While some of us may have dreams of being the next YouTube or Instagram sensation, being a content creator is so much more than simply having thousands of followers. Businesses all over the world hire content creators to craft blog posts, videos, photos, ebooks, and more to promote their brands and engage both new and existing customers.
In this post, we’ll dive into what exactly a content creator does, the different platforms that they work with, what a typical content creator salary looks like, and how to become a content creator.
What Is a Content Creator?
Content creators are responsible for coming up with new content ideas and seeing them through from concept to final product. There are usually multiple steps in the content creation process, whether you’re a digital creator or working on printed materials.
This content is usually either educational or entertaining, designed to interest the target audience of the business. For example, a social media content creator will spend the majority of their time working on hashtag and audience research, creating photo or video content to post, and reviewing reports of previous campaigns to analyze their success. You may also hear these types of creators called “influencers”, as they usually have large social media audiences of their own and will work with brands on sponsored content, promoting businesses to their following. Social media creators work on a handful of platforms and content is specifically created for each one to resonate with that particular audience.
Celebrities usually work as social media influencers but there are also plenty of individuals who have made a name for themselves online and grown significant followings. Kayla Itsines, Zoe Sugg, Huda Kattan, and Eleonora Pons are all great examples of digital creators who have built audiences into the millions and are highly sought after by brands, charging five-figures for a single brand post on their channels.
But it’s not only influencers who are social media content creators. Some people will work as social media managers, where they create the content on behalf of a brand and post it on the brand’s channel for them, along with monitoring and responding to comments. Freelance videographers, photographers, and copywriters are also hired by businesses as content creators, as these are not always positions that they have in-house.
Thinking about how to become a content creator on YouTube? Developing both your videography and social media skills as you create your channel and work portfolio will help to build your own audience and make it easier for businesses to find you. YouTubers like Shay Carl, Kassem G, and Lisa Donovan have all worked as videographers for brands on both their own channels and through production companies.
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What Does a Content Creator Do?
What’s in a content creator job description? Well, it depends.
There are numerous digital platforms that creators work on, from YouTube and Instagram, to company blogs, Medium, and more, so what each individual does will vary based on the needs of the business they’re working for and the type of media they use.
Bloggers and writers will spend a large part of their day researching before writing their content. This could include looking at similar content online, gathering statistics or products to reference within the post, or interviewing experts for quotes. Depending on how involved the brand wants a creator to be, the work may only involve writing the initial piece; for others, editing and posting on the company’s blog or Medium account may also be part of the contract.
Written content creation isn’t only about long-form, blog-style pieces though. Even social media creators work on written content in the form of captions for their posts, digital ads, and videos to support any visuals that are being shared.
Video content is also an incredibly popular medium. If content creation is a career you’re looking to explore, learning how to become a YouTube content creator specifically is an excellent choice for building a lucrative career. Videographers spend much of their time planning for video shoots, from researching actors and locations to creating storyboards and scripts. In fact, most of their work happens before and after the shoot itself, as editing can be just as time-consuming as the planning process.
What does a normal day look like for a digital creator? Depending on the platform, the type of content created will be different. For most, a typical work day will involve:
- Brand and competitor analysis: Understanding what a brand is about, who their target audience is, and what their competitors are doing is where all successful content begins. This helps to narrow down ideas later on, as well as gives you more credibility when getting approval from brand representatives ahead of the actual content creation.
- Idea brainstorming: This is where you can get creative! Coming up with several ideas gives you a good starting point when working with a brand as you decide what will be most relevant and engaging for your or their audience.
- Content creation: The content creation process will likely involve multiple stages as you work with the brand to write or shoot content that brings the campaign idea to life. This can take anywhere from a few hours to weeks or months, depending on how extensive the final result will be.
- Editing and approvals: Editing photos and videos to fit with the brand aesthetic and tone can take some time but this is where the final product starts to really take shape. What gets left on the cutting room floor may surprise you, but you’ll feel so proud of your work once you hand it over to the brand for final approvals before it goes live.
