WANT TO BE A CONTENT CREATOR?
HERE ARE THE BASIC REQUIREMENTS
What is a CONTENT CREATOR?
First lets talk about the definition of a Content Creator. I am sure different marketing worlds have different definitions. The following definition is from my perspective - an Influencer who works with agencies, tourism bureaus and national brands.
A content creator is a person who provides stories, tips, travelogues and writings about a product. They also provide imagery. They create a story for a brand… meaning they actually go out, experience the product and then share that story. Sometimes the story is mostly visual with a few words or sometimes it is a long story with a few photos. And sometimes it is a video.
Content Creators typically have their own audience to share their story with.. but do not fret - if you do not have a large audience that does not mean you cannot be a Content Creator! Sometimes brands don’t care about your audience - that is just an added bonus. They want the content for their web sites, their ads, etc.
So think about why that is attractive… Real people who are actually experiencing the brand’s product telling their authentic story. As I discussed in the Influencer page - perfectly curated is OUT and REAL LIFE is “in.” Brands want authentic stories and photos.
Skills You Need to be a GREAT Content Creator:
Basically you need to be your own advertising agency:
Account Services: You need to be able to work with your client in a professional and timely manner. Duties including managing expectations, agreeing on deliverables, creating a full scale contract (sometimes the client does this), creating a timeline and so much more! I think some experience and/or schooling in marketing, advertising & accounting is needed to succeed.
Finance: Billing, negotiating your own rates, knowing your worth, reminding clients who are overdue, keeping track of your accounting, taxes, etc.
Creative: What is the brand’s story that you want to portray? How will you tell that story through the use of media, location, props, people, etc. I spend hours before the trip/shoot figuring out these details.
Production: Personally I think you need to either be an above-level photographer OR an above-level writer. BOTH would be amazing. I think I am an above-level photographer with decent writing skills. (My secret weapon is that my husband went to journalism school and worked as a reporter so I always have him check my paid work for content and grammar.) You also should have a strong online presence already created: Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and a great web site!
Web/Media: Time to share that story with your audience. What is the proper timeline? Did the client agree to it? Are you encompassing ALL aspects of the brand - and not just the low hanging fruit? It’d be easy to travel to a pretty place and share all sunset photos right? But you also need to show the lodging, food, culture and hopefully somewhere in there show the feelings you have when experiencing the location. Where are you sharing that story? Are you targeting the right audience that will best benefit your client?
(I will write more on this. Someday I’d like to share “A Day In the Life” so you can see a behind-the-scenes view of the job & the hours it entails!)
Important Personality Traits of Great Content Creators
You need a positive attitude. “Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.” My parents had this R.W. Emerson quote printed in my high school year book when I graduated. Hopefully it was because they think I am a very happy person but maybe it was just because I love perfume. Regardless, this quote has stuck with me.
If you’re a grump, a cynic, or a pessimist it WILL show in your work and in your words. Do you post rants on social media? Do you have cynical captions? Your future employers will see this. If you must do it, keep that stuff to your private account.
I personally have a desire to create something that is a positive part of my viewers’ day. I love to share images and stories that inspire others! (This doesn’t mean I am a perpetually happy person. I experience sadness & strong opinions just like everyone else of course - I just choose carefully where I share that. It is usually offline with my husband or friends where we can have a full conversation.)
You need energy and a strong work ethic. This work is no joke. When I am alone on a tourism trip I am up before sunrise and working straight until a late bed time. My “breaks” are when I am driving or eating alone - usually while editing. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. It can be exhausting. I cherish every single one of the absolutely amazing experiences I have had but I have definitely worked my a** off on every trip!
Finally I will say that you need a tough shell and a business acumen. Creative work can feel very personal. And in a sense, the brand wants you to portray that.. but at the same time the brand will not be afraid to tell you when your work doesn’t match their current marketing campaign. That’s when you treat them respectfully, understand that this is business and do the work they’re requesting. Handing situations in a professional way will insure that you have return customers.