The term “creator economy” is used to describe the businesses built by independent social media content creators and the software they use to grow and monetize their online communities. These creators include social media influencers, bloggers, videographers, etc, and make up more than 50 million people worldwide.
As of September 2021, the creator market was sized at $104.2 billion and is increasing daily. YouTube alone made $19.77 billion in 2020 ad revenue and predictions hint that number will be much higher for 2021.
One theme reigns in the creator economy: “do what you love-- love what you create”. It fuels the mission of creators everywhere who are looking for ways to monetize their social media content by doing what they are passionate about.
As a creator, creating is what you do best and your skills are not limited to your content. A portion of the creator economy’s success can be attributed to the way creators mold their own paths to monetization.
Here are some of the best tools and platforms you can use to create your own path to success in the creator economy.
YouTube is a place for creators to post video content, build an audience, and monetize their content with ad revenue. Monetizing through YouTube can take a while as creators need more than 4,000 valid public watch hours and 1,000 followers during the last 12 months to join the YouTube Partner Program.
In an effort to keep up with the short video trend, YouTube created the YouTube Shorts Fund. The purpose of this $100 million fund is to pay YouTube Shorts creators for their best Shorts content throughout 2021 and 2022. The best part is that YouTubers don’t need to be in the YouTube Partner Program to qualify for this fund. Creating original content on Shorts is the only requirement.
To support creators using the Spaces audio feature on Twitter, the platform introduced a Tip Jar that integrates with peer-to-peer mobile apps like Venmo and Cashapp so that users can “tip” creators directly from the live Spaces where they are creating.
Clubhouse launched a similar feature called Clubhouse Payments. This partnership with Stripe allows users to send money directly from their favorite creator’s profile.
Instagram creators can enable Badges on their live video content. This allows users to send creators money directly from an Instagram Live.
All you have to do is head to the professional dashboard, click “Grow Your Business,” then select “Badges”. This will take you through the onboarding process. Once you’ve enabled badges, you can turn them on each time you go live. Instagram requires creators using Badges to be at least 18 years of age and have a business account.
Patreon is a paid platform creators can use to monetize their audience. Patreon is a little different from the previous monetization method as it’s a monthly subscription where creators can offer exclusive content or rewards to users who subscribe. You can create different pricing tiers, each with an exclusive offer. This is a great way to secure a stable monthly income as a creator.
Many creators monetize their audience by creating merch and products they know their audience would enjoy. There are two simple ways to do this.
One is to create clothing items that display your own designs through platforms like Fanjoy, or the other is to create digital products like “how-to” guides relevant to your content niche and sell them on your website. As you grow, you can explore bigger projects and even create a line of products from scratch, tailored to the wants and needs of your audience.
Most creators get the bulk of their income through brand deals. This is where you partner with a brand that sells products relevant to your audience by mentioning the product in your content. Do your research and set rates for brand deals. You should have a different fee for each type of content (Instagram Story, YouTube Video, Instagram Post, etc.) and these rates should align with the standard for audiences of a similar size in your niche.
According to Jamie King (Business Coach, Speaker, and founder of Chardonnay & Slay), the key to being an influencer is seeing your audience and showing them that they matter. Prioritize human connection and embrace the concept of micro-influence. That means you can make a huge impact with less than 5,000 followers. If you show them you care, your engagement rate will skyrocket.
Pamela Chen, co-owner of Luna Prosperity on Instagram and the creator of Crustal Unicorn Tarot, says that it doesn't matter if you have a million things you love and want to share. Instead of narrowing yourself into a niche box, she suggests you create your own niche box by tying together all the things you’re passionate about. Use what you know, what you’re skilled at, and what you’re passionate about, then get uncomfortable by going Live and sharing these skills on social media.
Meghan Rosko, owner of Nutmeg and Honeybee, emphasizes the importance of finding your own voice and focusing on what you love. If you’re not familiar with the business side of being an influencer, don’t be afraid to reach out to agencies for help.
There you have it! All the tools you need to start creating your path to success in the ever-growing creator economy. Get in there and get a piece of the pie!