Do you have a story to tell? Are you an expert in your field, with years of experience under your belt? You might be a digital content creator for brands that are looking for useful pieces of content to help drive traffic to their website.
If you’re a beginner, this is the article for you. We’ll describe a few different types of content creators, show you how to get started, and finally share some links to additional resources.
The content creator is a common job title you see in the freelance marketplace. A content creator is a person who creates content for businesses and brands, but what does that actually entail? This article will help you understand some of the roles of a “content creator” and I’ll also show you some ways to increase your own freelancing business if that’s your goal.
What Is A Content Creator?
A content creator is someone who creates appealing and awe-inspiring content for the viewers.
The content they create can be educational, or can simply be catchy enough to entertain and grab the attention of any visitor or passerby who wasn’t previously interested in your brand. But after looking at the content, they developed a certain interest and visited your webpage or your social media handles.
A good idea can be powerful to impact an audience positively, generating leads for your brand and attracting more customers through the content displayed. The way these content creators use their ideas to bring a change in the purchasing power of a user is commendable.
Content doesn’t just educate us about things but also keeps us entertained while we smile and laugh at the memes we encounter.
Having a good content creator on your team or being one yourself is very important and can be the most vital asset to your company. They are the brains behind making your brand appear appealing through the content that they create.
Their brain really does work differently.
They link your product with a story and add emotions to your advertisement campaigns. And it is this emotionally appealing content that connects the audience with your brand.
And who can do this better than a creative content creator? And this is exactly why we need more inspiring content creators who would bring a positive change to the world.
Five Things Top-Quality Content Creators Do
Successful content creators know there’s more to being in demand than writing the best content (though that’s a great start and works for some people, such as copywriters).
Follow the best practices below to make sure you’re armed and ready to rule the world of content creation.
**1. Get and Stay Current
**Whatever your area of expertise is, you need to be on top of it, know the latest news, and follow the trends.
**2. Know Your Audience
**The better you know your or your client’s audience, the better you can communicate with them.
3. Use Shortcut Tools That Help You Create Awesome Content
Content creation isn’t just about crafting words. As mentioned above, it can be everything from managing social media to designing brochures to creating videos. If you’re up on the latest tools, you’ll know that there’s no reason to start from scratch when there are free online templates that do the heavy graphic design lifting for you.
4. Write Often
Writing and creative thinking is at the core of being a content writer and creator. They’re also muscles that need to be flexed regularly to stay agile.
5. Write for SEO
You can write the content that would bring Shakespeare to tears and still not get any traction if you don’t include keywords that help your work bubble up to the top of search results. SEO keywords ensure your content gets seen and has measurable results.
How To Become A Content Creator
If you have a Smartphone and an internet connection, you can create digital media and reach a global audience. Anyone with a knack for creating audio, video, text, or visuals can become a content creator and build their personal media empire.
While it may not seem like a big deal, the democratization of distribution is momentous for creators. Not so long ago, you needed to go through middlemen for broadcasting any kind of information.
1. Niche Down So That You Can Scale Up
When I began content creation, I got paid a tad over 50 cents for a 500-word blog post. To date, content mills and freelance marketplaces continue paying $5 per article to new writers. In the iWriter pricing plans below, look at the pay for the “Standard” tier.
Working for such content creation companies that deem it as a commodity is a huge mistake. It shouldn’t be on your cards (barring a few decently paying gigs at Upwork). But can you get paid well at the beginning of your content career at all?
It’s a reaffirming YES. Begin by niching down. Don’t try to please millions, rather, find those 1000 true fans you would genuinely love to have a conversation with. That’s not a big ask given that even appealing to one-in-a-million people of the world would leave you with 7000 people.
Tim Ferriss, author, and entrepreneur, lays down the importance of finding this ‘narrow niche’ for yourself — about aiming for a readership that LOVES every piece of content you create.
I rescued my freelance content career by specializing in writing digital marketing articles and later SaaS content marketing. That’s how I raised my rates by over 2000x and scaled up my content business.
Whether you’re producing videos for your YouTube channel, starting a podcast, or engaging in any other creative endeavor — niche down. It’s going to build a strong foundation for scaling up your audience or your pay later on.
2. Build Streaks To Gain Momentum
Whenever I’ve set huge goals for myself related to creative projects — be it writing or producing videos — I’ve felt overwhelmed. I almost always backed out even before starting the project. I learned the hard way that the key to flexing your creative muscles is just by showing up regularly and completing mini-tasks.
