Some of you may find it hard to believe, but a decade ago, people used to flip through TV channels to find something interesting to watch in the evening. They either watched the TV content emotionlessly or switched ‘the idiot box‘ off to find something else to do. The easy access to the internet has changed the whole concept of content demand. Today we have brands like Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc., running alongside the big movie makers and TV channels providing entertaining content round the clock matching our tastes.
The technology has made it even for amateurs to create content without a big budget or technical know-how. There are 50 million content creators, out-of-which 46.7 million are individual amateur creators. The amalgamation of technology and the internet has opened doors for people to turn their hobbies into an opportunity to earn money.
Now, you can be a Youtuber, a Podcaster, or a content creator benefitting from the creator’s economy. In addition, you can be part of this creator economy by being a community builder like social media influencers, bloggers, videographers, etc. In the blog, we unravel the buzz to understand what this creator economy is and how you can make money in this world by being a content creator.
What is the Creator Economy?
It refers to a community of independent content creators (bloggers, writers, YouTubers, videographers, etc.,) curators, and community builders like influencers, pursuing their passion, building a following, and monetizing their skills with the help of software and financial tools.
Imagine standing in a supermarket in front of the cereal aisle. Dozens of brands are staring at your face. How much does the graphic and information on the cereal box or the celebrity endorsement influence you to buy one?
The answer is that you pick a brand recommended by someone close to you, someone you follow on social media, or the one you found worth buying through online reviews. Ultimately, you go for the brand you trust, love and respect, even though a lesser-known alternative is available at a lower price.
For a long time, marketers counted on traditional media channels and celebrity endorsements to create brand awareness and boost sales. But, these conventional methods no longer stand valuable today as millennials prefer social media over TV/newspapers. It gives the fuel to the creator economy.
How Does the Creator Economy Work?
People in today’s generation do not aspire for the traditional 9-to-5 job industry to fit into a corporate role suiting their skills. Instead, they prefer focussing on their talent, developing them, and turning it into a money-making venture.
The process the simple – based on your skills, you create something. You can create anything like funny videos, a blog, vlog, music, yoga classes, ‘How to’ videos… the list is endless. Then publish your content using any creator economy platform like YouTube, Instagram, Clubhouse, TikTok, Twitch, Substack, Patreon, LinkTree, Wibbitz, etc. The easy accessibility of the internet to everyone facilitates getting content monetized, providing a lucrative income for the content creator.
Let’s do a little math to understand it better – America has (approximately) over 33 million population. If your content attracts even 1/100th of that number, you get an audience of 33,000. If 1% of them pay $10 (an average) each, you generate ad revenue of $3,300 from a single video (just using your phone camera, nothing hi-tech).
If you want clarity on the market potential, check out these creator economy stats a bit.
- It has received over $1.3 billion in funding in 2022 alone and is growing fast, expecting to double from 50 million to 100 million creators in the coming years
- About 12 million out of the 31 million channels on YouTube have subscribers within the 100-10K range
- Brands like Zomato and Bumble are partnering with content moguls for personalized promotion through relatable public images and quirky memes
- Substack has more than 250,000 paying subscribers and is among the top ten publishers, collectively bringing in $7 million in annual revenue and providing creative, editorial, and financial freedom to journalists
Creator economy allows you to make an income doing what you are passionate about, from cooking to teaching to reacting to movies, video games, music videos, etc.
Here are some examples of individual content creators who now earn a massive online income
- Fashion influencer Forever Yours Betty
- Y Travel Blog on YouTube
- Fitness instructor Cassey Ho of blogilates
- Blogger Brian Clark of the popular Copyblogger
- YouTuber Ryan Kaji, popularly known for toy reviews, science experiments, skits, DIY arts & crafts
- Podcasters Beth & Sarah of ‘Pantsuit Politics‘
The Rise of the Creator Economy
Almost everything you see online or hear online today is content, whether it’s informative or pure entertainment. From comedy, gym, and gameplay videos to DIY videos, online demos, etc., internet technology caters to fulfill our need for information and entertainment.
Before the internet, even before TV, there were authors, actors, and playwrights creating content for mass consumption. But only a few made it to the top due to limited demand for content. Pre-Y2K (2000), people had limited internet access, and its bandwidth was low. Information sharing was the priority, and it offered very little entertainment value.
Post-2004, after Facebook and YouTube launched, it blew things wide open. Better internet connections and easy computer access gave content creators the chance to create their channels and share videos. In addition, smartphone technology boosted the creator economy and made content creation a piece of cake with internet access.
People now can access the internet anywhere, anytime, and watch whatever they want. Watching content on smartphones has become a new normal with the privilege of privacy instead of sitting around the TV with the family to view uninteresting content. It has opened doors not only for actors, screenwriters, authors, seasoned artists, and professionals but also for amateurs to create content capturing niche markets.
