“What does a content creator do?”
That’s a recurring question that I face when I tell people that you can walk away with more than $1000 for content creation. When I begin sharing what I do, people shrug and casually fire a second question, “so basically, you write articles?”
Well, not really, but I fancy being called a writer. Hence, I have no qualms in accepting that tag.
I assume though, that you want more detailed advice on becoming a successful content creator. Don’t worry, the article has got you covered. Let’s begin by answering the basic questions around content creation.
Table of Contents
What Are The Roles and Responsibilities Of A Content Creator?
A content creator is a professional that often contributes digital media assets to a company. Commonly it consists of blog posts, but it can include email newsletters, social media updates, YouTube videos, podcasts, graphics, whitepapers, and the like.
While you might have heard a LOT about the rise of video, Content Marketing Institute found that it hasn’t slowed down the pace of text-based content.
Since content creation is a central aspect of all digital marketing campaigns, there’s a growing need for compelling and skilled content creators.
How do you create persuasive content?
The key to achieving success in such a content role requires you to have an audience-first mindset. Your creation efforts should bear fruit by generating traffic and new leads for the company.
Your next question likely is the financial potential of the profession. So let’s take the monkey out of the closet.
How Much Money Does A Content Creator Make?
If you develop subject-matter expertise, then it’s not uncommon to get paid a premium price as a freelance content creator. You can expect upwards of $500 per blog post and make more than $100 per hour.
Codeless are long-form content creation experts for B2B SaaS and eCommerce. Their domain expertise allows them to charge $1000 per article as visible in their pricing plans below.
Similarly, Mridu Khullar, an international journalist confessed how her foray into content marketing stories averaged $280 per hour.
I might paint a rosy picture here. So let me also warn you with another survey of 1400+ freelance writers. One-third of the surveyed writers earn under $20 an hour (damn).
On the other hand, if you aren’t freelancing, then the average salary for an online content creator comes out to $46,314 per year.
Why is there such a huge disparity in the pay?
It shows the need for uplifting your negotiation skills. If you’re content with getting paid $100/article (or worse, writing for content mills that pay peanuts), then you’re not going to make a healthy living wage.
When I started my content creation journey, I got paid a tad over 50 cents for a 500-word blog post. Even if you’ll look at the job postings at content mills and freelance marketplaces, then it’s not uncommon to see calls for writing $5 per article. Look at the pricing plans at iWriter that pay under $10 for 1000-word articles to new writers on their platform.
Stay away from them. Else, work on your writing skills (enroll in courses at Udemy) and especially negotiate with the new clients you onboard. It’s not uncommon to see 100% jumps in pay rates simply because ‘you asked.’
How To Become A Content Creator?
Most people feel they need to be an amazing writer and should have an inherent aptitude for writing. That’s not true. Many popular, six-figure bloggers today (like Harsh Agrawal and Nat Eliason) started without a natural inclination towards writing. They showed up every day and developed a writing habit.
Hence, you don’t need any special talent to become a highly paid and successful content creator. If you’re ready to put in hard work to develop skills and have a creative bent of mind, then you’re cool. Here are a few habits, tips, and tools that will help you become a high-quality content creator.
1. Write As If You’re Having A One-On-One Conversation With Your Ideal Reader
In order to establish your thought leadership as a distinguished content creator in your industry, you need to have an authoritative voice. That requires you to know what you’re talking about, support your arguments with data, and deliver actionable steps by sharing specific examples.
However, most people mistakenly think that they need to remain upright and formal in their writing to portray themselves as an authoritative figure.
Ah. Damn those movies.
Remember that your readers want to connect with you as a human. If you want to engage with them through your writing, then you need to talk about their problems. And you need to make it sound like a casual conversation with a friend.
For example, Neville Medhora, is one of the best copywriters in the marketing space and he’s consulted by huge companies. He writes on serious subjects in a fun, relaxed tone and uses stick figures to communicate his ideas. Here’s a snippet from the introduction to his post on creativity.
It isn’t easy to come up with jokes and write with humor. Hence, let’s turn to the author and human guinea pig – Tim Ferriss. In his video on creating content that sustains a career, Tim recommends you to start in a ‘narrow niche’ targeting a readership that will ABSOLUTELY love every piece of content you create.
Once you’ve cemented your authority with your audience, you can diversify your content creation efforts and target a wider readership. Tim’s advice is based on the concept of 1,000 true fans.
Before you create your next piece of content, you should have an avatar of your audience in front of you. So you need to research and arrive at the behaviors, beliefs, likes, dislikes of your readers. You can use the Make My Persona tool by HubSpot to give a visual representation to your research on your “true” reader.
