How to Become a Successful Content Creator in 2023 — The Guide
Welcome to the era of never-ending content consumption, where videos, blogs, podcasts, and tweets are as plentiful as fries at a fast-food joint. We’re all living in the middle of a content fiesta, and guess what? You’re invited.
This voracious appetite for content has sparked a content creator boom, rivalling the famous gold rush. But how can you become one of these successful content creators?
We’ve compiled a guide to help you navigate the Wild, Wild West of content creation in 2023.
But let’s clear up a common misconception first: what’s the day-to-day of a content creator really like? Spoiler alert: It’s not an endless loop of meme-making (though we wish it were).
So, ready for a sneak peek of what goes on behind the curtain of content creation? We’re diving deep into the nitty-gritty, unpacking what content creators actually do, how much money they’re raking in, and how you can join the party.
Whether you’re a starry-eyed individual dreaming of content creation, a business eager to supercharge your marketing efforts with more content, or someone on the hunt to recruit content creators, you’ve struck gold with this guide.
Buckle up, folks! We’re about to get this show on the road.
Who’s a Content Creator?
Let’s start by getting to know the species we’re dealing with. A content creator is a person who produces content in any medium, ranging from video and photography to podcasts and eBooks. Content creators are traditionally self-employed or work for businesses specialising in creating content (e.g., agencies).
Alright, let’s get real here. Technically, if you’ve ever shared an adorable puppy pic on Instagram, congratulations, you’re officially a content creator. Content can be a whole array of things, from blockbusting movies to nail-biting novels.
But for this guide, we’re focusing on digital content with one mission: to help businesses catch the attention of more potential leads and turn them into customers. Basically, we’re talking about content like blogs, videos, infographics, and podcasts.
Content creators are key players in the marketing space, helping businesses tell their stories authentically and create relationships with potential customers. A successful content creator needs to know how to craft effective messages that capture people’s attention and make them take action.
Where Do Content Creators Work?
There are lots of different avenues for content creators to make a living and get their work seen by consumers. Here’s a quick rundown:
Freelance Content Creators:
For freelancers, the world is your oyster. You can find clients on job boards or contact businesses directly and pitch your services. You’ll have the freedom to work on a wide range of projects and the challenge of constantly finding new clients.
In-House Content Creators:
If you’re more comfortable with stability, many businesses hire content creators to produce content for their own digital properties. You’ll be part of a team and have specific goals you need to reach while creating content that fits the company’s mission and vision.
If you want to build an audience of your own, then consider creating a blog or launching a YouTube channel. With platforms like these, you can cultivate relationships with followers, create products to sell, and advertise services or products from other companies.
Agencies are companies that take on content creation projects for multiple clients and manage them on their behalf. If you have experience managing content production or want to build a team of freelancers to work with, then an agency may be the perfect fit for you.
Types of content creators
The responsibilities of a content creator can wildly differ depending on their specific role. The boundaries can often become hazy—for instance, an influencer spinning out TikTok videos is essentially a videographer, too. Let’s keep things uncomplicated, though. I’ve outlined the most popular breeds of content creators for you to get a clear picture of how each works their magic.
Influencers and Brand Ambassadors
These savvy social media wizards cultivate their own tribes on numerous platforms and rake in the dough by endorsing or selling products to their digitally connected followers.
Picture this: brands take one look at their follower count, their engagement rate, or their knack for taking aesthetic photos and say, “Here, take my product and flaunt it!” It’s a win-win situation, except for your wallet, if you get sucked into buying every product they recommend.
Don’t sweat it if your follower count doesn’t rival Beyoncé’s. Being an influencer isn’t about amassing army-scale followers. Sometimes, brands favour the ‘nano influencers’, the underdogs with only a few thousand loyal enthusiasts in their online squad.
Here’s another kick — some influencers go beyond endorsing and actually roll out their own merchandise. Take Khloe Kardashian, for instance. The Good American brand? Yeah, that’s her brainchild. Pretty cool, huh?
