The cost of creating content in Lesotho

We are often told to create content and be consistent. But what is the actual cost of creating content? I think many a time this question is often left unanswered. But before I get carried away, perhaps let me start by explaining what a content creator is. 

What is a content creator?

A content creator is someone who tells a story or communicates an idea by using different forms such as audio, podcast recording, photography, video, voice-overs, illustration, animation or through writing etc. The list is endless.

What does it take to create content?

In my experience as a YouTuber, podcaster and blogger, creating content is a creative process that starts with research and planning. What is the story that you want to communicate? How do you want it to be delivered? When do you want it to be delivered? And by whom do you want it to be consumed? What resources do you need to produce it? How much is it going to cost? How much time do you need?

As mentioned above, creating content requires that you research, prepare and plan. This includes but is not limited to creating a storyboard that outlines the idea, preparing the equipment or props needed, booking the guests, confirming the venue and other logistics. This also includes having a budget if you need to procure certain items or equipment like lighting, microphones and editing software should you not have it.

What are some of the costs?

There are many costs to consider when creating content for example how much time you spend on conceptualising and creating content. Secondly, the cost of buying or renting equipment like cameras, lighting, editing software and how much you spend on editing. Another cost to consider is how much you spend on personal development and nurturing your skills e.g. watching tutorials online, attending webinars or reading articles. A big cost for many creators is the cost of travelling to shoots and buying refreshments. Take a social media influencer for example, who goes to a restaurant and buys a meal just to create content for social media. 

What are some of the challenges?

The anxiety creative content creators experience on a day-to-day basis when they need to create consistently. This can be overwhelming! Secondly, the imposter syndrome of putting your work out, where you are constantly questioning if you are good enough or worried whether people will engage with it or not. From a mental health perspective, imposter syndrome can be crippling. 

Burnout is another big challenge for content creators, as they feel pressured to constantly create and upload new content. If not checked, this can lead to mental health issues. Lastly, the financial strain that comes with creating content, especially if the creator has not started monetising. It is important to have a budget and track all the expenses so that you do not go broke.

Suggestions or words of encouragement?

Whether you want to be a blogger, photographer, videographer or social media influencer, it is important to start with what you have and build as you go. Many people get disheartened and quit too quickly. When I began my YouTube journey, I started with my smartphone – had no lighting, microphones or a team. Secondly, as you start to grow and make some money, it is important to invest in your business – buy better equipment and improve the quality of your content. 

Have a spirit of collaboration and work with other creators who are specialists, for example, photographers, videographers, sound engineers etc. This can help accelerate your growth and achieve your goals, but it is important that the collaboration be mutually beneficial. Do not exploit other people and ensure that they also don’t exploit you! Make it a point to grow together.

I also advocate for creatives to draft contracts and have terms of engagement that stipulate the costs, service level agreements, and terms and conditions. Being transparent and ironing out the process is important. We need to start treating our craft as businesses. Examples can be formally registering it as a business, opening a business account, having well-designed invoices, and paying taxes. This makes you very professional and brands will take you seriously. Lastly, planning and bulking shooting can help you become more efficient. 

I know sometimes it can be overwhelming and disheartening especially when the money is not coming through. I’ve been creating content for a few years now and finally starting to make money. If I can monetise, so can you!

So, let us keep creating and building the industry.

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