If you want to know how to become a content creator this guide reveals the two main options. Each option is explained in detail.
Option one is easier, less risky, and you can start making some money within a few weeks or even days. This is like a job.
Option two is more difficult but you can make much more money and it can be more enjoyable and fulfilling. This is like a business.
Whichever method you use depends entirely up to you. Both have their cons and pros. This guide will reveal how both options work, so you can then make a better decision.Table of Contents
2 Ways To Become A Content Creator
Our definition of a content creator is anyone who creates any type of content and gets paid for his work.
And there are two ways to create content and get paid for it.
This option is pretty straight forward. You join one or more freelance websites (e.g. Freelancer.com) and find projects you can complete as a content creator. Most jobs are focused on writing. For example, writing ebooks, articles, video scripts and so on.
You’ll get paid immediately once you complete the work. You can also find part-time or full-time jobs as a content creator on these freelance sites.
The second option can be way more lucrative but also more difficult. It consists of building an audience (followers) in one or more social media platforms e.g. Youtube, Facebook, Instagram or even your own blog.
You get paid from ads, affiliate products, sponsorships, and other ways.
If you choose this option apart from a content creator you’ll also be known as an influencer or social media influencer.
This guide will show you how to do both.
Option one is easier to explain.
Option two is split into 4 steps.
So let’s discover both methods in more detail.
Option #1 Freelancing
This is like a job. You do the work and get paid by an employer. You can find random projects related to content creation on freelance sites and complete them.
You can find a variety of different projects but most of them are about writing.
Some employers need more than a single job. They may hire you over and over again. You can potentially become a part-time or full-time employee. Here’s an example:
Here’s a list of some of the top freelance sites:
You can browse the projects related to content creation to see if anything interests you. And you can take a look at how much they’re paying.
You can signup, and start finding work fairly quickly.
You can also find projects on “content mills”. These are like freelance sites, but the only jobs you find are related to writing e.g. ebooks, articles, technical writing and more.
Some pay better than others. It depends on the type of project you find.
Now let’s take a look at how to become a content creator using the second option. This utilizes the various social media platforms or your blog.
Option #2: Social Platform
This revolves entirely about building an audience (followers) on one or more social platforms (e.g. Youtube) that over time will get to know, like and trust you. And then you can monetize the audience in various ways.
I break this down into four steps.
Step 1: Niche Selection
First, you want to find a niche. This is basically the subject of your content. E.g. knitting.
Step 2: Content Creation
You need to know how to come up with new content ideas.
Step 3: Grow Your Audience
You can use some techniques to attract and grow a bigger audience that likes your content.
Step 4: Monetize Your Audience
Finally, you need one or more ways to make money from the content you’re creating and your audience.
So, in essence, you’ll be creating content around a subject that interests you to help your audience. And you’ll be making money at the same time in various ways.
The goal is to produce content that your audience really likes. You can call these people your fans because they’ll start to consume all the content you produce.
So now let’s see more detail about each one of those 4 steps.
4 Steps To Become A Content
Creator On A Social Platform
The first step is to pick a niche or category. You can’t create content about anything and everything, at least not in the early stages.
In my other guide entirely about niche research you can discover several techniques to find a profitable niche that’s right for you. And there’s a huge list of 1106 niches to help you choose one.
In a nutshell, you should choose a niche that you like and one that’s profitable.
A profitable niche is one that has enough people looking for information, entertainment or other types of content each and every month.
Ideally, these people should be willing to spend money so that you can sell products or services. However that’s optional because selling isn’t the only option you have to make money.
In that same guide you’ll discover tools to help you analyse a niche to figure out if it’s profitable.
Vanessa Lau is a content creator with over 200K subscribers on Youtube. In this short video, she’ll share with you how to pick a niche for Youtube, Instagram or any other social platform, and shares some good tools.
There are content creators who are known as “Internet Personalities”, such as Cameron Dallas with millions of Instragam and Youtube fans. His content is basically all about what he and his friends do every day.
Since the content is all about you, there are no tools that can tell you how many people will be interested in what you have to say about yourself.
If you think you’re the type of person that people will fall in love with, like Cameron or others, it could be a good niche for you.
