Today, in the age of viral YouTube videos, Twitch streamers, and web bloggers, the internet is more saturated with content than ever before. In this digital climate, the way that companies market and brand must be as unique, eye-catching, and fast-paced as possible. This is where the vital role of an expert content creator comes in.
Top content creators help businesses:
- Creatively get messages out to the public
- Build brand authority, reputation, and trust
- Engage audiences with valuable information and entertainment
- Generate leads from traffic
But what exactly does a content creator do, and how do you become the best in the game?
Becoming a Content Creator
The role of a content creator is to develop and create digital media for a business with the intention of providing valuable information and/or entertainment, increasing traffic, and strengthening the brand. Depending on the business, a digital content creator is responsible for creating any one of the following:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- White papers
- Web texts
Whatever the medium, the successful content creator must create compelling, thoughtful, and strategic pieces that drive digital marketing campaigns and get potential customers interested.
If you're wondering how to get into content creation, here are 7 tips that will help you jump-start your path to success.
1. Know Your Target Audience
Companies hire an online content creator to connect with potential customers and increase interest in a product or service. To make a meaningful impact, you need to take the time to research and get to know your target audience.
Things to keep in mind about your audience include:
- Median age or age range
- Median household salary or income
- Geographical location
- Family life or situation
You can’t expect to get your message across if you don't know the characteristics and qualities of the people you’re trying to reach.
An analysis of your audience will give you a deeper understanding of what they like and are most interested in, as well as what kinds of digital media they consume most frequently. These details help you as the content creator deliver persuasive, intriguing content that you know is sure to appeal to your audience.
2. Write and Create Often
It’s no secret that businesses that output consistent, reliable, and entertaining content have higher rates of sales leads than businesses that don’t.
McKinsey & Company claim the “three Cs of customer satisfaction” are “consistency, consistency, and consistency.” People don’t want random blog posts or sporadic YouTube videos. They want a continuous stream of fresh content that they can tune into at their leisure.
But don’t underestimate the workload. Research shows that 60% of people struggle to produce content consistently. That’s why it’s crucial to set goals and create a schedule to produce and output content for your audience.
3. Study Up
To be the best at something takes significant time, dedication, and effort. This holds just as true for Olympic athletes as it does for top tier content creators.
To become a successful content creator, you need to know the ins and outs of the role and industry. You need to live and breathe content creation.
You can't beat out the competition if you don't study up on the latest developments in the field or learn as much as you can about your industry or platforms. Although you’ll be busy writing that blog post, filming a new video, or putting the final touches on an infographic, it's just as vital that you read as many sources as possible.
Any content creator worth their salt should invest some time each week to do some studying. Whether you want to learn about the latest updates to social media platforms, brush up on search engine optimization (SEO) methods, or research keywords, your hard work will pay off.
Not sure where to get started? Discover some of the best tips and secrets for how to become a content creator by browsing the industry's top blogs.
4. Research Keywords
One useful tip that will crop up again and again is to do your keyword research. By studying trending keywords, you can optimize your content and have it rank higher in search engine results pages.
Keep in mind that different platforms use different algorithms and criteria to rank pages—Google will evaluate your page differently than, say, Facebook. Being specific to your chosen platforms and target audience is crucial to making sure that your content hits the mark.
When researching trending or popular keywords, consider these differences:
- Variances in search queries: Many people use Google Trends as their go-to approach to applying keywords to their content. While this is extremely useful when researching keywords for blogs or ad copy, the same keywords most likely aren't trending on Twitter or Instagram. You'll need to search specifically for the most useful keywords for whatever platform you intend to use.
- Audience: It goes without saying that audiences differ from one platform to the next. Study the behaviors of your target audience on each platform using A/B testing or similar gauges to choose the best words for your content.
Not all keyword research is the same, and you’ll have to really dig in to find the best approach for your chosen platforms or business goals.
Part of becoming a content creator, especially if you're going the freelance route, is networking and selling yourself. The most successful content creators aren't afraid to put themselves out there both in-person and online.
If you haven't already, create accounts on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. These platforms let you follow and connect with fellow industry professionals, sample your work, and learn from others. It’s fine to use these accounts solely for professional and content creation purposes—you don’t have to use them for your personal life.
Don’t rely exclusively on digital tools to network though. Start off small by attending a few local chats, workshops, conferences, or meetups, and then slowly get to know people within your industry. The more exposure you get for yourself and your work, the higher your chances are of finding consistent work and potential collaborators.
6. Find Your Niche
Custom content looks like the future of marketing. In fact, around 58% of marketers believe original written content to be the most important type of content. That’s why it’s crucial to find your niche.
Think about what you’re most interested in, what you already know, and what you’d be best at. While it certainly helps to be versatile, when you’re just starting out as a content creator, you’ll want to focus only on one industry and a few platforms and skills. Choosing a particular area to specialize in and cutting your content creation teeth with a specific medium will go long ways to helping you create original, meaningful, and valuable content for audiences.
Think about what you’re most interested in creating.
- Do you see yourself writing? If so, consider blog writing, ad copy, or even eBooks.
- Are you more design-oriented? Look to create infographics or animations.
- Would you like to shoot video content? There’s always room on YouTube.
- How about becoming a boss social media manager? Learn to use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.
Whatever medium holds the most appeal to you is where you should start building your skills.
After deciding on a particular skill set, practice using the relevant tools and research industries of interest. Regardless of how skilled you are with a content creation medium, you’ll need broad, in-depth industry information to create anything substantive and valuable for your audience.
7. Perfect Your Skills
Whether you’re a veteran or a complete newbie, you must keep your skills up to date.
The great news is that there are so many sources out there, including free ones, that teach content creation skills and industry knowledge. But no matter the industry or the medium, you should brush up on:
- Digital marketing
- Content writing
- Content strategy
These are just a few examples of the skills an expert content creator will fortify and build upon throughout their career. Aside from these general skills, research information about and skills relevant to your particular niche.
If you’re having trouble locating information, start with blogs, podcasts, or YouTube videos from experts in the field. Scour the internet for courses, workshops, and other sources of information. A lot of internet sources are free, and many serve as goldmines of knowledge. Thanks to the power of the internet, you can learn how to become a content creator from your own living room.
An expert content creator is one that takes the time to practice their craft and study the industry. They put in hours to learn everything they can about their niche and ways to market within it. They understand broad concepts like SEO and content writing to more specific and nuanced skill sets. But at their very core, a content creator is someone with a passion. Passion to create, to write, to learn, and to tell stories. It’s not an easy path, but it’s one that’s worth the journey.
This article was written by Compose.ly Christine Loconti.