This interview is a part of a collection known as Creators Unlocked that delves into the world of content material creators to uncover the tales behind their social media posts.
From Twitter to TikTok, the articles intention to supply insights and learnings for aspiring and established creators whereas additionally providing a glimpse into the lives of these behind the screens.
Welcome to the most recent installment of our collection, Creators Unlocked, the place we converse with creators to grasp what it is like behind the screens of the tweets and TikToks to be taught from their experiences.
Right this moment, we’re unlocking Katie Xu’s creator journey, from being the mind behind the social media accounts of firms like Kapwing to being a TikTok creator with 80,000+ followers.
Katie’s TikTok has grown in leaps and bounds because of a number of viral movies that includes her evaluation and recommendation about what makes a profitable creator. On this interview, we talk about Katie’s unconventional strategy to advising creators and take a look at her plans for development as a creator.
This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.
Q: What impressed you to start out creating content material on social media?
I’ve all the time been desirous about social media and have been creating content material for a very long time – no less than since center college. Earlier than, it was for myself, golf equipment at college, or the cafe I labored at. However I solely began just lately creating content material to construct my private model.
It took some time to get to that time as a result of I needed to take time to collect the braveness to lastly begin placing myself on the market. Till this level, I had been hiding behind different manufacturers, working their social media as a enterprise. Now, I really feel like inspiring and empowering individuals via content material and have even began getting messages that my movies assist individuals get the braveness to start out for themselves.
Q: And what was the push to get began doing social media for your self, not simply different individuals?
I stumbled upon freelancing unintentionally, nevertheless it opened me to a world of people that have been doing enterprise with no social media presence, and I grew to become the individual that helped them try this. That was eye-opening to the significance of social media in entrepreneurship. As I constructed experience in social media, I noticed a chance to construct my private model and that was what obtained me began.
Q: What sort of content material do you create, and who do you create it for?
The shortage of a niche doesn’t assist a lot right here, however the content material I create paperwork my journey as an entrepreneur and content material creator and helps me share my ideas, concepts, opinions, and experiences with all my numerous endeavors. The best viewers is aspiring content material creators and entrepreneurs, however I hope my content material can attain and assist a broader viewers.
Q: What’s in your device stack for content material creation?
For video creation, TikTok is the place it’s at. I don’t like creating movies exterior it as a result of it provides too many steps to my workflow, which I wish to hold easy. Even when enhancing for shoppers, I log into their TikToks as a result of it feels extra pure and native.
By way of monetizing my platform, I take advantage of Stan for my link-in-bio as a result of the person expertise is so clear. And it makes the circulate of buying [my products and services] simpler for my viewers.
Q: What are your targets for 2023, and the way will you measure their success?
By way of content material creation, I’d say diversifying my model and making a long-term, sustainable enterprise out of it. That’s my final objective as a result of whereas I really like creating on TikTok, a platform that you just don’t personal might be taken away at any time. The algorithm can resolve in the future to cease pushing my content material.
Additionally, some background: I took a spot yr to pursue content material creation and I’ll be going again within the Fall [of 2023]. Once I do, ideally, I’ll have a model that I can take with me and proceed to doc my life.
Q: That’s so fascinating – when it comes to diversifying, what platforms are you contemplating? Are you wanting exterior of social media?
Undoubtedly – I wish to construct a publication or no less than an e-mail checklist. I’ve heard from many creators how vital it’s, and I undoubtedly see the significance as I slowly begin to construct my very own. It’s comforting to know that I can all the time attain my viewers.
I’m additionally tentatively contemplating starting a podcast – and I say that as a result of I’m hesitant to leap on simply any medium or platform as a result of I prioritize focus and doing issues properly. However you’ll be able to maintain individuals’s consideration a lot better with a publication or 30-minute podcast than a brief video. The devoted readers and listeners actually grow to be your core viewers.
Q: The concepts you share on social media lean in direction of the unconventional. What would you say your inventive course of is like? How do you provide you with concepts for content material?
I would say my methodology of arising with movies can be a part of the unconventional goodness of my content material. Earlier than attending to creating content material, I labored backward when it comes to technique. So I made a decision for myself what sort of content material I like, what I would like my model to appear like, and what can be the very best methodology to get my concepts on the market.
There’s lots of nice recommendation about which concepts you need to be sharing, the way to share them, and on which platforms, however it may be algorithm-oriented, which finally ends up being restrictive to creators. Personally, on TikTok, I would like my movies to be uncooked, low-effort sharing of concepts. I would like them to be issues I provide you with on the spot which might be good no matter flashy enhancing or fashionable music.
Q: The lo-fi strategy undoubtedly works – you’ve gone viral a number of instances already. And I do know that with virality comes stress, amongst different challenges. How do you navigate challenges as a creator?
