10 Mar A Day in the Life of a Social Media Content Producer
The most common reaction I get when I tell people what I do for a living is usually a long, blank stare, followed by “Soooo…you take pictures, then?” For those not in the industry, content producer seems like a made-up title, a hip way of saying photographer to a tech-savvy generation raised on social media. Though the day-to-day activities of a Content Producer do involve taking photos (lots of photos) there’s much more to the job than just point, shoot, and repeat.
Use your natural resources–like sunlight, for example.
Brainstorming and Planning
Contrary to popular belief, content producers don’t just run out into the world and begin snapping photos. (In fact, blindly shooting is the last thing a CP would do). Believe it or not, even the simplest images are the result of intense planning. Here are some different items to consider when planning out your content:
- At the beginning of the month, brainstorm with your community managers from each of your brands
- Gather a smaller group for a content brainstorming session to complete tasks like copy & image suggestions
- Make sure your content calendar has a mix of content. Though photos are the most common types of imagery, CPs are also responsible for creating GIFs, videos, and any other creative assets a client may ask for.
One you’ve compiled a shot-list, it’s time to get to work.
Preparing the Shot
Being a Content Producer requires a little inventiveness, especially when working with a limited budget. While I’d love nothing more than to have a full scale photo studio complete with backdrops for each brand that I work on, this isn’t exactly feasible—and I’m not sure if I’d want it to be. Not surprisingly, sometimes the most unexpected material produces the best results, and not having hundreds of dollars to spend on each shot requires out the box thinking and challenging myself to create beautiful content out of available materials. Wrapping paper provides a stylish and easy to assemble backdrop for product shots, fabric swatches offer texture and color, and bubble wrap has proved itself to be extremely useful on more than one occasion. With so many textures, patterns and prints available, half the fun of shooting is sometimes setting up my backdrop!
Props are also part of the fun. The prop closet at Ignite is filled with all kinds of objects, housing everything from bags of freshly ground coffee to poseable spiders with glittering red eyes. I select all the props I think I’ll need for my shots that day (plus a few extras), then move to the photo studio to get ready to shoot.
Working the Camera
What has continuously surprised me about this position is the lengths I will go to to capture the perfect shot. Coworkers regularly find me on the floor, teetering on the edge of a table, or meticulously placing chocolate chips on a plate to resemble bear paws (see below), all in the pursuit of the perfect picture.
I’ve made muffins simply because I thought they’d perfect a breakfast shot (and also partly because I got to eat them afterward), used nothing but a spoon to carve a mug out of coffee grounds, and sculpted a bubble moat to place a rubber duck in. When you’re a content producer, anything goes. Roll with the craziness and you’ll likely be rewarded with a photo that you never could achieved by playing it safe.
Don’t be afraid to use coworkers as models.
Though the general idea may be the same (plan, prepare, shoot), the day-to-day activities of a content producer always bring something new. One day you may be photographing boxes of hair dye, the next be shooting coffee on location, or you may spend hours perfecting a shot, only to have your camera die in the middle of it (not that I have any experience with this.) The world of a Content Producer is fast paced, creatively charged, challenging and rewarding all in one—and I couldn’t see myself having it any other way.
After all that hard work, it’s time for coffee.
Ignite Social Media would like to note that many of the images represented throughout this blog post were originally created on behalf of our clients.