Generally speaking, if you’re interested in the niche e.g. business, and you can come up with topic ideas for new content quite easily, it’s a sign the niche is right for you.
You might not choose the right niche for you immediately and that’s okay. You can switch niches at any time. This is part of the challenge of becoming an Influencer.
Apart from choosing a niche that could be anything from “Teaching Russian” to “Comedy” such as TheNotAdam, you have to choose a platform as well.
Pick the Right Platform
Once you find the right niche you want to pick a social platform that your audience uses.
The following list contains the most popular platforms that have millions or billions of users. So more than likely any audience in any niche can be found on all of these platforms.
However, some platforms like Snapchat contain a specific demographic audience e.g. young teens. If your content is not aimed at young teens Snapchat won’t be the right platform for you.
So to be sure, go to the platform that interests you e.g. Youtube. Search for content about the niche you want to get into e.g. “knitting”.
If there’s absolutely no content in that niche it means your audience isn’t looking for that particular content on that platform.
If you find content check the number of followers/subscribers of those content creators. If they have tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of subscribers it means your audience is there.
A quick search on Youtube for “knitting” returns content from these influencers:
RJ Knits 76.5K subscribers
So Wolly 33.5K subscribers
Sheep & Stitch 179K subscribers
Some have at least tens of thousands of subscribers so clearly our audience that’s interested in “knitting” is on this platform.
If your audience can be found on more than one platform then pick the one that you like the most.
Here’s a list of popular platforms to consider.
You may have to try different platforms before you find the one that suits you best.
This has about 2 Billion users. You can post videos.
This has over 1 billion users. You can post photos, videos, and live videos.
This has about 2.5 billion users.
You can post text, images, videos, live videos and more.
This has about 330 million users.
You can post short text, photos, videos, and slide shows.
This has about 360 million users. Unlike the other social media platforms, there’s no web-based version of this. It’s only available as a mobile app for Android and iOS devices. You can post photos and videos.
This has about 335 million users.
You can post images and in some regions also video.
- iTunes – About 800 million
- Spotify – About 124 million
- Google Play – About 15 million
A podcast is not a platform. There are many “directories” where you can upload your audio files, not just those three. Soundcloud is another option.
Your audience (subscribers) gets your new audio recordings (episodes) automatically when they subscribe to your podcast using any of those services.
You can post content in any format on your own website e.g. articles, images, videos, ebooks, etc.
But written content is the ideal format because it can rank well in Google if you follow some search engine optimization techniques (SEO).
In my other guide you’ll find step by step process and several techniques to create written content for your website/blog
All platforms have some other features e.g. Instagram allows you to create “Stories”. This type of content is basically a slide show made by uploading and combining multiple photos/videos together.
Furthermore, these platforms do introduce new features from time to time.
Regardless of whichever platform you use it’s highly recommended that you start building an email list as soon as possible.
In this way, if any platform makes any chances (algorithm/features/policies/rules, etc.) that may cause you to lose subscribers, views and so on you’ll still have a way to connect with your audience.
An email list is like a backup plan. It’s your own permanent asset.
You don’t need to build a super fancy website to build an email list. All you need is a simple optin page and a freebie. In my other guide, you can discover how to make this simple optin page in just 3 easy steps.
If you’re going to use your blog as the content platform building then you must build a list.
Content Creation Strategy
There are two main strategies to go about picking a platform.
Option #1: You can pick just one platform and master it.
Learn how to use it, how to build an audience on it, the best type of content and so forth. And then do the same thing on a second platform. In this way, your audience and income grow bigger and bigger.
Eventually, you can have a big audience on all major platforms like Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, and even an email list.
Option #2: There are content creators that utilize a different strategy.
For example, Peng Joon creates short videos (5-10mins) and posts them on all the major social media platforms. You can learn all about his strategy in his free book called the Content Multiplier Formula.
He also reveals it in this in-depth video:
Now let’s discover the second step of how to become a content creator.
Step 2: How To Create
Content For Your Audience
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you’re going to create content for your audience, to help them in some way or another.
We can use the following terminology when talking about content.
Content Format – This is how you’re going to package/present the information.
These are the most common formats. You’ll be using mainly one or more of these.
