What is a Contentpreneur?
If you Google ‘Contentpreneur’ there are two words that appear on repeat to define what a Contentprenur is: Content Creator and Making Money.
By contrast, I consider a Contentpreneur to be a creator that creates consistent content to communicate with their audience through any medium or channel. A successful Contentpreneur will create multiple forms of content such as: short video content, Youtube videos, blog posts, podcasts, infographs, email sequences etc.
Whilst you may think that a Contentpreneur is someone that makes content for profit, a quick scroll through apps like Tik Tok will quietly educate you that for many today, in general, a Contentpreneur is a Content Creator that:
- Creates short video content to promote a product/service
- Creates Content for Virtual gifts
- Creates content to gain more followers
This type of Contentpreneur will always find themselves amongst a long line of quick rich scheme candidates and here lies the problem for many Contentpreneurs and Content Creators today. They are just thinking about the money instead of focussing on the deeper reason beneath the content creation itself. This point I will go into more deeply later on.
For context, I create content mainly for my own brands, and on occasion, if a collab request aligns with what I would like my content identity to be associated with, I will often gladly collab. But this has become a bit of a dying breed today as the definition of UGC replaces that of Content Creator.
What is User Generated Content?
UGC stands for User-generated content.
To be honest, I have always hated this term as it has seamlessly turned the definition of a human, creative skill (Previously known as Content Creator) into something that sounds like some sort of computer software. However, sadly when you look at what is happening in the content creation world today perhaps this is a truer representation of what Content Creation is becoming.
Has Tik Tok has redefined the role of a Content Creator?
Today people are calling themselves Content Creators just for going live on a social media platform and apps like Tik Tok have used this vanity metric and those that are there for the quick cash grab to their advantage.
Tik Tok, who will promote anyone as a Content Creator in exchange for selling cheap, plastic. kitchenware from China just as long as you morph into a digital version of the common, greengrocers, market trader on repeat, asking for virtual gifts and classing this action as ‘content creation.’
And of course as Tik Tok take a large percentage of the income from these virtual gifts, (as much as 60% in some cases) it begs the question as to who is benefitting really.
Tik Tokers like Chelsea Lee Art and her constant battles to be number one of the Tik Tok leaderboard is also just another example of how talentless people can attribute themselves the name of Content Creator just by asking people to send them virtual gifts every day without actually creating any content.
However, Chelsea Lee Art has used this method by turning herself into a known Tik Toker uniquely by the saga that her content is allegedly so offensive that her Tik Tok accounts get banned multiple times, so she has to keep creating new ones. Pretty sure that this wouldn’t happen on facebook® however this is an indicator of how desperate some people have become at the mercy of Content Creation or indeed the label.
Why Social Semiotics will help you to become a Contentpreneur
Now let’s dive deeper into what I believe Content Creation is for me, and how it has helped me grow as a person, an educator and a business owner.
Since social media was born, I have been obsessed with how people use it. Years ago whilst studying a master’s in Applied Linguistics, I became as obsessed with language patterning and Social semiotics as I was with ‘people watching.’ Being able to predict what a person was like from their patterns of speech and language in use for me, was amazing.
What are Social Semiotics?
If you haven’t come across Social Semiotics before, it is a theory devised and explored by Gunther Kress and Van Leeuwen. They researched a lot about language and how humans use it, stating that if we look at how people use language in social and cultural practices we will gain more meaning from language itself by identifying the hidden signs embedded in language processes which are formed by our own social processes.
What I have learned since that time and before, is this, communication thrives on relationships. But today with Social media people have become lazy and less assertive in actioning this, even Content Creators. The Communication has become one sided. Content Creators create content but dont interact. This is where the term ‘ghost posting’ comes from. Equally followers and social media users comment things on social media that they would often never dream of saying to a persons face. It is an interesting dynamic because in once sense we think we are all communicating colloraively at distance and in another sense some people are even more removed from social culture than they were before.
Why I became a Contentpreneur
Today many content creators focus just on follows and will do anything to get engagement and follows as we have seen in the example of a Tik Toker above.
Some content creators will do anything but build a relationship with their audience. They ask for money first from their audience, then deliver. Their focus from the start was to make money not to create and not to serve their audience.
If you were to remove many content creators social media account from their life, what would they have?