If you’re getting started with a blog, you need not write 1000 words every day. Just promise yourself to put down 100 words a day and build a streak of the same. The idea is to set the bar so low, you won’t feel any resistance in showing up.
Especially at the beginning of a creative project, such streaks help you feel confident and gain momentum. I’ve found them helpful in building an appetite for taking on bigger challenges. For instance: Once you get the foot in the door with those first 50 words — you’ll feel inertia to continue writing. Who knows, you might even complete a whole article.
I like using the Strides app (available on iOS and the web) to keep track of my habit streaks. Here’s a preview of me trying to “play the guitar” every day. I’m trying to improve the percentage of days I show up.
Building such streaks can also take a weekly form. James Clear (author of Atomic Habits) chose a frequency of publishing two articles per week at the beginning of his blogging journey. That has paved his way to becoming a bestselling author and a super successful blogger.
One fine day, James didn’t feel like he had any great ideas and wanted to give up.
So what did he do?
He used some grit and wrote anyway.
Later in the article, I’ll share another application that will help you understand your body’s internal clock so you can build your writing routine accordingly.
3. Copy Badasses In Your Industry
Maybe you’re a video creator and connect with someone like Gary Vaynerchuk. He shares valuable advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, which is such a common subject. But his videos have a characteristic GaryVee exuberance, so you dissect that by watching his videos.
His tone overflows with energy, swearing, and hustle. He isn’t worried about being politically correct. He doesn’t want to appeal to everyone. So you can take the best parts of his approach.
For a content writer, it could mean reading articles at the New York Times or their favorite blog, then dissecting their usage of punctuation, framing of arguments, sentence structure, and even memes. You can do this for a bunch of your favorite writers.
Conduct the above exercise whenever you want some inspiration — until you realize that you’ll only fail at becoming these artistic folks — and in the process, you find your style, your voice.
It’s combinatorial creativity at work. As Maria Popova, author and the founder of Brain Pickings, puts it: “We take information, from it synthesize insight, which in turn germinates ideas.”
Note: Especially while creating content in crowded industries such as business and marketing, it’s important to speak and write from personal experience, all while taking inspiration from the greats you feel inspired by. Your authentic voice is your only defense against competition.
4. Leverage Data To “Inform” Your Content Creation, BUT…
Content is a marketing channel. So it’s important for your writing, videos, or any other creative project to help the business bottom line and data can be a great indicator of it. For instance, you can measure:
- brand awareness (traffic),
- leads (newsletter signups, product trials and demos, and the like),
- and sales (direct revenue).
So, install Google Analytics (GA) on your website to keep track of your content performance and insist your clients do the same. Besides your website, all other platforms (YouTube, Spotify, Twitter, Facebook, you name it) you create content for will have dedicated analytics.
For instance, here’s a snapshot from GA for my article: things to write about. It gets pretty slick engagement, but I can work on reducing the bounce rate of the article.
Indeed, depending on your goals, you can set up key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate your content. It can include product trials generated, newsletter signups, average engagement rate, and the like.
Let me share an example to illustrate a few KPIs:
- A comparison review article like “best online course platforms” will appeal to course creators who want to purchase course software. It need not generate a lot of traffic, but it should generate product trials.
Now consider an informational article like “getting high-paying ghostwriting jobs.” It should appeal to freelancers who want to make money writing. If the readers find it valuable, it should generate newsletter signups.
For content creators, traffic, page views, search traffic, keywords ranked, and such could be decent starting points. But if you’re not a publisher monetizing your content with advertisements, then these are all vanity metrics — because none of them would directly be attributed to the revenue you generate. Choose a metric as close to your bottom line as possible.
At the end of every month, you can review your data, check the performance of your content against your KPIs, and try to answer questions such as:
- What kind of content you created is performing the best vs. the worst?
- How many articles is a typical website visitor reading when they come to your site?
- What is the difference in behavior between a mobile vs. desktop visitor?
You’re looking to accrue insights from these questions so that you can iterate your process of content creation. It might mean you find something that goes against your gut. What should you do in such situations? Well, you need to:
5. Create A Body Of Work You’re Proud Of…
Your intuition can derail you, so coupling it with data for informing your content creation is all fine and dandy. But let’s look at a special scenario:
Data says that certain kinds of review articles are performing the best. You feel bored exclusively writing them alone, though. You want to experiment with newer and exciting content formats.
Content creation is a necessity these days. No matter what industry you’re in or what niche you’re trying to succeed, you’ve got to have something for people to read about. You need their attention and without anything for them to read, that’s something you’ll struggle with if you’re just getting started.