Content creators have become more than a buzzword. They are necessary for businesses looking to reach their target audiences – and regular people who want to entertain themselves or learn new information.
From YouTubers to photographers, copywriters, podcasters, bloggers, and more – content creation has become a career in and of itself. The industry is also forecast to be worth $47.2 billion by 2032, which shows how big it is.
Wondering how to become a content creator? Here are some things you should know to get started.
What is a Content Creator?
A content creator creates something for a digital platform in words, images, video, or audio to entertain an audience or promote a business.
Content creators can work in-house for a business, agency, or freelancer. Depending on the circumstance, a content creator may specialize in one area or be an all-rounder who does everything. Their responsibilities may be one or all of the following:
- coming up with creative concepts
- managing a content calendar
- photography & design
- video editing
- distributing and more.
How Much Does a Content Creator Make?
According to Glassdoor, content creators earn $44,192 a year on average. That is broken down to $22 per hour or $3,680 monthly.
Top earners in the United States generate up to $74,500 annually, with a salary range of $36,000 to $58,500.
Many things influence how much you can earn as a content creator. First, content creator is an umbrella term that can cover many jobs – from editors and designers to writers and marketers. So, your job title will determine your earning potential to a large extent. Other factors that can affect your pay are location, experience, and skills.
What Skills Do You Need to Become a Content Creator?
Understanding your skills and interests is the first step to becoming a content creator. The “create” in content creator means you produce something yourself – whether it’s a blog post or a YouTube video. When you find that sweet spot, you can develop your skills and grow into a professional.
Irrespective of your specialization, there are some skills that all content creators need:
- Creativity thinking skills: Coming up with intriguing ideas to share with your audience is an integral part of the job. Content creators must be curious enough to question the world around them and challenge the status quo. They must also know how to communicate with their audience effectively.
- Storytelling: You need to be able to take the audience on a journey with your words and images – so you need to have a knack for storytelling. It is an artful way of conveying your message to your target audience in a way that engages them and compels them to take action.
- Communication skills: You need good verbal communication skills as you will communicate with clients regularly. The right communication skills will also help you deliver your ideas effectively and get buy-in from your team.
- Top-notch organization: Becoming a digital creator means having excellent organizational skills to manage multiple projects and deliver on time. You may need to prioritize your tasks and stay organized to make sure you meet deadlines.
- An analytical mindset: Be prepared to spend a lot of time researching before creating your content. Content creators are strategic thinkers who constantly evaluate what is working and what is not so they can develop new ways to improve results.
- Ability to grasp concepts quickly: How to become a content creator – a successful one? You must be able to keep up with the ever-changing trends in the digital world and understand how to use new digital tools effectively for content creation and marketing.
Pros and Cons of Becoming a Content Creator
Like most jobs, there is a good side and a negative side. Becoming a content creator is no different.
- The advantage of becoming a digital creator is your flexible schedule. Most content creators who decide to freelance work remotely have total control over their schedule.
- Content creators, mainly social media content creators, can make good money if they establish themselves well in the niche. Take YouTuber Jake Paul, for example; he makes around $20 – $40 million a year from YouTube alone.
In the blogging world, Ariana Huffington of The Huffington Post makes more than $250 million monthly from her website.
- However, it can be hard to find good clients to work with when starting out – especially if the digital industry you are targeting is already saturated.
- Another consideration is that becoming a digital creator is betting on yourself.
Behind the glitz and glamor of the online space, a great deal of hard work goes into it to get the desired results. And there is no guarantee that you’ll succeed. That’s why it is crucial to have passion for your work because you’ll need it during tough times.
How to Become a Content Creator
If you’ve read the cons of becoming a content creator and your fire is still burning within you to start your own online venture, let’s find out how to become a content creator the right way.
1. Choose a Niche and Digital Platform
To become a content creator, you must first choose a niche that interests you (and has an audience). This stage is crucial because it can contribute to your success or cut your dreams of becoming a content creator short.
Niches like travel, gaming, health and wellness, luxury, lifestyle, food, business/making money online, etc., are super popular these days and evergreen. Choose a subject matter that you’re interested in in order to create high-quality content that engages your target audience.
Naturally, you must also choose a field with potential money-making opportunities. After all, your goal as a digital entrepreneur is to create a successful business that can generate income.
Now that you have a focus, decide on the digital platform you want to use to build your brand or business. This stage also requires some due diligence and self-awareness. Ask yourself some questions: Which platform is most suitable for your niche? Where does your target audience spend time? And what are you comfortable using?
2. Educate Yourself
After deciding on a niche and platform, you need to acquire knowledge. It could be via formal education or self-education through reading, online courses, or mentors who are experts in your chosen field.