2. Create Consistently
Creativity isn’t easy to come by. There will be bad days when you won’t feel inspired to write. However, remember that refining your chops requires putting in sweat equity. There will be days when you will fail and perform worse than usual. And that’s okay.
The important aspect is to remain consistent. It need not mean writing 1000 words every day. You can choose the cadence that works well for you and your audience. However, sticking with it with discipline is the most important.
James Clear, world-renowned blogger and author, chose a frequency of publishing two articles per week at the beginning of his blogging journey. However, one day he felt like he didn’t have any great ideas and wanted to give up. What did James do? Well, he said such moments can use some “grit.”
So when you feel like giving up, show up any way.
Note that publishing more number of blog posts also impacts the amount of traffic you receive.
However, that doesn’t mean you should flat out start producing 15 pieces every month. Choose what works for your schedule and doesn’t burn your audience in the long-run.
If you need with creating a routine for your content creation, then take help from the writing habits of few famous authors here.
3. Develop Your Own Unique Voice
There are millions of blog posts and ample hours of video content produced every single day. One way of standing out in the noise is creating high-quality content. However, the competition is getting stiff. In its survey of 1000 bloggers, Orbit Media found that bloggers are willing to put in extra effort in writing their posts.
Well, the surefire way you can still build a tribe is by connecting with a core group of people that like your personality. They like “your way” of presenting information and that’s why they subscribe to your newsletter, follow you on social media, and read your content pieces.
Think of someone like Gary Vaynerchuk. He shares valuable advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. However, he has found a space for himself because he delivers value in his characteristic GaryVee way with exuberance and inspiration mixed with swearing.
He’s insanely focused on motivating his audience to hustle and get shit done. That tone is reflected in almost all of his content.
If you write textual content that also calls for finding your own voice and writing authentically. If you’ll simply try presenting information, then it won’t engage your audience as much. Share your personal experiences and stories that show people who you are.
You can find your unique strategy even in the form of adding stick figures to your articles for sharing your arguments. Tim Urban uses funny comics comprising of stick figures (like the one below) in his insanely LONG and thoughtful articles at Wait But Why. They are read, shared, and discussed massively.
You can also try to mix up your text content with podcasts and videos. Brian Clark had established a great reputation as a content marketer through Copyblogger through his useful text content. However, when he began a podcast, his audience was pleasantly surprised to find a warmer tone that was missing his blog posts.
4. Learn How To Leverage Metrics and Data For Improving Your Content Creation Efforts
In their 2019 report, Contently stated that it’s time for creativity to strike back. There is an influx of professionals that are business savvy and have great storytelling skills. It’s a lethal combo that can lead to the creation of higher-quality content.
Well, content is crucial for companies when it helps them drive traffic and generate leads for their site. To align the expectations and ensure a great ROI from investment in creation of content, all brands set up KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Depending on your strategy, your creation efforts should align for the marketing platform you’re targeting.
You can choose to look at a range of metrics ranging from organic visitors, email newsletter signups, sales, and the like. It’s important to establish these to manage your expectations and measure your performance. On the basis of data, you can experiment in your content creation strategy (like creating custom graphics).
5. Invest In Building Your Reputation And Relationships
I know it might sound like an uncreative tactic.
But, you see, beyond a point, working on your creative skills alone will give you diminishing returns. If you look around at skilled content creators, you’ll find that almost all of them hang around in the company of super influential personalities. They are also laser-focused on getting their name up on established media houses.
Well, social proof from an established authority in your industry can catapult your reputation overnight. Now, this proof could include individuals with a huge personal brand. And even media mentions and guest posts at established websites.
What kind of opinion will you form of a person that has been published at SO MANY huge publications? It shows that their work has been vetted by the gatekeepers numerous established websites.
Which brings me to the next aspect that closely knits along with building your reputation – investing your time in building relationships. On top of creating valuable high-quality content, you need to “focus on the relationship.” Take it from Aaron himself:
In their recent research, Buzzsumo found that influencers with a higher retweet rate can significantly impact the number of shares on a post.
The bottom line?
Build rapport with influencers and get on the ground to build a strong reputation. Don’t try to build your content creation chops in isolation. If you’re doing something wrong, then feedback by experts will save you a LOT of hours.
Successful Content Creators Take An Audience-First Approach…
It’s about them, after all, right?
So ensure that your content pieces don’t meander around with exposition and telling how awesome you are. Rather, show the solutions to the problems they are facing.
Educate your audience with actionable takeaways in all your articles. It calls for breaking down your advice in steps so that a visitor can immediately implement the first step as soon as they are done reading. Else you can also link to external credible sources of information that detail the steps.
Hope that the five tips in the article and the answers to questions address your objections of the content creation career.
Have you got any additional tips to becoming a rockstar content creator? Then, please share them in the comments below.