So you want to become a content creator. Even just making that decision is a big step, and it’s not an easy one, either.
The digital media landscape is almost a completely different beast compared to what it was just ten years ago. Posting original content and streaming are no longer niche, not even close.
But even so, there’s always room for unique and entertaining creators, so whether you’re just getting your feet wet or you’ve been in the content mines for a while and want to get your numbers healthy, you’re gonna want to stick around for this one.
We have with us today the incomparable Vishal Menda, a digital media expert who works as Business Development Manager for Studio71, a global media company specializing in digital-first creators and brands. The company has an impressive track record of helping talented creators build successful careers, and Menda himself really knows his stuff.
One of his main goals is to bring tech, business, and entertainment together to make creators and brands more successful than ever before.
For intermediate creators, joining forces with a digital media company like Studio71 can be an excellent way to turn content creation into a real career, and our interview with Menda touches on that option, and for the first-timers out there just getting started, Menda also has some great advice to keep in mind.
Given the nature of his work, Menda knows the lay of the land like the back of his hand, and he very kindly shared a ton of useful info with us, so if you’re trying to make a name for yourself online, take some notes and get ready to be inspired!
If a content creator was going to start posting today, could you see them being intimidated by the amount of competition out there?
Menda: What I always like to tell creators is that there is absolutely no reason to compete with anybody in the creator economy. That’s because the biggest strength you possess is your uniqueness. Let it shine, and you’re going to be alright.
If you begin to compare and compete with others, you’re going to lose sight and focus. And for someone who is starting out, that is a big rabbit hole you’re digging for yourself. The priority should always be you and the unique value you bring to your content. If you can do that consistently, the engagement and impressions will soon follow suit.
Do you think it’s important for creators to have a presence on multiple platforms?
Menda: Absolutely! I believe one of the biggest advantages creators have today is that they can showcase their value across various social/content platforms. However, every platform, and its audience, is unique. Leveraging that to your advantage can be both tricky and overwhelming.
Finding the right balance to consistently have a presence on these platforms, whether it be long-form or short, is key. And that is why digital media companies and talent managers play such a crucial role in optimizing a creator’s content by super-charging their ROI as well as their growth.
How important is quality production value for creators who want to be successful?
Menda: One could create something truly special, a work of art if you will, but if no one finds it or views it, that’s a wasted opportunity. I’m not saying a creator shouldn’t focus on quality production, they should. But if you are starting out, the focus should be on consistent quantity.
With consistency at the start, there is more opportunity to drive traffic and impressions. And that in turn leads to more monetization, ad sales, brand promotions, and social media posts. It’s all about setting that foundation, and once that has been laid, the focus and value can and should be switched to quality production. Because in the end that’s what is going to lend credibility, and even the algorithms will organically recognize it as positive and promote it.
How can creators explore the business side of their work?
Menda: It goes back to laying that foundation, or what we call in the business a funnel. If you have your strategy/business model in place, you’ve picked out your platforms, and have a goal in mind, the most basic strategy for a creator funnel is four-tiered: Discovery, Credibility, Access, and finally, Purchase.
The goal is to gradually go from being discoverable and credible to being accessible and actionable. If you are constantly able to drive traffic from platform to platform, the next goal should be to drive the true and genuine audience with CTAs to your webpage, Shopify, and Patreon for growth and tangible success.
For creators who already have an audience, what are the benefits of working with a studio or professional representation?
Menda: I think in terms of content distribution and programming strategy or even brand integration and sponsorships, working with a studio or digital media agency can help a creator take that next big step. Say for instance a creator has a YouTube channel with 10K subscribers. It’s a good starting point. A talent manager can help optimize and grow that channel, help with sponsorships and affiliate marketing. And within the next quarter, that very channel would double or triple its revenue and viewers with the help of a good manager on board.
Now in terms of distribution, a digital media agency can help optimize a creator’s content across various other content platforms. If a gaming creator would like to make passive income by posting their content not just on Twitch, that is where a studio/agency’s expertise reigns supreme. They understand the strengths of every platform’s algorithm whether that’s social players like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or content/OTT players like Amazon, Roku, or Pluto.
Can collabs with other creators also help boost a creator’s following?
Menda: There’s a great unwritten rule in the creator economy that I love: “Collab. Don’t Compete.” To grow in this space, you’re going to need to collaborate, so either you get them featured on your podcast, story, YouTube channel, or vice versa. The power of collaboration ensures growth as well as new unique viewers and subscribers, and that simply means more clicks and revenue.
What do you think is the single biggest challenge for creators just starting out?
Menda: As I mentioned, consistency is the biggest challenge. Viewers will keep coming back to you if you’re able to consistently showcase your uniqueness and value through your stories. You may not have a programming strategy in place yet, or your content workflow might still be raw and rough around the edges, but if you are consistently able to produce content week in, week out, you’re already halfway up the mountain.