If playing the influencer game has been tickling your fancy, you’re hitting the jackpot with your timing. The influencer marketing arena is booming and is predicted to skyrocket to a whopping $21 billion by 2023.
That’s one humongous pie waiting for you to sneak a slice out of – just remember, though, that you’ll be tossing your hat into the ring with thousands of other hungry hopefuls.
Social Media Managers and Content Creators
Think of this breed of content creators as the puppet masters of a brand’s social media universe. They meticulously design and churn out captivating content, making the brand shine in the crowded digital landscape. Not just that, they often juggle the hefty task of running the brand’s social media accounts as well.
Social media managers wear many hats, and they wear them well. They could be snapping photos one minute, filming videos the next, and then spinning compelling captions before you can say “hashtag”.
Add the task of orchestrating publishing timetables and strategising marketing campaigns. They’re also the brand’s ear to the ground, keeping an ear in the social buzz to gauge its online standing. And just when you thought their plate was full, they’re also the whizzes who keep tabs on performance metrics and whip up those nifty reports. It’s a circus act, and they’re the ringmasters.
If you’re itching to dive into this whirlwind, look no further than Zaria Parvez – your shiny beacon in the swirling storm of social media management. Duolingo’s language app has Zaria at its helm, steering its social media ship towards uncharted digital waters. She’s a superstar in her field, so keeping tabs on her could be your secret weapon to cracking into this line of work. Trust us, you’ll want to follow her lead.
Vloggers and Video Content Creators
They’re the tech-savvy storytellers, narrating life’s many adventures through a camera lens. From tech reviews to lifestyle vlogs, they’ve got it all covered in their digital diaries. These content creators come with an eye for detail and the skills needed to craft engaging videos that draw in the viewers.
It takes more than a love for video editing and a penchant for storytelling to be a successful vlogger, though. From learning how to shoot quality footage with the right equipment, knowing their way around lighting and audio, mastering various types of editing software and more – they have to constantly stay ahead of the curve if they’re going to make it big.
Take Emma Chamberlain, for example. This YouTube star has amassed over 12 million subscribers and 1.6 billion views with her vlogs. She’s an inspiration to many young content creators and an example of what’s possible if you put in the hard work. So, keep your eyes peeled on her channels – maybe it’ll inspire you too.
Streamers are the real-time content heroes, broadcasting their videos live on platforms such as Twitch. They’ve got folks from around the globe tuning in to watch them game or unbox the latest products. One such streaming sensation is Pokimane, who has managed to amass a whopping 9 million followers on Twitch alone. So, if you’re looking to dip your toes into the thrilling world of live streaming, Pokimane’s charismatic broadcast style is definitely one to catch and learn from.
Videographers and Photographers
In this section, we zoom in on the maestros who wield their cameras to freeze moments in time or record mesmerising moving pictures. These pros are adept at still photography and videography, mastering the art of capturing life’s drama and beauty through their lenses.
These creative wizards have a cornucopia of platforms to showcase their masterpieces. They can either conjure up their own social media kingdoms, transform their content into gold by selling it to stock image marketplaces, or join forces with brands and social media maestros, working hand in hand to take the digital world by storm.
One example of a successful content creator in this area is Brandon Woelfel, a talented photographer whose ethereal and dreamy images have made him an online sensation.
Writers, dear reader, are the crème de la crème of content creators. They’re the versatile wordsmiths who weave their magic across many platforms, penning everything from blog posts to novels, their quills never running dry.
For example, professionally written content may show up in:
- Website copy
- News and magazine articles
- Social media posts
- Marketing campaigns
- Email marketing campaigns
- Product descriptions
- Video scripts
One successful content creator in this field is Anne-Marie Faiola, author of the bestselling book Aromatherapy for Every Day. Her writing style showcases her strong voice and attention to detail, making her a household name in the wellness industry.