Content Type – You can create various types of content from those formats.
- Fun Facts
- How-To Tutorials
Content Topic – This refers to the topic of your content.
- “49 Knitting Facts Everyone Should Know”
- “How to Knit a Scarf for Beginners Step By Step”
- “The Best Knitting Patterns – Complete Review”
- “Humorous Knitting Quotes”
In my other guide, you’ll find 40 ways to come up with new content topic ideas.
And now you’ll discover the different types of content you can create on the various platforms.
You can use different content formats for each one of them. For example, you can present fun facts using a video or a simple image.
The following methods work especially well on these platforms…
Youtube Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter And Podcast
Motivational, inspirational and other quotes work well.
Similar to quotes, but they’re actually facts.
This is a list of pretty much anything useful e.g. how to do something. You can place the entire list in one image.
You don’t have to share useful information all the time. You can also connect with your audience more personally from time to time.
There are many options to do this.
- Share a photo of your favourite restaurant or something delicious you’ve ate.
- Share your recent travel photos.
- Share a nice view from your home or office.
- Take a picture of something cute or funny.
- Take a picture of anything awesome you happen to see.
- Take a picture with an “expert” in your niche, someone you’ve met in a conference, etc.
- Behind-the-scenes photos or selfies e.g. a photo of you in your pyjama working on your laptop.
- Take a picture of the book you’re currently reading.
And so on…
This could be a milestone, birthday, you’ve conquered a fear, completed all your “to-do list” and so on.
This is pretty straightforward. If you honestly like a product or a brand let your audience know about it. Do a quick or thorough review of it.
You can also recommend a recipe, tool, book, game, movie, destination, restaurant and whatever else might interest your audience.
This is a fun way to connect with your audience.
Example in the gaming niche:
They can be about anything not necessarily related to your niche.
My favorite place to eat on Sunday is ________
My favorite board game is _______.
Everyone loves to hear a good story. Try to tell a story to teach a lesson or help them learn something. This could be something that happened to you or someone you know.
For example, tell them what happened when you’ve attended a particular event.
You can interview an “expert” in your niche or find someone to interview you. Discuss anything that might interest your audience.
Explain or show your audience how to do something. You can explain it yourself or invite a guest on your podcast/video to explain it.
Q & A Videos
Create a series of questions about a specific topic that interests your audience and answer them.
If your audience is leaving comments or sending you emails pick any questions they’re asking and answer them in a video.
You can also ask them to send in their questions and then create content to answer them.
Ask Them Questions
These can be related to your niche or something to get a conversation started.
You can ask them questions to figure out what troubles them, what are their current issues/problems, what new content they’d like to learn.
Of course, if you know your audience you’ll be able to ask more specific questions.
Tell them to leave their replies in the comments.
You can teach practically anything that interests your audience.
And now, the following methods work especially well on Youtube.
In these videos, you’ll review many similar products that you’ve recently purchased. You explain all you can about them. State what you like and don’t like, the price, and so on.
In this video Dan Lok reviews products by fashion luxury company Hermes.
This is like a haul, but you’ll review only one or a few very similar products.
This is similar to a haul video. But in this one, you start with an unopened box of some product you purchased. You open it, unpack and try and review the product.
People like to be entertained. Such videos can also go viral if they’re really good. Try to make a funny video.
In my other free guide you’ll discover 3 different ways to create videos (Animations, Power Points & Smartphone). Plus the complete process to produce videos with just your smartphone.
On your website, articles are the ideal content format. Because if you use some search engine optimization (SEO) techniques they can rank well and get traffic from Google.
You can still use video or audio content but transcribe them. You can do that yourself or use a service like Rev.com
DigitalMarketer.com has a very useful Infographic called “The Ultimate List of Blog Post Ideas” (pdf file). It has 65 different types of blog posts you can make.
Now here are some content creation techniques and success “secrets” that apply regardless of which platform you choose.
You can come up with new content topic ideas by asking them e.g. in one of your videos. And that direct conversation with them helps them to connect with you on a personal level too.
You can get specific replies:
You can also ask them whether they liked your most recent posts. Get their feedback so you know if the content you’re making is what they want.
More sophisticated methods include the use of surveys or polls.
