5 Reasons why The Creator Economy is not just a Buzzword — a content creator perspective.
A fresh take on The Creator Economy. What it means from a content creator perspective, content creation, vs the Passion Economy, monetization, & more. As a content creator myself, I am happy to see...
During the past year, I have been hearing the term Creator Economy taking unprecedented coverage. As a content creator myself, I am happy to see that people outside the “creative sphere” pay more attention to what we do. What’s more interesting is understanding what will this all mean going forward for us content creators?
You will notice throughout the story that I’m not using the word “influencer” to define us creators, and I personally don’t like to be called that, neither does my wife. So I strongly believe that there’s so much more to content creation to be summarized into that term. Content Creation requires a unique set of skills, vision, planning, great storytelling, execution, and many other aces under one's sleeves.
If you are a content creator and you’re reading this, the main point of this article is to share some reasoning about measuring the value of the content you create. If you are not a content creator, it might help give a fresh perspective on the term #creatoreconomy, from someone that’s both a content creator and a co-founder of a platform made entirely for content creators.
The Creator Economy 👉 Isn’t Just a Buzzword.
Not the same as Passion Economy
A few years back, we heard about another buzzword, The Passion Economy. That concept was, in my opinion, linked to the appearance of online marketplaces like Esty, Shopify, BigCartel, and so many others. Countless people could quit their 9 to 6 jobs, pursuing that side hustle, by transforming a hobby or a side trade, like ceramics, leatherwork, art, or jewelry, into a sustainable business. Kudos if you are one of those passion-driven entrepreneurs.
I remember reading the comparison of The Passion Economy with “The Gig Economy,” and I couldn’t disagree more. In many cases, most of those “new” terms are tags created by someone looking from the outside or looking at it all from a brand perspective.
Let’s take “influencer marketing,” for example. Brands commonly use this term to refer to content creator collaborations, brand deals, or selling products through us, content creators. That being said, most creators might not be aware that hundreds of companies worldwide are trading their data, selling their metrics to brands — a transaction where the creator does not receive a dime.
Please, do not take my word for it; if you are a content creator with a build-up community, search yourself into these “influencer marketing” sites. I promise you will be surprised. You’ll see that they are selling all your demographics, reports, studies, showing your reach to clients without your consent. That’s not fair at all.
The story is king — How will Content Creators fit into this new landscape?
More increasingly, creators have been turning their passions into sustainable businesses from an entirely new perspective during the past few years. Content creators understand the value of good content and how a great story can be extremely valuable for brands. The medium is not important, as a good story can be told in so many ways today.
While the global population of content creators is growing exponentially, a study from 2020 mentioned that, in theory, more than 50 million content creators operate worldwide. Imagine the aggregated community we, as creators, have the chance to reach with our content. Now we start to see why brands are rapidly shifting their attention to us.
The reason why this happens is quite simple. Content Creators understand the importance of building a good personal brand through their craft, curated and well-produced content. It can be through great video quality, a well-written Medium post (wink), or a carefully designed Instagram feed.
Quality content tells a story, communicates perfectly, drives engagement, and adds value not only for the creator itself but to their communities. You can be a videographer, a digital artist, a gamer, a fashion blogger, a stylist, a foodie, a tech reviewer, a photographer… Creators understand the value of content creation because they understand the value of a good story. But most important, creators have mastered the tools to tell amazing stories.
It’s not just a nice picture or video — there are hours and hours of planning behind it, even if it looks casual.
The Rise of the Creator Economy — well, not really
Content creators have been around for a while now. At least for the past 10+ years, we can say if we look at it from a YouTube perspective. Personally, I have been creating content consistently, building communities for at least seven years. During that time, I had a gaming channel, a blog, a podcast, and I’m now fully dedicated to creating content on YouTube regularly, working alongside my wife.
I saw the rise of some of my favorite storytellers like Casey Neistat, Peter McKinnon, Matt D’avella, and so many others throughout the years. Creation inspires creation. Those “original” content creators, in every platform, inspired a whole new generation of content creators, and so on. We are now reaching a point where the mass of content creators gathered globally is enough to call brands’ attention like never before. And that’s something good. It’s not just the power of media or social consumption; It’s the power of storytelling.
