarter, a nickel, a dime, a dollar. Um, And all of that money goes to the creator versus if you did it in traditional land, you would lose like 50 percent of it and people probably wouldn’t even process it because it would cost more money to process it with these other outlets. Right? So that’s a really popular solution.

[00:35:35] Matt: Anyway, in the podcasting world, it’d be interesting to see if that ever made it to, um, to the WordPress side, like micro transactions to help creators like, like that, Mike Stott, thanks for hanging out today. I know you’re, uh, you’re up late.

[00:35:47] Mike: Indeed, I’m up late but, like I said, the boys are in bed and they’ve not woke up. I was expecting them to, to hear the baby cry on like halfway through the

[00:35:56] Matt: yeah, I know those stresses. I [00:36:00] know those stresses all too well. Uh, Mike, where else, uh, where can folks go to find you to say thanks for doing the show?

[00:36:06] Mike: Sure, so you can follow me, find me on Twitter at mike. wp Um, I do have a, a fledgling, a fledgling word, a YouTube channel that I’m starting to, Do more videos around like the creator space and looking at what some of the bigger websites do for creators Not for creators, but how they set up their content and how if you were setting up your own how you could do something similar But that’s just a personal passion.

[00:36:31] Matt: , Mike, thanks for hanging out today. Uh, thanks for doing the podcast.

[00:36:34] ​

[00:36:34] ​[00:37:00]

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