Here are some examples of how people started creating a wide range of content
Smosh is a YouTube creator’s channel launched by two friends in 2005. They started uploading comedy sketches created by themselves and soon became popular. Today Smosh has 7-channels focusing on sketch comedy, cartoons, and gaming. They also have channels in French and Spanish.
Smosh channels get 16.3 billion views and more than 45 million subscribers combined. It all began with two friends laughing, having fun, and never intending to post online videos but ended up doing so after their friends convinced them to do.
If you thought you must have the gifted talent to become a content creator, you are wrong. Sometimes even a simple idea can draw viewers’ attention, letting them enjoy watching your content (no offense intended to the show’s creators).
Ryan’s world is an excellent example that made countless people worldwide think – “Why didn’t I think of that first?“
It’s a children’s YouTube channel created for kids 2–6 featuring Ryan Kaji and his mother, father, and twin sisters. It began with toy reviews and now extends to educational videos with science experiments, skits, DIY arts and crafts, etc. Ryan Kaji is one of the highest-paid YouTube personalities in the world, with a net worth of (approximately) $32 million as of 2022.
It draws more than 48 billion viewers and has 30.9 million subscribers. He is also a big influencer in the toy industry due to his massive viewership that impacts toy sales with his reviews.
The creator economy is incomplete without mentioning influencers. Many famous people like Lady Gaga, Cristiano Ronaldo, Justin Bieber, Shakira, and so on are huge influencers with millions of followers and influence brands in their social universe.
It does not mean you have to be a celebrity to be an influencer. You can use social media (like Instagram) to build a brand, attract a following, and become influencers in your way. The Clubhouse has a Creator First Program to help you pay for the necessities to create the perfect show.
Here are a few names of influencers as content creators
- Beauty Influencers: Huda Kattan (50.2 million followers), James Charles (23.1 million followers)
- Fashion and Style Influencers: Gigi Hadid (74.2 million followers), Chiara Ferragni (27 million followers)
- Food Influencers: Salt Bae (45 million followers), Jamie Oliver (9.0 million followers)
- Lifestyle Influencers: Joanna Gaines (13.6 million followers), Carlinhos Maia (25.1 million followers)
- Photography Influencer: Murad Osmann (3.5 million followers)
- Fitness Influencers: Kayla Itsines (14.3 million followers), Simeon Panda (8.0 million followers)
- Travel Influencer: Jack Morris (2.6 million followers)
- YouTubers: Zach King (24.5 million followers)
- TikTokers: Charli d’Amelio (47.7 million followers)
Gamers as Content eCreators
The creator economy has also boosted the gaming industry. Gaming is no more limited to one console with people playing alone or with friends. The internet has made it possible for people thousands of miles away to play with or against each other. The industry has become lucrative for many with online competitions and big prizes.
- Johan Sundstein is the top earner in the esports industry who has amassed everyone with winnings of almost $7million at the age of 27 years.
- Tyler Blevins (Ninja) is an American Twitch streamer, YouTuber, and professional gamer who live-streams his games like Halo, Fortnite, Call of Duty, War Zone, etc. His net worth is roughly $25 million as of 2022.
How Are People Using The Creator Economy?
Whether it’s movies, web series, books, podcasts, online blogs, or videos, content is the king. It is the crude base to create anything in the creator economy to build followers or viewership. Check out how people use the creator economy to create engaging and lucrative content.
● Focusing on Content with High-Replay Value
The content creators focus on content that remains usable with a repeated viewership in years to come, like music videos, How-to videos, or gameplay videos on YouTube that generates money every time the videos get viewed.
● Focusing on Niches
Don’t think you are the only person interested in a specific niche like painting a room, a school science project, carving wooden furniture, blowing glass into art, sorting wardrobes, anything. Be confident, and remember numerous people worldwide may share the same interest. Master your skills, focus on the niche, and create relevant content. Concentrating on a niche allows you to develop a loyal following, turn them into super fans, and generate income.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are the newest way people use the creator economy. NFT works as a digital certificate showing that you owe a particular digital asset. Then, you can mint and publish it on the blockchain, which allows you to hold the ownership of the asset even if it is left in the public domain for all to see.
Steve Aoki, the dance music producer, created NFT for a digital art piece called ‘Hairy’. John Legere, a businessman, purchased its NFT for $888,888.88. As a result, he owns the art piece and is free to sell, distribute, or license it as he wishes.
Many content creators find ways to work together. Such collaboration allows the followers of each creator to check out the other creator automatically. Chances are many will then begin to follow both creators, making it a win-win for all.
The Hype House created by TikTok is one example that involves a group of creators coming together under the same roof and working together. As a result, their collaborative skills and follower base helped further expand their brand name and income.
