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modern day content creator

The Modern-Day Content Creator: What They Do & Why You Need One

Content creators are kind of a big deal.

Without content creators, the internet wouldn’t exist. 🤯

Over half of all businesses do content marketing – and ALL of those employ content creators of some kind.

That said, for brands and businesses, not just any content will do – and not just any content creator will do.

The content you publish on your website, on social media, and everywhere else needs to be purposeful, targeted, and valuable.

It must be goal-oriented. It has to be search engine optimized.

Without those essentials, your content WILL fail.

😱😱😱

So, how do you make sure you hit all the right notes with content?

You need the right content creator.

But what IS a content creator, exactly? What makes them unique as professionals in the content marketing industry?

More importantly, WHY do you need one (or a whole team of them) for your content?

(Can’t you just DIY?

Spoiler alert: NO. 🚫)

That’s precisely what we’re exploring today: What a modern-day content creator looks like, what they do, why you need one, and the 5 indispensable habits every great content creator nurtures in their work life.

Let’s explore this modern-day profession that’s gaining in importance as we deal with content overload and the difficulty of standing out from the slush pile. 💩

How do you ensure you hit all the right notes with content? 🎵 You need the right content creator. But what IS a content creator, exactly? 👩‍💻 Learn it all on the Write Blog via @JuliaEMcCoy. Click To Tweet

modern day content creator

The Modern Content Creator: Everything You Need to Know – Table of Contents

The Definition of a Modern-Day Content Creator

  • What Kinds of Digital Content Do They Create?
  • Freelance vs. In-House vs. Agency Content Creators
  • The Mega-Growth of the Content Creator Role

Why Do You Need a Content Creator?

  1. Content That Gets Results Is Tough to DIY
  2. Crafted Content Increases Traffic to Your Site & Generates High-Quality Leads
  3. Targeted Content Reaches Your Audience Like Nothing Else

When Do You Need a Content Creation Agency or Team?

  1. You Need ALL of Your Content Taken Care Of
  2. You Need Multiple Content Formats Created, Not Just Blogs

5 Key Habits of Successful Content Creators

  1. Use Skills to Improve Skills
  2. Stay Current on Digital Trends, Including SEO Best-Practices
  3. Make Researching an Instinct
  4. Clearly and Effectively Communicate Ideas and Information
  5. Read Up on the Best Industry Content Regularly

The Definition of a Modern-Day Content Creator

For a proper description of a content creator, we need to first define “content”.

As you know, content is simply information wrapped up and presented in a shiny package. That package can be physical (such as the content within a book, newspaper, or magazine) OR digital (such as the content you’ll find on a website, blog, or social media platform).

Thus, a content creator is the person responsible for creating that information.

And, when we talk about modern-day content creators, we mean anyone who creates content for the digital, online realm of information.

content creator typing

In general, content creators are always aware of 3 main elements when carrying out their jobs:

  • The combination of the audience and platform they’re creating content for (Who are they talking to? Where will the content be published?)
  • The point-of-view they’re representing in the content (Who’s speaking to the audience? A brand or company? An individual?)
  • The main idea or topic they’re trying to explain or get across (including target keywords when relevant)
#Contentcreators are always thinking about 3 elements: 1) Their audience + platform 🎙 2) The point-of-view they're representing 📣 3) The main idea or topic they're trying to get across 📝 Click To Tweet

What Kinds of Digital Content Do They Create?

infographic what does a modern day content creator do

Digital content spans a wide range of media types and platforms. In general, if you can read it or view it online, then a content creator probably created it.

Here is a basic list of digital content types that content creators have a hand in:

  • Blogs and articles
  • Ebooks
  • Web pages (about pages, product pages, homepage copy)
  • Graphic design (infographics, branding, logos, and blog images)
  • Photos (photojournalism, Instagram posts, stock photos, and brand photography)
  • Social media copy (tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn posts, Instagram captions, etc.)
  • Videos
  • Email newsletters and promotional email copy
Blogs and articles 📝, web pages 💻, emails 📧, social media copy 💭, videos 📺, and more: If you can read it or view it online, then a content creator probably created it. 🔥 Click To Tweet

Freelance vs. In-House vs. Agency Content Creators

Beyond the type of content they specialize in creating, you also can distinguish content creators by the way they work. Here’s a quick rundown:

Freelance content creators are not tied to any single company or brand. Instead, they serve a wide range of clients across multiple industries. They are usually paid by the work they complete, though hourly pay isn’t uncommon. (Type and method of pay depend on the relationship between content creator and client.)

Where do they work? Freelance content creators tend to be remote workers.

