Platforms change, but the skills are timeless

BY Amanda Smith


1 May 2019

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Gary V talks about it all the time. He gets on stage and gives his audience a stinging, slap in the metaphorical face. While his no-bullshit approach to business is, at times, hard to digest, the heart of what he’s saying is true. One of his important lessons is owning the space you’re good at. Online, it’s one of three communication styles: words, video or audio. Gary says it has been, is, and always will be this way. The platforms have changed, but the skillset remains the same.

Newspapers (words) have moved to websites and blogs. TV is now YouTube (and micro-video streams like Snapchat and Instagram stories). And radio? Podcasts, Amazon Alexa, and the like. It’s easy to get caught up in the popularity of new platforms. They’re hot, for months, maybe a year or two if they’re lucky, then they drop off. The way we use them evolves. All that time you spent investing in a new platform and growing an audience, gone. But skills, they can’t be taken away from you.  

Forget platforms. Focus on mediums.

Like Gary V says (or shouts), it’s not about the platform, but the skill development. It’s much more beneficial to focus on mastering content mediums, not platforms. Zoom out and see the bigger picture. You could master Snapchat, only to have Instagram take over in this space. Oh yeah, right, this happened. Platforms evolve. They’re businesses, too. It’s better to develop a solid understanding of the medium that best resonates with you, so you can apply those skills to any new network. Know how to best tell your stories. Is it through words? Speaking? Visuals? Then, tailor your approach based on the platform you’re using.  

You’ll be confident to embrace new channels early on, when ad-spend is low and you can gain traction faster, before your competitors. By focusing on skills rather than platform, you’ll be less attached to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or whatever it is. A big Facebook algorithm shift won’t cripple your business because you now have the skillset to re-align to another network if necessary.

Networks are tools…

Not the be all and end all.

We tend to forget, these networks are tools in our overall marketing rather than the single driver of customers. Ask yourself: if YouTube shut down tomorrow what skills do you have to apply to a new channel?  

New media has replaced traditional. Augmented reality is set to disrupt the internet.

There’s no denying that the rules have changed, and will continue to. But at the core of every communication tool, whether it’s radio, podcasts or Google Home, there’s a string that connects platforms within a medium.

There are similarities between each revolution. The way you craft the pace and length of a radio script also applies to podcasts. Short, punchy sentences. It’s the theatre of the mind. Visually evocative, entertaining words. The same can be said for other communication tools, in their respective medium. Your job is to pick the medium, before the networks. Own the medium then use platforms as tools to connect, test, evolve, and grow as an authority.

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