Wondering how to be a content creator? One that not only gets paid but gets paid well?
Well, good news, my friend: you’re in the right place!
Content creators, whether freelance or in-house, are in high demand. And there’s no sign of that demand slowing down.
In this post, we’ll discuss exactly what being a content creator means and the different ways you can apply that title to yourself. Plus, we’ll share a step-by-step process on how to become a content creator, what to include on your resume, and which tools you’ll need to get started.
A content creator is anyone who makes and publishes digital content. And while anyone with an Instagram or TikTok account is technically a creator, professional content creators take it one step further. They use their digital platforms to build an audience and generate revenue from their content.
The term ‘content creation’ has blown up in the past few years, especially with social content creation. But as a practice, content creation has been around for much, much longer. Journalists, painters, and sculptors all fall into the ‘content creator’ category. The cavemen who made pictographs on the walls of their caves were, essentially, the world’s first content creators. You could call them Stone Age Influencers.
Since you’re reading Hootsuite’s blog and not, say, Pictographs Weekly, we’ll assume that you’re interested in becoming a digital content creator. We’ll take you through a few of the most common types of digital content creators.
Note: These content creator categories can (and often do) overlap. For example, you can be an influencer, a photographer, and a vlogger.
Content creators who want to monetize their personal brand may be called influencers or brand ambassadors. These creators may be life coaches, speakers, or anything else where you make money off your personal brand.
You’ll likely be taking your own photos or videos, writing your own captions, and developing your own social media strategy. You’ll be a jack of all trades when it comes to content creation.
‘Social media manager’ is a pretty broad title and often treated as a catch-all for social media tasks.
A social media manager’s duties cover a lot of ground. These roles often handle everything from content creation and campaign planning to social listening and reporting.
Freelance social media managers often niche down to the skills they’re most interested in. But those just starting out can expect to touch on every aspect of content creation. If this sounds like you, be sure to bookmark these customizable social media templates.
Here’s more on what you can expect as a freelance social media manager.
Digital copy and content writers cover a huge spectrum of content creation. As a writer, you can monetize articles, blog posts, brochures, web copy, email marketing copy, news pieces, voice-over scripts, social copy, e-books, or white papers, to name a few.
The opportunities are vast, and, like I always told my mom, every industry needs a good writer.
If you decide to become a copy or content writer, you might need to develop more content creation skills. In most cases, it won’t be all writing. You might need photography skills to create imagery for platforms like Instagram, for example.
Social media apps require engaging images. That means the digital world always needs more photographers and videographers.
Photo and video freelancers often choose to become Instagram content creators. Bigger brands often outsource some of their social media asset production to creators.
Plus, stock imagery sites always need visual content. Websites, blogs and e-commerce sites are also great sources of potential work.
Thinking about monetizing your daily life? Vlogging or streaming might be for you.
The difference between the two is slight. A vlogger is someone who creates and publishes video blogs. A streamer, however, is someone who broadcasts themselves on a live stream or posts a video after the fact. Streamers may play video games, put on tutorials, or conduct interviews.
Take Rachel Aust, for example. She is a YouTube content creator who publishes vlogs that basically just show her living.
Artists and designers have always been visual innovators. Those skills are even more important in creating content for the online world.
To be successful, you’ll need to know how to tell a story through your posts. You’ll use elements like color, light, and composition to create visually appealing content.
Instagram is a natural place to flex your artistic muscles. With a beautifully designed feed, you can reach a wide audience and generate some buzz for your brand. Many designers use the platform as an online portfolio to showcase their work.
As we pointed out at the beginning of this article, content creation can vary widely.
That makes it tough to pinpoint exactly how much an average content creator’s salary would be without getting specific. You’ve also got to consider local market rates, medium, and subject matter. And, if you decide to niche-down within a specific industry, you can raise your rates.
Glassdoor says the average Canadian content creator makes $47,830 annually; for the US, it’s $48,082. However, ZipRecruiter is slightly higher at $50,837 for a US-based content creator.
But, that’s pretty broad, and different platforms have different payment ranges for creators. YouTube, for example, will pay you between $0.01 and $0.03 for an ad view. That means you can make roughly $18 for 1,000 views. The average YouTuber salary for those with at least 1 million subscribers, according to MintLife, is $60,000 per year.