Another good way to come up with new types or topic content ideas for any platform is to check out what other influencers in and outside of your niche are doing.
Subscribe or follow other influencers on any platform and you’ll get loads of content from them that can inspire.
In the following video Influencer Pat Flynn (229K Youtube subscribers and 168K Facebook followers) provides more easy strategies and tools to create content for any platform.
If you keep providing valuable content your audience starts to like and trust you even more, eventually become your fans!
You Don’t Have To Be An “Expert”
If you want to become a content creator you don’t need to be an expert. Of course, the more you know the easier it will be to create content.
But there are people less knowledgable about you on certain matters. You can teach the basics if that’s all you know.
If you’re not an “expert” you might have to be a bit more creative to come up with content ideas.
For example, if you’re in the video gaming niche and you’ve finished a complete game you may consider yourself an “expert” about it.
You can share all the tricks and secrets you’ve learned. Do a complete review of it and so on. It will be easy to come up with content ideas.
If you haven’t yet finished the full game you’re technically not an “expert”.
You can be a bit creative:
- Tell them what you like or don’t like so far about the game.
- Play and record the remaining of the game.
- Show them the annoying mistakes you’ve made.
- Invite a friend to play it with you.
It’s important to keep improving your skills and learning about the thing you’re doing e.g. playing guitar, marketing or whatever happens to be your niche.
The more you know and the better you are the more content you can produce.
Be Up To Date
It’s important that you know what’s going on within your niche. What are the latest news, developments, and trends? What’s changing? People love to be up to date about the things that interest them.
And you’ll appear to be an “expert”. People like “experts” because they spoon-feed them all the good stuff they need to know.
Scour the Internet for this information.
Use tools like Google Trends, Google News and follow the major news sites, companies and bloggers in your niche. Follow also other influencers in your niche on the various platforms and see what they’re doing.
Know Your Audience
As a content producer, your audience is everything. The more you know and understand about them the easier it will be to create content that will help them. In return, they’ll start to engage with your content even more (like, share, comment, subscribe, etc).
When you have an audience that likes you it will be easier to make money through selling products, ads and so on.
The most basic things you can learn are their typical demographics:
- Marital Status
- Education Level
Here are some methods to find that information.
Each platform provides some analytical tools that give you some of that data about who’s viewing your content.
You can find Facebook groups related to your niche and check the profile of some of the users.
You can use the “Facebook Audience Insights” tool. In this tool input the pages/interests that your audience is likely to follow. And it will provide details about them.
For example, if we input “golf” as the interest it tells us that most of them are married and men.
These are some of the other things you should know about your audience:
- What are their top problems, issues and pain points? These are the things you can help them with.
- What are their goals and desires they want to achieve? You can motivate or help them accomplish them.
For example, in the “make money online” niche the audience’s typical problems are:
- They need to make more money.
- They need the knowledge and tools to make money online.
- They need motivation because it takes time to make money online.
- They need to understand what works and what doesn’t. They want to filter out the legitimate ways to make money from the scams.
- They’re not very happy or satisfied with their current job.
Their typical goals are:
- They need to quit their job and make full time income online.
- They want to make some extra money online in addition to their full time job i.e. a side hustle.
- They have retired from work and want to make some extra money online.
- They want to develop high-income skills like copywriting and digital marketing.
To find that information and more take a look at the comments they’re leaving on your content. Read the emails or messages they send you. They can leave clues as to what they want, what bothers them and so on.
You can also join forums within your niche or Q & A sites like Quora to figure out their problems, desires and other information about them.
Create Content Consistently
You don’t want to post too infrequent or your audience will forget about you. On the other hand, posting too often can bother them.
Here’s the ideal frequency of posting for each platform. This data was gathered from studies done by Hubspot and other companies.
These are not rules. They’re just guidelines to help you get the most number of subscribers and engagement on your posts.
Facebook – Post between 1 – 2 a day. 1 post a day is the optimal number.
Instagram – Post between 1 – 3 a day. 1 – 2 posts a day is the optimal number.
Twitter – Post between 3 – 30 a day. 15 posts a day is the optimal number. Spread your posts throughout the day instead of posting all of them at once.
