Updated: Mar 13
Table of Contents:
Why TikTok is the Most Powerful Tool for a Poet Right Now
If you haven't heard of TikTok by now, I ask thee: where have you been?! With it's scandals, conspiracies and popularity for making people 'internet famous' over-night, more than a billion people have flocked to the latest BIG 5 social media platform.
Other than the promise of making you famous in a blink of an eye, many people have joined the platform for it's cooky videos, entertainment value, and because people report that the platform 'allows them to be themselves', according to a survey by Neilson - commissioned by TikTok themselves.
TikTok comes out on top for being authentic!
The survey found:
64% of users say they can be their true selves on TikTok.
56% of TikTok users say they can post videos they wouldn’t post elsewhere.
53% of users say they trust others to be their real selves on TikTok.
As some of you who are pursuing personal branding as a poet may know, authenticity is a huge component when it comes to building a loyal following.
Making the moolah!
Another aspect of TikTok is the new Creator's Fund, meaning the platform's creators can now make money from their videos. However, it does leave room for improvement and much to be desired. This is probably where YouTube will come out on top when it launches it's new partner programme for Shorts creators imminently.
As someone who only makes a minimal income from YouTube, I will leave you with a video from the biggest creator in the world to explain the difference with far more experience and revenue to compare:
Of course, the title of the video entirely contradicts this segment of the article, but we're pointing the finger and putting their title down to clickbait. TikTok is going nowhere. It remains to be seen what TikTok's response will be to YT's Shorts' mammoth revenue split, though if they want to remain the most popular short form video platform, it is likely they will match their Creator's Fund to YT's Partner Programme.
Raking in the views!
TikTok became known as the platform that made influencers over night! It took social media by storm and before you knew it, even people's grandma was pulling in hundreds of thousands of views!
The next generation of poets are flooding the platform and poets around the world are 'being discovered'. Their complimentary algorithm, though now slowing down, meant that the platform wanted your content to pull in as many views, unlike some other algorithms.
With all of this being said, TikTok remains the perfect storm for poets looking to make a name for themselves. The poetry community on TikTok is still rather small, in comparison, leaving plenty of space for the next big influencer!
In Conversation with TikToker and Poet Sarah Goldney
And so, that brings us on nicely to our next segment. We were lucky enough to speak with one of the platform's biggest creators within the poetry niche, Sarah Goldney, for our latest magazine issue.
Welcome to The Poetry Cove, I'm really excited to talk to you. I guess we're just going to jump straight in and I'm just going to ask you probably the most basic question, to get things rolling. How long have you been writing poetry for?
I think officially, I started writing poetry properly in 2020 in lockdown. TikTok was a big thing in Lockdown. I was scrolling through TikTok and saw some poetry on there. I've always been interested in kind of songwriting & lyrics. Getting my emotions into words has been a thing that I've always enjoyed doing. But when I saw poetry come up on my TikTok, I was like, I could give that a go. And then I wrote some things, and that's just kind of how it started. And then I started just posting it for fun, and people seemed to enjoy it.
Poetry has obviously had a huge resurgence in the last seven years or whatever, mostly because of Instagram. And as you say, I was just scrolling through Instagram, and I'd already kind of dabbled in poetry before and wanted to get into poetry, but it wasn't until I found Instagram and started thinking, oh, this is like a way of getting things out there. I don't know how you feel about Instagram. I have very, very strong opinions of Instagram, and I feel like it's slowly dying out. And we're very much coming into the age of TikTok now. I guess you've kind of already answered it, but I just wondered how you feel about releasing your art onto TikTok and how that might differ to Instagram, and your views on how poetry is moving forward into the social media world.
Yeah, personally, I never saw any kind of poetry on Instagram. I think because I don't really use Instagram as much. I started using TikTok because TikTok was kind of a lockdown sensation that kind of blew up. But I've never really seen poetry on Instagram before. I've only just recently started a poetry Instagram because I know that that's a thing that expands to a lot of people. But, yes, I get what you mean. Obviously, I enjoyed writing poetry a little bit before I'd been introduced to social media and the idea of putting my poetry on social media. But that definitely kickstarted it because I think I was like, it would be nice if I could share this with other people on TikTok. Like, people would comment things on TikToks being like, can you write about this? Can you put my feelings into words for me? And I think it's just nice. It's a nice sense of community to be able to let other people enjoy it and then also help other people by creating things that they might not necessarily be able to do themselves.
Yeah, and I think really the whole multimedia thing is probably another big reason why poetry is becoming more and more popular because obviously you can make videos and short films to your poems and add sounds to it. So I guess TikTok has that. Obviously you got YouTube shorts now and you got Instagram Reels because of TikTok. They're trying to keep up. But I guess TikTok really kind of added that element to it. Do you think?
Yeah, definitely. I think, like you said, being able to use sound is one of the things that has really like, let TikTok blow up because I think people enjoy being able to take other people's audios that they've created and using them for videos themselves. Yeah, I just think that especially Instagram is very much you can read a poem, but you have to internalise it yourself. Whereas TikTok, you can hear people read it in the voice that they want to. A lot of the comments that I get online are like, I want to be able to hear you read it from your perspective, kind of thing. So I think it's a very, like, personal audio experience from TikTok that you wouldn't be able to get on Instagram, which is probably why that's kind of piqued my interest more than Instagram.
