When you visit a business’s website or receive an email from them, have you ever wondered who actually wrote the words you see onscreen?
Written content is heavily involved in building a brand’s identity, and here at Deal Design, most of the writing we provide our clients comes from the mind of our Content Creator, Erica Carnohan. In this interview, Erica discusses her contribution to a brand’s marketing strategy, the writing process, the evolution of her relationship with creativity, and more.
The “Content Creator” title is relatively new to the industry. What is a Content Creator from your perspective?
From my experience as a Content Creator, we are people who produce content of any form, ranging from the written word to video, typically (although not always) for marketing purposes. The majority of my work is creating written content for brands that tells their stories, but it could also mean producing visual content for the internet – things like videos or social media graphics. There’s a really wide range of media that the Content Creator umbrella encompasses. But, at the heart of it, we’re storytellers.
Every brand is so unique and different. How do you come up with a strategy for telling a brand’s story?
I think it starts with really getting to know the client and their unique perspective on their business – why they created it and their vision for where it’s going in the future. It’s also really important to gain an understanding of the audience they want to market to. Once I have a better, big-picture grasp on that, I like for them to explain to me why and how they started, and then we can get into the details of what their offerings are.
Sometimes, when people come to us, they just have ideas for a business. When they talk to us, it’s the first time they’re actually putting verbiage behind those ideas or saying them out loud to someone. So, after I understand where a client is coming from and what they’re trying to accomplish with their brand, then it’s my job to put words to that idea in a way that resonates with their target customers. That’s my process.
How does your process change based on the medium you’re operating in?
The medium I’m creating in is typically dependent on the audience the content is for. So, I think that’s actually the piece of the puzzle that changes what I do most – who the content is for. There are certain demographics that are more likely to view content on the internet versus in a catalog, for example.
My initial approach stays pretty constant across mediums. But for certain types of content, I have to do a little more digging into what the protocols and standards are for that channel because there are differences. Content tends to have a different tone depending on where it’s being shared. I try to familiarize myself as much as possible with content across mediums – pieces written for magazines, podcasts, videos, news outlets, and blog articles.
After I get to know a brand, I think it’s important to establish and assume the voice of that brand. That definitely adjusts my process a little depending on who I’m writing for and who I’m writing to.
In an agency environment, there are Content Creators, Art and Creative Directors, Graphic Designers, and more. What is it like working with other creative professionals?
I love working in an agency environment. I’m blessed to work with really adept and smart creative people. It’s taken me a while to view myself as a Creative for some reason, probably because my background is more technical. Working amongst people who have been steeped in creativity for a long time and who have accepted that as part of their identity has really helped me assume the role of a Creative.
I feel inspired by the creativity that surrounds me every day. Everyone offers unique and different perspectives, and those aren’t always the perspectives my mind would originally produce.
Sometimes clients come to us with their ideas written out really thoroughly, they have a great grasp on their brand’s message, and they’re only missing the visual elements. Other times, it’s vice versa, or it’s somewhere in the middle. Almost every situation gives us an opportunity to collaborate with one another because we need both the written and visual components to make a brand stand out and succeed. I really enjoy the collaboration necessary to make that happen.
I’m learning that the creative process is rarely linear; it’s evolutionary. We each work on different edges of a project, and when it all comes together, we sometimes need to make adjustments to our own contributions in order to make everything fit together. It’s all about the end result.
What is the biggest challenge you face as a Content Creator?
It’s been a challenge for me to work with a huge variety of clients who offer completely different products and services. It’s a bit of a learning curve. I’ve learned about so many different industries and businesses; for every new client, I typically need to get familiar with new terminology or jargon. I have to adapt very quickly to brands that are so vastly different in style, voice, messaging – everything. But it’s fun, and it’s a good challenge.
Also, people often come to us with really great ideas for brands, but there’s a flushing-out process that has to happen initially to define their offerings more concretely. I think the best results happen when clients have a solid idea from the beginning about what they’re trying to do. Then, it’s just a matter of translating that idea in a way that appeals to people.
If you couldn’t be a Content Creator, what would you be?
I would still be writing I think, either screenwriting for films or authoring books.
It’s funny because when I first went to college, I was a Computer Science major, and I really thought I was going to end up an engineer. But looking back, writing has very much been a common thread throughout my whole life. I love that it’s kind of an amalgam of creativity and technicality – because there are rules when it comes to writing, but you also have creative freedom to break those rules and express yourself. I think stories have the power to change the world, and I couldn’t imagine myself working in a career that didn’t allow me to tell stories in some way.
Looking for help in telling your brand’s unique story?