For example, if you want to become a digital marketer, a marketing degree is one way to learn the intricacies of the field. Of course, getting a marketing degree can be too expensive, which is why digital marketing courses on sites like Udemy, Coursera, or Skillshare are also great resources to learn about digital marketing and get certified at the same time.
Some content creation paths don’t require formal education. Popular YouTuber, MrBeast ‘s story is an excellent example of how you don’t need a college degree to become a successful entrepreneur. If you are passionate, creative, and committed, you can become a digital creator.
There is no general rule for how long you must spend learning the ropes of your chosen field. A good rule of thumb is to acquire as much knowledge as possible for as long as possible.
3. Build Your Portfolio
Irrespective of the type of content creator you want to be, you must have some proof of what you can do. If you are a writer, produce samples you can show clients or prospective employers. Digital creators who want to specialize in video or social media content must create clips they can post on various platforms.
Getting in touch with smaller brands is a smart place to start when you are building your portfolio. Connect with as many people as possible to get “sample content.” If you work with smaller brands, more established brands will see that and be more inclined to hire you. In other words, by starting small and working your way up, you will build a solid foundation for your career in the digital space.
4. Find Work
You have a niche, platform, some education, and a portfolio – it is time to find work.
How you make money from your content will vary depending on your chosen path. If you are a writer, you will need to find work in agencies or as an in-house writer for companies. If you decide to freelance, marketplaces like Fiverr, People Per Hour, Upwork, and Freelancer are great places to find work as a freelancer. You may also reach out to businesses yourself by sending cold pitches.
YouTubers must stay consistent with producing quality videos until they gain popularity. Then they can monetize their channels in various ways, including ads on their videos and even sponsored videos by companies looking for exposure on YouTube.
In a nutshell, this is the stage where you put yourself out there and start earning your first money as a digital creator. Below are more tips to find a gig as a digital creator.
How do I sell myself as a content creator?
Becoming a content creator also means knowing how to market yourself effectively. Successful freelance content creators have mastered the art of self-promotion and marketing themselves to potential brands or businesses that need their services. The best way to promote yourself as a digital content creator is through pitching.
Pitching, for a content creator, is when you contact a business and tell them how you can help them grow through content creation. Here are some tips on how to pitch for a gig: •
- Make it personal: It is always good to personalize your pitch so that you can stand out from the rest.
- Focus on the prospect’s needs: When pitching a client, focus on the brand’s needs and pain points to show that you have the solution to help them achieve their bottom line.
- Always include social proof: A client is more likely to hire you if they see that other people are satisfied with your work. Include social proof and testimonials from your previously satisfied clients.
- Give them a peek (For free) of what they will benefit from when they hire you: Pitching for a gig means convincing a brand to hire you for the job. You can do this by offering a free sample of your work so your prospects can see the quality of your output and how they can benefit from hiring you. For example, if you are a writer, you can offer a free sample edit of an article.
- Follow-up: It is not enough to send one email or free consultation session and think the client will book your service immediately. You must be prepared to follow up with your prospect until they agree to hire you for the job (of course, not in a pushy way).
5. Maintain an Online Presence and Network
Every successful content creator must have some online footprint. You must follow suit if you are serious about becoming a content creator. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram are good places to start. Create accounts on these platforms and start sharing content regularly.
Staying active on social media can help you establish yourself in the digital space as well as expose you to opportunities. However, refrain from force-feeding your friends and followers with unnecessary content. Excessive posting on social media can sometimes backfire and make you appear desperate or annoying.
Also, find communities on these platforms, join them, and participate actively in discussions. You can find valuable resources in these groups and connect with people who can assist you in your content creation journey.
And if you can, create a website for your digital content. It helps you look professional in the eyes of your audience and potential employers.
6. Keep Learning
Things move fast in the digital space. Trends come and go, audience behavior changes, and technology evolves at the speed of light. Your responsibility as a content creator is to keep up the pace if you want to succeed in this industry for the long haul.
To stay on top of your game, continue your education with new information and educate yourself on new platforms and tools.
You can also attend online and offline events where experts discuss current trends in the digital space and opportunities to grow in this space. Some of the most popular events for content creators include:
- Atomicon Conference
- Traverse 22 Conference
- CCI Tech Live Conference
- WITS Summit
- Content Marketing World, etc
Become a Content Creator
Now that you know how to become a content creator, get started! Don’t stress if it takes time (and most likely will) to get your first client or commission check. Just go slowly and keep working.
Becoming a content creator offers a world of possibilities and potential for income generation. While starting your venture can be challenging, taking the leap is always worth it.