All creatives create, and all creations can be content. If you want to make it out in the world, chances are you are going to have to turn your art or skills into content in one form or another. Content is king online. It is the only thing that matters because it is the only tangible piece of value you can interact with on a screen. Content can include writing, graphics, pictures, and videos. It can even be interactive.
Regardless of the type of content, either someone or a whole team spent time crafting it and putting it together. The goal may be to increase sales, boost audience interaction, improve public perception, or even to generate buzz before an upcoming event.
Content marketing makes the digital world run, and if you create anything that goes online, you are technically a content creator. Creating visual and written campaigns to draw in audiences is a unique skill set that you can take with you throughout your career.
It can, however, be hard to get started. If you are interested in creating visual or written campaigns or assets as a living, then you’ll want to use this guide to help you understand your options and how to build those essential skills and connections that will help you reach your goals.
What is a Content Creator?
A content creator is a catch-all term for anyone that creates content. This means writers, artists, filmmakers, advertisers, course creators, and more all fall into the content creator umbrella. Though content creators have been popping up online, that is not the only way to pursue a career in content creation. You can work in media, in marketing, or for yourself. Content is storytelling, and every business and organization needs storytellers to help them connect to their audiences and stand out from the competition.
Do I Have to Be an Influencer?
No! Though having a big online following will absolutely open doors and give you options, you don’t need to become an influencer to do it. You can instead take on clients privately. If you want a steady paycheck, you can even work for a marketing agency or for a bit company in their marketing department.
You can focus on the part of content creation that works best for you, or you can adopt an all-in-one approach that gives you more opportunity to focus on the topic, field, or industry where you want to work.
Where Can I Work as a Content Creator?
There are so many different places you can work as a content creator. In fact, it is more useful to understand the types of careers you can have as a content creator rather than the individual sectors or job roles that are available to you.
For a Company
One of the first places you can work as a content creator is in marketing. You can either work in the marketing department or as the sole marketer for a business. In this role, your only client is your employer, and you will be working to advertise their brand, products, and any PR campaign you and your team create to boost public perception.
For an Agency
The other way you can work in marketing is by working for an agency. Big and small companies hire agencies to create and bring to life campaigns on their behalf. This is the best approach if you want more creative freedom and to work in different sectors.
On a Production
Media is a massive industry, and it does not start and stop in Hollywood, either. You can work on TV media, movie media, sports media, entertainment media, and events media projects all around the world. Technically you can even work in the marketing department on these productions. Still, for simplicity’s sake, this section is going to be solely for those who want to work on the production that creates the movie, TV series, or stream itself.
While talent is going to play a huge part in getting a job on one of these projects, who you know is going to play an even bigger part. Networking is one of the most important parts of any media career, though you will find it gets easier as time goes on since you’ll have people vouching for you.
As an Influencer
When you work as an influencer, you become a production of yourself. You are a channel that people check in on frequently or periodically. That audience is then someone to whom you can sell. You can earn money through advertising, through sponsorships, or by offering products or services directly. In fact, most influencers will use a combination of all the different monetization options.
As a Freelancer
As a freelancer, you’ll use your content creation and marketing expertise to help businesses on a project-by-project basis. This means working like a one-man marketing agency. It can be tough, but it is one of the best approaches out there for those who want to be their own boss. You can work freelance by creating marketing assets, creating and managing campaigns, or even just by offering advice. Working as a consultant means being an advisor. Instead of directly creating anything, you would edit and improve your client’s strategies.
As a Business
You can start your own business. In fact, most successful freelancers eventually evolve into a business or agency of their own. At a certain point, their client list becomes too big to handle on their own. They might hire assistants or other marketers to attract more clients.
How to Get Started in Content Creation
There are almost infinite avenues for those who combine art, storytelling, and analysis. You can work for others, yourself, take on clients, or even become an influencer. You can do more than one thing at once. It is a very freeing career path in that sense, but it can also be very hard to get started for that very same reason.
To get good, you are going to need to improve your skills, your credentials, your network, and your brand persona.