Yeah. I don't know if I'm repeating myself here now because I'm trying to slowly look to my questions and I guess as we talk, we kind of answer them naturally. But what came first, a love for poetry, or just as a young adult naturally drawn to social media and stuff? You sort of dabbled in poetry before TikTok, but did you feel like TikTok was sort of the release for that, to really kind of pursue it and go with it?
Yeah, I think so because I dabbled in it before. Before I started a TikTok account I would do a lot of journaling, I kind of just write my ideas down. I wouldn't take it very seriously. But then I started seeing some videos on TikTok of people putting poetry to music and I think that was kind of the thing that made me interested in it. And then I thought, well, if I could put my poetry to music, maybe it would sound good. And I tried it out and I posted it on TikTok and some people seem to like it and I was like, I could get behind doing this. I just enjoyed it as a hobby. But I definitely think that TikTok was something that kind of elevated it and I wouldn't have taken my poetry to social media unless I'd have seen that was the thing on TikTok, I don't think.
Would you recommend it? I do YouTube videos on tips and stuff and a lot of people, because poets like Rupi Kaur and Atticus have done so well out of Instagram, they're really focused on Instagram. And when TikTok first came out, I was telling people to get on TikTok. Get on TikTok because that's the new platform. But most wanted to only focus on Instagram because it was already established. Do you have any kind of words of encouragement? Anyone who's like, still now, "I'm not going to do TikTok."
I think TikTok is a really good opportunity because obviously it's very big right now. I'd say just go for it. And it can be quite scary. I know when I first posted my first TikTok of my poetry, it was terrifying because it's your voice and it's your words coming out like you're saying them, you're not just writing them down. So it is a big step, but it can definitely be really rewarding and I think it is something that if you're interested in poetry, and if people are writing poems anyway, I think it's a good thing that can advance your exposure.
You have, like, 136,000 followers. As someone with that amount of influence, do you feel any sort of responsibility when you're creating your content or even burden? Is there a burden that comes with it?
I definitely say as it got bigger, I felt a lot more responsibility. I wouldn't say burden. I think there's been times when I've been like, oh, maybe this is a lot of pressure, but then it is definitely more rewarding than it is a burden to me. I think when I first started, I was just doing it for me. I was like, I'm just going to do what I want. If people like it, they like it, if they don't, they don't. But as I've got more of a following, I have felt a bit of a responsibility to keep up with things and to be posting things that other people are going to like. And I have caught myself being like, I don't really know if I really like this, but I'm going to put it out there because someone else might like it kind of thing. And I think it's just like trying to keep my head screwed on and trying to be like. I'm just going to do what I want to do. But then also not getting dragged down in the fact I don't have the time to be posting all the time. I'm a full time student. So it is a bit of a responsibility to keep people happy. But I tried to just go with the flow and just post what I want to post when creative ideas come to me.
I guess I kind of wanted to talk to you about that specifically as a bigger creator, because I know, certainly with Instagram, and again, I have very strong opinions with Instagram, but all social media is the same. I find that when I read through our members discussions and stuff on the forum, a lot of them get discouraged very quickly, and myself included at times as well, because they're battling algorithms. I have such strong opinions, but I guess I kind of want to know if you have any advice to any of our members who aren't really getting the traction that they want. I try and tell people all the time, it's not necessarily your work. In fact, usually it's not your work, it's because you're battling a quite harsh algorithm. And I guess I just want to know what your opinion on that is.
If you have any like, I've definitely had that struggle at some point when I first started posting things, there were times when I wasn't getting any views and I thought, I don't know if I want to do this because people aren't enjoying it. I thought it was my fault. I've been writing bad poems, everything's going downhill kind of thing. But I would definitely say, just keep posting and writing what you want to write and what makes you kind of come alive. Whenever I write poems that I really enjoy and have a lot of emotion behind them, I get a bit of a spark from it. I kind of get a lot of adrenaline from writing them. And it's when I write poems like that that I'm like, I know that I'm going to be happy posting this, and even if no one wants to read it and no one wants to listen to it, I'll still be happy that I posted it. And I think it's just the concept of, like, keep going and keep doing what you love because at the end of the day, you're doing it because you love doing it.
For the entire interview, and more questions on Sarah's journey, watch our video below or purchase our magazine.
Start Your TikTok Journey Today!
The gold rush of TikTok views may be over, but it is still the freshest platform around for short form video content. YouTube and Instagram are playing catch-up up with their Shorts and Reels features, but they're already too late. The damage is done and the original platform for this type of content will last the long game and remain the first thought when it comes to short form video content.
The key to TikTok, as it is with all social media platforms, is consistency. Some argue you have to be posting six times a day to begin with. Though this may be a little excessive, it's not too far off the mark. Personally, I recommend a tidy 3 times a week.
Remember the 3 Cs of social media:
Content - this is your priority! The single most important thing to pulling in followers on social media is to make great content that excites and engages! Check out my video on how to make amazing content for the TikTok poetry community below!
Consistency - as already mentioned, you have to be consistent with your posting. Not only this, but you also have to be consistent in your branding. What does your content look like? Sound like? Etc etc.
Community - make sure you are engaging with your followers, and the poetry community in general. Lucky for you, you've already found the biggest poetry community around! Start sharing your profile, your poems, and your thoughts at The Poetry Cove Forum!
Recently I made a YouTube series about how to build your poetry social media platforms - not just for TikTok, but for Instagram and YouTube too! See below.
Lastly, if you're still struggling to build your social media and your brand, GUESS WHAT! I offer a social media mentorship in conjunction with The Poetry Cove Academy! Book now and work with me 1-1 to improve all of your online exploits!