The Problem with Being A Content Creator

The Problem with Being A “Content Creator”

This season on The Bachelor, one of the contestants is a “Content Creator.”

Don’t judge me. In a moment of weakness, while the husband was out of town, I tuned in to The Bachelor. And while I’m far too old and—I like to pretend—sophisticated to watch the show anymore, I didn’t turn it off. The cringy moments, as always, did not disappoint.

One of the things I like to notice is the job ascribed to each contestant. Mostly because I do wonder how they each get so much time off to travel around the world waiting for someone to take them on a date. This year has a couple full-time beauty pageant winners, vague euphemisms that I can only guess mean unemployed (Dog Rescuer), and a few titles the producers throw in to solidify the “character” or maybe just for fun (Never Been Kissed). Because I feel a deep need to rationalize the fact that I’m watching the show of my own volition, instead of doing something more productive or highbrow, I roll my eyes a lot. That’s what I did when I saw one woman’s title listed as “Content Creator.”

Then, in a moment of self-awareness, I realized…Wait. I’m a Content Creator!

I decided to process my reaction by working through it the best way I know how: writing. That’s what this introspective post is all about. You’ve been warned.

I guess I’m not a content creator

I’ve always fancied myself a writer. I majored in it. Went to grad school to get certified to teach it. Taught it for three years until I eventually realized I’d rather just do it. Then freelanced for years until I ended up getting hired by a client. Suddenly, I was Director of Content. Maybe it was because the majority of my day was still spent writing, I didn’t really notice that somewhere in the last decade, I went from “writer” to “content person.” Dare I say, “content creator.”

But what does that even mean?

Take the word “content.” It might mean long, well-researched blog posts. Or the stock images on a landing page. Or that “Top 10” PDF. Or incredible original photos waiting to be shared. Or the funny explainer video. Or an image on Instagram. Or the caption on Instagram. Or the email blasts to an organization’s entire database. Or the attachments shared in an email blast to an organization’s entire database. You already know all this; it’s easier to ask, what isn’t content?

So, is the “Content Creator” on The Bachelor a writer, photographer, designer, a savvy millennial who has a riveting social media platform? And, then, what am I??

Even my blog post about content marketing hacks clearly reveals my bias toward the value of long-form written content. Of course, blogging IS important. But in a 2018 industry report, marketers were asked to select THE best form of content based on what worked in their social media campaigns. Although content shared on social media doesn’t give us the whole picture, it definitely helps get a read on what’s grabbing attention. Coming in at #1? Visual images. I can’t help but conclude that blogging matters, sure, but so does having amazing visuals.

So writers are content creators. Photographers are content creators. Designers are content creators. Videographers are content creators. Social media influencers are content creators. The list goes on.

This isn’t a problem for me until I flip it. A content creator is… what? A writer, photographer, designer, videographer, social media influencer, and more? Unlikely. At least, not in my case. What business do I have being Growth Guild’s “content person” when I can’t, say, take a decent photograph to save my life?

I have no real ability to produce the type of content marketers selected as the most important. Yikes. Now I’m thinking, thank you, 23-year-old “Content Creator” for the identity crisis. It doesn’t take much to realize that I can’t possibly possess the many skill sets necessary to be the content creator our clients’ content marketing strategies need.

So, who am I?

Since I’m the kind of person that can get hung up on semantics (clearly), I decided to figure this out.

While Miss North Carolina 2018 and Miss Alabama 2018 tearfully re-hashed some ambiguous “falling out” from a previous Miss USA competition, I did some soul-searching: I’m a writer. Which means I can craft content made up of meaningful words. I am a marketer. Which means I can promote content (yes, any content!) to target audiences. So I am a content marketer. Whew.

High-level, however, my job is to tell the right story to the right people. My background is heavy in the Joseph Campbell and Robert McKee kind of storytelling, but I as a human, I’m moved to tears or action by stories of all kinds, like these delicious wordless ones. So I need to put the right stories in front of the right people—and on occasion, I get to create some of it!

For most of my life, I considered myself a writer. That isn’t enough. So somewhere along the line, I started synonymously referring to myself as a content creator. I can’t speak for the sweet southern bell on The Bachelor, but for me, that’s way too much.

Tonight, this proud “content marketer” will get out of her own head and send a sappy Slack message to Growth Guild, feeling extra thankful for partners who are content creators, too. Together, we can create—or commission, or find—the compelling stories our clients’ target audiences need to hear (or, you know, see).

If you’re looking for a marketing boost, whether that’s getting more content created or stepping back to determine the right strategy for your brand, reach out anytime! We’d love to have to the opportunity to work alongside you and grow your brand.

Laurel Brunk