Is Being a Content Creator a Job?
As a proud member of the WCCA, who tends to show-off that fact, I occasionally get asked if Content Creator is even a real job. Recently I helped to compile a survey on behalf of the WCCA to answer questions about careers in content creation, including what content creators even do.
Is being a content creator a job? From a survey we conducted we identified that being a content creator is a real job where people can earn a full-time salary. The survey looked at 74 jobs, of which 66% referred to the position of content creator. All of the jobs in the survey were full time or part time positions, none were for freelance work.
Our survey results revealed that typically content creators who work full time do the following:
- Write, edit, and proofread written content (such as blog or social media posts, emails, or marketing material);
- Design ads, banners, newsletters, brochures, and other graphic material;
- Take, edit, and produce photos, videos and other visual content.
We also found this backed up by some research that validates content creators add value to promotional activities (marketing), including when employing user generated contented (such as social media)1.
Content creators also contribute to brands or platforms that add value and hence remuneration for the content creator2. In this research we noted that content creators have various business models based on which platform they use to generate value for brands (e.g. Youtube, blogs, or even the Apple app store).
Does being a content creator require a degree?
Of the job descriptions surveyed, 65% did not have any requirement for a degree or any kind of tertiary education. This result suggests there are many content creator jobs available that do not require a degree.
Instead of a degree, we found job descriptions typically required:
- English, at a high level, with attention to grammatical detail;
- Knowledge of social media strategies;
- Experience with tools such as Google Analytics, or Adobe suite;
I’ve found developing these skills and knowledge can be done using online courses, watching Youtube videos or reading blogs, participating in communities focussed on these items, or even reading books. These are the strategies I use to enhance my knowledge of these areas.
Knowledge of Google Analytics, Ads, and SEO was frequently featured in job descriptions for the production of written content, such as blog posts, email marketing, or social media marketing. Google offers training on these products, check out details here: https://support.google.com/google-ads/answer/7539883?hl=en
Knowledge of the Adobe Suite is requested for anyone involved in graphics, photography, video, or producing other visual content such as newsletters. The suite is very popular and there are a mountain of short courses and certificates available through the likes of Udemy or other online training providers for anyone looking to demonstrate their knowledge of this software.
Learning free software equivalent to the Adobe Suite is also an option, I’ve included further details below.
What can be done instead of getting a degree
As an alternative to studying a many-year degree, I’ve found the following alternatives can help in getting work as a content creator:
- Short courses,
- Job experience,
- Building your own experience.
These can include online or in-person courses or certificates on certain skills in demand for content creators. I usually find these on the likes of Udemy, HubSpot, or LinkedIn Learning.
I also found watching Youtube videos to be a good way to learn, though you don’t get a certificate at the end. The WCCA aims to make this self-directed learning easier to evidence to employers through its principle of Develop Continuously with Continuous Professional Development.
Hands-on job experience learning and using software and skills necessary for content creators. I’ve found this to be the best way to grow as a content creator. It’s exactly the sort of thing a potential employer is looking for, what relevant job experience you have.
Build your own experience, demonstrate with a portfolio
This is how I got started as a content creator.
Building your own portfolio gives you a chance to develop your own skills and knowledge, and you get something you can use as evidence when applying for a job.
- If you’re a writer: Create a blog to show your writing style;
- If you want to edit videos: Film videos with your phone, edit them, and upload them to Youtube;
- If you want to work with social media: Build your a following on social media, and document how you did it.
Learning alternative (free) software
A lot of the popular software for content creation requires an expensive license to run on your own computer. This can make it hard to self-learn these tools (whether by online course or by watching Youtube and building a portfolio).
I put together a list of some free alternatives to consider getting started with when learning the various skills:
|Final Cut Pro||Also Kdenlive|
Can a degree be useful?
We found that many job descriptions stated having a degree is an advantage. These degrees are typically in:
- Journalism, or
I’ve found that WCCA members usually have at least some higher education, a degree or a certificate, though this is not a requirement of joining the WCCA.
For the larger companies in our survey we noticed that it is more likely they will include higher education, such as a degree, in their job descriptions.
How to get a job as a content creator
If getting started in content creation with no experience, consider these steps:
- Create content: Write blog posts, publish videos, contribute to social media, get out there and create great content;
- Build a portfolio of that content: Consolidate all that great content into a portfolio, this could be your own personal website or a book/document that shows off what you’ve done;
- Apply for jobs and show of your portfolio: Send out your resume with your portfolio included, mention it in interviews, or otherwise let potential employers know that you have this portfolio of great content.
This is how I got started. Our survey also revealed that 15% of job positions in content creation should or could use a portfolio as evidence of experience.
Being a Content Creator is a legitimate full time job. Content Creators can get a job making videos, writing blog posts or other copy, recording podcasts, or in many other ways.
While some companies request their content creators to have a degree in marketing, communications, or even business, tertiary education is often not a requirement. For Content Creators looking to grow their skills, short courses or otherwise learning to use a particular piece of software, website or tool can be useful.
To get started in content creation, I recommend creating great content, forming that content in a portfolio, and then using that portfolio to support job applications - it’s how I got started.
Albuquerque, Paulo, et al. “Evaluating Promotional Activities in an Online Two-Sided Market of User-Generated Content.” Marketing Science, vol. 31, no. 3, 2012, pp. 406–432., www.jstor.org/stable/41488285. Accessed 2 Aug. 2020.↩
The WCCA works to further the recognition, professionalism, and excellence of contact creators.
We are open to new members who seek to demonstrate the professional quality of their work, engage in the industry, and find out about new opportunities to learn, grow, and work.
Check out our Membership page for more details.