Sophie Watts | Cultivating Success: The Importance of Community Within Content Creation
Scott D. Clary | Mental Models, Performance, Business & Entrepreneurship
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Cultivating Success: The Importance of Community Within Content Creation
Accomplishment without assistance is the stuff of legends. Every success story I’ve interviewed over the years needed help at one point or another. Whether that was a loan, an internship, or just a shoulder to cry on, it was a necessary step along the way.
A group of people with similar goals and values can be a powerful thing, providing accountability, collaboration, and a sense of camaraderie. When it comes to content creation, not only can you learn from your fellow creators – you can teach them too.
Recently on the Success Story Podcast, I spoke with Sophie Watts, Executive Chair at Metacurio, about how she cultivated success by working with and learning from others.
The artist and their art
Let’s first start with your idea. What do you want to do? What do you want to create?
There are many things to consider when you’re first starting. But, the most important thing is that you have a clear and concise idea of what you want to do. This will help you immensely when it comes time to start creating content.
When you’ve come up with that brilliant idea – the one that keeps you up at night and dominates every moment of the day – you’ll need to find a target market. Without one, you won’t know what kind of language to use, what topics to focus on, or how to present your information.
If you’re not sure who your target audience is, that’s okay!
Take some time to research your topic and see who is talking about it online. Once you have a good understanding of who your target audience is, you can start creating content that appeals to them.
One of the earliest things Sophie touched on in our discussion was when she first learned of Facebook’s potential for creators. She reflected on her first experiments into its global reach and knew, then, that it would change everything.
Today, new social media platforms and networks are popping up every day. You might understand how YouTube works, but what about Snapchat? Greenroom? Clubhouse? Foxhole? Okay, I made that last one up.
It can be easy to get overwhelmed by the different platforms and strategies, but if you want to succeed as a content creator, you’ll have to start somewhere.
The first step is identifying what kind of content you want to create. This could be anything from videos and podcasts to articles and blog posts. Once you know the kind of content you’ll be creating, it's time to start thinking about your audience.
Who are you trying to reach? What kind of people are you hoping to connect with?
Answering these questions will help guide the rest of your content creation process. From there, it's time to start thinking about platforms. Which social media platforms are most popular with your target audience? Where do they spend the most time online?
There isn’t an answer key at the back of the book here. The answers to these questions will be unique to what you’re trying to do. But once you've selected a few platforms to focus on, the real work – and the fun – begins.
Consistent release schedule! Insert yourself into the conversation! Show your personality!
There’s one thing that all of these community-building guides seem to overlook: the fans. Supporters, readers, viewers, listeners – whatever you want to call them.
The people who will be consuming your content are the most critical part of the equation. Not your thumbnail, not your soundtrack, not your partnerships. Your fans.
Without an audience, your content is worthless. So before you start creating, take some time to understand who your fans are and what they want.
Here are some questions to consider when you're cultivating a fanbase:
- What does your target audience love?
- What kind of content will they search out?
- How can you make them fanatics?
As Sophie and I discussed, the platform that helps you engage with your friends is part of the formula. What determines your success as a creator is a connection between you and your fans. It doesn’t matter how your fans take in your content, but how they feel about your content.
When it comes to criticism, the fans are the ones who will tell you what works and what doesn't. They're also the ones who will support you when you're struggling. If you want to be successful in content creation, you need to listen to your fans and take their feedback seriously – not just their viewership.
Fan criticism, however, is not your only resource for improvement.
Sophie’s defining success has not just been working with A-List celebrities but the talented teams around them. They are responsible for marketing projects, engaging with the community, and, most importantly, helping visionaries realize their dream without losing their unique spark.
A supportive, enthusiastic support system can be the difference between success and failure in content creation. Engaging with others in your field and being open to feedback can help you hone your skills and produce better work.
Additionally, a strong community can provide encouragement and motivation when you’re feeling doubtful or burnt out.
Content creators that have found success often attribute much of it to the supportive communities they’ve been lucky enough to find. The trick is how to find them.
Social media has played a critical role in the growth of content-creator communities. Platforms like YouTube and Instagram provide a space for people with similar interests to connect and share their work.
But traditional social media – Twitter, Facebook, and the like – aren’t the only places where communities of content creators form. There are also online forums, like Reddit, where people can discuss their work and give feedback. These spaces provide a sense of belonging for creators who might otherwise feel isolated.
Of course, not everyone wants to be part of a community. Some prefer to work alone and don’t need social interaction. While there are certainly ways to make that work, I think criticism and comments are the whetstones of content – they keep it sharp.
If you’re pursuing content creation as a career, or even just looking to improve your skills, consider seeking out or building a supportive community. The positive effects can be immeasurable.
Across Sophie’s career, whether coaching A-List celebrities or visualizing success for her own companies, she knew what she was doing. She knew her skills and wisdom were of benefit to the people she worked with.
What I’m saying, then, is this: learn from others, always. But you have something to offer too.
Sharing your experience is one of the most rewarding things you can do in content creation. Your passion and goals can inspire and help others reach their potential.
What made you successful can be a great source of content in itself. Share what worked for you, and how you overcame challenges. This type of content can be both motivating and helpful for your audience.
If you’re not sure where to start, try telling your story. What led you to content creation? What drives you to be successful? Everyone wants to hear a success story (shameless plug, confirmed).
Engaging with your community should be right up front in terms of priority. Get to know the people who follow you and show that you care about more than just promoting yourself and your work. Building a relationship with your fans will mean support, even when things are tough.
I know I poked fun at the consistency thing, but it shouldn’t be forgotten. It's not enough to create great content once in a while - you need to release high-quality material if you want people to keep coming back for more – even when life tries to get in the way.
So talk to me! Leave a comment, let me know about your new project, or tell me why you don’t like mine. Let’s sharpen that content.
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That’s a wrap for today, ladies & gents. See ya next week!
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