- Promotion: The brand may do this themselves but, in the case of influencers, this is where the money-making happens. Content will be shared across various digital channels and tracking will be added to keep tabs on how well the posts are performing.
Your favorite influencers may make it look easy, but there’s a lot of work behind each of those Instagram Reels and YouTube videos. If that doesn’t sound too daunting and you’re still thinking about how to become a content creator, we have a few ideas that will help to get you started.
5 Steps to Becoming a Content Creator
Step 1: Understand the Target Audience
Creating content that doesn’t resonate with your audience or the audience of the brand you’re working for is a waste of time and money. Before getting started on any new project, make sure you know some of the basic details about your audience:
- How old are they?
- What gender are they?
- Where do they live, work, and socialize? What do they do in their spare time?
- What does their family situation look like (are they single, married, have children)?
- What other brands do they like and shop with?
- What digital platforms are they on/where do they spend their time online?
- What do they care most about?
Step 2: Find Your Voice and Style
There are hundreds of other content creators out there, but there’s only one you! There are so many ways that you can stand out in the crowd, so taking the time to figure out what makes you unique in your industry or interest area can help you to build an engaged audience on the channel of your choosing. It also helps brands decide whether you’re the right creator for them to work with. They need to be sure that your aesthetic, values, mission, and audience line up with theirs and the product or service they’re looking to promote.
Step 3: Be Social and Show Up
In the content creation world, who you know is everything. Being active on social media, networking with other creators and brand representatives, and showing up for your own audience are the best ways to consistently grow your own following. You don’t have to spend every minute online, but try to post on your preferred channels at least a couple of times a week. Your audience will start to become familiar with your posting schedule and expect content on certain days, which will help to increase your engagement with your followers. You’ll also gain valuable insight from connecting with others, whether that’s new ideas for content or ways that you can help people in your world.
Step 4: Learn From the Pros
There are some incredible creators out there, and there’s a reason that they’re the best in their industries. Studying from the masters will give you the opportunity to see what works well on the platforms you want to focus on and how to build an engaged audience successfully. It’s also a good idea to observe how they handle a crisis, particularly if you’re planning to work in industries that cover difficult or controversial topics. Take note of how their followers respond in comments and what the creator does to address any issues.
Step 5: Practice Every Day
There’s a reason that practice makes perfect! You might not feel inspired to create something new every day, but continually building your writing, photography, graphic design, or videography skills will put you in a great position when the time comes to apply for jobs as a content creator or build your own brand.
Take courses online to brush up on skills you haven’t used for a while or to learn something new that can be a resume builder. This can be a great way to stand out as you’re carving out your space in the online world, especially if you can do something that very few people can do well or even at all.
Typical Content Creator Salary
Digital creators can work for themselves as freelancers or may be employed either in-house or as part of a bigger agency. You don’t necessarily need any formal qualifications, but having a degree in marketing, business, or a specialized skill like photography or video production can help when looking for jobs as you start your career.
Even so, plenty of YouTubers and social media influencers started with no experience, slowly building their audiences and creating a strong portfolio of work before they reached a position where their earnings enabled them to leave other jobs to pursue content creation full-time.
A typical content creator salary in the US, Canada, and the UK is between $35,000 and $40,000 for in-house and agency positions, while in Europe, these can vary from as low as $30,000.
Freelancers and experienced creators often earn up to six-figure sums for each project. Thinking about how to become a YouTube content creator? It’s not uncommon for individuals to earn millions in revenue from videos and brand sponsorships on this platform, but it can take years to achieve this kind of return. For self-employed content creators, the sky really is the limit when it comes to your earning potential, but it all depends on the type of work you do and the size of your audience.
If you’re still trying to decide which skills to focus on building, take a look at several different content creator job descriptions. This will give you an idea of what companies are looking for when hiring for these positions and can help you to spot any gaps in your resume or creative portfolio that you need to fill to make you a better candidate.
Whichever platform you choose, there are so many opportunities out there for you to build a sustainable and creative career as a content creator!
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