You’re no longer afraid of naysayers shooting you down, and you’re now ready for the next step. In this guide, we’ll show you how to become a content creator—and a successful one at that.
Who is a content creator?
A content creator creates online content such as blog posts, podcasts, and YouTube videos. Here are five popular examples:
- Content writer
- Social media creator
- Podcast host
- YouTube vlogger
- Graphic designer
A content creator is different from a micro-influencer.
While an influencer’s sole purpose is to build a platform and collaborate with sponsored brands, a content creator produces content that generates leads and sales.
The big question: Should you work in-house or go solo?
There’s no right or wrong answer here.
Having worked in-house and freelanced on-and-off for close to 10 years, here’s what I’ve discovered:
The biggest upside to working as a freelance content creator? Control. You have the final say over your rates and which projects and clients you want to work with.
However, the freelance path is not always rosy, as a large part of your success depends on your ability to find clients. Based on an Ipsos marketing study, 63% of freelancers shared that they feel financially unstable.
This is where working in-house beats going solo.
Besides a steadier income, you’ll also have the opportunity to collaborate across the entire organization. Cross-functional meetings are the norm, allowing you to gain practical knowledge of different fields.
There is high demand for content creators, especially for freelancers.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, freelance work is booming. An online freelance marketplace, Freelancer.com, recently hit a record of 20 million jobs posted with content, design, and media projects leading the pack.
These six tips show you how to become a freelance content creator. Work in-house? Stick around anyway! Some of these tactics will still be useful in your line of work.
6 tips on how to become a content creator
1. Choose a “sticky” specialty
“Box myself out of future opportunities? No, thank you!”
Does the idea of limiting yourself in one specialty cause panic? Hear us out.
There are many wonderful things about specializing, and the biggest one by far is that the more you niche down, the more likely you’ll attract the right customers.
When Kaleigh Moore decided to specialize in ecommerce and SaaS, she discovered that she attracted more clients. By choosing to focus on one area, she can charge a higher rate and draw from her existing knowledge whenever she starts a new project.
Let’s explore another specialty in the following example.
Brittany Berger is a content repurpose strategist—or, as she likes to call herself, a content remix DJ. If you visit Brittany’s website, you can immediately tell that she’s an advocate of creating less content.
Notice how unique and memorable Brittany’s niche is? That’s the power of specializing.
Pro tip: Ensure that there’s a market for your specialty.
90% of marketers shared that they find repurposing content a lot more effective than creating from scratch.
Clearly Brittany picked a profitable niche!
2. Appear everywhere
You need more than excellent skills and hard work to thrive as a content creator.
The last piece of the puzzle? Networking. 70-80% of professionals were successfully hired because they have the right connections.
This statistic mentions only nine-to-five employees, but we reckon it applies to freelancers as well. If you were to ask the content creators you admire what they did to make them successful today, chances are a good many will mention networking.
Networking opens doors to priceless opportunities, such as writing a guest column for authority sites, co-hosting a popular webinar series, and connecting with dream clients.
Remember Brittany from our earlier example? She went all-in in promoting her work. The content remix DJ appeared on popular podcasts like Everyone Hates Marketers, and guest wrote for publications like Search Engine Journal.
Don’t know where to begin? Read our recommended guide on professional networking to get started.
3. Create a snazzy portfolio
A portfolio holds as much weight as a resume as it gives prospective clients a taste of your style and skills.
To get started, use a free website builder like WordPress. It’s easy to create a portfolio within minutes, thanks to the built-in professional templates. Even if you’re non-tech-savvy, the intuitive tools help you get your site up and running with minimal effort.
When you’re ready to upgrade to a self-hosted website, check out Kopage Website Builder.
Besides boasting a blog, newsletter, forms, and ecommerce store, this web builder also doubles as a content management system. It’s self-hosted, to boot.
Kopage is ideal for all-around content creators.
Are you looking to create a house-flipping newsletter and attract sponsors? Use the Newsletter module to create one.
Or, do you want to sell printables? Use the Shop module to add products and set prices. Kopage supports various payment methods such as PayPal, Stripe, and Square.
