Ready to ditch your “nine to five” job in favor of something a little more flexible and creative? If so, then working as a professional content creator may be the right path for you. Specifically, a content creator is somebody who makes digital content – often in the form of blog posts, social media posts, videos, podcasts, or graphics. These professionals can run their own businesses, taking on paying clients as they see fit. Likewise, some content creators get hired in-house by marketing firms or other companies.
The average salary of a content creator can vary wildly, but according to Salary.com, the base salary for full-time content creators hovers between $36,762 and $45,898 annually. Plus, when you freelance this type of work (as many do), you’ll enjoy additional benefits like a flexible schedule and the ability to choose how much work you take on.
If you think a career in content creation is right for you, you may be wondering how to get started. After all, this is a highly competitive industry – and getting your foot in the door can be challenging. We’ve got some practical tips to help you sharpen your skills, secure your first client(s), and find success in this rewarding and dynamic field.
Consider Your Content-Creation Talents
Start by taking an assessment of your own skills and talents. This will help you determine what type of content you might specialize in creating. There are so many different types of content on the Internet these days, including:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- In-depth articles
If you already have some experience with certain types of content, then you might consider starting here. For example, if your background is in writing, then becoming a professional content writer may be the most natural path. If you are good with academics – try thesis writing help content manager job, if you-re all about automobiles – try the auto blog! Of course, there’s nothing wrong with learning some new skills to expand your offerings as a content creator. Taking the time to develop your technical skills in search engine optimization (SEO), video editing, and even graphic design can go a long way in diversifying your work and making you more appealing to potential clients.
Remember, though, that sometimes it’s better to be a master of a couple of content types rather than trying to do it all. Hone in on a few types of content that you’re most passionate about and start there. You can always acquire new content-creation skills as your career advances.
Build a Portfolio
Having a robust writing portfolio is key to securing your first clients in the content creation world. As you build your reputation within the industry, you’ll probably find more work through referrals or by brand recognition alone. When you’re first getting started, though, your potential clients will rely heavily on samples from your portfolio to determine whether you’re a good fit for their content creation needs.
The challenge, of course, is building a portfolio of your work when you don’t have any paying clients (yet). It’s a catch-22 of sorts, but there are ways to work around it. Consider, for example, using personal blog posts you’ve written as samples for your writing work. If you’re a recent college graduate, there’s nothing wrong with using some of your relevant classwork in a portfolio either. Infographics, videos, and any other type of media you’ve created to publish online is fair game as long as the content belongs to you.
You can also create samples of your work specifically for your portfolio, even if they’re not “officially” published anywhere online. Guest blogs, self-published LinkedIn articles, and even social media posts that received a lot of engagement can also be incorporated into your portfolio to get your career going.
Create a Professional Website
If you don’t have your own website as a content creator, potential clients will have a hard time finding you. Likewise, having a well-designed website demonstrates to clients that you take your work seriously. And of course, your website can also be a great place to showcase your content portfolio.
Not all websites are created equal, though. If your site is disorganized and poorly designed, it could actually end up having the opposite effect of scaring potential clients away. This is where it can be useful to hire a website designer to make sure your site not only looks great, but is functional as well. If you don’t want to hire somebody, consider using a free or paid web design template to achieve a polished look.
On your site, be sure to have a basic home page that summarizes your work and what you do, as well as a call-to-action to get in touch with you. From there, you may also want to include an “About Me” page, a portfolio page, a services page, and a pricing page. On each page, make sure that there is an option to contact you (whether it be through a built-in form, by phone, or by email).
Another important part of your website and of your overall brand identity is your logo. While not all content creators have a personal logo, this can be a great way to help yourself stand out. Not to mention, research has shown that up to 75% of people recognize a brand based on its logo alone. With this in mind, a great logo can become an identifier for your personal brand.
Not sure where to start with a logo? There are plenty of free and affordable resources and tools online. You can use a logo generator to create options in a matter of seconds. From there, you can select the one that fits the most to your business and your target audience. As you create and finalize your logo, consider what kind of typeface and color scheme you’ll use. Be sure, too, that the logo you end up selecting is something that will look great in a variety of settings (such as on your social media page, your website header, and even on print materials).
Build Your Brand Identity
Once your website and portfolio are set up, breaking into the content creation world is all about putting yourself out there and building your personal brand. Consider what sets you apart from other content creators in your niche. Do you offer a quick turnaround? Is your communication second to none? These differentiators should be a part of your brand identity, so be sure to focus on these in your marketing.
In addition to building your brand through your website, you’ll also want to make sure you have a strong social media presence. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be excellent sources of new clients and a practical outlet for sharing your work. You might even consider paying for targeted ads on these platforms or on search engines like Google. And if your work targets local businesses, don’t underestimate the power of print marketing.
At the end of the day, breaking into the content creation world is about not just being good at what you do, but really putting yourself out there and setting yourself apart from others. Honing in on your brand’s differentiators is generally the quickest and most effective way to secure your first clients.
Diversify Your Income Streams
Last but not least, make an effort to diversify your income streams as much as possible in the content creation world. This will be especially important if you’re freelancing rather than pursuing a “traditional” in-house job. Unfortunately, there is such a thing as putting too many eggs in one basket in the content creation world. If you rely on just one or two steady clients to keep yourself profitable, you might find yourself in trouble if one of your clients decides to go another route.
With this in mind, it’s a good idea to continue networking and pursuing new opportunities even once you’ve started getting steady work in your field. Constantly adding to your portfolio and developing your skills will help you stay relevant and competitive even during slower periods—and this adaptability is what really sets the most successful content creators apart from the rest.
Ready to Break Into Your New Career?
Many people take professional content for grante content creators work hard every day to craft quality and well-researched content for their audiences. Breaking into this field does take some time and effort, but with these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to success!