Working smart is critical to being a profitable content creator. But what exactly does “working smart” look like? 

In her Creator Economy Expo presentation, Trish Witkowski, president and creator of FoldFactory, shares five things she does to refine her content operations into a successful and sustainable content business about paper-folding ideas, trends, and strategies for memorable marketing.

Whether you’re like Trish, who creates videos, or focus on another medium, doing these things can help you go from content creator to content entrepreneur.

1. Research beyond the boilerplate: Third-party analytics tools – Trish calls them “channel growth tools” – can help to improve your game and understand your audience better. They can provide more useful engagement analytics than YouTube Studio or other in-platform analytics.

You also learn what other channels are doing to see how your videos stack up with the competition and where you can improve. Trish uses vidIQ, but there are loads of tools available, like TubeBuddy, Unmetric, and Vidooly.

For non-YouTube creators, you also can perform an analysis of your competitors’ content to see what works, what’s missing, etc. Semrush offers detailed guidance on how to do it.

2. Take a class: It may seem unnecessary or even inconvenient, but Trish highly recommends taking a course (not just watching how-to videos) to improve your content business. By engaging in a class, you are almost certain to gain a new perspective on your production. Courses also provide great opportunities to meet and learn from other creators. 

For example, Trish took a class with Video Labs where she learned the value of looking at the metric of average percentage viewed. As she learned, views don’t tell the full story. It’s important to understand how much of your videos the audience watches to see which content resonates with your audience. Understanding where her audience loses interest helped inform adjustments to Trish’s future videos. 

3. Focus on the audience experience: As Trish puts it, “Viewers will forgive you for being human, but they will not forgive you for bad audio.” It’s a lesson for every kind of creator: No one pays any attention to your actual content if it’s inconvenient or unpleasantly formed. 

For video creators like Trish, that means making sure the technical aspects of your videos meet your audience’s standards so they stay engaged. She recommends making the most of ring lights and avoiding using the sound from the built-in camera.  Take the time to research and test products to figure out which are right for your content. For more tips, she recommends visiting If you’re still lost, you can always do what Trish did: Hire a professional for a couple of hours to help you get set up properly or even figure out what devices you need. 

4. Master best practices (then pick and choose): Following best practices, such as posting on a schedule, using keywords, and engaging with your community, is a necessary part of a successful content business. However, keeping up with all of those practices can be time-consuming and tedious. 

Trish recommends that you first determine your goals and a few areas that will measure if you’re meeting them. Then, decide which best practices will help your business thrive in those areas and which can be ignored.

5. Don’t forget you’re a business: Creating content may be your passion, but it’s also your business. If you’re not efficient with your time and energy, you’ll burn out. Figure out where your hours are best spent and eliminate projects that aren’t profitable or important to your business. 

Trish uses a schedule to ensure she spends her time creating quality content and not spinning her wheels. She blocks off 8 a.m. to noon Thursdays to create her weekly video. She never spends longer than that because the videos must post at noon. If you spend too much time on a task or never seem to have time to get another, you also can try changing the order you do things to see if that and a schedule improves your productivity.

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About the author

Leo Bonacci writes, proofreads, and edits for The Tilt. A student of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, he’s a fan of classical mythology as well as the English language. Leo’s interest in storytelling extends to his great enjoyment of movies and film, from low-budget schlockfests to cinematic masterpieces.