Digital Marketing Blog

Join us on Gary.Club and get our email newsletter and updates delivered directly to your inbox!

Go Back

What Is The Creator Economy?

Posted by Gary Henderson on Mar 16, 2021 2:49:51 PM

People over a certain age will remember the evenings spent flicking through TV channels in the vain hope of finding something interesting to watch.

There was usually nothing interesting available, and we would often end up staring emotionlessly at the TV screen, ‘watching’ a show that frankly bored us to tears. There was just no other option other than watching something we had pre-recorded or switching off and doing something different altogether. 

The internet has changed all of that. Easier access to content has increased the demand, and the amount of available content has increased to meet that demand.

We now have brands like Netflix alongside the traditional big movie makers and TV channels to meet the demand that has emerged.

There are also many smaller businesses and personal brands producing vast amounts of content for us to enjoy. A lot of these businesses are very small, and surprisingly many are one-person teams.

Technology has made it possible even for amateurs to create their own content without the need for a huge budget and technical know-how.

All it takes now is a little research into production techniques, a standard computer or other device and, perhaps most importantly – an idea of what to create. 

This ability for individuals to create their own content has resulted in the birth of the creator economy. 

What Is The Creator Economy?

What is the creator economy today?

Even if you have not heard of the creator economy, you have likely encountered it in some way. It is likely that you have experienced it weekly, or even daily. 

Simply put, the creator economy is what you are probably thinking it sounds like – an economy created by creators.

In this case, the creators are not large media or TV companies but everyday people, many of whom have a basic ‘studio’ set up in their bedrooms.

One thing the creator economy helps to overcome is the misconception of what people are worth.

For example, somebody who needs a job might find themselves in a job paying just $10/hour because they have no other choice; they need to make an income.

Is a person really worth just $10/hour? Of course not!

But people are forced to accept that little because they have a stark choice: That or nothing.

Despite this, many of them still have valuable skills to offer. It’s just that there’s not enough demand for those skills.

Thanks to the creator economy, fewer people are forced to accept low paid jobs because they can’t find anything else that fits their skills.

Instead, they can now put those skills to work and decide for themselves what they are worth. 

How Does The Creator Economy Work?

The principle behind the creator economy is quite simple. Create something and use that thing to make money - to make your own economy. 

What you create is up to you and it could be something like funny videos, a blog, vlog, music, yoga classes, ‘how to’ videos… the list is endless.

You then publish the content by distributing it on one of the various creator economy platforms that are available such as YouTube, Instagram, Clubhouse, and TikTok.

The content can then be monetized, potentially making a lucrative income for an individual creator.

One way the internet changed everything is that it opens up content to a far larger audience. For creators, this meant that they could start focusing on finer niche audiences.

In the past, content needed to appeal to a wider audience if it was able to generate enough money to make a profit. Today’s creators, however, only have to focus on a tiny fraction of the public and they can still gather huge audiences. 

America has a population of approximately 33 million people. Attracting just 1/100th of a percent of that number will still mean an audience of 33,100 people.

If just 1% of those people paid an average of $10 each, that would mean ad revenue of $3,100 from a single video that can be made using the camera on your phone.

It’s easy to see the potential, and why 50 million people are now involved in the creator economy. 

The Rise of the Creator Economy

How to become a youtube content creator

There have always been creators profiting from their talents. Even before TV there were authors, actors, and playwrights creating content for consumption by the masses.

With limited demand for content, however, opportunities were thin and only those at the very top could make it. Even the introduction of the internet didn’t bring about the creator revolution immediately.

To begin with, access to the internet was limited and the bandwidth allowed for little more than the ability to (slowly) open a page with text and a few images.

The early internet was used more for information than anything else; offering very little in entertainment value. 

Internet speeds gradually grew faster, however, giving users more functionality and flexibility and an increasing number of people had internet connections in their homes.

In 1997, sixdegrees.com was born which is widely considered to be the first ever social media site and it allowed people to talk with each other from across the globe.

It was basic by today’s standards but still novel at the time and amassed a following of 3.5 million people before it eventually closed in 2001. 

Fast-forward to 2004 and Facebook, which needs no introduction, was launched and took social media to the next level.

