Scaling content with Kitiya Palaskas

Craft-based designer Kitiya Palaskas specializes in creating bold, colorful, and playful prop design and installations. When her hands-on work took a hit during the pandemic, she began to focus on content creation in a big way. We caught up with her to find out more about how she switched gears, diversified, and expanded and what that meant for her business.

When did you first start to think about scaling your content? What stage was your brand and business at?

The need to start scaling my content came out of necessity during the pandemic. I had always produced regular DIY content for clients in the form of blogs and editorial projects, or suites of styled images that clients could use to promote their brands or products on their own platforms. But when the pandemic hit, I had to level up and grow my skillset in this area incredibly quickly because all my prop and installation design work dried up due to lockdowns. Content creation, and in particular, video content and influencer partnerships became the only options available to me for work at the time, so to feel confident offering those things as services to my clients, I had no choice but to learn how to produce high quality content quickly.

What did/does scaling content mean for you? E.g., is it about volume, format, the number of channels or platforms you're on, growth in audience and engagement, or a mix?

For me, scaling content isn't so much to do with how much content I'm producing. It's more about increasing the quality and professionalism of the content I am producing. In 2 years, I've gone from barely knowing how to film and edit DIY content to now, offering full-service end-to-end content creation services for my clients. That's a HUGE learning curve and increase in my skillset.

I also feel that scaling means diversifying your content to suit different platforms. That means coming up with efficient workflows that allow you to take one piece of content and adapt it easily for the various platforms you're pushing it out to.

What were the main hurdles you faced? Was there a particular stage of the process e.g., ideation, editing, publishing, that was particularly challenging to scale?

I don’t find the actual content design or ideation challenging — I'm literally overflowing with ideas! Instead, it's about having the time and ability to scale and do everything I want to do with my content. We are a small team here at the studio. We don’t currently have a dedicated staff member for marketing so I'm still very hands on with content creation.

Another issue I find particularly challenging is relying on external apps to push my content out to the audience I want to attract. It's no secret that algorithms and the rapidly changing landscape of social media can complicate the content sharing process and sometimes make it feel like you're running up hill. I struggle with the idea that I don't have full control over who sees my content and when. The trick for me has been to diversify the platforms I'm sharing to, to include places where I have more direct access to my audience, free from algorithms or external factors. Publishing a regular e-newsletter is a good example of this.

What has the short and/or long-term impact of scaling your content been? What changes have you noticed?

Putting more focus and time into creating content for my brand has broadened my skillset in a huge way. In doing so I've developed a more diverse service offering, on top of my prop and installation design services, that I can now offer to clients. Choosing to embrace content creation in a bigger way over the past 2 years has allowed me to maintain my business through the pandemic, when physical prop and installation jobs and creative workshops were put on the back-burner due to lockdowns. I was able to lean fully on my content creation services to keep my business afloat and that was a huge benefit.

Scaling my content has also helped me define my strengths and values. I've realized that while I still enjoy creating content that really speaks to who I am as a brand, I have some issues with creating content from an influencer marketing perspective. I’m uncomfortable having my value as a designer and creative limited to my follower or like count (in the context of paid partnership work). It's been a learning experience for me to realize that my strengths lie in creating quality creative content for brands to use on their platforms, rather than engaging in paid partnerships where the content is shared to my audience. I feel more at home in the design world than in the world of influencers, and that’s been a really surprising thing to learn about myself. It doesn't mean I'm not going to take on paid partnership work but what I've learned over the last couple of years is that I prefer quality over quantity when it comes to who I choose to work with.

What would your top three tips for scaling content be?

1. Don't try to do it all at once! Quality over quantity is the key. Pick a select few platforms that you want to have a presence on and focus on becoming great at creating content for those. Don't feel like you have to show up on all platforms at once — you'll spread yourself too thin and the quality of your content will suffer as a result. You can always scale gradually bit by bit as you master each platform.

2. Don't be afraid to invest in tools and education to help you scale. Whether it be learning to edit videos on Premiere Pro, buying a new fancy camera, taking a course about studio lighting or editing audio... investing the time and resources to grow your skillset and make you more of an expert at your craft will always be a benefit! I would always choose investing in expanding my skills over things like paid ads or boosting my posts on social media. It's one thing to get good reach on a piece of content, but if the quality is poor, then why are you really doing it?

3. Protect your wellbeing. This tip might be a bit out of left field, but I think it's important to consider your wellbeing when it comes to content creation. We're always told we need to push out more content every single day to "get noticed", and that success equates to posting everywhere, and often. While producing mass amounts of content we are also absorbing the content of everyone else. It can get really overwhelming and it's been shown that our mental health can suffer from spending too much time scrolling, engaging with and absorbing all the content that is available to us out there.

I think it's especially important to spend time away from our screens, living in the moment, without feeling the pressure to document it for social media. We need to be able to experience life in other ways, not just through our screens. If you are feeling overwhelmed it's always a good thing to step away and take a little break. Set boundaries for screen time, have a total no-phone day, whatever that looks like for you. It will refresh you and protect your mental space, giving you the opportunity to come back rejuvenated and with the energy to get the job done.

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