Nowadays, everyone has a website, Twitter handle, blog, or an Instagram page. If it’s not a personal account, then it’s an entrepreneur’s account working to grow their brand, gain more followers, and “make it” as an online content creator and/or marketer. These two terms have become buzzwords on the internet. They get thrown around so often, and I’ve even used them myself. But I’ve never stopped to think about what those terms actually mean. What really is content? What is content marketing? What is a content creator? Are people really making money and/or a business this way?
I decided to do some research to lay out all of this and get a handle on what is what. I hope you find this helpful for you as well, let me know in the comments below what you would add for your definition of content and content marketer.
What is content?
To start with, content can be synonymous with “thing”. It is versatile. It can be as little as a tweet to as large as an e-book. It can be as fun as a short video on Tik-Tok, to a longer how-to video on YouTube. Content is an idea, belief, or visual that you are creating and working to spread to your audience or potential audience.
Content can be entertain, or informative, or both. It can be inspirational, it can be persuasive. Content is anything you want it to be. But most importantly, content is your point of view and everything that happens in this world through your lens.
Have I confused you yet? Have I lost you?
What are examples of content?
Content takes focuses on two of the five senses: seeing and hearing. Anything you can read, watch, listen to, or see is potentially content. When you think of it this way, what are the first things that come to mind? For me it’s Instagram. I think of the thousands of photos I look at every day. Actually, I think that was a bit much, it ‘s more like hundreds, I do have a full-time job. Or for some, the first thing that pops into their head is a YouTube video.
Let’s go through so examples of content. Open up your laptop, shake your phone awake, or turn on Netflix. Almost everything you see coming into your devices through the Internet is content. Later I’ll go into what makes good and bad content, for the time being, let’s just stick with looking at what content is, regardless.
This blog, any blog, twitter, books, articles, just anything written. That is your written content. Anything that you are deriving meaning from through written word is written content. My go-to written content obsession is Twitter. I am looking for the most up-to-date news on my Twitter feed. For me, that is the content that I follow on Twitter. Others follow celebrities, or athletes (wait are those the same?), or they follow specific authors, etc.
Now think about the last video you watched. Was it a short YouTube video or a long feature film? Both of those are examples of video content. When I turn on YouTube I’m always looking for new videos by the YouTubers I follow, like Keltie O’Connor or WheezyWaiter or Simply Nailogical . Over the years those are the top three YouTubers that I watch constantly. They create videos that are usually hilarious, and on very, very different topics. But they are great examples of video content because they are creating these videos not to just get money from people, but to educate people about fitness, or health, or different fads, or nail art. It all comes from hobbies and passions that they love, and they just want to show that off.
This is my favorite, as I’ve said or I will say over and over again. Instagram is my all-time favorite type of content platform. My husband is a photographer and I’ve always wanted to learn how to make breathtaking photos. I also love to travel, so Instagram lets me go to the places that I want to go, without spending a dime! I mostly follow photographers on Instagram, but there are a lot of influencers on Insta that create content that seeks to creat that community as well.
How do I create content?
Okay, here’s the fun part. Actually, creating content. Have you noticed that the people you follow ALWAYS have something to say? Or they ALWAYS have a great photo, video, tweet, etc.? It’s like they are constantly producing quality content, and you think about why you aren’t producing the same.
First, you have to decide who you want your audience to be. Who are the people that you want to help, who are the people you want to entertain, who do you want to persuade? If you are a fitness Instagram influencer, you can guarantee that his/her audience or preferred audience are those wanting to make a change in their personal health, and follow that influencer’s diet and workouts. As much as I hate stereotypes, believe me, I hate them, people are going to follow who they look like or who they want to look or be like.
Second, understand what your go-to type of medium is. If you are unsure of what you should start with, think about your favorite application. When you reach for your phone, which social media app do you open up first, on autopilot?
For me, it’s Instagram. I love Instagram. I scroll through Insta constantly throughout the day. Probably more than I should. Because Instagram is my favorite app, I put the most energy into the types of photos that I publish and the type of caption I create. So, for me, Instagram is my medium, so I will produce photos as my content.
When you have your preferred audience and your preferred medium in mind, you let your imagination run wild. For our Instagram page, we do a lot of experimenting. We change the lighting, we work with videos, we do highlights, we try it all. Because that is what we want people to see. Our cookies are meant to be experienced, and for us, the best way to do that is through video and photos.
What makes good content?
Write about what you want to read. Take a photo of what you want to see. Make a video of something you want to watch. You are showcasing your atheistic. The content you create is what you want to read, hear, or watch.
Good content comes from people that are making content to either help someone else or to create a community of other like-minded people. Sure, it may be their full-time gig, and they are making money through affiliate links or subscriptions to their websites, but they are genuine people creating content that is for the benefit of the community. That is good content.
Good content can be found in every genre. There is not one “right” type of content. If it is starting a conversation, helping someone in need, teaching someone how to do the same, or is just a hobby on the side, the reader or viewer can tell.
What makes bad content?
There is a lot of noise around us, just as there is a lot of music. The noise, obviously, is the bad content. It is all the click-bait-type blogs or channels that promise a great read or a captivating video and it turns out to be a scam or something produced just for the benefit of likes or shares.
The creator may or may not have put a lot of time into it, but there is no genuine feeling behind the art and it shows. There is always a “gotcha” moment where you need to whip out your credit card, or the person writing the article really doesn’t know what they are writing, but they know it is viral-worthy content, so they are trying to sound like an expert.
This type of content is bad, because it is not for the purpose of assisting a greater cause, or it isn’t created with the intention of bringing together a community for the long haul. It is a blog, or video, or photo feed created only with the hopes of getting 15 minutes in the limelight, and that’s it.
Content can be many things. I know that sounds vague, but that is what is great about social media. It is a variety of platforms that have opened up a multitude of ways for people to express themselves. There is not just one way to write a blog post, there isn’t just one way to film a video, and there definitely isn’t one way of taking a photo. If it is done with the intention of creating a community, a mutual understanding, or just as a hobby that you find fascinating, it is going to be great content. You are sure to find your tribe of followers.