A Pathway to Success - Part I “Content”
I’m having some fun conversations with a young videographer who is asking me all sorts of questions about how to turn his passion into a career. He’s at an exciting point because he’s about to graduate High School, and has already gained a lot of skills.
He recently asked me what the steps were to success in his field. This blog, and the two to follow, are an exploration of one path to success in a creative field.
While “content” may be a brutalist way of describing the work that we do, it does a good job encompassing the variety of creative disciplines in the digital age. I’ll use the word content a lot in this blog, but please fill in the blank with music, streams, sketches, videos, cupcakes, or whatever it is you do.
The first concept to dance with on our pathway to success is content. You have to create content often, and you have to get really good at the content you create.
When Mason Ramsey went viral with his Wal-Mart yodel, that’s all we saw. We didn’t see the countless hours he spent practicing. We didn’t see the times other kids made fun of him. We only saw it after it had thousands of retweets. And let’s be honest for a minute: if we saw a kid yodeling at the grocery store, we’d head straight for the express lane and the heck get out of there.
Consistency is a fantastic way to beat the odds, connect with people, and get really good. I’ve argued before that consistency can be it’s own art form. Consistency in creating, publishing, and repeating is the only thing that sets Peter McKinnon apart from the thousands of other photographers with three videos on their YouTube channels. He may not be better, his videos may not be more insightful. But he’s showing up day in and day out.
The idea that you could be discovered or go viral is invigorating. But it’s as foolish as buying a lottery ticket. There are just so many better ways to make money.
After you start on this consistency path, you’ll discover that you’re getting really good at what you do. This is important. If you want a career in content, you have to be really good at something. A career in content is capitalism in real time. There are no interviews, no time-and-a-half payment, no paid vacations. There’s no insulation from the emails you don’t receive back or the negative comment section.
Another great way to get really good is investing in yourself. Buy the right tools, find a mentor, research work in your space, or sign up for a workshop. These are all great ways to get better, and the people I’ve seen who are the best have no trouble investing in themselves.
So create good content and create it often!
This is part one of our three part series “A Pathway to Success”. Check back tomorrow for part two!