– Words by Devon Paige Smith Photography by Lia Crowe
Full-time professional content creator”—it’s a title Jared Vandermeer is still getting used to. But it’s one that’s quite fitting after he spent the last year fully immersed in creating content for his social channels.
“It’s definitely been a whirlwind,” says Jared, who in the last year has gained over a million followers, posted over 700 videos and has a combined billion views across social media platforms—with much of that content filmed right here on Vancouver Island.
“Moving to the island was the best decision I made, I’ve never looked back,” Jared says. “Being here has been such a huge part of me getting to where I am today.”
Jared, who grew up in Edmonton and started a marketing agency there, had no plans on leaving Alberta—until the pandemic hit.
“COVID-19 was really the catalyst,” he explains. “Before the pandemic I spent most of my time working with clients at the agency and I had my day-to-day routine. When the pandemic hit, and a lot of my restaurant clients, in particular, really pulled back on a lot of their projects, I had time and space to refocus my creativity.”
After he made the move to southern Vancouver Island, and while COVID-19 was keeping most people close to home, Jared started exploring more content creation locally.
“At the beginning, more than anything, creating content for my social channels got me out walking, got me out of the house,” he laughs, adding that exploring local nooks and crannies is what really got his creative juices flowing.
“I had the inspiration of the island right here in front of me. The water, the ocean, the forest. Just being able to go for walks every day and not having snow on the ground for five or six months, it was all new. There’s no interruption to the inspiration here.”
And Jared has many favourite spots on the island to dial in his creativity.
“The inner harbour in downtown Victoria is great—it’s just so vibrant and there are so many different people down there, different types of architecture, great scenery. I also love getting out on trails, and down to beaches all over the island.”
And asked if he misses the snow, he laughs, as most islanders would: “Absolutely not.”
With a background and wealth of experience in marketing, it was no surprise that Jared’s content began to hone in on a specific subject matter and audience in the last year.
“My passion has become teaching people how to create content and create a brand without any major investment. My mission is to show other creators and businesses that they can be successful by creating content with only a phone or camera, some dedication and some creativity,” Jared explains. “I was tired of all the shortcuts and latest trends, and I wanted to focus on the things I knew really worked for me, and this is where I ended up.”
On his channels, much of his content relates to photography, and showing his followers tips and tricks for better and more creative picture-making on both digital SLR cameras and iPhones. He also shows his followers how to edit creative video content for Instagram and TikTok, and he gives his followers ideas for compelling product photography.
More than anything, Jared says, it’s the type of content he enjoys creating most.
“Showing people how to take cool photos and make neat videos is fun for me. And I know if I’m having fun, the content I’m creating does well.”
Jared believes that’s where a lot of burgeoning creators go wrong: “They feel like they have to jump on the latest trends or try to film content that’s popular but maybe isn’t of interest to them. And the audience can always tell if your heart isn’t in it. As long as you’re having fun creating, your niche and your audience will eventually evolve. It’s a natural process.”
Along with having fun, Jared attributes his growth over the last year to seriously committing to content creation—to filming it, editing it and posting it.
“I make sure I’m posting every day, at least once a day. That was a shift for me. I realized I really had to commit to it. I also film and edit content almost every day. It’s more than a full-time job.”
So, what lies ahead for someone who is now a full-time professional content creator?
“I’m going to stay true to the audience that’s gotten me to where I am today—that’s important to me. I want to bring my content to a new level while I continue to show people that content creation is accessible to everyone and that you can do some incredible things with just the phone in your hand.”
You can find Jared on Instagram @jared_vandermeer, on TikTok @jared.vandermeer and on YouTube: JaredVanderMeer.
Jared’s simple tips for content creation success:
• Commit—make time for content creation and take it seriously.
• Plan for quantity—post at least once a day, twice if you can.
• Take risks—post everything, even if you don’t think it will do well (often, that’s the content that ends up surprising you).
• Don’t overthink it—planning too much is a content killer, because the content starts to feel unauthentic. Hone in on an idea and run with it.
• Most of all, have fun with the content you’re creating. Your followers can tell.