There’s an undeniable fact that we need to accept — the creator economy will continue to grow. The global creator economy includes a pool of over 207 million creators from around the world and in this year alone, the creator economy is valued at over $250 billion.
However, one of the biggest things that brands are still struggling to understand is how to properly approach working with creators and the mutual relationship that needs to be built in order to have a successful partnership. The creator economy will only continue to go up, especially with new platforms emerging and digital content becoming more demanding than ever.
What’s the Difference Between an Influencer and a Creator
Before we dive into some tips on how to approach this booming creator economy, we first need to debunk one thing: creators and influencers are NOT the same thing. This is unsurprisingly a common misconception, but the difference lies in the ‘WHY’ of the individual’s content.
An influencer often has more authority in purchasing decisions, hence within the term itself – they influence their audiences. They have authority in their presence and they often work with the intent to convince their followers to purchase a specific brand, product, service. While most influencers have niches, sometimes large scale influencers do not. Their likeness as an individual is enough for a brand to want to work with them.
A content creator on the other hand, doesn’t produce content for the sake of selling, they create content to entertain and educate. It’s literally their job to create content. But they too have a niche that they are deeply passionate about and have become an expert in over time. Usually we see forms of creator content through how-to-videos, a-day-in-the-life, tutorials, and tips.
Content Creator: Dude Perfect
An example of a content creator is the widely known group: DudePerfect. Five friends who shared a passion for entertainment and sports whose videos of them performing sports stunts and challenges overtime helped them grow over 59 million subscribers and 16 billion video views.
YOU MAY WANT TO LISTEN TO: DudePerfect on Social Pros Podcast.
Celebrity Influencer: The Rock
An example of an influencer is of course a celebrity like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Does he need an explanation? His partnership with Under Armour is a great example of utilizing his likeness as a way to amplify the sports brand.
Now that we understand the difference, here’s some things to consider when and before you work with creators.
1. Loosen up and give up some control
Control seems to be something that’s human nature. But unfortunately, having too much of your hands on the steering wheel when partnering with creators is hurting your brand more than it’s helping. Content creators are experts in what they do, so you need to trust that they can produce valuable content for your brand’s products or services.
AdWeek’s Social Media Week in May this year was focused solely on the ‘Creatorverse’. Respected industry leaders and brands who are already doing great in working with creators all highlighted the importance of letting loose, and not pushing too much when working with content creators. This does not mean that you can’t provide some guidelines and main talking points. You definitely can, but allow the creator to create based off of it.
2. Learn and respect creator values
Content creators, more than any other type of person out there, will have a niche. 99% of the time, this niche was built overtime, allowing them to be experts in what they are educating or entertaining their audience about. You can’t approach a creator and expect them to work with you if you don’t respect their values and the things that they are passionate about.
Imagine a content creator that produces how-to videos on vegetarian recipes get’s pitched to work with a brand that sells predominantly meat foods. Not only does it not align well with either side, but it just comes off disrespectful. Content creators will often value their passion over how big the check is.
Ask yourselves this, why wouldn’t you want to work with someone that has the same values as your own brand? It makes sense to find those who do if you want the best ROI. Do the research!
3. Figure out your partnership strategy
What you want to do prior to reaching out to a potential content creator for a project, is determining the scope of work you’re looking to do with them. You never want to go into an initial meeting with them, unsure of what you’re trying to get out of it. It should not be their full responsibility to figure out your goals for you.
The partnership will work best if both parties are confident in each other. If you come to them knowing their type of content, the platform you want to work on, and their content style, it will provide the BEST results. Content creators are digitally savvy and they are great at coming up with ideas. If they are confident in you as a brand, knowing the research and knowledge you bring to the table, they’re more likely to produce the best quality materials that will help your brand succeed.
4. Prepare to put in equal effort
Content creators aren’t just recording one video then calling it a day. They may have other commitments such as other jobs or other projects with more pressing deadlines.
According to MBO’s Creator Economy Trends Report, the majority of content creators take on various streams of income. Nearly 57% of independent creators have traditional jobs, with 41% having full-time jobs and 16% working part-time. Don’t expect a content creator to drop everything that they are doing to accommodate your needs if you as a brand are unable to be flexible in return.
Be Ready to Support Your Creators
Lastly, while backlash isn’t inevitable, expect a few bumps along the way. Social media especially isn’t the most forgiving place.
People are allowed to have opinions, and sometimes, these opinions are often directed toward your creators more than the brand itself. If your brand spots backlash and negativity towards a creator you’re working it, staying silent is ethically wrong. Of course, depending on the type of backlash, you should be standing up for your creator, or have a plan ready with comms in case something out of your control arises from the creators side. Not everyone or every brand is perfect, but a partnership is an equal effort.
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