Having said that, content creators influencing a huge part of business economics are not new. Jack Conte, CEO of Patreon, created Patreon out of the frustration of being a creator himself and the limited amount of monetization options content creators have access to or how uneven the landscape is. For all creators, not only the top ones.
He built up a platform made entirely for creators and their communities, a place where they can share content and be fairly rewarded for their effort. I would bet that a great portion of Patreon being so successful and loved by creators is because it’s was made by one. If you want to hear more about his story, I highly recommend listening to how he decided to create Patreon and what drove him.
Of course, Patreon doesn’t solve the monetization equation for every creator. It is great that a platform like Patreon exists, as it not only empowers those creators and the attractiveness of other platforms to those outside the “creator sphere.”
We need more products and platforms built to empower creators as their “North Star.” Brian and I started paak.io to empower the content creators to monetize content, views, downloads, reads, or clicks that were previously hard to monetize. Read our take in an article written by Brian called “Content Creators are Our North Star.”
There’s power in numbers and your pocket.
No matter how big of a creator you are, anyone that creates content periodically can make a career out of it, no doubt about it. Today we all have the tools to build a voice, a brand, and a career in social media at our disposal. The power lies in your pocket.
Each one of us has the chance to start creating content today, and with time, make a living out of it. That’s for me what The Creator Economy is all about. It’s about turning your skill into creating compelling stories, sharing amazing experiences, and building communities that share the same values and interests.
Today, the only barrier most of us creators have is the time we can dedicate to create content. Most creators need some support during the first stages. That support can be either a 9 to 6 job or a well-diversified monetization planning. Either way, this should not prevent anyone from creating. It just takes consistency for a creator to build up their own brand and a great audience.
The moment someone picks up a camera, connects a microphone to record a podcast, or uses the phone to share a piece of content to communicate or tell a story, and it becomes part of The Creator Economy. How far that creator will go, how many opportunities will present themselves will depend on the effort that the same creator puts in creating great content and building their communities. Don’t take me wrong; it’s not about the “hustle” but about creating with intention. Someone can post every day on Instagram and get nowhere just because they’re posting text instead of images. Each platform has a reason to be, and it’s a medium to communicate all different aspects of creation. And this applies to both brands and creators.
Creators have built incredible communities.
One thing is absolutely clear; there’s a mutual respect relationship between communities and the creators. Suppose I look at my wife’s content, for example. In that case, she refuses to work with brands and recommend those brands on her YouTube channels if the product or service is something she doesn’t personally use and believe in or if it does not add any value to her community.
Let’s take me, for example, and the tech world. I don’t normally buy any piece of technology without listening to what Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) has to say or Dave2D. I thought the years they had built a brand around honest tech reviews that align with the same values as a consumer. They help me shorten my consumer decision-making process by 90%. The remaining 10% is divided between price and delivery options. I trust them more than any other tech magazine or review site out there, and they earned that trust with hard work, great content, and transparency.
Creators understand the value of their word, their brand, and most of them put their name behind it. That will create a nexus with their audience like nothing else. It’s personal
It’s also usual to see creators share links to services like Squarespace, Amazon, B&H, and so many more. I cannot tell you how many times I created a website on Squarespace (not sponsored) and used the code “PeterMckinon” because I know that supports a tiny, tiny bit of what he does. And I do this all the time, with all kinds of products and creators. This is my way of saying thank you and give something back to the creator for what I’ve learned from them.
The Creator Economy is not just a buzzword.
The Creator Economy is its own thing, made from millions of us creators that worked hard to build up our brands and polish our content. Upload a video to realize a frame is missing, then take it down and re-upload it again. The Creator Economy is here to stay and grow to the point that, in my opinion, there will be no distinguishable way in which creators, communities, and brands relate to each other.
If you are a content creator in travel and lifestyle and are looking into new monetization alternatives, be sure to head to our platform and check what we have to offer.
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