Almost a year to the day later we saw another name that needs no introduction: YouTube. 

How to make money on Youtube

This really blew things wide open.

YouTube made it easy for just about anybody with a computer and internet connection to make their own channels. Amateurs were sharing videos of just about anything.

Their interests, their passions – anything they wanted to. With the wide reach the internet gives us, even the nichiest of niches could attract large audiences. 

Let’s not forget about another development that came on the scene at about the same time as Facebook and YouTube – smartphones.

People can now access the internet from just about anywhere and they can watch whatever they want. Watching content became much more of a private thing than sitting around the TV with the family regardless of whether or not you were interested in the show.

It was now a lot easier for people to watch what THEY wanted to watch, rather than some generic family show.

It wasn’t before people started creating a wide range of content, with just a couple of examples below.

Example #1: Smosh

It wasn’t long after YouTube was launched that we saw a prime example of how everyday people can use the creator economy to create a career for themselves.

Smosh is a YouTube creators channel that was launched by two friends in 2005 – just a few months after the platform launched. The duo started uploading comedy sketches that they created themselves and their work soon became very popular.

The company now has 7 channels focusing on sketches, cartoons, and gaming, and they also have channels in Spanish and French.

Smosh is now a group of channels that has almost 46 million subscribers and has had 14 billion views. And all this started with two friends who were just having a bit of fun. Indeed, they did not intend to post their videos online until friends convinced them otherwise. 

Example #2: Ryan’s World

Ryan’s World is an example of how somebody just needs an idea without necessarily being especially gifted – with no offence to the creators of the show.

It is such a simple idea that countless people around the world must be thinking “Why didn’t I think of that first?”

The creators of Ryan’s world were not the first to think of the idea but they were probably the most successful. They now have more than 28 million subscribers and their videos have been viewed a total of 45 billion times. 

What is Ryan's world?

But what is this great idea that has made the channel such a huge success? Toy reviews.

Many of the videos involve little more than a young boy named Ryan playing with toys and reviewing them with his parents. It was a simple idea, but one that millions of people across the globe loved. 

Example #3: Influencers

⭐Related Post: How to Become a Social Media Influencer

You can’t talk about the creator economy without mentioning influencer marketing because it is almost synonymous in many ways.  

An influencer is somebody who can, well, influence people. Many are famous people who are influencers even if they don’t intend to be.

Take Lady Gaga, for example – if she was to wear a dress made by a particular brand, that brand could expect to see a considerable and sudden boost in sales.

But it’s not only superstars that can be influencers. A lot of people have used social media, particularly Instagram, to build a brand, attract a following, and become influencers in their own right.

Clubhouse is also working to create their own rise of creators and influencers for their platform. They just launched their very first Creator First Program where they will even help pay for the necessities you need to create the perfect show!

With a following of people who fit into a particular niche, influencer marketing is a dream come true for many marketing departments and many companies look to make associations with influencers in their field. 

An average influencer can themselves expect to make between from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands a year. Then, of course, there are the mega-influencers who are household names – these guys can expect to make millions. 

There are people on OnlyFans right now making over six figures a month and some millions year -- this is only the tip of the iceberg for what the creator industry will see. 

Example #4: Gamers as Creators

The creator economy has also benefited from the emergence of another large and growing industry – gaming. 15-20 or so years ago, gaming was very popular but was still limited to people playing alone or with friends on the same computer or console.

Yet again, we can thank the internet for changing that. 

As internet speeds increased, it became possible for people thousands of miles away from each other to play with or against each other. With this development, gaming became a huge opportunities for people to 

Considering the competitive nature of so many games, competitions were formed to find champions. With big competitions, there are big prizes, and the industry can be very lucrative for some people.

The top earner in the e-sports industry is a Danish gentleman by the name of Johan Sundstein who has amassed winnings of almost $7million at the ripe old age of just 27 years.

But it’s not only the best gamers that can benefit from the industry.

There are many more gamers that aren’t necessarily competition level that can still produce gaming content that other people want to watch. This led to the formation of multiple platforms like Twitch that allows gamers to live-stream themselves playing games.

What is Twitch? 

