Social media has permanently changed the landscape of advertising. Contemporary marketing strategies don’t just focus on traditional ads; instead, businesses of all types produce online content across the board. From entertaining videos to educational articles, companies use created content all in service to reach a larger goal: building audience engagement with their brand. This is where content creators come in as principal producers who build compelling media materials that enhance a brand’s virtual reach.
Though the job title didn’t even exist twenty years ago, today’s content creators are crucial to practically every industry you can think of.
As Forbes reports, the size of the creator economy in 2021 was estimated to be $100 billion. Indeed, content production is a vital part of many brands’ business strategies, which means that becoming a creator can be a highly lucrative job. Here, we unpack what a content creator does, what opportunities are out there in the field, and how to become a content producer yourself.
What Does a Content Creator Do?
So what does a producer of content do? In short, a content creator’s role is to create the materials a business shares on its virtual platforms. Though some of this content might seem only tangentially related to a company’s main line of work, it in fact is all targeted around a specific goal of conversion: turning viewers and visitors into customers. These can range from written documents like e-books, blogs, and newsletters to multimedia content like videos and podcasts.
Some creators create their own personal brands, becoming influencers whose distinct presences are part of their business model, while other content creators work for other businesses, whether in-house or as freelancers.
Content creator jobs can have many titles, including the following (among many others):
- Content Strategist
- Content Director
- Content Producer
- Content Marketing Manager
- Content Writer
Importantly, different creators have different creative specialties and skills, from videography to copywriting to graphic design and more. No matter what your discipline, each and every one of these content-creating roles requires marketing savvy and a deep familiarity with digital platforms. The most popular platforms for content producers are ones that you’re likely to know from your day-to-day life: TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram, among others. These have proven to be highly successful platforms for sharing digital content, making them indispensable for brands to connect with their audiences. This means that building content can turn into a high-income job, if you approach your career carefully and educate yourself on your chosen area of specialty.
Content Creator vs. Influencer
While the two are often conflated, a content creator and an influencer are not exactly the same job. In fact, an influencer is a type of content producer whose content is “front-facing,” meaning they themselves appear as a sort of spokesperson or model for the products or services they are promoting. But you don’t have to be on camera to be a content creator. Many, many companies are looking for creators to do the behind-the-scenes work — writing, producing – writing, producing, animating, etc. – and don’t have any need for a front-facing brand ambassador on their team. So, for all those camera-shy among us, don’t despair. Read on how you can still become a content creator and be successful doing it.
Becoming a Content Creator
If you’ve determined that you have the right skills and interest to become a content creator, you might be wondering where to start. It can be overwhelming to break into a content creator career, as the job description can encompass a huge variety of projects and skill sets. So how does one get started?
Find Your Niche
Zeroing in on an industry or topic to be an area of specialty can be a very helpful way to get things going as a content creator. Since the field is so competitive, having a specific area of expertise can be crucial in differentiating yourself and finding clients whose needs you are able to meet perfectly. It’s important to not be too narrow in defining what your niche is, but great to pick a thriving sector to focus on, such as the wellness industry, the beauty industry, B2B software – the list goes on.
Build a Portfolio
It’s always extremely helpful to have work samples to show prospective clients, as this is the best reflection of the kind of work you will do for them. For those who are just starting out and struggling to find clients, there are still ways to build a portfolio. These can be personal projects like blogs or social media accounts, or they can be for others. Though you may not want to offer your services for free, if you help out a friend’s business with some pro-bono content creation, you’ll end up with a legitimate piece of content to include in your portfolio and add to your resume, which may be worth the investment in the long run.
Can A Degree Help You Become a Content Creator?
While there are many different paths to becoming a content creator, an advanced degree can make a significant difference in developing your career. The truth is, in today’s economy, there are countless content specialist jobs available, but they are not all created equal. Many companies greatly undervalue content creating work, only offering opportunities at the lowest rates possible.
A marketing degree will assert your skill and competence as a content creator, which can greatly increase the price point at which you offer your services.
This is because a degree immediately indicates that you have the knowledge, authority, and experience needed to produce content that isn’t just high quality but is also truly effective in achieving the company’s marketing and conversion goals. Graduate school can also help you learn the businesslike mindset that helps you meet your clients’ expectations as well as do some effective hustling in your own career.
In addition to providing impressive qualifications for content generator careers, going to graduate school can help set you up with a network that can prove crucial in establishing professional connections and mentorship opportunities. It can be hard to track down great content creation opportunities on your own, but a great graduate program can help you get off to a running start.
The Best Degrees for Content Creators
So what degrees can help you develop the skills to become a top copywriter? Whatever your specialty, it’s vitally useful for a creative to have a great depth of knowledge about marketing. This makes an MBA in Marketing the most logical choice for an aspiring content creator. The degree track will give you a solid framework to approach the most advanced parts of the job, from following trends in content to analytics to campaign development. By refining these skills and gaining this expertise, you’ll be putting yourself in the “next level” of your field, allowing for a higher baseline pay even at entry level.
While anyone pursuing a content generator career should learn about marketing, there are also other more specialized paths that can be useful for people who are looking to focus on a particular discipline. These areas can include:
- Film or broadcasting
- English or journalism
- Art and graphic design
If you are a creative individual who wants to channel your talents into a high-paying content creator job, a degree in these fields can be useful in asserting your skill and professionalism.
The Next Frontier: Degrees in Social Media
Believe it or not, many universities are beginning to expand their course offerings to include programs that focus specifically on social media. Some of these programs emerge out of Marketing departments, while others are part of journalism & communications programs.
While to some this might seem too niche or of-the-moment, the truth is, social media has already dramatically changed the landscape of advertising, marketing, and business in general, making it absolutely vital for those working in marketing and advertising to understand. The message is clear: social media is a game-changing force in business and is here to stay.
So is it worth pursuing a Master’s in Social Media as opposed to another discipline? Given the legitimacy of these programs, it can be a great idea. However, any marketing program today will surely have the opportunity to focus extensively on social media, so it’s not worth getting too hung up on the name – whatever program you do, you will gain the expertise you need to flourish as a content creator.
Taking the Next Steps to Become a Content Creator
If you have determined that becoming a content creator is the right path for you, there are numerous options for pursuing an advanced degree that will give you the expertise you need to pursue your goals. Take a look at our list of the Best Online Marketing MBAs to find the graduate program that’s right for you.