What is a Content Creator?

Ever wondered what a content creator actually does? In this article I give you a candid explanation of the two types of creator, along with some handy definitions.

Category
Content Creation
18 January, 2022

So, what is a content creator?

Is it someone that creates content? What is content? Does it only exist on the internet? Do I only exist on the internet?

These questions and more, answered in today’s post.

HINT: Scroll to the end of the post if you want fast answers. 

In all seriousness, it’s time we strip down the terms and create a solid definition that works.

I don’t feel like content creators have a fully defined role just yet, and you deserve one because what you do is pretty great.

First the Broadest Definition of All Time

According to Google, a content creator is someone who contributes information to any media, especially digital media – for an end-user or audience in specific contexts.

I think what the kindly old man who wrote this definition was trying to say, is that a content creator’s role can generally be defined as someone who:

#1: Creates informational media

#2: Especially, but not limited to, the internet

#3: Usually for a specific platform, audience or strategic goal

So –

A content creator produces original digital media content for the internet, which helps their brand attract, retain, engage and convert audiences.

Yes – content creation is an offshoot of content marketing, and is inherently a specialist branch of inbound marketing, that focuses on creation instead of dissemination or promotion.

Content marketers at a table

Content Creators Are Not Content Marketers

It’s not the same thing as content marketing.

Content marketers focus on the creation and sharing of online material for brand promotion, which is where the confusion comes in. You do get content marketers who create content, just like you get content creators who market content.

But a content marketer’s main role is the promotion and dissemination of content, while a content creators main role is to – well, make content for the internet.

Many moons ago when Rand Fishkin still worked at Moz and the internet was entirely free and fair – content marketers systematically began to explode into flames from burnout.

This was because of something lovingly dubbed ‘The Content Monster’ which was the ceaseless, relentless and often dementing aspect of content marketing that no single human person could keep up with – to this day. Teams struggle with it!

When you convert an online brand into a media producer – the company, no matter its previous designation – becomes a media house.

Law firms became media houses. Doctors became media houses. Janitorial staffing companies became media houses. Everyone on the internet that wants to sell, has a global audience and must now create content to attract and convert that audience for their brand.

Because that’s where the money is – in the repeat conversion of an existing, growing audience.

Content creator influencing his audience

 

About 10 years ago, content marketers realised that if a brand’s content was really good – more people would hang around, and buy things.

There were other benefits too – like free access to market research in an owned environment, which – if you’re a marketer – is very exciting. Data gave everyone the ability to create evidence-based content that would get maximum results for their brand audiences.

Suddenly, content could be optimized in a way that generated even more money.

The only issue!

As an individual creator, you can’t focus on creating evidence-based content and marketing it – or you’ll do both fairly badly. There are exceptions, but generally speaking it helps to pick one and outsource the other.

Trust me on this.

I know content. I know content marketing – they’re not the same. Perhaps they were once, but those days are long gone now.

When Demand Reaches Critical Mass

Fast forward to a few years ago when more and more artists were showing their skills online – thanks in large part to the bustling freelance industry raised and nurtured by the internet.

Content marketers needed content. And they needed to focus on promoting that content.

That’s why many, many people became specialist content creators.

Content of all kinds was desperately needed – blogs, videos, podcasts, articles, gifs, emails, e-courses – you name it, the brands of the world needed it.

Here’s the definition of content:

Digital media materials created for a brand or personality.

I never did much enjoy the promotion side of marketing. In my case, I focused on content strategy and creation.

If someone wants me to create something that has the highest potential of selling well – then I’ll create them an evidence-based piece of content. In the hands of a talented marketer, that content can perform miracles.

The Two Kinds of Content Creator

There are 2 main kinds of content creator, if you’re trying to understand where you fit – or if you’re thinking about becoming one. They are quite different.