Grab the Kopage Website Builder lifetime deal on AppSumo today for $59 (Usual price: $175).
Pro tip: Make sure your portfolio reflects the projects or clients you want to attract.
For example, if you want to work with women-owned businesses, most of your work should feature these people.
Or else, you’ll attract random clients that want to hire you for projects that fall outside of the scope of what you do.
4. Know your tools
Tools bring creations to life.
The software tools you need will depend on your clients.
Here’s what we mean.
Established companies that work with freelance content creators have their set of processes. Often, project managers will give you free access to the tools they already use. If you’re lucky, these clients will even create additional resources if you need help using them.
If they don’t, not to worry! There’s always trusty YouTube to the rescue.
Got a client who uses Ahrefs for their articles? There are dozens of tutorials on YouTube. You’ll be an expert in no time.
On the other hand, new and bootstrapped companies that have never worked with freelance content creators will expect you to have your own set of tools.
If your clients fall in this category and you have no idea which software tools you should use, check out our software alternative guides. AppSumo has lifetime deals for many of the tools listed.
Pay once, and use them for life.
5. 10X your skills
Practice makes progress and permanence. Don’t forget to schedule time to improve your skills and keep up with the latest trends.
It can be as simple as following subject matter experts on Twitter, experimenting with marketing platforms, or signing up for courses taught by practitioners.
Marissa Payne, a content creator of Matriarch Digital, often networks with marketers, listens to podcasts, and watches YouTube videos to stay on top of her game. She also regularly split tests her ads on Google and Facebook and newer platforms like Reddit and Pinterest.
The trick here is to nail a new platform before it becomes part of every digital marketer’s bread and butter.
6. Unlock passive income
Passive revenue streams unlock new levels of sales.
Take ebooks, for example. The number of readers is expected to grow to 1,166.3 million users by 2025! Imagine tapping into this sizable audience and getting your products in front of them.
Michelle Lewis is a visibility and publicity expert who often creates content on her podcast and social media channels. She sells various online products to earn passive income—one of which is her Podcast Pitch Kit on AppSumo.
If you’re just starting with no marketing background, it can be difficult to reach millions of prospective customers.
As an AppSumo Partner, you focus on building the best products while we do the grunt work to promote them to our vibrant community of users.
With over one million Sumo-lings, you can quickly gather early feedback, build massive brand awareness, all the while earning some serious cash.
Our online marketplace uses a straightforward revenue-sharing model. Earn 95% of revenue for every new customer you bring to AppSumo, and 70% of revenue from returning customers we bring to you.
Hundreds of content creators saw great successes when they partnered with AppSumo, including:
- Andrew Kamphey, founder of Better Sheets, who went from seven to over 1,000 customers after selling on AppSumo.
- Tanner Campbell, who attracted over 100 new students and over $2000 in the first two weeks for his podcast course.
- Lynette Chandler, founder of Thrive Anywhere, who not only sold many of her printables but also tapped into a massive community of customers she couldn’t reach on her own.
Start selling on AppSumo and reach millions of users today.
Go forth and become a successful content creator
The fear of failure will no longer stop you from starting a content business. We hope this guide shows you how to become a content creator with confidence!
To recap, here’s what you need to do:
- Choose a “sticky” specialty, so that prospective customers remember who you are and what you do.
- Appear everywhere. Network, write guest posts, and appear on podcasts! Get aggressive at getting your name out there.
- Create a snazzy portfolio that reflects the projects and clients you want to work with.
- Get to know your tools deeply. To identify the tools you need to master, start with your clients.
- 10X your skills. Follow thought leaders on Twitter, sign up for online courses, or experiment on your channels.
And when you scale your business, consider building a passive income stream. Printables, online courses, or software tools, these digital products unlock a new level of success.
But it can be tricky getting started. Who has the time and energy to build an audience from scratch?
In this case, join us as an AppSumo Partner. Get your products in front of over one million prospective customers, build early feedback, and earn massive sales.
Start selling on AppSumo and reach millions of users today.