What Does a Content Creator Actually Do?

Hi, I’m Laura and I’m a content creator.

That sounds a bit broad and maybe even a little out there, right?

When I attend networking events and introduce myself, I often get met with confused eyes.  (This is particularly true if the event is full of brick and mortar business owners.)

Folks ask (usually with their expressions, sometimes with their words), “So what does a content creator actually do?”

I understand.

“I’m a content creator” just doesn’t conjure up the same distinct imagery as “I’m a doctor.”  Before I got into the online business realm, I was unfamiliar with the term, too.

But when I explain how my services help business owners and describe what written products I offer, the question mark disappears.  They usually say something like, “Oh, you’re a freelance writer.”

They’re not wrong.  I advertise myself as that, too.

But, in my opinion, there is a significant difference between the two roles.

Freelance Writer vs. Content Creator

When I have my freelance writer hat on, I write what a client has asked of me, to the best of my abilities, and within their assigned parameters.

Of course, I can say the same when I fulfill the content creator role.

However, with the former, I’m simply following direction.  With the latter, I’m helping to set that direction.

As a freelance writer, I create high-quality content.  As a content creator, I do that AND add a healthy dash of consultation.

I truly enjoy doing both.  Sometimes, it’s nice to be handed an assignment to complete.  It gives part of my mind a break and shortens the writing process.

But, sometimes, it’s wonderful to be given creative leeway, to provide guidance, to shape the angle of the content.  It makes me feel good to put my strategic hat on, to sit at the decision making table and to take more stress off the shoulders of the client.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m invested in the success of ALL of my clients and feel like I’m a part of their team.  In fact, some of my clients seem to blend the freelance writer/content creator realms.

However, when I’m fulfilling the content creator role completely (at least how I’ve defined it), I feel like a true strategic business partner.

What I Actually Do as a Content Creator

Since I’ve gotten the raised eyebrow about my business in person, I’m willing to bet that internet passersby may have similar questions.

So, without further ado, here is my content creation process:

(Please note: Each content creator will operate differently.  Not only that, but there are natural variations with each of my clients.)

Consultation

When I first take on a client as a content creator, I go into fact finding mode.  I want to know everything about their business so I ask them about things like:

  • Their current mission
  • Their current target market
  • What’s been working for them and what hasn’t
  • What changes they foresee in their industry, firm, or customer base
  • What topics are the most important right now — and in the future
  • What tone and style they want me to write in
  • Anything else that comes to mind

My goal is to truly understand their business.  Of course, I expect my knowledge to deepen over time and with their feedback.

However, I know that my content has a better chance of hitting the mark when I become invested in the inner workings of their enterprise.  And I want to start nailing their vision sooner rather than later.

It’s also during this phase that I create an editorial calendar for the client (if they want it) so that we have a clear plan of what to create over a set period of time.

Make no mistake, though.

While my process starts with a consultation, the collaboration never stops.  It’s ongoing and it has to be.  I want to keep pace with any shifts in their business.  I want to ensure that my work ALWAYS supports their goals.

Research

There are times when a client will want me to write about something I’m not well-versed in — or need hard facts to support.  I actually like when this happens because I get to learn new things!

I know that credibility is important so I seek out reputable information to fill in the gaps of my knowledge.  I also make sure my client is good with the sources I’ve chosen.

Draft

Once I feel well-informed, I type out a quick outline to gather my thoughts and to make sure I’ve included all of the key points.

Then, I start fleshing out the document, section by section.  As I write, I check to make sure my voice and style meet my client’s requirements.

And I ask myself — does this piece do what it’s supposed to do?  Does it reach who it’s supposed to reach?

Refine

As soon as I finish the draft, I share it with the client for their feedback.

Their thoughts help me to polish what I’ve written and learn more about their preferences so that each subsequent piece is stronger.

Sometimes, a piece will get approved in the first round.  Sometimes, especially earlier on in the partnership, I’ll have to make a couple rounds of revisions.

I don’t mind.  I promise satisfaction with my written content and I take pride in my work.

Publish

When I get the official thumbs up, it’s time to showcase the content.

Some clients will publish it themselves while others will ask me to load it onto their website, blog, or email marketing system.

Sometimes, I’ll also share what I’ve written on my social media channels to get additional views.

Repeat

I’m grateful that most of my clients are long-term partnerships, which means as soon as one piece is done, it’s time to get rolling on the next!

It’s exciting to watch a client’s library of content grow and know that I’ve played a big (or sometimes only) part in that.

Final Thoughts

I’m a content creator and a freelance writer.

There is a tremendous amount of overlap between the roles, but as a content creator, I write and provide consultation.

I seriously love the processes involved with both and it’s beyond my wildest dreams that I can help other businesses while making a good living for my family.

Tell me: What questions do you have about the roles of freelance writer and content creator?

Related Reading: How to Find a Content Creator You Love

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