Tom & Jerry. Salt & Pepper. Wallace & Gromit. You’ve most probably heard of these famous duos, but for most marketers, the essential pair is content & marketing.
Every company needs a content strategy in today’s environment, and it should be a priority; with 72% of marketers reporting that content marketing has quantifiably improved prospect engagement (SmallBiz Genius).
A content creator is a professional that often contributes digital media assets to a company. Usually, it consists of blog posts, photography, videography, podcasts, graphics and the like.
So, considering the increased demand for these set of skills, we spoke to Aemilia Smith, Content Creator for Hyde & Co and Duchess Media. She offers some insightful advice to people thinking about a career in content.
Moxie & Mettle: Tell us about your career journey; how have you got to where you are now?
Aemilia Smith: Ah, where to start? I’ve had quite an unorthodox career journey.
When I was 16, I moved to London on a Performing Arts scholarship. After three years, I decided to study Journalism and Media at university in Bristol. At the time, I thought the two degrees had a similar link, but they are entirely different!
I actually started working at Hyde & Co before uni, as a summer job, filling invoices. I ended up staying part-time (even full-time) alongside my studies which definitely has positively affected my work ethic today.
In my final year, just before deadlines, I had a weird feeling I was going to get fired…there was an odd vibe, and I was asked into a meeting? BUT it turned out they had decided to create my very own role for me, which is where I am today!
Three months later, Meg and Frankie (owners at Duchess Media), whom I met through Hyde took me out for a drink, relayed how impressed they were with my work and asked me to be their Content Creator.
So, I’m kind of freelance, I work four days a week at Hyde and one day at Duchess, but sometimes it varies due to shoots. My life hasn’t stopped!
Did you find it challenging to secure a job after university? Would you offer any advice to recent graduates?
Aemilia Smith: Before Hyde created my job, I applied to a fair few companies, wangled some interviews but ended up being ghosted by a lot of them with NO feedback. It really got me down as I thought they had gone well, so yes it was pretty challenging.
My advice to people wanting to get into a content type role would be to create a portfolio, no matter what you’re doing! Focus on a niche (mine was food and drink) and take as many pictures as you can. If you really like sports, people, fashion or whatever try and be the best at it as you can, and it will get recognised eventually.
Also, potential employers will be more receptive to candidates who are eager and organised with their work.
Moxie & Mettle: What are your day-to-day activities as a Content Creator?
Aemilia Smith: My responsibilities and activities include:
1. Making a lot of content plans, which involves a lot of hashtag and general content research on social media platforms. For example, I’ll look on Instagram and Twitter at what content gets the most likes and see how we can do the same.
2. Making shot lists and then screenshotting examples to be added to a document and shared with my bosses.
3. Writing a lot of blogs and dabbling on the corporate side of things. At the moment, we are looking to set up a LinkedIn page for Hyde & Co, so I’ll be in charge of that too, which is exciting.
4. Shooting ALL of the content: products, clients, services you name it. An exciting example is that it’s Old Fashioned week this week, so I’ll be taking photos of Old Fashioned cocktails and sending them to the Duchess girls to filter out on all our platforms.
5. Lastly, I regularly review social media insights and analytics, seeing what works and what doesn’t.
What’s next for Hyde & Co?
Aemilia Smith: The next step in our strategy is looking to have more of a corporate base for Hyde, hence the LinkedIn. We’ve aced the party side but looking to host more B2B networking events.
Moxie & Mettle: What has been the most important thing you have learnt throughout your career?
Aemilia Smith: Don’t downplay yourself! This was something I used to do all the time (Meg and Frankie tell me off). In the world of work, you reflect what you are by how you carry yourself and how confidently you communicate yourself to others.
I watched a TEDx Talk about how to sell your services to people, and the most important thing I learnt was you need to demonstrate confidence in what you do. It positively reflects how trustworthy, competent, and reliable people think you are (which is the most essential thing in business). Instead of saying you have some experience in photography, you need to voice that you are a professional photographer. Always sell yourself higher as you can go lower in the future, it much harder to start lower and go higher.
I’ve come to realise, which I think a lot of graduates should, is that I am the expert in what I do, even if you feel like you haven’t achieved/done much. It’s changed my outlook on things, and I think it’s helped me do a better job.
When I’m about to do a shoot, instead of saying I’m just going to take a few photo’s, I’ll lay out exactly what I need and exactly how I’m going to get it done, with assistance if required.
I guess it’s more a personal development rather than a technical thing I’ve learnt.
On the freelance side of things, I’ve had to teach myself everything!
University definitely doesn’t touch upon this; I think we had one lecture about the benefits of working for yourself. There needs to be more of a focus on what your starting and day rate should be? I had no idea and pretty much had to make it up.
What tools do you use in your job?
- Adobe creative suite – do whatever you want with it, MUST have.
- Slack to communicate on.
Moxie & Mettle: Have you had any setbacks? How did you overcome them?
Aemilia Smith: The most significant setback for me during this job has been the cooperation of a few staff members at one of the sites when I was first appointed. They wouldn’t collaborate with me on anything I was doing, would hide objects for my shoots and just make the whole experience very difficult for me. I didn’t know how to handle it. Nobody told me how to deal with difficult people, so it taught me a lot.
I overcame this by maintaining my professionalism and killed them with kindness, I guess you don’t get along with everybody all the time.
Moxie & Mettle: In your opinion, what are the top 3 skills it takes to succeed as a Content Creator?
1. An excellent eye for detail – you need strong research proficiency to keep up to date with what’s trending, and what people are liking, so you can recreate and benefit your business.
2. Do a course – there are tons of free courses littered on the internet which can help with your success. I’d suggest some basic photography and filmmaking courses. These days you don’t even need to go to university to get these skills.
3. Always be prepared to LEARN – if you’re prepared to learn on the job continually, you’ll be fine. I am learning something new every day and actively look to widen my skill set.
If you are considering a job in content creation, please get in touch with one of the girls at Moxie & Mettle: firstname.lastname@example.org.