In-house content creators, meanwhile, are employed by one specific company. These content creators get a salary, report to an office daily, and may work in a content marketing department (even with small teams of 1-3 people).

Where do they work? In-house content creators may work remotely, too, but a more common set-up is to work part-time in an office and part-time from home.

Content creators working for an agency represent the middle-ground between freelancers and in-house employees. They aren’t permanent staff, but they do have an investment in your content. If you work with one agency, you’ll get the same creators working on your content from project to project. This means they’ll have deeper insight and knowledge into your brand voice and guidelines than a one-off freelance hire. That consistency makes a HUGE difference in the end-product.

Where do they work? Most agencies will handle your content projects remotely. For an example of an agency workflow, check out our process at EW.

Our content creation process at EW

The Mega-Growth of the Content Creator Role

Content creators are more in-demand these days than ever before. 84% of marketers outsource content creation, and this area saw the biggest increase in content marketing spending over 2019.

Another startling stat: From 2018-2019, content marketing jobs skyrocketed, increasing by 112%, according to Conductor’s Inbound Marketing Job + Salary Guide.

content marketing job growth

From 2018-2019, content marketing jobs skyrocketed 🚀, increasing by 112%, according to @conductor 🤯 Click To Tweet

At the same time, the internet is exploding with content – 6 billion searches happen daily on Google, and 4.4 million blogs are published on the web.

However, much of that content isn’t worth a look, let alone a click.

If you have the ability to publish content that not only reaches your audience but also engages them and inspires them to action, you’re doing something incredible. More people are realizing the power of this kind of content, so adept content creators are high on many brands’ must-hire lists.

With that said, let’s get into some specific reasons why you may need a content creation expert on your side.

Why Do You Need a Content Creator?

1. Content That Gets Results Is Tough to DIY

Here’s the thing: Anybody can create content. Anyone can write a random, rambling blog post and hit “publish.” Anyone can tweet their random thoughts into the internet universe, post photos of their cat to Instagram, or rant on Facebook.

Purposeful, targeted content that gets results? The stuff that generates traffic, leads, and revenue? Not just anyone has the chops to pull it off.

Anyone can create random content. But purposeful, targeted, *profitable* content? The stuff that generates traffic, leads, REVENUE? 💸 You need a pro #contentcreator. 👩‍🎨 Click To Tweet

It takes hard work. It takes research, skill, knowledge, and strategy, because content creation is difficult as all get-out. 😖

Content Creation: Marketers’ Biggest Challenge

According to a recent SEMrush survey, 54% of marketers say their toughest challenge is “creating content that generates quality leads.” The second toughest challenge? “Creating content that attracts more traffic” (52%).

It goes further. The top 5 challenges marketers have all relate to content creation.

Top content marketing challenges

Whether it’s developing content that resonates with your target audience, improving the SEO of your content, or generating new content ideas, creation is hard to nail.

It’s not all doom-and-gloom out there, though. Guess who has all of the above moving parts down to a science? The content creator.

That’s why enlisting a pro content creator is so important.

Where did they get their acumen? There is no content creator degree out there – instead, this specialized knowledge and these content creation skills come from a unique mixture of practice and experience.

The wise creator of content seeks out learning opportunities outside of a college classroom (from content creator courses, books, podcasts, industry leaders, etc.) and looks for opportunities to hone their arsenal of tools.

That’s why you need a content creator. Because they’re uniquely equipped, and no one else can do what they can.

2. Crafted Content Increases Traffic to Your Site & Generates High-Quality Leads

A content creator is key when you need your site content to produce results. The right content – written on the right topic, to the right audience, with the right keywords and the right point-of-view + tone of voice – will do the following:

  • Rank better in Google
  • Grab more traffic from Google search (let’s not forget – the #1 result swipes 31.7% of the clicks away from the rest of the results page)

#1 Google result has highest CTR

  • Pique people’s interest when shared on social media
  • Build trust with readers
  • Entice readers to sign up for your email list
  • Create followers from searchers, fans from followers, and customers from fans

If you’re tracking smart KPIs (key performance indicators), yes – all of these scenarios are probable results from amazing content.

It’s a snowball effect, and it begins with purposefully crafted and strategized content aligned to your business goals and audience.

The right content – crafted content – works miracles. Thus, the people who know how to create crafted content are the people you need on your team.

Want to learn to create crafted content? I have 5 words for you: Content Strategy & Marketing Course.

content strategy and marketing course cta

3. Targeted Content Reaches Your Audience Like Nothing Else

Targeted content – for both readers and search engines – is one of the secrets to content marketing ROI.