Building Your Skillset
Content creation means nothing unless the content that you make resonates with your audience. That is why working to improve your technical art abilities isn’t enough. You need to understand data, analyze it, and then strategize how you will improve your marketing campaign based on the impact your previous one received.
This means that, on top of storytelling and technical artistry skills, you are also going to need to know how to use analytical tools, how to improve engagement and ROI, and how to use marketing tools.
You can work on improving your skillset and knowledge in multiple ways. Rather than just use one, however, you will want to consider investing in them all. Marketing changes as society and technology changes, which means it is an ever-evolving field that demands a lifelong learning approach from its top professionals.
Start with a Foundational Degree in Marketing
A content marketing degree can teach you so much. It can help you consolidate your various skills by helping you fill in the gaps. You do not even need to go and earn a second undergraduate to do it, either. If you already have a relevant undergraduate degree, you can jump right into a skills-focussed masters.
A content marketing degree helps you develop the skills to create and distribute impactful content and you can learn more by clicking here. It works to help you create and plan winning campaigns that put content and storytelling at the forefront. You will be taught how to cater each campaign to the platform in question so that you can wow audiences regardless of medium.
Read the Marketing Reports
There are entire businesses whose entire focus is to collect data, analyze, and compile their findings into reports. To commit to being the best content marketer and creator, you need to stay on top of the latest changes and trends. It is easier than you might expect to miss truly obvious facts when they’re spread out and organically located. You may miss big overarching trends that show that this new social media platform is the next to get big. More than just trend data, these reports keep up with consumer perception. By staying on top of the findings (both for your specific industry and marketing as a whole) you can put together more impactful campaigns that speak to audiences.
Keep Expanding Your Content Creation Skills
Trying new things with marketing and content is always worthwhile, but do not just stop at the story you’re telling. Try out different mediums as well. For example, if you are a graphic artist, you can try out any of the new 3D blender and drawing tools that let you create interactive media. You can use AI to boost your marketing assets.
Art is always about pushing the boundaries, and while staying on top of the coolest things happening in the art world can give you ideas you can copy and then remix into your own, you will also want to commit to creating your own unique thing. You are on the right track if your work feels fresh and new.
Know Your Audience
You need to know your audience, and this means more than just using analytics to understand the demographics you are working with. If you want to connect, then you need to understand the cultural values of your audience. Read history books, follow minority creators, and stay on top of the latest conversations surrounding identity and sexuality.
This does not mean you need your campaigns or art to appeal to everyone all at once. It does mean creating content that is more aware of the overall picture. That way, you can get your point across to your audience without derailing the conversation because you were insensitive or because your message was tone-deaf.
Establishing Your Personal Brand
Though you do not need to become an influencer to make a living as a content creator, you need to have an online presence. This professional presence will establish you as a leader in your field. It can help you get jobs and give you more opportunities than going to them alone.
Get started first by cleaning up your online image. Google your name and try to find all references to you online. If the result does not help your professional image, you need to remove it. You can do this by deleting the account or post if you have that option. If you do not have an easy means to remove the content, you’ll have to get in touch with the webmaster or work to get the link disavowed.
Establishing a professional presence is more important than cleaning up your image. To do this, you will want to create professional profiles on the relevant platforms. As a content creator, this is usually going to be social media and perhaps a few art sites like Behance. At a minimum, put your content forward. If you want to use your online platform to boost your career, however, take on your own image as a marketing challenge. Create unique, engaging content that highlights your skills both directly and indirectly.
You can also collaborate, become a thought leader, guest post, and enter competitions to grow your name and reputation.
At the end of the day, everyone would rather work with someone they know and trust over a stranger. That’s why networking is so important. You need people to know you, even if it is just through your work or through a recommendation.
While building up your brand persona is a great way to network, it’s not the only approach you should take. You will also want to help others in your field, be communicative online, and even go to events. Conferences, talks, and workshops can help you grow as a marketer and give you unique opportunities to meet other professionals in your field. Stay in touch with these professionals, and you will increase the chances that job opportunities come to you instead of you trying to hunt them down.