I’m going to compare them for you here:

#1: The Personal Brand Content Creator

AKA: Social Media Personalities and Small Business Owners

  • Publicly visible individuals that create and share personal content
  • Often focus on building large social media audiences
  • They become living, breathing influencers of very specific audiences
  • They create all types of content to promote their personal brand or business

 

social influencers

It’s incredibly difficult to become a personal brand content creator, and there are many, many issues that go with it – which often result in the personalities themselves struggling.

These individuals can often be found on YouTube, Instagram, Tiktok or other niche social platforms (like Clubhouse, or Twitch).

#2: The Regular Brand Content Creator

AKA: Online Creatives

  • Private individuals that create brand content
  • Sometimes filmmakers, artists, writers and the like creating for the internet
  • Often work to improve a third-party brand audience
  • They become anonymous creators for public brands online
  • They create all types of content for their paying brand

 

Creating at the computer

Digital artists, filmmakers, digital media specialists, copywriters, coders, photographers and other creative professionals are hired by brands to create content for them.

These individuals work in the freelance sector or as part of a media or content team.

The Real Difference Between Content Creators

I believe the personal brand content creator is the most evolved online – with the content itself being used as the marketing attraction tool, which is really the peak of inbound marketing strategy. No wonder small business owners treat themselves as an online brand.

Brands, to some degree – try to fabricate and replicate The Cult of Personality, which is intrinsic in what Social Media Personalities create.

That’s why I always say that people keep audiences, not gimmicks or products or clever campaigns. Brands need faces if they want audience retention.

In the future, as video expands, brands will expect their content creators to become paid personalities. Society is already subtly shifting into this mindset, as more people become comfortable with putting their entire lives on the internet for others to see.

It Converges with The Real World 

Much like content marketing – the best content creation is done in the real world. People connect with other people who are going places and doing things that matter.

A great example of this is a travel blogger. As a content creator, the travel blogger funds their travels through brand sponsorships so that they can create the content their audience require.

They get to do what they love, as long as they are building an audience that attracts opportunities for income generation. Content creation in its finest form, happens on and offline – creating a perfect content feedback loop in a specific niche.

That’s why many social media personalities have a narrow focus, and dedicate themselves to meeting their audience offline as well. It’s smart.

Content creators also often specialise in a specific type of content. Video creators do YouTube. Writers focus on books and e-books. Talkers do podcasts. Photographers do stock images and Instagram.

Every content creator is different, just like every artist is different. 

Virtual content creator designing a house

So, What is a Content Creator?

  • A content creator is not a content marketer
  • A content creator does not necessarily do marketing activities
  • A content creator is sometimes a personal brand
  • A content creator is sometimes a digital creative
  • A content creator is always focused on their audience
  • A content creator may or may not use data to amplify content creation results

BONUS

  • Many content creators are also skilled in remote / online work
  • They have multiple skills across multiple digital art forms
  • They have strong writing skills
  • They are great at speedy, efficient online communication and engagement

Content Lexicon:

What is a content creator?

A content creator produces original digital media content for the internet, which helps their brand attract, retain, engage and convert audiences.

What is content?

Digital media materials created for a brand or personality. These can include blog posts, e-books, videos, slideshows, photographs, graphics, podcasts, apps, gifs, social media posts – the list goes on!

What is content creation?

Content creation can be defined as the creation of digital media materials to meet the goals of a brand audience online.

Does content only exist on the internet?

Yes. Offline it’s generally referred to as something else.

Do I only exist on the internet?

That depends. Take the average amount of time you spend online every day. Multiply it by your life expectancy, and see if you’re happy with your current investment.

You exist where you spend your time.

There you have it. A full, semi-logical answer on what defines a content creator. If you have any questions, I’d love to answer them.

Now put down your phone and go make something!

 

Written by Carla Dewing

I’m a content strategist, creator and director. I’m a bit obsessed with SEO, conversion optimization and the internet. One day, I’ll master the electric ukulele, get my pilot’s license and won’t eat so much chocolate. Maybe not the last one.

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