If you closely research your target audience plus keywords that match their search intent, THEN infuse both in your content, you have a winning combination. That type of content hits your audience in the heart and search engines in their algorithms.

The question is, do you have the knowledge, time, and skill to pull off this level of targeting?

Probably not. But a content creator does. 💡

When Do You Need a Content Creation Agency or Team?

Sometimes, one content creator isn’t enough. Sometimes, you have bigger content needs – more than one person could possibly handle. In that case, you need more powerful creation resources.

Here are the instances when investing in a content creation agency or team is a smart move:

1. You Need ALL of Your Content Taken Care Of

So, you don’t just want blogs in your content wheelhouse. You want to publish more in-depth content, too (like whitepapers or ebooks), plus specific content for your social media channels.

You also need a content creator for your website pages to improve engagement and SEO. On top of all that, you might want to start a YouTube channel but need some good video scripts, first.

Sound familiar?

If your content needs span across all of your current platforms, AND you need new content on a regular basis to score well with Google on freshness factors –

Yes. You need a dedicated content team.

2. You Need Multiple Content Formats Created, Not Just Blogs

In most cases, content creators will not be jacks-of-all-trades. Most creators will specialize in specific content formats, like emails, long-form blogs, ad copy, social media posts, case studies, or product descriptions.

That means, if you need the whole kit-and-caboodle taken care of, you need a content team to get it done.

5 Key Habits of Successful Content Creators

Now that we’ve discussed what a content creator is and why you need one, let’s get into the habits that lead to success in this line of work.

The best content creators take the time to nurture these 5 key habits. They:

1. Use Skills to Improve Skills

Good content creators constantly work on their craft.

If you’re a writer, that means you cultivate a writing habit, both in work and your personal life. When you’re not writing for clients, you’re writing for yourself and personal projects to stay sharp. You also read a TON (more on that later).

If you’re a photographer, that means you’re constantly refining your style, learning new techniques, and studying other photographers’ work that inspires you. The same goes for videographers, graphic designers, and every other type of content creator: They continually use their skills and focus on improving them.

2. Stay Current on Digital Trends, Including SEO Best-Practices

The digital realm is one of lightning-quick changes.

The popular social platform on Tuesday can be outdated by Thursday. Google can roll out major algorithm changes within 24 hours that transform the search landscape. New technology may take the world by storm over the course of a week or two.

The point is, the best content creators stay up on what’s happening. They monitor trends and keep abreast of algorithm changes and SEO best-practices. Since they create for the digital space, this is absolutely necessary to continue producing relevant content.

10 important 2020 SEO trends

Source: Search Engine Journal

3. Make Researching an Instinct

Every successful content creator knows and understands the audience they’re targeting. This isn’t magic – it’s due to a combination of innate curiosity and good research.

Anybody can use Google to look up topics. The difference between everyday Googling and research lies in following links and leads down rabbit holes.

The content creators who push harder, who ask follow-up questions, who wonder “where is the original source for this statistic?”, who love picking people’s brains, who nerd out over gaining deeper insights into a topic, are the ones who create the best content.

4. Clearly and Effectively Communicate Ideas and Information

Have you ever read a blog where a tough concept was explained so clearly and accurately, the clouds parted and birds started singing because you FINALLY understood?

That’s the power of amazing content with effective, clear writing.

If you can explain a difficult concept on your audience’s level so they not only comprehend it, but totally GET it, that’s it. You win at content.

5. Read Up on the Best Industry Content Regularly

How can you stand head-and-shoulders with your peers and competitors if you have no idea what they’re up to? What will you aspire to if you don’t read the best content your industry has to offer?

Reading and digesting inspirational, educational, or aspirational content should be a regular habit for all content creators, no matter their industry or medium.

Don’t limit yourself to blogs, either. Go to the library or a bookstore. Watch the news. Listen to podcasts and audiobooks. Download ebooks, studies, and whitepapers. Read everything you can and expand your perspective in every way possible. Your content will be better for it.

5 key habits for successful #contentcreators via @JuliaEMcCoy: 1) Use skills to improve skills, 2) Stay current on digital trends, 3) Make research instinctual, 4) Communicate clearly, 5) Read obsessively 🔥🔥 Click To Tweet

Bottom Line: Content Creation Needs an Expert Touch to Succeed

Content creation is not for the faint of heart.

It’s not easy – far from it.

From the slush pile of crap content out there, you can see just how difficult it is to stand out and make an impact.

Luckily, the role of content creator exists. There are people out there who can craft not just amazing content, but content that gets tangible results.

You now know what these people look like, what they do, and the habits they form to grow in their profession.