Most successful content creators make their money through brand sponsorships. These can drastically increase your salary. Popular YouTuber MrBeast, for example, made $54 million in 2021.
Brand partnerships on TikTok can net you $80,000 and up.
On Instagram, macro-influencers (over a million followers) can make $10,000–$1 million+ per post. Micro-influencers (10,000–50,000 followers) are looking at $100–$500 per post.
And, if you’re making money on platforms like TikTok or Instagram, you might as well create a Patreon account. With Patreon, you can convert followers to subscribers and further monetize your brand. If you’re a micro-influencer, that could be roughly $50-$250 extra a month.
The paths to different positions may differ, but there’s a general process you can follow to become a social media content creator. Here are four steps on how to become a content creator.
You probably already have an idea of what type of content creator you want to be. Now, you just have to hone or develop your skills.
Try practicing for brands you know and love. Say you want to be a copywriter, for example. Try executing a mock creative brief to show off your skills. You can write a product description, social media post, and a headline to promote a new shoe launch.
Or, if you want to be a graphic designer, you could create a mock advertisement to promote said shoe launch.
You can continue to develop your skills through courses. There are plenty of online courses that will walk you through different types of content creation. Or, reach out to other content creators whose work you admire. Ask them for advice on how they developed their skills or (if they’re open to it) to look at your work and provide feedback.
Once you’ve started building those skills, it’s time to show off your work. Start an online portfolio to share some of your best samples with prospective clients or employers.
Just starting out and don’t have anything to show? Share some speculative work (that just means “make something up”). Or, if you created anything noteworthy while developing your skills, you can publish it here.
Your portfolio doesn’t have to be fancy. You can even host them for free on Squarespace or Wix.
Even if you’re building your personal brand as an influencer and not, say, a videographer, a portfolio is a useful tool. Do you want to attract brands who want to partner with you? Show them how you’ve partnered with other brands in the past.
Be sure to link your social media accounts and make your contact information easy to find. And, you’ll want to have a solid brand pitch deck in your back pocket.
You can find prospective clients almost anywhere. Start by networking or reaching out to job postings or freelancer-needed ads. You could even try pursuing opportunities you see in your daily life.
Perhaps there’s a website you’ve noticed that needs new banner ads. As a burgeoning graphic designer, you could cold email them and pitch your services.
Here are five ideas for finding new work:
Pricing yourself when you’re just starting out can be tough. Take a look at your market average to get an idea of what others in your experience range are charging. Try not to undersell yourself at first!
If you’re looking to get hired in-house at a corporation as a content creator, research the industry average for your position. That way, you can weed out job positions with salaries that are too high (expectations may be beyond your skill set) and too low (get paid what you’re worth).
If you’re looking to freelance, be sure to have signed written contracts with your clients. Include your payment terms and penalties for late payments.
Follow these four steps, and you’ll have our vote as the next content creator of the year!
Whether you’re freelancing or looking for an in-house position, a content creator resume helps you to look professional. Freelance clients will sometimes ask for one along with your portfolio, so it’s best to be ready.
As a content creator, you’ll only want to include relevant information about the job you’re applying for on your resume. That means you probably don’t want to include the part-time summer job you had as a dog washer. (Unless part of that job included posting adorable puppy photos)
If your resume is looking a little sparse, it might be time to complete some volunteer work. Ask around your local community for a worthy organization you can volunteer your time with. This will give you a content creator job to add.
If you’re at a loss for what to say on your resume, look up content creator job descriptions similar to the job you want. These will be full of useful keywords you can include on your resume.
Source: Glassdoor Jobs
In the example above, we might pull out “content marketing creator” and “creating and managing content across all channels.” Just make sure you have the experience or knowledge to match those keywords!
Content creator kits vary depending on where you get them. But, the idea is to provide content creators with everything they need to produce quality content efficiently.
A social media manager or copywriter’s kit might include templates and editorial calendars. If you’re an email marketer or web designer, your kit may include a library of stock photos and videos.
If you’re a vlogger or streamer, a content kit you’d be interested in might include a camera, a tripod, and a memory stick.
Creator kits aren’t too hard to come by. Camera brands, for example, have noticed the market potential and started creating content creator kits. The Canon EOS m200 content creator kit includes most things you would need as a successful streamer.
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