What is a Content Creator? Explain It Like I’m Five

by Chris Von Wilpert, BBusMan • Last updated January 13, 2024

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Who is a content creator?

A content creator is someone who makes fun and interesting things for others to enjoy, like videos, stories, or pictures. They're like artists who use their imagination and skills to share cool stuff with people on the internet or anywhere else.

Content creator fast facts

  • Content creators craft everything from blog posts to videos, aiming to captivate and engage audiences online.

  • Content creation can be challenging due to intense competition and the need for constant creativity and adaptation to new trends.

  • Successful content creation can lead to various income streams, including advertising revenue, sponsorships, and merchandise sales.

  • TikTok and YouTube are top platforms for creator earnings, with TikTok leading for most creators and YouTube for the highest earners.

  • Starting with no experience involves identifying your audience, choosing the right platform, and building a strong portfolio and online presence.

An illustrated overview of a content creator surrounded by the tools of the trade, from cameras to social media. Photograph: Kajabi.

What does a content creator do?

A content creator is like a digital artist, making all sorts of things you see online, like blog posts, social media updates, and videos. They're not just writing — they're planning what to make to grab people's attention. They figure out what their audience likes and use tricks to show up higher in Google searches. Their job is to make stuff that's interesting and gets people talking or wanting to buy things.

Most of the time, creators don't just make things on a whim — they always have a plan. They know when to post and where, like on Facebook or YouTube, to make the biggest splash.

Being a content creator is more than just a job. It's about building your little corner on the internet. Some work for big companies, some work for themselves, and some do a mix of both. They need a bunch of skills, from writing to making videos, and have to keep learning to stay ahead. They're always hunting for new ideas and ways to connect with people and garner attention.

Is it hard to be a content creator?

Being a content creator can be quite challenging, and also rewarding. One major challenge is standing out in a very crowded space. With millions of posts, videos, and blogs uploaded daily, grabbing and keeping an audience's attention is tough. Creators have to be original, engaging, and consistent, which requires a lot of creativity and hard work.

Then there's the pressure to keep producing high-quality content regularly. This means always being on the hunt for new ideas and trends, which can be exhausting and time-consuming. Plus, the internet changes fast — what worked yesterday might not work tomorrow, so creators have to keep learning and adapting. They also may need to interact with their audience, responding to comments and feedback, which can be both rewarding and challenging, especially when dealing with negative responses.

Despite these challenges, many find content creation fulfilling. It's a chance to share their passion and creativity with the world, build a community, and even earn a living. While it's not always easy, with the right skills, mindset, and dedication, it can be an exciting and rewarding career or hobby.

Is it a good idea to become a content creator?

Becoming a content creator can be a great idea, but it depends on your goals, skills, and interests. On the positive side, it offers a platform to express yourself, share your knowledge or creativity, and potentially reach a global audience. If you're passionate about a particular topic, enjoy creating, and love engaging with people, it can be incredibly satisfying. Plus, for some, it can turn into a career, offering opportunities to work with brands, monetize through various platforms, and even gain a certain level of fame.

However, it's not all smooth sailing. Success usually requires a lot of time, effort, and patience. Building a following and creating high-quality content consistently is challenging. There's also no guarantee of income, especially in the beginning, so it might not be the best choice if you're looking for immediate financial stability. The internet can be a tough crowd too, so you'll need a thick skin to handle criticism.

Before jumping in, consider if you're ready to commit to the grind, learn continually, and adapt to changes. If you're doing it because you love creating and not just for fame or money, it's more likely to be a rewarding experience. Also, having a clear idea of what you want to share and who your target audience is will help you start on the right foot.

A content creator filming a cooking tutorial using a smartphone on a tripod with a ring light, capturing the value in sharing skills for content creation. Photograph: Adobe.

How does a content creator get paid?

Content creators can earn money in several ways, depending on their platform, audience size, and content type. One common method is through advertising revenue. Platforms like YouTube and Facebook can pay creators a share of the revenue from ads displayed on their content. The more views or clicks the ads receive, the more the creator can earn. This method often requires a large and consistent audience to be lucrative.

Another popular way is through sponsorships and brand deals. Companies pay creators to promote their products or services directly within the content. This can be very profitable, especially for creators with a large or highly engaged audience. The key here is to maintain authenticity and choose partnerships that align with the creator's brand and audience interests.

Many creators rely on affiliate marketing, where they earn a commission for every sale made through a link they share. This is common in product review videos, blog posts, or social media where the creator can influence their audience's buying decisions. 

Creators with a loyal fan base might use subscription services or fan funding platforms like Patreon, where followers pay a regular fee for exclusive content, interactions, or perks.

Some also sell their own products or services, such as merchandise, e-books, courses, or consulting services. This can be a significant income source and helps diversify earnings. 

 Lastly, many content creators start as freelancers and get paid for creating content for other brands or individuals. The key to success and steady income as a content creator is often a mix of these methods.

How much does TikTok pay for content creators?

TikTok offers multiple avenues for content creators to earn money. One primary method is the TikTok Creator Fund, which pays based on video views. Creators with at least 10,000 followers and 100,000 views in the last 30 days can earn between $20 and $40 per million views. This program is designed to reward the community for their creativity and efforts, with the actual payment depending on several factors, including the number of views and engagement levels.

