The first ever Creator House was hosted by Meta and Rolling Stone at SXSW in March of 2022. This event included a series of discussions covering content creation, monetization, and everything else you can imagine regarding content creators and what they need to know and do to be successful. Creators Brendan Jordan and Kurt Tocci shared their “10 Content Commandments”, and now we want to share them with you. These 10 Content Commandments are meant to guide aspiring creators and teach them about individuality, consistency, reliability, and mentorship.
Being authentic is one of the most important parts of content creation. With so many people creating content around similar topics, the best way for followers to engage more frequently is to be authentically and unapologetically you. When your content IS YOU, that speaks to your character and your passion and viewers can feel that and respond to it in a positive way. Your audience’s response will help guide the content you create in the future. Your content often becomes more organic, natural, and an extension to what you do in your day-to-day life.
Jordan added that whenever he was trying to force something in his content, it never worked out. “Following my own path while being inspired by others, that worked.” He added that concepting a foundation is important but evolving is important too. It’s natural for you content to evolve alongside you as a person, because people grow every single day and can relate to the evolution. “Everything evolves, and that’s OK,” stated Jordan.
Social media platforms are constantly adding new features. It’s important to try them out and follow along with the trends and features that are most popular. Instagram recently introduced Remix and Collabs, while Facebook just released Reels. Jordan and Tocci’s advice for creators is to “try them all, the only way to learn a new feature is to use it.”
Tocci added that when a platform introduces a new feature, it typically modifies the algorithms to encourages its usage, and so hopping onto the trend of a new feature can help your content get discovered by new audiences. He also found that taking the extra seconds to shoot standalone cover images to upload as a thumbnail goes a long way. “It adds sparkle, it looks cleaner, and people recognize quality.”
You don’t need fancy studio equipment or professional editing software to produce quality content. Don’t let the lack of expensive equipment keep you from producing content about something you love. Play around with some free or inexpensive apps on your phone and stick with the ones you like best. Spend your time focusing on what you’re producing and ensuring you have a variety.
“You have to be versatile with both short-form and long-form content, and repurposing content across all platforms is one way to check all of those boxes,” Tocci said. Jordan added that breaking down a long-form video into quick clips for Reels or Stories helps shine a spotlight on more parts of those videos.
A lot of people have the same hopes, dreams, hobbies, curiosities and fears. Use these similarities to connect easily with your audience. Think about something you’d love to learn more about or are already passionate about. These are great sources for inspiration and deep wells of potential content.
“Think of a scenario that relates to the most people possible and turn that into a video that is as easy [to understand] as possible,” Tocci suggests. Take experiences from your everyday life, places you go, experiences you have, and random thoughts that run through your head. “Follow your passion,” Jordan added. “Chances are, other people have the same passion, or are curious to learn more about it.”
Jordan let the SXSW audience in on a little secret: When he’s in a good mood and feeling good he creates enough content to save for the days when he doesn’t feel like creating content or doing much of anything. Don’t stress yourself out by feeling like you need to be in a creative mood every single day. Creating heavily on days he’s in the mood helps Jordan avoid burnout. “Take care of yourself first, over career, over everything. When you feel good, do what you can. When you don’t-don’t do it,” he advised.
Tocci found that when he combines what he loves to do in real life with the content he creates, it doesn’t feel like work. Because it’s fun, he doesn’t notice himself feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or burnt out. Another benefit of creating content that you genuinely love is that it’s authentic and real, which is key to people connecting with you. “When it comes to content, do it for yourself and because you love to do it, not for the numbers,” Tocci recommends. “It doesn’t matter if you have 1K, 5K, 10K, or even 100K [followers] because the most important ‘K’ is kindness.”
Jordan shared that as a young teen, he found himself watching queer creators and realizing that there are people like him out there, even if he didn’t have many people to relate to in person. That’s how he fell in love with social media, he admitted. Social medis can be a space for people to connect and find acceptance. To this day no matter how many followers he has, he always makes a point to reply to DMs and comments.
“Having a relationship with your audience is big,” Tocci reiterated. “You have to maintain that relationship and express a lot of gratitude. You’re building an internet family – it’s more than a follower connection.”
When you engage with people who love what you do it has its extra benefits as well. Their feedback and input can lead to new content strategies. Tocci said that he uses the polls and questions stickers in his stories to learn more about his audience’s preferences. “It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the community. It’s about kindness.”
“I try to be the person the younger me needed,” added Jordan. [Social media] is a place to be yourself and not be judged for it.”
All content creators agree that consistency is key, whether you are posting daily, twice a week, or once a month. Tocci has found that posting twice a week works for him and his strategy to let every piece of content “breathe”. He doesn’t believe in saturating his account and making the audience feel like they need to catch up on content. Instead, posting less frequently allows audiences to naturally browse and discover content they’re interested in.
Jordan has found that trying out different schedules and random times has helped him figre out the best times to post for his audience. By trial and error, he has ruled out what times don’t get the best reactions. “You will never 100% post at the right time, just like you will never please everyone 100% of the time,” he said. It’s best to practice consistency and patience, but continue to run tests to stay fresh.
Tocci said he often watches other content creators and consumes content across many platforms, which he views as research that helps inform his next big idea. “See if you can find something relatable and make it your own style,” he said. He again suggested using the questions sticker in stories, which can spark new content ideas through the answers. Tocci also believes in the power of hashtags. In his experience, if you do the proper research, you can understand who uses certain hashtags for different purposes. Using the proper hashtags can help your content get discovered by people who may convert to followers.
Jordan reminded followers that taking a breath and relaxing is incredibly important. “Remind yourself what you’re doing it for, your why, what grounds you?” Many creative people find themselves in the ebbs and flows of creative ruts. This is normal, if your ideas aren’t flowing, then don’t force it.
“Inspiration is all around us, don’t overthink it,” Tocci added.
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