● Creating Passive Income
In a traditional setting, when you work for a company, your creative input pays you till you work for them. As soon as you leave the company, your employer owns all your creativity, benefitting from it, and you get nothing.
But you can use the creator economy to generate passive income when you are a content creator. For example, check out YouTube; you can find videos uploaded years ago still active. If you view them now, the creator will get paid their share for the ads you view in those videos. Therefore, the more videos the creator uploads, their passive income gradually increases.
Tips To Earn Money as a Content Creator
Finally, we are here to answer that burning question – how to make money from content creation. First, look at some content monetization methods found on various creator economy platforms to understand them better.
● Paid Content Subscribes
The most popular content economy platform is YouTube, and it works on a subscribers model. The more your content remains relevant and engaging. The subscriber base grows further along with your income. If your channel has 1000+ subscribers, you can expect anywhere between $10 to $300 in monthly AdSense revenue. Twitter has also started its paid tweet feature super follows, allowing creators to create a subscribing audience who pays to watch their exclusive tweets.
You might all have come across advertisements when you watch videos on YouTube. YouTube offers a profit-sharing scheme with content creators and places ads in their videos. When anyone views the video and watches the advertisement, both parties earn a share of the advertisers’ pay. According to Influencer MarketingHub, a YouTube channel receives around $18 (average) advertising revenue for every 1,000 views. The higher the number of videos you upload, the higher your viewership gets, and you earn an attractive income.
You can find a lot of content online for free, with no hidden costs. Such content creators will often give people the opportunity to donate to help fund their efforts. It is most common among people who create add-ons to games and other software. As popular games have players in the millions, you can get decent income by receiving donations from even a minor percentage of the gaming community.
● Exclusive Stuff
If you become an established content creator, YouTube allows you to create exclusive stuff. Through a ‘Join’ button feature on your YouTube channel, viewers can see that content by paying a minimal monthly fee. As a successful content creator, you can launch your NFTs for your exclusive stuff and sell it for hefty amounts.
● Specific Information Via Courses
Post-pandemic, YouTube is flooded with unique information videos. It has a ready audience to learn a new language, a musical instrument, cooking, baking, public speaking, etc. If you have any specific knowledge, convert it into content and sell it through an online course. Educational special information YouTube videos are one such example.
If your channel has large viewership and followers, you can demand some very lucrative deals from potential sponsors. Businesses agree to do it, provided your content benefits the company. Then, you can directly promote the product, use the sponsors’ names and increase their brand visibility to boost your earnings.
● Fan Interactions and Events
If you have a steady flow of followers and viewership on a creator economy platform, jump to the next level by organizing fan interactions and events. Some organizations also host an event and pay the creator to join it, like comedy shows, storytelling events, musical events, etc. It can also become a revenue stream for such content creators.
Some successful content creators and influencers have developed their exclusive brands. Then, they sell their merchandise to make money using the creator economy. American YouTuber Logan Paul is one such example who runs a lucrative merchandise company named Maverick Apparel.
Tips to be Prominent in the World of Content Creators and Influencers
#1 Find a niche and become a master of it before creating any content about it on creator economy platforms.
#2 Keep an open mind to do things others have not done yet. Whether you make a comedy, gameplay, or cooking video, you must develop a unique style. People appreciate authenticity and differentiation.
#3 Online learning is a huge thing now, especially post-pandemic. Use platforms like Udemy and Skillshare to create an online course and grow your audience by selling it to thousands of people using creator economy platforms.
#4 Add value to your content by keeping it relevant to viewers. Understand your Key Performance Indicators like followers, organic traffic, comments on a post, reactions on the post, video views, etc., and increase your online income in the long run.
#5 Whether you are an influencer or content creator, be consistent with your publishing schedule.
#6 Keep an eye on others in your field and continuously improve upon your craft.
#7 Don’t get carried away with other content creators’ success. It is easy to get blind by glamor as no one sees the background of hard work and struggles while being on a social media live.
#8 Understand your audience’s expectations and connect with them (use regional language if necessary to connect more).
#9 Give your audience priority before brand deals. Your reputation and audience trust are the most potent assets as an influencer.
#10 Content creator or influencer is a world filled with hard work. However, performance pressure can cause stress, anxiety, and depression if people don’t like your work and share hatred on social media. Therefore, take care of your mental and physical health for long-term success and best performance.
The pandemic has affected how millions make an income and changed the perspective of earning money. In addition, it has made the creator economy more diverse as people look to exploit new angles and discover possibilities of earning money as content creators.
Ask yourself what you can create that might be in demand from other people?
Use the tips to create content and take advantage of the easy accessibility of the internet to promote it. The creator economy has a bright future and will expand beyond 50 million content creators. Social media and digital marketing will be critical in making the creators’ content easily visible to viewers. It will allow the creator economy to boom.