- In today’s age of constant connectivity, garnering attention online has become a very viable way to make a living.
- With the pandemic bringing the importance of creators to an all-time high, marketing companies have increasingly incorporated creators and influencers into their campaigns.
- More than 50 million people worldwide claim to be creators, but not all creators are thriving in this new environment.
In today’s age of constant connectivity, garnering attention online has become a very viable way to make a living. With an explosion of online content, many platforms have sprung up to try to capitalize on what many are calling the “Creator Economy”.
This creates a complex web of creatives and influencers, affiliate networks, marketing agencies, and publishers. Ultimately, this “economy” is dramatically changing how products and solutions are marketed to consumers and the future of work.
Initially, the creative economy centered around individuals and groups who became “influencers” on traditional social media outlets. Companies seized on their popularity and followers to market everything from video games to clothing.
Now, this economy is shifting to sophisticated platforms like Clubhouse, OnlyFans, Gumroad, Substack and far too many others to name.
A growing segment of the economy
According to SignalFire more than 50 million people worldwide claim to be creators. This clearly indicates there has been a shift in the market. But that doesn’t mean that all creators are thriving in this new environment. Nor does it mean all companies are happy with the results of their campaigns that use creatives — or sponsor influencers.
What it does mean is that the creator economy is here to stay — and will continue to grow and evolve along with all the networks and platforms that cater to this market.
The evolution of an old idea
The idea of making money through the internet is nothing new. Influencers have been capitalizing on social media for years, to great effect.
The adoption of the term “creator” carries with it a different connotation. Where the term “influencer” points primarily to a person’s ability to capture attention, “creator” highlights the actual production of something tangible.
What’s the difference between a creator and an influencer?
While influencers are now being labeled as creators, it is certainly not the case that all creators are influencers. Most of the time the creators that are able to make a living have a large following and lots of engagement.
With the pandemic bringing the importance of creators to an all-time high, it’s no surprise that marketing companies are looking to incorporate them into their campaigns. While traditional advertising has grown somewhat stale, online content is constantly changing and has more visibility.
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For instance, TikTok has grown a large organic audience, one highly interested in fashion. This has led to outright guides on how fashion companies can leverage the platform to increase their reach.
Seeing brands directly using these platforms has caught the attention of many creators. These creators realize they can use their audiences as a target demo, thus financially supporting themselves through their content.
Companies are eager to use this to their advantage, and they’ve quickly begun partnering with creators.
Creators act as celebrity endorsements while also directly linking to products, something that makes them extremely valuable to marketers.
More complex platforms and relationships
In addition to simple marketing, many platforms are working to create financial incentives to bring in new creators and keep them drawing in traffic. For example, TikTok pays creators directly based on the amount of attention they garner.
There are also numerous platforms that allow fans to pay creators directly. These platforms can either function as an online store for a creator’s product or as a subscription that goes to support their online content.
All of this combines to create an environment full of opportunities for creatives. Whether it is videos or pictures, writing, online services, or physical goods, creators have plenty of options when it comes to monetizing themselves.
That said, it’s important to realize that this money comes from somewhere — and that somewhere is often from a larger company. Affiliate marketing only works because the company partnering with the creator makes more from the partnership than they spend.
Likewise, platforms that connect creators to paying customers or clients in exchange for a percentage of the profits may help boost the number of eyes on that creator, but it is very hard to determine how much that is worth compared to the actual product itself.
Despite some of these emerging economic quandaries, many creators are happy to embrace the freedom to focus on their passions and work from anywhere. Only time will tell if the Creator Economy is truly about the creators or if it primarily serves the platforms that provide a venue and marketplace for their work.
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