In the media world, the term “content creator” is thrown about quite a bit. You hear it in sales pitches, recruitment ads, and even clients looking to service providers to help boost their “visibility”. But as the noise increases, the true meaning of content creation becomes blurred. Anybody and everybody in the creative industry claims to be a content creator. Just how true is that, and what exactly constitutes a content creator?
Content Is King
If you’ve dealt with the media world before, you’ll know that content is indeed king. It’s present in everything, from news reports and TV shows to advertising and social media presence. Whatever the purpose of your message is, you need to convey something to your audience. And that something is content.
That’s pretty clear cut, and looks highly unlikely to be mistaken for something it’s not. If you need somebody to help you design your message, you need to engage a content creator. It could be to design something visual, like your corporate logo or set the mood of your visuals. It could also be to curate your story, into something exciting, and attractive to your audience. In short, you need somebody to create the content for your messages. You need to engage a content creator.
In The Information Age, Everybody Claims To Be A Content Creator
The biggest problem that a casual bystander, the regular Joe on the street, will come across is this confusion. Everybody, and I mean everybody, claims to be a content creator. How then will Joe be able to know who to engage to write his story, or pen his speech? How does he differentiate who’s actually creating contents, and who’s merely hitching a ride on that original content creator? In fact, how does one separate the wheat from the chaff?
First off, we need to clarify what or who’s actually a content creator, and what or who’s not. The keyword here is creating the content, not merely modifying or beautifying the existing content. Let’s start off with the customary bad news first.
Who Is NOT A Content Creator?
(1) Web Designers
Don’t get me wrong, web designers are very important service providers. They provide a very important service to Joe, to build and put his company’s website on the World Wide Web. Important they may be, but they’re not exactly creating the contents to be put up on Joe’s website. Web designers still need Joe to tell them what he wants to be put onto his website. And that includes texts, media, interactive tools, and anything else that Joe will want on his company’s website.
(2) Video Producers
Video producers (by extension, directors, cameramen, prop-masters, video editors, make-up artists, actors, etc.) create videos. However, the videos that they “create” is merely retelling of a story. The only difference is that it’s in a format that they created, i.e. video format. Video producers do not pluck stories out from thin air to produce. They still depend on stories that have been pre-written, and handed over to them to shoot, i.e. to recreate. So no, video producers are not content creators.
(3) Advertising Agencies/Designers
Ad agencies and designers are indeed a creative bunch. And yes, they do create exciting and engaging contents that help sell products and services… Except… they’re not exactly creating these contents from thin air… Ad agencies work on job requests from clients. They have to work around a predetermined parameters set by their clients. Of course, they have the freehand to propose creative ways of selling the products or services of their clients. But at the end of the day, they still have to work around the guidelines and expectations of the clients.
(4) Public Relation Agencies
Yes, PR agencies can help you to paint a public-friendly frontage. They’re in essence, the make-up artists in the media world. And they do that by arranging and publishing contents that enhance your image in the eyes of the public. But just like the ad agencies, they also work around a predetermined parameters set by their clients too. They don’t create contents for their clients out of thin air. PR agencies can’t portray their clients as something that they’re not. They can only “beautify” the existing message of their clients. Henceforth, they don’t “create” anything.
Many people may be surprised with this, but copywriters aren’t content creators either. They may be word wizards, but they aren’t exactly creating the contents. More often than not, their expertise is in word expansion, not creation. Clients give them a list of bullet-points, and engage them to expand it, and make it into something “creative”. Their work goes into important uses, like speech, product description, sales pitch, even a story for your About Us page. Copywriters work with existing contents, normally provided to them by their clients. They don’t create the contents themselves.
(6) Social Media Managers
Many media companies sell social media managing services. Sometimes, companies even employ full-time social media managers in-house. But what is it exactly that their responsibility comprise of? Well, in a broad stroke, their responsibility’s primarily creating posts, sharing them out social media platforms, and actively promoting them. Yes, they “create” the posts, but posts are merely short stories based on whatever that’s already happening, or will happen. In essence, they’re merely retelling existing stories, not write them.
“Wait!… What?… Social Media Manager Isn’t A Content Creator?…”
In its very essence, social media is nothing more than the world’s watering hole. It’s a place where anybody and everybody is hanging out. And what better place to place your soapbox and start announcing your messages, right?… Except, it’s also a place where just about everybody who thinks like you are also doing exactly the same thing. So you’ll end up in a very noisy place, where everybody’s talking, and almost nobody’s listening. It is, in fact, a very noisy place… And considering that social media is actually up there in the “cloud”, it’s a very noisy cloud…
“Hey!… Look Over Here!… No, No, No… Not Over There!… Over Here!…”
Everybody’s fighting for attention. So who’ll win more attention? Better still, how long can they hold the attention? You can’t escape the fact that social media is a very noisy cloud, with lots of information being blasted continuously. Not only that, whatever messages you share up there, it’ll also dissipate just as fast. It’s like trying sell hot cakes in a very busy market. And you’re surrounded by lots of other stalls selling, among other things, hot cakes too… How loud can you scream?… How long can you hold their attention?… Well, that’s essentially what social media is…
Social media posts are short by design, as nobody will have the attention span to consume the full information there. Whilst you can momentarily call attention to your posts, you can’t hold their attention for long. You need a more substantial piece to draw their attention towards, something solid for them to sink their teeth into… You need content… And for that, you’re gonna need a good content creator.
“Okay Then, Who Is A Content Creator?…”
We’ve already establish who’s not a content creator. So who then is the real McCoy? Who or what is considered a real content creator? Well, come back for the next article, and we’ll share with you who are actually creating contents, and not merely repackaging them.