Like the internet did for blogging a few years ago, the surge of social media in recent years has created jobs that wouldn't exist without it. It was a few years into the start of Instagram, I started to notice the force it was becoming. Instagram was slowly replacing Twitter + Facebook as THE social media go-to. More and more brands were popping up on it. There were even people who seemed to make a living from being an "IG celebrity".
A lightbulb started to go off for me. Instagram was something exciting, a new arena for connecting people and brands and businesses. If people could make money sharing their travels and clothes and food (like a mini-blog), and brands could attract customers by sharing their products and events, that meant there were a lot of users (and eyes!) on Instagram. And that also meant that it was just getting started. It was fun, it was exciting, and it was growing.
It was around then that I started to take the power of social media more seriously. When I launched a stationery business in 2014, Instagram was what I used to share my work and eventually (when I got a little more serious about it), to start marketing myself. I loved the visual aspect of it, and was having fun arranging styled shots of my art and products. Eventually, the styling and photography became my business focus (and is what I do today) and I soon realized that the vast majority of my clients found me through Instagram.
As social media has just continued to explode over the past couple years, it's become more essential for brands to have a strong presence on the various channels. What does a "strong presence" mean, exactly? It means great branding, a unique point of view, and lots and lots of consistent great content.
Do you see where I'm heading?
First, there came Social Media Managers. ("Like, so they just get paid to play on Instagram?" Admit it, you've thought it.) But as some really killer IG accounts started to emerge, the bar was raised. It was no longer enough for a brand to just post often, even to post cute photos. The content had to stop someone mid-scroll, and make them want to tap, want to engage. Basically, every photo had to be a mini ad.
So where do they get all of this content?
Some brands still do everything in-house. They shoot their own products, they share great customer photos, and it works for them. Other brands turn to content creators to have them create unique content (photos, videos, captions) that helps them connect with their target customer and bring their brand to life in a compelling way. Five (or more) years ago, you had TV and magazine ads (and if you were big enough, maybe billboards too). Those ads could run over and over for a few weeks (or months), until it was time for a new campaign. Now, you also need great, attention-grabbing advertisements, but in a tiny bite-size form. And they have to be new, every time. Often multiple times a day.
Content creators help to fill this niche. They're less expensive than a traditional ad-agency, and they allow the brand to outsource the work of constantly creating new + compelling content.
Yes, this field interests me because I work in it, but it also interests me because it's so new and ever-changing and it's exciting to take a closer look at something that, (IMHO) is bound to change the way brands advertise themselves. Most everyone I've talked to in Content Creation agrees- working in such new career territory is mostly fun but also slightly terrifying- you feel like you're just "making it up as you go." And you are!
Over the course of the next two parts of this series, I've interviewed a amazing group of Content Creators, each with a different style and niche market. They've shared on everything from how they got their start, to what a typical day is like, to how they find clients, and what they hope to be doing in the future. They're creative, they're ambitious, and they are total trail-blazers, who are sure to leave a lasting impression.
Next week, I'll be sharing Part 2 of this series, "How Does It Work?" I hope you enjoy it as much as I've enjoyed putting it together!
And p.s., if there's anything you're dying to know, please email me or leave me your questions in the comments- I'll do my best to include it!