Brand deals represent another significant income source for TikTok creators. The earnings from such partnerships can vary greatly depending on the creator's audience size and niche. For instance, nano influencers with 1,000 to 10,000 followers can earn up to $800 per post, while mega influencers with over a million followers might earn $5,000 or more per post. Such deals are a testament to the earning potential of successful TikTok content creators, with top stars like Charli D’Amelio reportedly earning an estimated $17.5 million annually from brand deals.

Live streaming and music promotions offer additional revenue streams. During live streams, creators can receive virtual gifts from viewers, which can be converted into cash. Each TikTok diamond, a form of virtual gift, is worth $0.05, allowing creators to earn directly from their engagement with the audience.

How much money does 1 million YouTube views make?

arnings from one million YouTube views can vary widely, with general estimates ranging from $1,200 to $6,000 for every million views. This variation is due to several factors including the types of ads that run on the videos, the video's niche, and the audience's demographic and location. Essentially, not all views are valued equally — advertisers might pay more to target specific groups and locations, and some topics might attract higher-paying ads.

YouTube's monetization system can be complex and unpredictable. Factors like the engagement level of the viewers, the number of ads in a video, and the rate at which viewers skip ads all influence earnings. Creators often strategize to optimize these aspects, but there's still a considerable element of unpredictability.

Thus, while reaching one million views is a significant milestone for YouTubers, the financial payoff can vary greatly. It's not just about the views but also about how well creators understand and leverage YouTube's monetization mechanisms. Successful YouTubers often diversify their income streams beyond just ad revenue to include sponsorships, merchandise, and more.

A podcast host or video blogger recording content with a phone on a stabilizer, exemplifying the growing trend of content creation as an independent career choice. Photograph: MBO Partners.

How much does Facebook pay content creators?

Facebook pays content creators through various methods, with average earnings ranging from $8.75 to $10 per 1,000 views. The actual income depends on factors like views and engagement. In-stream ads are a primary source, where creators earn an average of $0.869 per click but keep only 55% after Facebook's cut.

Subscriptions offer another way to earn, where creators get 100% from website payments and 70% from mobile app payments, after platform fees. This method is particularly beneficial for those with a large, active following offering exclusive content.

Overall, a creator's income from Facebook can vary widely based on their content's appeal, the monetization methods they use, and their audience's engagement. Diversifying income streams and continuously growing an active audience are key to maximizing earnings on Facebook or any other platform.

Who pays content creators the most?

Determining which platform pays content creators the most isn't straightforward, as it varies based on several factors including audience size, engagement rate, and content type. However, according to a survey by Epidemic Sound, TikTok emerges as the top platform for generating income, with 30% of monetizing creators favoring it. 

YouTube isn't far behind, being the preferred platform for 25.8% of creators. Notably, it's the primary income source for creators earning over $200,000 annually. This platform's long-standing monetization system, including ad revenue, sponsorships, and membership perks, makes it a lucrative option for professional content creators. 

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram follow, but with significantly lower percentages compared to TikTok and YouTube. Despite Facebook and Instagram's vast user bases, they bring in less money for users compared to the leading platforms.

A graphic illustration of a smartphone displaying different forms of content, representing the diverse output of content creators across platforms. Photograph: Adobe.

How do I get into content creation with no experience?

Starting as a content creator with no experience can be an exciting journey, and there are several steps you can take to kickstart your career. 

First and foremost, identify your target audience. Understanding who you're creating content for is essential to tailor your message and engage effectively. Once you know your audience, choose the right platform to share your content. Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram each have billions of active users. However, it's crucial to pick a platform that aligns with the type of content you wish to create and the audience you aim to reach — for example, older audiences tend to use Facebook over TikTok or Instagram.

Next, design a content plan, which acts like a roadmap for your content creation journey. This plan should outline what you'll create, when you'll publish it, and how you'll promote it. Tools like Monday.com, Asana, and Trello can help keep you organized and on track. A unified content calendar is especially beneficial if you're focusing on social media, helping you strategize your posts and maintain a consistent presence.

Finally, build a portfolio to showcase your work and market yourself effectively. Your portfolio should highlight your best work and reflect your unique style and brand voice. This, coupled with a strong online presence through a website and active engagement on digital networks and social platforms, will help you attract and retain an audience. Remember, content creation is not just about making — it's about connecting with your audience and building a loyal fan base that’s happy to support your work.

How do I get a job as a content creator?

To land a traditional job as a content creator, it's crucial to have a polished resume that highlights your relevant skills, projects, and any related experience. Even if you don't have formal work experience, personal projects, volunteer work, or coursework can demonstrate your capabilities. Tailor your resume and cover letter for each job application to reflect how your skills align with the specific role.

Networking is vital in the content creation industry. Engage with professionals through platforms like LinkedIn, join online forums, and attend industry events to make connections that could lead to job opportunities. Recommendations and referrals can significantly enhance your chances of getting hired.

In this space, it is important to connect on a personal level with your employer and the brands you plan to work for. Companies will be looking to specifically hire content creators who are familiar with their products, industry, and goals.

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