It’s Friday night, and I’m blogging. I worked all day long at my day job, ran around town with my son to his activities, and now I’m sitting behind my computer at 9:00pm munching on chips and salsa from Pappasito’s while I hack away at my keyboard. Welcome to my life.
Shortly before I started writing this post, I was working on a new eBook guide for my mailing list readers. It struck me that this was a wonderful time to stop and share a behind the scenes look at what it’s really like to be an online content creator.
When people think about being an online content creator, they think about pretty pictures on Instagram taken by influencers. The don’t see the work that people put in behind the scenes, nor do they understand that social media stars aren’t the only content creators.
Some of us who are content creators make money online, but we are a little more low key. I’m a blogger, a writer, and a digital marketer. I primarily work with beauty brands, but I’m also developing my own brand. It takes hard work to balance it all, but with dedication and careful planning, I get it all done.
Making Time to Create Content
Creating content is the biggest time suck to running a blog. Gone are the days of simply throwing a post out there into the universe and waiting to see what happened. You have to think about what you want to write before you write it. You may have to do some research on specific topics, gather links, and find supporting evidence before you sit down to write your post.
When you write, you’ll need some quiet time. That means the dog, kids, and your mate have to respect that you need time to work on your blog. You have to then sit in the chair and type out your post, edit it, and make a plan to market it.
I usually write after work. It’s easiest for me to focus at night when my day job is done, my son is fed and entertained, and the dog has been walked and watered. Even when I’m super tired, I create something just about every day, whether it’s a blog post, a video, or an article for a brand that I’m working with.
If I have nothing to do, I don’t feel productive. I use any “down time” to promote my content or pitch to brands. I also go to the gossip site and news sites to catch up on what’s happening in the world, since I no longer watch TV.
If you look at my life online, it might look like I actually have one, even though most nights I pass on social events to create content. For a long time, I spent hours upon hours shooting pictures and videos and creating captions for Instagram. While I do still plan out my content, I actually limit my heavy social media posting to the weekends only.
But, I do log onto my accounts and interact every single day.
When I wake up in the morning, I immediately log onto Instagram and like every picture in my feed (unless it’s something terribly offensive). I do this several times per day. I also comment on popular posts that I’m genuinely interested in.
I used to spend a lot of time searching for hashtags with similar content to mine, but now Instagram allows you to follow hashtags. So, I follow hashtags in my niche to find people to follow and pictures to comment on. I’m not actively growing my social medial following on Instagram, but interacting allows me maintain my presecne.
On the weekends, when I got to a function, I ask a family member or a complete stranger to snap a few pictures of me. I then edit them on my phone, and upload them to Planoly. I try to live more in the moment and not post right away. When I have time later, I write out a caption and post three pictures at at time to Instagram.
Throughout the week, I post on my Instastories, but I try to keep it short and relevant. I also utilize Instagram highlights to make my profile more interesting to new visitors.
Instagram is the main platform where I interact online, but I also engage on YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter (in that order). Once my blog rebrand is complete, I’ll ramp up my social media posting and interactions.
Pitching and Freelancing
You may be wondering why I don’t spend more time posting on social media, or trying to grow my following. Let me let you in on a little secret. You don’t need a large following to make money online. In fact, you don’t need a single follower. I make money online not from my social media platforms, but by offering freelancing services online. So, freelancing is my focus.
I’m a writer and a digital marketer, and I spend time working with brands. I help them create content, and they pay me in return. So, I spend most of my time as a creator pitching to companies on freelancing platforms, and completing projects.
I used to spend hours upon hours curating content to try to attract brands to work with me as an influencer. I was able to work with some of my favorite brands and they gave me free products and gift cards. But, it wasn’t much of a return compared to how much time I spent.
Online content creators who post a lot of pictures and videos have to spend time preparing for photo shoots, taking pictures and videos, editing the posts, and then posting them. As a freelancer, I write and create and I’m done. Nothing is wrong with being an influencer, but you don’t want to depend solely on sponsored content to earn an income online.
Whether you want to be an influencer, a freelancer, or a product creator, you will have to spend time actually marketing whatever it is that you offer and completing projects. This is another hard part about being a content creator because you have to adhere to deadlines.
It’s very important that you balance your commitments to your full-time job and your family with your commitments to your clients and customers. If you don’t live up to your promises and adhere to deadlines, it will be harder to book gigs and sell products and services in the future.
Time to Rest
Last, but not least, you do have to make time to rest. When you start out as a content creator, you’ll be working your tail off to make your vision come to light, but you may not see returns right away. You’ll have to stick with it, plugging away and putting in long hours. But, you’ll also need to make some time to rest and rejuvenate to keep your creative energy flowing.
There are times when my projects are completed, and I take a bit of time to myself offline. Or, I spend time with the people who support me and believe in my dreams. Being a blogger or any type of content creator requires tons of work behind the scenes. It’s not all pretty pictures and fancy trips, but you can earn an income, and ultimately, it will be worth it.