This is a question I believe all content creators or aspiring Contentpreneurs should ask themselves and the reason for that is that just by thinking about this question you will adopt a different mindset and approach to your content creation. You will then think more like a business owner, an entrepreneur first and the reason why this is important is that to have a successful business you need paying customers and customers only pay for things that they want or need. So by creating content that serves your audience and not you, you will likely create more authentic and original content. Because no one will pay for copies of anything, least of all content.
When I started to create content for my own brand, I was very conscious of myself. Although I knew that I didn’t lack the technical aspect of what I was doing, or the meat of the content itself which was teaching live, linguistics to viewers on facebook, I was very conscious that I perhaps didn’t look the part of your normal Content Creator. Or what the digital industry has stereotyped a Digital content creator to be.
And yes, I already have sent Mark. Z a message on facebook on how the marketing for content creators on facebook® does not visually include people of age or disability.
I am over forty, not thin, probably have coffee and red wine stained teeth if one looked closely enough and have a pear shaped mum body of two. What can I say, I am who I am.
However this has been part of my success as a Contentpreneur.
The secrets of becoming a Contentpreneur
Instead of showing up shiny toothed and looking like I airbrushed version of myself on a screen, which is a common mistake many content creators make – I just showed up as me. Mainly because I have a busy life and put substance before sauce – what a novelty in the Content Creation world today!
Honestly, I have done lives that when I have looked at them afterwards I have been ready to delete. But each time, these are the posts that often did better. And this is what I have learned in the actual process of content creation.
People can not be easily fooled, especially on Social media. Whilst Tik Tok marketers think they are being clever paying someone a few hundred bucks to create UGC, it’s always so obvious that the content creator is acting.
Tik Tok may think that offering a few dollars in commission on cheap plastic kitchenware will make all the Content creators of the world come running but here’s the thing. Once you have learned a number of skills to create content from short video content to audience building, blogging and more – you are naturally more attractive to brands and even more so if you stay in one niche.
How Contentpreneurs Create Successful content
The gap between theory and practice with content creation is huge and if you ever want to become a Contentpreneur you must be prepared to fail.
Practice is what matters and learning how to observe and engage with your audience. You can read all the books on content marketing and still not see the dial move on your own analytics.
Mistake Number 1: Being authentic does not involve acting.
Consistency. Before I was offered subscriptions and other monetizations on Facebook for my content, I had been showing up every day for about three years. Come rain or shine, I would show up.
I wasn’t being paid at that time for my content, I was sharing a part of life and knowledge that I am deeply passionate about. And my audience tells me that ‘my way’ is unique. I consider that just personal style. But this style did not originate from a morphed mould of everyone else’ content in my niche. In fact, it was the opposite.
I was so frustrated with what I was seeing, that I just took my phone one day, went live, and created content to answer a common solution my audience was communicating to me that they had, and voila as they say in Paris. The rest is history!
Mistake Number 2: Content Creators should just create and not use scripts
Again I could create at least thirty templates of hooks that content creators use repeatedly on Tik Tok because some self-proclaimed guru told them that they need to hook people in within the first three seconds.
So what happens? Everyone starts using the same hooks, with the same trending sounds, reenacting the same content in most of the time in the same context. Instagram reels follow the same pattern. I can literally bore myself silly trying to find interesting, original content on these platforms. Don’t get me wrong, it does exist and there are some amazing content creators out there but I have to really search for them.
But the bigger issue here is that the need for a hook precipitates one thing.
You have no audience.
If you had an audience that you had built a relative relationship with. ‘Relative’ being the keyword, you would have more than three seconds for people to watch your content.
Mistake number 3: Content Creators should Create relationship building content, not hooks
And that finishes the trio of things to avoid to be a successful Contentpreneur and this is my current summing up of why.
If you create content for the any reason, other than money, you will become a better human, a more accomplished creator and actually a good marketer and not through forced concepts. And because of that you will create income from your content. Trust me, I know this sounds impossible but it’s not.
Trust your audience and treat them with the intellectual respect that they deserve. By assuming that your average viewer has a mental capacity of three seconds, is a pretty damming statement to make. Think about it, would you like the same said of your intellectual capacities?
Remember that content creation is actually about communication first not about making money.
Communication is built upon diverse structures of different semantics that facilitate language functions that even someone with what you may think has a limited comprehensive scope can master perfectly well.
In short, today to be a successful Contentpreneur, content creators should focus more on the social semiotics involved with communication and less about how many dollars it will bring them alongside learning a number of skills that will allow them to create content in a variety of modes.