6 Tips For Succeeding As A Content Creator On A Budget
Updated: Nov 21, 2019
Do you find yourself scrolling social media wondering how the people you follow managed to get such good pictures on their feed? Or how your favorite YouTuber always posts videos with great quality?
Like me, you've probably wondered if you need to buy an expensive camera and a fancy ring light to accomplish the same look, or if you need to start scheduling photo shoots every other week in order to have high quality pictures. I know that it can start to feel like content creation isn't worth it if you can't "keep up" with other influencers, but this post is here to inspire you to focus on the CREATOR part of "content creation." In this post, I'm going to share some of my tactics for getting great content for little to no money at all.
1. Know who you are.
This seems pretty simple, but a struggle I often see is creators who don't know who they are, what their niche is, and what type of content they should be creating. For a long time, I did not know what I wanted my content to be about or what my purpose was. This led to super uninspired content, an unorganized Instagram page with no theme, and eventually - a lack of inspiration to post at all.
If you're aiming to be an influencer or content creator of any kind make sure that you know your WHY:
- What's the purpose of your page?
- What are you promoting?
- Do you ACTUALLY care about this?
- Is this is a project or purpose that is going to last a long time?
- Do you have multiple ideas on what to post?
If you're still on an "I dunno" as an answer to most of these questions - you may want to wait before committing to a new page or channel until you iron those details out.
- Use a planner, sticky notes, or websites like Pinterest to help keep you inspired.
- Whenever a new idea comes to mind, write it down somewhere or post it to your Pinterest board.
2. Use your cell phone to create content!
People often ask me what kind of camera I use to film my Youtube videos, and they're always surprised to find out that I film with my iphone! The quality of video that most phones can produce is just fine for Youtube and IGTV videos. Tripods and other camera equipment now come with adapters for cell phones. Even ring lights come with adapters for both traditional cameras and phones.
Never be afraid to use your phone for content! Need a bit better quality? Look into smart phones that have great camera quality and upgrades.
- Look up lessons on composition on Youtube to improve your photography. Yes, even with a phone.
- Lighting is important. Learn how to use it to your advantage.
- Experiment! Go to parks or anywhere outdoors and TAKE PICTURES!
All of the photos below were taken with different versions of iPhones from the 6-XS Max.
3. Don't rely on photoshop
Seriously, leave the photoshop to the professionals if it's outside of your budget. Most influencers actually use a combination of the stock editor that comes with their phones, apps like Facetune or inShot, filters and good lighting to improve the quality of their photos. Feel free to take a picture from your camera roll and test out the lighting, color saturation, temperature and contrast. You can transform a picture with simple changes!
- Looking for a bit more serious edit? Download Picmonkey or go to Picmonkey.com and use their touch up tools to improve skin texture, whiten teeth or add cool effects.
4. Use every opportunity and outing to create content.
If you stick true to the first item on this list - then you know who you are. That means that you know what type of content works for your page. Whenever you leave your house, meet up for dinner, go on a trip, or even see something simple that inspires you - you can use that to create content for your blog, Youtube channel or Instagram page. Need some outdoor pics? Call a friend and ask them if they'd like to help you create your content. Go for a drive, to the beach, downtown or right outside your door.
- If possible, have your camera ready at ALL times.
- Dress how you want to be seen on your feed when going out.
- If you're a Youtuber - you should be trying to film a few days a week if possible.
- Decide on a schedule for posting - be it once or twice a week and then schedule your photography and filming around it.
- Don't have a designated friend to help you shoot? Learn how to master self timer on your phone! Invest in an affordable tripod with a phone attachment. Don't be afraid to pose alone!
5. Find ways to get the same results, without breaking your budget.
Affordable lighting equipment can always be found on Amazon, you don't have to spend hundreds to get good quality lighting.
Don't have a ring light or soft boxes for your Youtube videos? Not a problem. Find the biggest window in your home and make that your station to film or take photos. Daylight can be the BEST light for filming - the only cons to this would be rainy or cloudly weather. Be sure to schedule your filming and try to film earlier in the day when there's more sunlight.
No fancy background? Buy a yard or two of fabric from Walmart and pin it to a wall behid you (or do like I did and buy a rolling clothes rack to use as a backdrop stand.) You can also create a beautiful space within your camera frame to use as a backdrop instead of having a solid color behind you. A shelf or mock office space with a few fake plants and some picture frames can make a HUGE difference.
The picture below was taken using 2 yards of sequin fabric from Walmart (less than $5). I used natural light, and two soft boxes (that I purchased on sale from Amazon for about $60.)
6. Learn to create, film, and shoot photos at home.
Continuing with the theme of the last item on your list: you do NOT have to leave your home to create content. You can film video and shoot photos in the comfort of your own room once you become comfortable with finding your light, editing and having ideas for new content! The most important aspect of this is having a designated space you use to create - and ideas that are versatile enough to be used whether you're outdoors or inside your home.
Don't be afraid to use different backdrops, fauna, props, or even jump on a live stream for that day in order to produce content that's different from whatever you last posted.
I no longer have my Youtube equipment and live in a 1st floor apartment unit with little natural light. Today was a rainy day which made things even worse and I couldn't leave my apartment to go shoot - but I NEED new content. So out of desperation (and a spark of creativity) I taped up a roll of pink wrapping paper outside on my patio, propped my phone up using a picture frame, and got to shooting.
A few rough pictures, some editing and natural light turned into some awesome pictures that I can now use for my Instagram.
The lesson I want you to take from this is that content creation requires CREATIVITY above all else. The best equipment and opportunities won't always guarantee you a great product - especially if you don't wholeheartedly believe in what you're doing or if you aren't trying hard enough to produce meaningful content.
Go out there, try, and be great.
If you need more in depth tips on how to make the most of your social media pages, check out my new e-book! Click here.