“Empower the best content creators or f*ck you.”

That’s one of the first results you’ll see if you google “empower content creators.” It comes from one of the many ramblings of rapper Kanye West. In this case: preach, Kanye. Here’s why that brash statement is so true, content creators do bring together (and mobilize) communities, and they have a unique ability to spotlight the creative economies they contribute to. Their point-of-view (and social cache) can be powerful, and that’s is why we should empower them. Not sure how to walk the walk? Let me lead you with some examples.

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Create a Platform

Is there a social channel showcasing the most creative minds in your geographic area? In Tucson, we recently launched Creative Tucson, a community for video storytellers to create and share their content, both online and on cable television. This platform enables singular content creators (effectively launching them and arming them with resources), and the platform is bigger than the sum of its parts because of the unique individuals who are involved and promoting the platform.

If you live in the District, then you know what A Creative DC, a project celebrating local art in the greater Washington DC area. The platform publicizes diverse individuals within the arts community and supports the local creative economy. #ACreativeDC has been used near 240,000 times on Instagram, and more than 13,000 tweets have included the hashtag. The project has completely blossomed in the past year and they are now one of the strongest advocates for creative content in DC.

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Teamwork is Great Work

Consider teaming up with a local company who can reach an audience you can’t. BRINK has taken this approach in a couple of recent efforts, namely with The Duke & The Duck and Cherry Blossom Creative for Funk Parade. Together, we were able to capture the entire parade from different angles across several blocks (instead of just one angle of the festival) because we worked in conjunction. (And we got Google to contribute cameras too.)

In Washington DC, collaborative events occur often, and they benefit all parties involved. Consider gatherings like Brightest Young Things and the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Wonder at Night. They orchestrated an evening with full access to popular Renwick Gallery, plus performances, music, food, drinks and more. The sold out event drew a diverse crowd that SAAM wouldn’t have been able to reach alone.

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Connect the Dots

 

Whether you choose to find your group through MeetUp, Groupspaces or WeGoDo, meeting people with similar interests couldn’t be easier. I recently embarked on a journey with local Instagram community Walk With Locals. Photographers, models and locals gather in the city at a random spot several times a month. Through snapping pictures and chatting with each other, group members transform from strangers to acquaintances, friends and even collaborators. In a few short months, the group earned more than 1,773 followers on Instagram alone, and those numbers are growing exponentially week by week.

Now… GO!

What are you doing to help your community? Here are  few tips and tricks to empower the content creators around you.

  • Start a community: What’s your favorite thing to do outside of your 9-5? Perhaps it’s taking photographs or painting colorful shapes. Steve Jobs once said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” Discover your passion; then find like-minded people who enjoy the same hobbies and form a collective that meets weekly to share their passions.
  • Get social: Rapper Yo Gotti wrote a song titled “Down in the DM” for a reason. I recently met Tamon, a partner at Creative Theory, who said he receives business regularly through direct messages on Instagram. Can you imagine responding to business queries on a social platform? The rise of social media makes it easier than ever to discover people on both a local and national level.
  • Keep it local: Support small businesses because without your help, they can’t exist in the future. Instead of grabbing that cup of coffee from Starbucks, walk a block further to the small-time brewery that offers a delicious tasting espresso.
  • Awareness about resources: Patrick (BRINK Strategist) and I recently attended the Made in DC Summit where small and local businesses heard from government sectors about available resources. A common underlying issue that drove the summit’s theme was the unknown assets that could be utilized to make a company thrive. We’re currently working on Montgomery County’s National Parks website and several stakeholders agreed their citizens both didn’t know several resources existed and where to find them.
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