Pinterest – Just like Twitter you can post between 3 – 30 a day. About 10 – 15 posts a day is the optimal number.
Youtube – 1 post a week is optimal if you’re just getting started. But you can increase that to 2 and then 3 posts a week as your skills/ability to create videos improves. You can even post once a day but if you’re a new content creator it may be difficult to create that many videos.
Blog – It’s recommended that you optimize your content so they rank in Google. And to do that you’ll usually need to create long posts with at least 2,000 – 2,500 words.
They should also be of high quality. That takes quite a bit of time. But you should aim to post at least once a week. You can increase that to twice a week or even more as long as the quality of the content remains high. More posts mean more traffic as long as they’re properly optimized so they rank well.
If you create audio or video transcribe them and put the transcript along with video/audio.
In the beginning, you may find it hard to post the optimal number of times and that’s okay. Every content creator starts small and as you get the hang of it you can increase your posting frequency.
Creating content consistently will also help you improve your content creation skills.
Also, consider the best time you’re most likely to be productive and clear-headed. For example, are you a morning person or a night owl? Create some sort of schedule and stick to it.
At first, the content you create won’t be that great and that’s normal. But if you keep producing content and try to improve over time your skills/abilities improve and therefore also the quality of your content.
Try to create content using your own unique style or personality.
For example, I like to write long articles and my writing is usually a bit serious and in an orderly fashion.
All my posts have a table of contents and get straight to the point. I just say what needs to be said. I also like to create cute small custom images for each post, like this one:
Neville Mendora uses a lot of stick figures in many of his posts:
He’s a bit funny. Even his copyright section reflects that.
If you know Dan Lok he’s very posh, always elegant. Never once did I see him not wearing a suit. He’s always well-groomed. This isn’t because he’s rich, it’s just his style.
Gary Vaynerchuk also has his own unique style. He doesn’t sit down and write long articles like me. He doesn’t wear suits all the time even though he’s also very rich.
He shoots quick videos anywhere he can, on the street, in his office. And he’s always motivating his audience.
Once you find your unique style you can set yourself apart from all the other content creators (competitors). And you’ll appear more authentic.
To help you develop your own style you can also think of your unique skills, abilities, and strengths and use them.
For example, my strength is writing and my weakness is recording audio.
So I turn all my articles into pdf files as well.
Other content creators in my niche don’t do this. Instead, they might have their own videos embedded in their articles if they’re good at that.
As you create more content you’ll naturally understand the style that works best for you. It’s those things you enjoy doing more than others.
So far in Step One, you’ve found a niche and platform that’s right for you. And in Step Two you’ve discovered some ways and techniques to start creating content.
Now let’s see how to grow your audience. The goal is to get more followers/subscribers because the bigger your audience the more money you can make.
Step 3: How to Grow
Here’s a list of ways to build and grow your audience on the various platforms. Some of them are platform-specific, e.g. Youtube Video SEO can only be done on Youtube.
You can optimize your videos so they rank well on Youtube when someone performs a search. Youtube is a search engine just like Google. So this is basically search engine optimization (SEO) for Youtube.
You can check my Youtube strategy guide. In one section two well-known SEO gurus reveal their Youtube SEO techniques. Both have over 150K Youtube subscribers.
You can also consider Youtube Ads.
This video from HubSpot reveals how to use Youtube Ads to promote the video content you produce.
Peng Joon has 394K Instagram followers and in this video he’ll show you how they get 50K new followers each month. Plus how to get content ideas, monetization and more…
There are two main ways to grow your audience.
You can use Facebook ads or organic free methods.
A while back Facebook changed a bit their algorithm. Nowadays fewer of your audience will see the posts you put on your page in their newsfeed. This means less organic reach.
But in this video, you’ll discover 5 simple techniques to grow your audience as well as get more organic reach. Cynthia’s posts are being seen by tens and hundreds of thousands of followers consistently (without paying for Facebook Ads).
Facebook Organic Reach
Anastasia gets 9.6 million views on her Pinterest images each month. In this video, she shares 17 techniques you can use to grow your Pinterest audience.
Ashley is a content creator with over 17K Twitter followers. In this video, she’ll show you how to get your first 1000 followers and then scale up from there.
