What is a "Content Creator" and how can you become one in 2020?

What is a "Content Creator"? How can you leverage your content creation to grow your career? Here's a strategic introduction to what content creation means in 2020, from Kapwing's own Content Strategist.

What is a "Content Creator" and how can you become one in 2020?

“Content Creator” is a phrase you might come across anywhere: Twitter bios, job listings, Gen-Z headlines, or personal websites. But what does it mean? Are journalists Content Creators? What about Twitch streamers? What about your meme account on Instagram – does that make you a Content Creator?

In short, the answer to all these questions is Yes. But there’s a lot left unsaid – how can you leverage your content creation to grow your career? What are the most interesting trends in content creation today? Where can you look in order to make content creation a part of your day to day life?

I joined Kapwing under that exact title: Content Creator. Now I’m a Content Strategist, but the principle remains the same: give people digital content that meets them where they are, and gives them what they need. I could probably write an entire lecture series, but I'll start with a strategic introduction to content creation and what it means in 2020:

  1. What is content?
  2. Who consumes content?
  3. How should I consume content?
  4. How can I make content my career?
  5. What job titles should you be looking for?

1. What is content?

This question is a lot more complex than it seems. "Content" is anything that is contained in something else, like in a Table of Contents. It's Form's opposite, the material that makes up a thing. It's... tough to nail down.

For the purposes of this article, though, I can make it a lot simpler. Content is anything creatively produced that people consume, and since this article is written for 2020, particularly for digital consumption. There, is that better? Maybe not. I'll give some examples. If you write something for others to read, you're creating content. If you're drawing something for others to see, that's also content. Basically, if you make something in order for other people to see, hear, read, or experience it, you're making content. You can be doing it for fun, to raise awareness for a cause, sell a product, or help someone learn about something – in any case, this is the creative space of content.  

2. Who consumes content?

It hasn't always been the case, but in 2020, I can say it with confidence: your content can reach absolutely anyone. And if you want to be a professional content creator in 2020, you need to feel confident about it, too.

That’s because a good portion of time as a professional content creator is spent thinking about the scope of your audience. Regardless of what kind of work you want to do as a content creator, there will always be more audiences you can reach. If you write an SEO blog on Twitch streaming, for example, how can you get your content to the parents of young people who want to get involved in streaming? Or the movie blogger who wants to attract an audience for her watch parties on Twitch? It’s your job understand the full scope of your audience, and give content to as many people as you can.

If you start engaging deeply in online communities, you'll gain valuable understanding of the breadth of various digital audiences. If you're a gamer, you probably understand what can go down in the chat, but what about Reddit? If you're a poet, you may have an appreciation for Poetry Twitter, but how familiar are you with Tumblr's poetry scene, or writers' groups in Discord? Take a dip into all the communities you can find – Discord, Reddit, and Facebook are good places to start. You'll start to learn about different audiences: how they access content, how they create it, and what they value most.

3. How should I consume content?

It probably goes without saying that in order to create great content, you have to consume great content. No, I’m not saying that you can list “TikTok watcher” or “Twitter scroller” under your qualifications for social media management. But if you don’t have some basic familiarity with all major content platforms, becoming a content creator is going to be all uphill.

I’ll put it this way: you don’t have to have top-level professional experience in email marketing, paid acquisition, video editing, design, copywriting, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and on and on… But if you had no idea about how Twitter works, what happens there, and the types of things that make for successful Twitter content, you’d have a hard time keeping up with other content creators. Curiosity and interest in all areas of digital content is non-negotiable.

4. How can you make content your career?

Digital content creation has applications everywhere. This may seem daunting at first, but it actually gives you a ton of freedom in getting started. Have a hobby you’re working on? Write about it online. Have a social media channel you’re interested in promoting? Pour a few extra hours into it.

If you want something even more tangible, skills related to content creation are easier than most to gain expertise in without formal schooling or professional experience. And since many content creation positions aren’t specifically targeted at a single creative outlet, you don’t need to be a top-of-the-line expert in any one area. At a fairly low cost, you can take courses and gain certifications in SEO, design principles, basic video editing skills, CMS programs, email automation systems, and CRM softwares, all of which can be central to any content creator position.

Whatever your strengths, make sure you make them visible. As a writer, your personal blog and writing samples will be indispensable to you when you look for positions – try posting regularly on Medium, or starting a Substack newsletter. And as a designer, your online portfolio will be the first place anyone looks when learning about you as a content creator. Of course, it's crucial that you put time, effort, and dedication into your content craft. But you need to make sure people are seeing it, or your hard work won't pay off professionally.

5. What job titles should you be looking for?

This seems like an easy question to know the answer to, but it’s quite a bit more complex than you might expect. It’s more common now than it used to be to see a job title “Content Creator,” but it’s still fairly uncommon. Instead, here’s how to identify the various types of jobs for which content creators are increasingly in demand:

  • Anything with “Content” in the title. This is a dead giveaway – if the job title involves content, it means you’ll be dealing with content in several media, and on several different channels.
  • Engagement” positions. This category is similar, likely with more focus on social media channels. If you want to be a professional “content creator” in the sense that you’re accustomed to seeing on people’s social media bios, this is a good way to go, with an emphasis on branding. Which brings us to our next item:
  • Brand” positions. This category leans more into the field of advertising, but brand positions will most likely have a decent focus on social media. If you’re into posting, copy, and design, brand is the way to go.
  • Community” jobs. These will likely be fairly similar to “engagement” jobs, with a focus on social content, but likely with less of a commitment to growth and marketing. If you’d like to talk with people, send out emails, work with collaborators, and do some posting, then many community positions might be the right fit.
  • Media” or “Social media.” The word “media,” in some industries, may only imply traditional, legacy media like television or press. But, in most cases, anything to do with media, even if it’s not expressly social media, is going to involve digital content creation. Social platforms, webinars, SEO content, video publication, visual design – all of these things are likely to be involved in jobs like “Media Specialist.”

Here’s an unfortunate truth: there’s a lot more to be said about content creation in 2020. I can’t do it all in just one article. But I hope you can leave knowing the answers to three basic, vital questions: What kind of content creator am I? What types of content creation should I learn more about? Which types of content roles are best suited to my interests and abilities? If you know these three things, you’re on the right track to making “Content Creator” more than just your go-to Instagram hashtag.

If you’re interested in more content creation tips, tutorials, and updates, subscribe to Kapwing App on YouTube or follow us on Twitter @KapwingApp. In the meantime, check out these related articles on getting started in creative careers:

Starting a Career in Writing in 2020
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How to Add Virtual Tour Videos to Your Real Estate Site
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