Guess who else can join the content creator club? Musicians! They’ve come a long way from playing in their garages and basements to producing high-quality music on streaming services, sharing snippets of their songs on social media, creating experimental beats with visuals and animations, and so much more.
One example of a successful content creator in this field is Grimes, an indie-electronic musician and artist who creates her own visuals to accompany her music. Not only has she gained immense popularity, but she’s also become a household name in the industry for breaking the rules of traditional content creation.
Content creators are no longer limited by their skillset or circumstances – they can take any creative passion and turn it into something special for the world to see.
Podcasting has genuinely soared to new heights. Your average Jane and Joe are now dedicating seven hours weekly to tune into podcasts. It’s no wonder savvy brands are capitalising on this trend by promoting their products during podcast episodes or by taking the reins and launching their own series. Podcasting, folks, is the new talk of the town.
Podcasts come in all shapes and sizes, from succinct two-minute pep talks to sprawling multi-hour historical narratives. You’ll find episodic podcasts where thespians perform enthralling tales, not to mention an abundance of informational podcasts that delve into every conceivable subject matter.
Those who dip their toes into the podcasting realm may wear many hats — they could be the charismatic host, the meticulous producer, the creative writer, or a jack-of-all-trades handling the lot.
For instance, SEO 101 is a podcast that unearths the foundations of search engine optimisation, transforming its listeners into SEO gurus, one episode at a time.
So, How Much are Content Creators Raking in 2023?
Ah, the age-old question: How much moolah are these influential folks bringing home? Take a gander at Mr Beast, who, rumour has it, stashes away a cool $10 million from his YouTube escapades alone. Now that’s a beastly income, don’t you agree?
While I’m crossing my fingers for you to rise to the stratospheric heights of success that Mr Beast enjoys, it might serve you well to keep your feet on the ground — just in case you don’t quite hit that sweet multi-million-dollar spot. So, let’s take a grounded look at the typical earnings of your average Joe content creator.
In the freelancing arena, content creators are no slouches regarding earnings. According to Glassdoor, content creators make a pretty penny, bagging an average annual income exceeding $53,385. But don’t forget, this group includes folks who freelance on the side, dabbling in content creation while juggling their 9-to-5s. Their part-time earnings can play a part in nudging this average down.
Suppose you’re a seasoned freelance word-slinger or a videographer with all the right moves. You can usually bank on pocketing anywhere from $35 to $100 for each hour invested in creation.
Trust me — I’ve got buddies who are full-time freelancing content maestros pulling in the big six-figure incomes! Now, if we peek at Zip Recruiter’s statistics, the average yearly salary for a content creator stationed in-house hovers around $115,733.
Not too shabby, eh? Meanwhile, indeed throws in its two cents, positing that content wordsmiths earn around $20 per hour on average.
Mastering the Art of Content Creation: Your 7-Step Roadmap
Embracing the life of a content creator offers a brilliant opportunity to flex your creative and analytical prowess. There’s something indescribably thrilling about witnessing your creations come to life and impact others.
Are you intrigued by the allure of transforming into a full-time or part-time paid content maestro?
Here’s my seven-step action plan you’d be wise to consider:
#1. Learn from Other Creators
When I queried seasoned professionals on transitioning into a professional writing career, the unanimous counsel was, “Ingest a ton of literature.” Follow the works of successful content creators, understand their strategies and routines, borrow ideas, observe their editing techniques — do whatever it takes to get yourself even closer to the top of your craft.
Choose a trio of creators whose work you deeply respect and devour all of their available content. Thankfully, we’re discussing a career that is displayed publicly by its very nature. The availability of resources is vast.
You can even be more specific than that. For instance, if you want to get into the fitness content game, read what the leaders in the fitness niche are publishing. If you’re passionate about tech trends, browse relevant forums and absorb ensuing conversations.
