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How to Be a Content Creator

With No Formal Training

In December of 2017, I was asked by the COO of the gym I work at to write a few articles. I have now written over 70+ articles that have been distributed to over 4,000 email inboxes every week. 

I remember when I started that I approached it like a research project. I had always enjoyed writing research papers in school so this seemed easy at first. 

Once my initial pool of ideas ran dry that's when I was faced with the reality that content creation is more than just writing about what I like. The CEO and COO started to give me feedback about what articles got a lot of opens and shares, and which ones didn't. I also began to receive feedback from clients at the gym, which also gave me insight into what people wanted to read.

So then it became a balancing act of using the blog as a platform to educate our readers on all things health and fitness, but to also cater to what they want to read so that we become a trusted source for health and fitness information.

At first, this seemed very overwhelming. My imposter syndrome was running rampant at this point because I never had any formal training in content creation. I had never taken a communications degree, and my last English course was first year of college (2016). 

So I had to come up with my own way to create useful content that would educate clients, but also be the kind of content that was worth sharing.

It starts with looking at what has worked in the past. I remember one of the articles that performed the best was one on bloating. So there was a topic that was a bit light to write, but for the everyday person reading the article, it was worth reading. Finally, someone had sent straight to their inbox why they experience bloat—no uncomfortable conversations to be had with peers. From that, I learned that although there is very interesting research happening in nutrition and exercise science, people want to be able to apply the info right away and connect with it right away.

Second was research, but not for article content per se. I had to do a lot of research into the formatting of articles. Shorter paragraphs, catching titles, how many or how few images were necessary. This meant that for those topics that were a bit heavier on the technical side, that visually they would be easily digested by the reader.

Finally, I asked for help. I let my clients know that I was the one writing the blogs and then all of a sudden everyone was coming forward with ideas. 

I also spoke with the other trainers at the gym to see what their clients were talking about, but also what they thought of my articles and how I could improve them. 

If the experience of being the primary content creator for the gym has taught me anything it is that having qualifications on paper is not the only way to be successful in a role. Being resourceful is one of the greatest assets you can have in any job. Asking for help, observing the trends, and researching those who have got it figured out and adapting these tips to your style are strategies that can be applied to just about any job.

Don't let the lack of on-paper qualifications hold you back! The confidence I gained from figuring out the blogs for my work gave me the confidence to ask for the job of social media director. In August of 2018, I was given that title and now create content for, and manage multiple social media platforms for the gym.

I just simply applied those same three strategies of observing the trends, research the pros, and ask for help, and I feel confident in a role that I was never formally trained for.

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