With going viral got here lots of site visitors, and whereas it wasn’t an enormous problem, I wasn’t totally ready to obtain the inflow. I had no official area and couldn’t deal with all of the incoming inquiries.
One other factor is that content material creation has been time-consuming. So I can undoubtedly see it being a problem if I needed to stability college and dealing for a corporation alongside creating. To be sincere, I haven’t fairly discovered that stability but.
Scrolling is likely one of the hardest issues to deal with since you’re so used to participating on social media as a client, however whenever you do it professionally, it’s important to pay ten instances extra consideration. Your thoughts is all the time content material analytically, breaking down the creator’s strategy and pondering up enhancements. It might take up extra time than senseless scrolling.
Q: How do you navigate the necessity to earn a dwelling from content material creation with creativity because it turns into extra of a enterprise?
My scenario is a bit totally different from different creators as a result of my earnings isn’t reliant on model offers – it comes from the enterprise I constructed earlier than beginning to take social media extra critically. So fortunately for me, earnings is fairly regular.
The half the place the stability will get difficult is that it may suck the enjoyment out of content material creation if that’s all you do. I do it for manufacturers, and I’ve to do it for myself as properly. I’ve spoken to so many creators who wish to work on their very own content material however are so centered on working for others that it turns into troublesome.
Q: What recommendation would you give to somebody who’s simply beginning to take their social media critically and construct their model?
One, understand that content material creation is a ability that must be labored on and never only a fortunate break that occurs to anybody. After all, individuals get fortunate and go viral however if you wish to pursue content material creation sustainably, it has to grow to be a part of your routine. Deal with each video you set out as apply in order that even when engagement isn’t forthcoming, you’ll be able to keep constant. The large creators make it look simple however they’ve expertise, whether or not in enhancing or storytelling, or just connecting with individuals.
Two, in my view, it’s important to grow to be the area of interest. I believe niches are a really nuanced dialogue, however it’s important to understand that you would be able to’t cover behind the class.
Even with cooking movies, in case you’re simply doing tutorials on YouTube and that’s all you wish to do, nice. However in case you ever wish to develop as a model and develop into different elements of your business like releasing a cookbook, it’s important to be prepared to talk in your movies and inject your persona. That’s what builds actual reference to an viewers.
Q: You talked about that you just make most of your earnings from consulting – however have you ever began making earnings from publishing on social media? And might you rank your streams of earnings from most to least worthwhile?
I’d say my favourite methodology proper now could be teaching and dealing with individuals to construct their manufacturers. It’s fulfilling to assist them work out what they need to be doing and supply them with readability. Then after that might be working with manufacturers, which is not bringing in an excessive amount of cash but, however is rewarding all the identical. Though to be sincere, I desire working extra within the background for manufacturers to make cash than straight up promoting one thing on my social media.
Q: What are some challenges you’ve confronted on the subject of pricing your providers as a creator?
My greatest problem is certainly figuring out what to cost. I’m studying day by day the way to worth confidently and even what worth determines how I select to cost my work. I look ahead to having a greater perspective in a few years, however proper now I’m nonetheless fascinated by the distinction between time vs. value-based pricing.
So many issues go into why a model deal prices a certain quantity – it’s not simply the time you spend or your follower depend but in addition your ability as a creator to ship nice content material and promote a model convincingly.
Q: Is there something, specifically, you are maintaining a tally of within the content material creation area for the longer term?
I’ll undoubtedly be maintaining a tally of YouTube Shorts. I simply suppose YouTube is certainly a menace on the subject of the video area.
- Katie discovered success on TikTok by specializing in uncooked, low-effort content material that prioritized sharing concepts over flashy enhancing or fashionable music. This strategy allowed her to face out from the group and showcase authenticity, which helped her acquire a loyal following of greater than 70,000 followers.
- To construct a sustainable private model, Katie plans to diversify her on-line presence throughout a number of platforms. She acknowledges the dangers of relying solely on one platform like TikTok, whose algorithm could change or cease selling her content material. By constructing a publication, contemplating a podcast, and maintaining a tally of rising platforms like YouTube Shorts, Katie goals to make sure her model’s long-term success and stability.
- As a creator, Katie stresses the significance of injecting persona into content material and turning into the area of interest, reasonably than simply becoming into one. She believes that this strategy helps construct an actual reference to the viewers and opens up alternatives for growth inside the business. As an illustration, if a creator shares their persona whereas making cooking movies, they’re extra probably to achieve releasing a cookbook or constructing a private model round their experience.
- In the case of pricing her inventive providers, Katie’s greatest problem is figuring out the proper worth. She is consistently studying the way to worth confidently and considers each time and value-based pricing. Elements reminiscent of ability as a creator, the power to ship high-quality content material, and convincing model promotion all play a task in figuring out the proper worth for her providers. This deal with worth ensures that she will present the very best outcomes for her shoppers whereas nonetheless incomes a good earnings.