#2. Join Public Creator Communities
The online world is full of communities and groups that support content creators. Joining these groups can help you connect with like-minded individuals to discuss ideas, exchange feedback, or inquire about recommended resources. Plus, if you’re feeling down in the dumps and need a helpful pep talk now and then, it’s nice to know that some people understand your struggles.
While I could suggest many such groups, my go-to strategy for discovering them involves a simple Google search. Try typing in “groups for [your area of interest] on [desired platform].” For example, if you’re eager to network with fellow content marketers, you could search for “groups for content marketers on Slack” and explore the results.
After you’ve become familiar with the guidelines of your chosen group, ask plenty of questions and share your insights. The more you engage, the more opportunities can open up for you in this supportive environment.
#3. Develop a Signature Style
A successful content creator has to be able to turn heads with their writing portfolio. How do you become a head-turner? Developing a signature style is key — something that sets you apart from the competition and helps you become an influencer in your niche.
Take some time to craft a style that is all your own. Try to write in a tone that fits your brand, pays attention to grammar and punctuation, uses visuals sparingly but effectively (if at all), and strives to be concise yet comprehensive. Whatever you do, make sure it’s unique and memorable.
Once you’ve crafted a voice that resonates with your audience, you’ll want to stick to it. Don’t be afraid to take risks or ask for feedback from fellow content creators — just be sure to stay true to your style.
#4. Learn the Skills
That’s where you put in the work. Content creation isn’t just about writing, dancing on camera, or stealing other people’s memes. It requires skill and dedication; you need to know how to write powerful copy, edit your content, construct compelling visuals, and measure the success of your pieces.
For example, TikTok creators must learn to produce videos, build an audience, and promote themselves effectively. A copywriter has to understand what makes content clickable and discover how to write persuasive web content that will convert into sales. A photographer has to know their way around a DSLR and comprehend the basics of lighting and photo editing.
You get the point: Whatever your content, you must learn the skills that make you stand out. So, start reading books, watch tutorials, take courses — do what it takes to master your craft! There’s no substitute for hard work and dedication when becoming a successful content creator.
#5. Network and Collaborate
This one is often overlooked, but it’s essential. Content creation is a highly collaborative field — there are always opportunities to collaborate with others and produce something truly remarkable, be it a blog post, an online course, or even a podcast.
Getting out there and networking can lead to amazing connections that will help you further your career. Start attending industry events, reach out to other creators on social media, and explore the possibility of guest posting or podcasting.
Also, consider partnering with brands that align with your values — it’s a great way to monetise your content and get exposure. Remember not to take any deals that make you uncomfortable or compromise your integrity.
#6. Build Your Portfolio
From the moment you create your first piece of content, be it written, recorded, or photographed, save it. Whether it’s a paid gig or a personal exercise, it’s important to start accumulating your work.
These samples will form a portfolio — a tangible showcase of your abilities as a content creator. This portfolio will be versatile when negotiating with potential clients or simply showcasing your skills and growth. Always remember every piece of content you create is a stepping stone in your content creation journey.
You can start with Google Docs, Dropbox, or any online portfolio-building tool. Keep it up-to-date with your current work, and don’t be afraid to show off!
You also want to keep a public spreadsheet of your clients and the projects you completed for them — it’s always a great way to showcase specific successes.
Even better, start a website or blog dedicated to your content. It’s a great way to showcase your work and display the type of content you specialize in creating.
#7. Stay Up-To-Date on Trends & News
Things change quickly in the world of content, and it’s important to stay updated on the latest trends. It could be the editing software you use, the platforms you distribute content on, or the current popular content type.
For instance, Adobe Premier Pro was recently updated with new features that make it easier to create content quickly and efficiently—knowing about this update before anyone else can give you an edge in the industry and make your content stand out.
Subscribing to newsletters related to the content industry is a great way to stay informed and be inspired. There are also a lot of podcasts and YouTube channels dedicated to content creation brimming with helpful tips and insights from fellow content creators.