Whether you aspire to be a great content creator or are considering hiring one, you know their worth. With that knowledge, go forth and conquer. 🏰

content creator

How the Right Content Creator Can Completely Redefine Your Brand

Thinking about hiring a content creator for your business?

Just do it.

You’ve probably heard that line a few thousand times before.

The magic of Nike’s signature call-to-action wasn’t built by accident.

The content creators, writers and marketers behind the campaign crafted a line that would make the brand feel more inclusive.

It speaks to everyone, not just athletes, by urging them to follow their aspirations.

Plus, it’s catchy as heck.

Would you want the same thing for your brand?

A lot of your success and reach online comes down to finding the right content creator.

This is a necessary step when it comes to building your brand.

91% of B2B marketers agree.

B2B Using CM

Adding an expert content creator and writer to your creative team will save you time, money and shape your brand’s identity.

So what are you waiting for?

Just do it.

Let’s talk more about the role of a content creator in business, why a content creator benefits you, and a brief history behind today’s modern content creator.content creator blog

What is a Content Creator?

You may already be familiar of the job of content writing and content creation without ever having come across the terms.

Unlike some of it’s comrades that disguise themselves in tricky acronyms – LBO, BT, BI, SQL, GN – content writing and creation is exactly what it sounds like. (By the way, at least one of those acronyms doesn’t exist, see if you can find it!)

Content writers create content to garner interest in your brand. Blogs, web pages, ad copy, social media posts, ebooks, how-to guides, videos, this very paragraph you’re reading – it’s all the work of highly skilled content creators.

The main difference between anyone simply making a WordPress site, creating a post and jotting down their feelings and a content writer is the hidden technicality of this type of writing.

As you read this blog you’re coming across keywords, links and other techniques that content writers weave in to the content to optimize it for the web.

Can you tell?

I hope not. Content creators are ninjas of the written word. They adhere to the rules of SEO by sneaking them in without interrupting the natural flow of the content.

No matter what, the ever-changing algorithms of optimizing online content will always fall behind the number one rule. The one rule to rule them all: creating high-quality content.

Why You Need a Content Creator

Unless you plan on heading up your company by day and transforming into a content writing ninja by night, the best solution is to hire an expert content writer.

Fulfilling a detailed content strategy shouldn’t be another box to check on your daily to-do list.

Gaining the full benefits of content writing requires 100% attention. You want someone passionate about growing your brand who can bring fresh eyes and follow through on your content strategy.

Not convinced? Let us show you why you need to hire a content creator:

1. It’s Cost Effective

How often do you come across ways to both grow your business and save money?

Outsourcing content creation to a freelance writer or agency will save you the time and cost of training them. In fact, the highest percentage of outsourced content marketing is content creation.

Content creators charge a multitude of prices, so the best strategy before hiring is to know what you want and how much you’re willing to pay. Remember that quality is key to successful online content.

You may be able to get a cheap deal on Fiverr, but quality content isn’t something you bargain for.

We break down our pricing into three quality levels to cover a range of content needs.

2. It Will Save You Time

Content writing is more complex than churning out a few blogs when you feel like it. It takes time to produce high quality content because it’s more than just writing.

This type of content creation is a mix of research, editing, proofreading and formatting to craft high-ranking and high-traffic content relevant to your brand.

It’s okay that you don’t have time to memorize the latest SEO trends for 2018. This responsibility will be taken on by your content writer.

3. Fresh Content Will Keep Your Brand Relevant

Bringing in a content writer to be the voice of your brand will give your audience a whole new perspective.

Content creators are like students taking a course on what your company is. They will learn the ins and outs of your brand identity and turn it into a conversational piece to relay to your clientele.

Consistent content will also keep your online presence up to date. Posting fresh content across all platforms will help you rank higher in search engines.

Are you convinced yet?

Before you hire a content creator it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you want. Set your goals so that you can communicate them:

  • How do you want to sell your brand?
  • What type of content do you need?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do you want someone in-house or outsourced?

Answering these questions will point you in the right direction.

How Did We Get Here? The History of Content Creators

Content writing wasn’t born out of thin air.

It comes from a long ancestry of using messages to communicate.

Finding a connection between a blog centered on Apple’s new iPhone robot and Egyptian hieroglyphics may seem like a stretch, but just hear me out.

From the prehistoric era to today, writing has been one of the top modes of disseminating information.

Perhaps we’ve traded out wooden tablets for Android tablets since then, but at its core, the goals of writing have always remained.

Where Today’s Content Writing Originated: Going Back to Mesopotamian Cuneiform in 8,000 B.C.

The essence of all writing is described as a “system of graphic marks representing the units of a specific language.”