Social platforms allow people to click a “Subscribe” or “Follow” button and they become part of your audience.
If you publish content on a blog you build an audience by using some sort of “popup” or optin box/form. You drive traffic to your blog and that “popup” captures their email address. This is known as building an email list.
You’ll be able to communicate how much you want with your audience via email.
To build a bigger audience you’d have to drive more traffic to your website. You can use free or paid website traffic generation methods. One of the best methods is search engine optimization (SEO).
For this to work you’d have to use articles as your content format. You can still create videos or audio but you’d have to transcribe them.
There are more ways to get free traffic. And there are 12 paid traffic generation methods in my other guide.
Now let’s go to the last step in this process.
Step 4: How To Monetize
The fourth step would be to start thinking about how to make money. Ideally, this is the last part you should think about.
Over time you’ll understand your audience’s needs and the platform you’re using much better and hence you can better decide the best way to monetize them.
Here are some of the options to make money as a content creator.On Youtube you’ll earn just by uploading videos. You’ll earn about $3 – $10 per 1000 views.
Sell affiliate products (digital or physical products).
Offer freelancer work or services.
Offer coaching or consulting.
Create a membership site. A lot of content creators use Patreon.
You can also check out what other Influencers in or outside of your niche are doing. Become their subscriber, check their videos and “spy” a bit to see how they’re making money.
You can sell physical products like clothing or accessories using platforms like Shopify.
You can sell your own digital products e.g. ebooks, courses, audio programs, etc. You’d need to build a website to do that. If you want to sell courses you can use platforms like Udemy.
If you’re using a website/blog as your platform you can use Facebook Retargeting. This essentially means you buy Facebook Ads and show them to all the people who visit your website or are on your email list. In these ads you can promote products, services and so on.
A brand can approach you to purchase a sponsored video/post. Once you have a fairly large audience you can also contact some brands that interest you. Show them some data about your audience such as engagement rate and so onOnce you audience grows to a certain size you can use services like Shoutcart. These connect you with brands and companies that will pay you to review/promote their products and so on.
Keep in mind you won’t be able to make a lot of money immediately because you need a sizeable audience. It takes time and patience to grow a decent-sized audience.
Now here are some useful tools for content creators.
Tools For Content Creators
These are some of the most popular general-purpose tools for content creators.
This allows you to create engaging videos with animations, custom images and so on. If you don’t want to create a video from scratch they have various customizable “drag and drop” templates.
For example, if you want to create an explainer video, select the 3rd one and just edit it.
This tool allows you to build doodle styled videos.
This iPhone/iPad app allows you to create nice graphics in appropriate sizes for the different social media platforms. This has been rated 94K times with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars.
This free tool allows you to create graphics with appropriate sizes just like Typorama. But it’s a web-based tool. It contains a lot of free images and shapes to create custom images.
You can use it to create different types of images e.g. banners, infographics, Facebook cover, meme generator, social media graphic and more.
There’s a paid version. This is the tool I use (free version) for the custom images on my blog.
If you’re writing any content whether it’s a long article or a small tweet for Twitter, this tool can help you fix spelling and grammar errors.
This tool analyses thousands of feeds across the web to give you content ideas that will work well for your particular audience. It also helps you to plan and post your content.
Currently, it only works with Facebook and Twitter but they’re planning to add more platforms.
Quote: “Extensive research from Buzzsumo and Buffer found that posting with the Post Planner app generates more social media engagement than any other application for small business and individuals… 510% more engagement!”
Apart from these and other tools, every social platform provides their own analytic tools.
Once in a while, you should look at your stats to check how well your content is performing in terms of engagement (liking, commenting, sharing, viewing).
Now let’s see a recap of this entire guide…
Here’s how to become a content creator in a nutshell.
There are two main options.
You can either become a freelancer, creating content and getting paid as soon as you’re done much like a regular job.
Or you can create content on social media platforms like Youtube or your own blog. This consists of 4 main steps:
- Find a niche that you like and a platform that’s right for you.
- Create content.
- Grow your audience using various strategies such as Youtube SEO or paid ads.
- Think of ways to make money from your audience and platform you’re using.
If you have any questions or comments leave them below 🙂