A few things I've consumed to improve my content
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There's a lot of chat around what to learn when starting content creation, but not so much around how to improve. But as with any brand or business, a key element of improving is learning and forming an opinion. Practice practice practice but also consume consume consume so that we can establish understanding and authority around content creation. What works and what doesn't - as at the end of the day, these channels are driven by us, even with comments and feedback from our audience. Everyone and their dog has an opinion on how things "should" be done, but if you haven't learned how to do something, it's tough to make a confident decision for ourselves.
For the first year of Han Meets World, I strongly focussed on just establishing a style and a schedule. I'd been religiously watching vlogs and reading blogs for about three/four years and had taken some creative inspiration from them:
*Blogosphere: I first discovered this creator magazine back in 2014 while I was on my year abroad. YouTuber Fleur De Force was featured on the cover and I was able to download the e-version while still in Brazil. Six years later though, I still keep up to date with what they have to say, their events and their ethos as it really is a fantastic place for people beginning their journey into content creation and keeping up with the latest news in the industry.
*Vogue: (ie non-industry content) so technically Vogue relates to the content creation industry, but it also runs as an entity alongside it. It's helpful to be aware of what is going on in other industries, to see how they're doing things differently and be creatively inspired.
I've always had an interest of sorts in fashion so Vogue is where I'm always drawn to, but I've picked up several copies of Courier and House of Coco as well as online articles by Forbes and newspapers like the Financial Times (that's more of a recent thing though).
As with anything, I've followed various people throughout the years, beginning with Jenna Marbles all the way in 2012 to consistently following Louis Cole since 2013, and in the last year following van lifers Eamon and Bec. It's the ones who know how to keep their content interesting, have a voice and obviously choose to invest time after time.
With these peeps, it's not about plagiarising, copying or replicating content you love, but keeping tabs on what others do well (and not so well) and how you could possibly adapt this to your own content. Whether that's taking a certain route on your travels, investing in specific graphics or upgrading your tech to something they mentioned in their content (this is how I invested in my GoPro, Instax and where I visited in Bali (to name just a few examples).
As with magazines, it's great to be full on invested in content creator-specific content, but can help to check out similar content say in business. Within the first year of Han Meets World, I was watching different entrepreneurs talk about how they stay motivated, plan their time and make goals for themselves. I found that people who actually coached and did this for a living could provide just a little more insight on budgeting and creating goals, than the content creators I adored at the time. Since about 2017, I've been on-off following Carrie Green and Erin May Henry and recently I've also thrown Gary Vaynerchuck, Tony Robbins and Ben Francis (GymShark founder) into the mix.I've found that it's helpful to be watching content that talks about scaling and the bigger picture - but have also then gone and done it themselves.
Around the summer of 2017, I felt like I had to find a route to keep me thinking about the bigger picture and to not give up. The thing they didn't tell you back in the day is that it's not easy to build a consistent brand - and no one really seemed to talk too much about it for some reason. At least within the wider circle I had around me.
"Successful leaders are always learning."
Just to be clear, what I know now is that this quote isn't about being "a manager" or a CEO. If you want to be a thought leader or anyone who a group of people what to follow, then I would recommend you learn how to become a leader. I would continuously read that any leader that ever said "I know", had lost the game. And in an industry that moves so quickly, you could get left behind very quickly.
So if I ever found myself saying "I know", I would look at whether I could invest learning in something else. I took that quote literally and began searching for books to enhance my knowledge. Having made a small career jump into being marketing "everything" for two small companies, I actually read *a lot* more, but these are definite staples:
*Million Dollar Blog - one of the only books at the time that seemed to treat blogging like a business and also tangible for others. It addresses the details that many of us needed and can still be a good thinker today for anyone interested in making the leap from hobby to professional content.
*How To Style Your Brand: I read this more for my day job than my blog at the time, but the first and second books have actually stayed on my shelf since. This was one of the only books that explained branding for business in a simple and visual way for people to understand. If you've ever heard some talking about aesthetics, colours and messaging, it typically comes back to branding.
Having consistent branding on your long and short form content will be the difference between your content looking like a hobby and a professional portfolio that brands want to work with.
*Capture Your Style - a little more fashion-focussed maybe, but no less valid, if you're looking for the next step to make your content stand out, I recommend giving this book a peruse. She explains very well how to tell a story, set up a shot to reflect this and build a community.
Newsletters - newsletters weren't really something I took seriously until I pivoted into that "marketing everything" position in 2017. They take a little curating, finding out what you want in your inbox daily/weekly. For me, it's about:
*BorderlessLive (slight bias, I know) & Blogosphere - keeping up with industry news and events.
*Campaign - keeping up with wider content creator and marketing news.
*Business of Fashion & Travel Massive - keeping up with a similar industry that I'm also interested in.
Looking back this might seem like a long list but as I mentioned in the beginning, it's for you to pick and choose what works for you. If you have a goal to improve your content however, then learning goes hand in hand with this. And the other element that goes with learning is taking action. Knowledge isn't actually power without an action to go with it - whether that's adapting a colour scheme for your channels or creating a consistent posting schedule and keeping to it.
So what will your first point of call be?