The first recorded writing system was the Mesopotamian cuneiform, which evolved into four phases from 8000 to 1500 BC:

  • Clay tokens: stood for symbols of a code to categorize and track the amount of items you had. Clay was formed into geometric shapes to mirror the goods they were representing.
  • Pictographs: signs and impressions that represented numbers and specific items. These symbols replaced physical tokens.
  • Logographs: or symbols that represented phonetic sounds. For the first time, writing was no longer tied to counting or tracking objects. People wrote names and titles.
  • The Alphabet: signs that stood for one particular sound that the voice made. This made room for combining multiple signs to represent a whole new word. From the first alphabet came many more renditions, each originating from a particular region.

With each new written form of communication, came the intrigue in spreading that information to a wider audience.

By the time 1450 rolled around, Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press brought forth a revolution. There was an enormous demand for sharing and preserving ideas in print.

In the 1970s, the first renditions of the internet were introduced and the written word was launched into cyberspace.

We’ve been disseminating information from pixels on a screen ever since.

Today: The Shift for Content Creators and Businesses

The power of words is undeniable.

From Shakespeare to hashtags, it’s all about condensing down your identity into a series of signs and symbols.

You can persuade, influence, communicate and create an impact without ever making a sound.

Imagine the impact you can make writing to the four billion people using the internet worldwide?

Well, that made your ears perk up.

The demand for creative content has always been a major part of business strategy. Whether it’s print ads, press releases or commercials, companies have found ways to speak directly to their audience.

Then came Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

With over 3 billion active users, social media has become the language of the people. It didn’t take long for companies to realize that they needed to jump on board to become a part of the conversation.

But it’s more than just showing up.

Having a Facebook account or generic landing page is not enough to sell your brand. The audience on the web today researches services and products they want to support. They buy from brands they want to be associated with.

Customers are looking for a full fledged relationship with your brand, not a one night stand.

To build that relationship, you need to speak to their needs. The best way to do that is through carefully crafted content.

Content writers can turn generic blogs into love letters.

It’s not a skill to be overlooked. Content writing was named one of the top freelancing skills for 2018, with the median salary of over $40,000 a year.

Creating Great Content: It’s More than a Blog

Even if you spend only a few minutes scrolling through articles, chances are that you soak in some of the information.

With the unique ability to speak directly to their targeted audience, content writers are able to recognize what is important to the reader.

The impact of their words reaches far beyond the time you spend actually reading or viewing their content, even if you don’t recognize it.

Remember, we’re ninjas.

The best content creators find what’s at the core of the product they are selling, and emphasize that. Dos Equis was never associated with the most interesting anything until their manly mascot came around.

Putting creativity at the forefront of your content strategy is a way to reach consumers without overselling your brand.

One content creator, Nanette Burstein, and her team turned the negative connotation of “like a girl” on it’s head in the Always marketing campaign. The #LikeAGirl movement urged girls and women of all ages to aspire to reach bigger goals and celebrated their accomplishments. The content Nanette created associated Always with female empowerment while also selling more feminine products.

Metro Trains had a very simple message for passengers: don’t mess around on trains. Instead of posting signage and warnings, their creative team designed a video depicting “Dumb Ways to Die” with a catchy jingle and cute characters to match. The result? Over 165 million views on YouTube and counting.

I think they got their message across.

Content creation does not have to be directly associated with the products you’re selling. It’s about creating content that’s appealing to your target audience while also sharing your message.

Creating valuable content transcends your products. At the end of the day, you’re building a relationship between your audience and your brand.

Content Creators that Care: Building My Team to Support a Growing Industry

Though my brand, Express Writers, absolutely does offer high-quality content services, I also grow it as a means of supporting a community interested in online content.

Have you read our ultimate guide on What is a Content Strategist, yet?  Check it out here! You can read it online or download and save for later.

Beyond the products we sell, we offer resources to businesses, freelancers and anyone wanting to learn about content marketing.

I started the Write Blog, Write Podcast and #ContentWritingChat as a way to continue the conversation about what’s important in the writing world to everyone, not just our customers.

I’ve even built an online content marketing and strategy course to help everyone learn the skills to be successful in the content realm.

You, too, can become a member of the content creator ninja society.

There’s no need to keep these skills secret. Content creation is not about competition. The purpose of writing has and always will be to share and preserve valuable content.

Maybe your creative content team will come up with the next gem worthy to have a seat next to Coca Cola’s “Share a Coke,” or Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?”

The possibilities are endless when it comes to building content around your brand.

So don’t take Volkswagen’s “Think Small” advice, no matter how well it worked for them.

It’s your content.

Think big.