Professional content creators need to be multi-skilled and these basics are non negotiable
Being a successful content creator also means being something of a polymath. You find yourself needing to be skilled at being both behind and in front of the camera, a technical wizard, an administrative saint, visually creative, a digital marketer and your own PR person – just to name a few. With so many platforms, technology and mediums for your content, it can feel like you need an entire team just to get one video or post up. Not true. You don’t need to be a Silicon Valley coder, an Oscar-worthy cinematographer and a runway model to succeed, but make sure you’ve got these vital skills:
1. Basic photo and video editing
Familiarise yourself with the full functionality of whichever editing software you use. Photoshop, Lightroom, Bridge, iMovie, even just KiraKira! Take the time to fully understand all the effects and options you can access, and when updates come in, take advantage of those. There’s loads of helpful tutorials on YouTube to help you get to grips with editing, and even very simple edits like keeping jump cuts tight, brightening up a photo or removing shadow or adjusting small mistakes can make your content look ten times more professional.
2. Good email etiquette
You don’t want to turn off potential clients with sloppy emails. Be prompt in your replies, use full sentences, good grammar, and crucially, nail the tone. Don’t be overfamiliar, never send or reply to an email when you’re angry, and imagine every email you send could one day be read out in front of you in court. There is no such thing as a deleted email, so don’t make claims you can’t back up, be tempted to lash out when upset or speak ill about other brands and creators. Email is not a secure method of communication, so use care.
3. Finance management
If that means getting an accountant, fine! However, you don’t want to be completely in the dark about what’s going on with your money and your taxes. Keep tabs on your outgoings, make sure you know when your invoices are due, and set aside money for the taxman as you go. Don’t wait for the end of the year to calculate it, or you might be in for an unpleasant surprise.
4. Basic lighting and cinematography
Take the time to get to grips with the basics of making a pleasing image. Learn about the rule of thirds, complementary and contrasting colour and background and foreground contrast, and read up on or watch tutorials on how to shoot simple, clean video. With so many free lessons available online, there’s no excuse not to, and it will help elevate your work to the next level.
5. Some understanding of HTML
It’s unlikely you’ll need to build your own website, or poke around in the Instagram API, but it’s well worth you understanding the basics so you can tweak things if needed, and feel confident reading any communications from your domain provider. Codeacademy run a variety of courses, or you can find example lessons on YouTube to give you a broad understanding of how code comes together and how to manipulate it.