Ten Characteristics of a Successful Content Creator

Great content creators come in all shapes and sizes, but nearly all share these ten characteristics.

The vast majority of successful creators of user-generated content are...


While not all great content creators are known for producing videos with amazing production quality, flawless writing, or music that mirrors that of producer-backed professionals, nearly all successful UGC stars put some polish into their work by taking the time to carefully craft and edit their work.

Good user-generated content has real love in it, and even if it's a bit clunky, that love and care shines through (and gives fans something to rally around).

Lined up necktiesProfessional

By saying that successful content creators are 'professional' I don't mean that a their work is free of fart jokes or highly inappropriate humor. I simple mean to say that good content creators are serious about their work.

High caliber content creators appear more professional than their less successful counterparts by standing behind their work, being clear about their policies and backgrounds, and making sure that their audiences know when, where, and how they publish new content.

Consistent presence across multiple platforms

One of the easiest ways to separate newbies from pros in the user-generated content world is by looking for a unified online presence. If someone has one sort of personality on Twitter but a completely different personality on LinkedIn or Facebook, you know he or she has yet to really figure out that great content creators aren't one platform ponies, but rather internet-wide personalities unbound by medium or network.

In constant dialogue with their fans

Great content creators don't just broadcast to their audiences; they actively engage with them. In addition to responding to comments, successful user-generated content stars create content based on users' suggestions and requests, and give shout-outs to big time fans.

Able to stick to a schedule

It is hard to become a fan of someone online if that content creator is only sporadically present and available. Most big-time online stars follow regular publication schedules (be they daily, biweekly, monthly, or biannual). This makes it easier for fans to know what to expect and trust that they can invest in one's work (knowing there will be more).

Able to present a consistent tone

Just as audiences appreciate consistent messages, they also appreciate a consistent tone. Many successful series follow a fixed format, or include regular features with varying themes. If you find something that audiences like about your content, consider making it a staple of your work.

A woman ready to runProlific

Successful online content creation is more of a marathon than a sprint.

Though most of us are familiar with one-off user-generated content that became famous on its own (e.g. David After Dentist), most well-known content creators earn their success by publishing a LOT of content over a LONG period of time.

Those who assume they can just create one random video or article that instantly go viral are very likely to be disappointed.

Focused on pleasing readers

Considering the needs, interests, and desires of one's audience is the first step toward creating content that will become successful. If you create content just for yourself, that's fine. Just don't expect to gain thousands of followers with that approach!

Proficient on the platforms they use

It should go without saying that successful content creators are good at using the sites on which they share their content, but considering the number of content creators who expect succes (while not really knowing the purpose of the sites they use), this is worth reiterating.

Publishing content that is inherently valuable, useful, interesting, and NEW!

Perhaps the most important characteristic of successful content creators is that they contribute something of real value to the online world- be it information, entertainment, or original commentary. Few people find success by doing something that has been done thousands of times before.

If there is any challenge you can present to yourself to help you become a better content creator, make it this: Do something that hasn't been done before.