Being a content creator isn’t for the weak. It requires time management skills, authenticity and thick skin.
While many people are intrigued by the idea of going viral, only a fraction of content creators actually go after the big partnerships and make a career from sharing on social media. During the most poppin’ day of Girls United Creator’s House at Essence Fest, Tasha Mccaskiel, founder of Black Girls in Media, sat down with content creators Rachael O’Neil and Aliyah’s Interlude to talk about all things content creation. Throughout their inspiring conversation, the three media powerhouses dropped so many gems we had to turn the talk into a cheat sheet for content creators.Here is everything you need to know to get in your influencer bag straight from THE leading influencer’s mouths on being a successful creator.
Aliyah’s Interlude: A lot of people are afraid to just be themselves every single day because they’re afraid of being perceived by other people. Once you let go of that fear of being perceived you really can be unstoppable and do whatever you want to do. People relate to that.
Rachael O’Neil: So many people jump on trends expecting to go viral. You kinda have to be a trendsetter in order to really stay on top of it. Sure you might go viral following a trend once every blue moon, but that’s no way to sustain a brand. Be original. Do the weirdest things that you feel like people might want to see.
There’s Never A Right Time To Chase Your Dreams
Rachael O’Neil: There is never going to be that perfect moment to take that leap. You [have to] just do it and figure it out and hope that your support system will support you and they always will if they’re the right people.
Give Yourself Grace
Aliyah’s Interlude: Even if you get 200 likes, imagine 200 people in the room with you right now liking stuff that you do. That’s a lot of people. We don’t really put that into consideration.
The First Shot Has To Be Seductive
Rachael O’Neil: Attention spans are so short for Americans. I hear it’s like seven seconds before they decide to change it. So in [those] seven seconds you have…that’s your only window to say “watch this.” So you [have to] get to the good part immediately.
It’s Never Too Early To Start Thinking About Money
Rachael O’Neil: I think my first ever TikTok deal two years ago was $700 and I was so happy. That was the best $700 I ever made trying a cheeseburger. I didn’t think I had the following. I didn’t think I was eligible for it but I just started shooting out emails [to businesses].
You Don’t Have To Have A Manager Or Agent To Make Money
Rachael O’Neil: To this day, I’m self-represented. I had like two or three managers in my short time, and I have landed much more money all alone than I have with them. Everything I‘ve done is with friends, connections, and relationships. I [am] my own manager. DMing everybody, the big companies, the small companies. The small companies pay, I’m telling you. So I started monetizing immediately. When other brands start to see that you have successfully collaborated with another brand, then that brand will give you a shot.
Ask Your peers Their Rates
Rachael O’neil: I reached out to my white creator friends because I found that the white creators get paid so much more than the Black creators. We’re in the dark. I was charging myself X amount of dollars, and I found out my white friends with half as many followers were getting double the money. I started pitching myself and not taking no for an answer. If I know Michaela is getting $15,000 and I’m getting paid $5,000, I should be getting paid $15,000 as well.
Pitch Yourself To Brands
Aliyah’s Interlude: I feel a lot of people think ‘They’re never going to reply to my DM or my email,’ but a lot of times, these people see you on social media, but they just don’t know who to give [the] opportunity to. Them knowing that you are willing to reach out and be bold enough, they are more inclined to give you that opportunity.
Hire A Manager So You Can Focus On Your Craft
Aliyah’s Interlude: At a certain point in your career, having a manager is very helpful. When you have a manager, although you do give a percentage to them, it’s worth it. They negotiate for you [and] they already have brands on board that they can help you with.
Dedicate Time For Content Creation And Posting
Rachael O’Neil: I take a week out of the month to shoot, and I watch my videos over and over again. I decide ‘Will this one go? Will this one not?’ And I’ll post or I won’t. And that’s it for a month. It allows me to have a successful social media life but also a healthy lifestyle.