Such is the popularity of gaming content that it can attract some very large audiences.

American Tyler Blevins (also known as Ninja) has nearly 17 million followers on Twitch and has become somewhat of a superstar in the world of gaming.

At just 29 years old, Tyler is worth more than $25 million although and that wealth has been accumulated through a number of sources, including a popular YouTube Channel.

How Are People Using the Creator Economy?

The basic premise of the creator economy is quite basic, but there are numerous ways people can use it to create content that is lucrative. 

Focus on Content With High Reply Value

One thing that many creators focus on is content that can be used again, and again, and again. This is particularly the case on platforms like YouTube where money is generated every time a video is viewed.

Music is a good example of this, as are games, which are another type of content. 

Focus on Niches

It doesn’t matter if you are the only person you know who is interested in a particular niche, you can be confident that there’s one hell of a lot of people nationally and globally who share the same interest.

You can also be confident that creators are creating relevant content on that niche. 

Focusing on a particular niche allows independent content creators to develop a more loyal following. This, in turn, can help them to generate super fans.

These are those fans that will be happy to pay for pretty much any content the creator produces. This, in turn, can generate a fairly steady cash flow that is added to by purchases from less regular fans.

NFTS

One of the newest ways people use the creator economy is with non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

An NFT can be considered to be a digital certificate showing that you owe a particular digital asset. The NFT can be minted and published on a blockchain. 

NFTs give the holder ownership over digital assets that can still be left in the public domain for all to see.

One example is an NFT created by Steve Aoki, the dance music producer.

He recently created an NFT for a digital art piece called “hairy”, which was created using a combination of digital animation and music.

The NFT was then purchased for $888,888.88 by businessman John Legere, who now owns the art piece. Legere is now free to sell, distribute, or license the piece as he wishes. 

Another example is an NFT created by Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter. He created an NFT for the first-ever tweet (which was written by him).

Until that point, the tweet had no monetary value. Then, the NFT went to auction and was sold for $2.5 million. 

Collaboration

A lot of content creators are finding ways to collaborate with other creators. It makes a lot of sense to do so because, in doing so, they can help to give each other a boost in visibility.

When creators do work together, the followers of each creator will be automatically introduced to the other creator. Many of those will then begin to follow both creators, making it a win-win for all concerned.

One example of this happening is the Hype House, which was created by Tik Tok and involves a group of creators coming together under the same roof living and working together, creating a kind of creator ecosystem.

Their collective skills and follower base helped each of them to expand on their own brands and, by extension, their income.

Creating a Passive Income

When you are in standard employment, let’s say working in an office, your income from that company stops the moment you stop working with them.

All the work you have done is owned by the employer, not yourself, and they are the only ones to continue benefitting from it.

This is often not the case for content creators. If you go to YouTube you can find videos that were uploaded years ago and many are still very much active.

Many of these videos are still being viewed on a daily basis, the ads are still being shown, and the creator is being paid their share.

This creates a passive income that will gradually increase the more content the creator uploads. Of course, it takes work to get to that stage in the first place, but those who are reaping the rewards now will surely say it was all worth it. 

Creator Coins - (Check out my $GARY COIN)

A relatively new way of making the most of the creator economy is creator coins, also known as social tokens. 

A creator can have their own social coin created which is backed by the popularity and/or success of the creator and their brand.

The creator can buy their own coins and choose to hold on to them or give them away to followers as rewards. Their followers can then choose to give them to other creators or whomever they like, or they can give them back in exchange for access to content and other perks and rewards.

Fans can also choose to buy the coins instead of having to wait for them to be given as ‘rewards’.

The coins do have a real monetary value, but the rate is not set by inflation rates or other factors that influence the strength of ‘real’ currencies like the USD.

Instead, the value of the coins will be affected by how in-demand they are, and demand will be influenced by how popular the creator is. This allows creators to make their own economy, with their currency influenced directly by their content creation. 

Creator coins are something I am particularly excited about. Why? – Because I have one.

What is a Creator Coin?

I was recently granted my own creator coin ($GARY COIN) on clubhouse making me one of the first 75 people to have one. I am so proud and excited to be helping to innovate and find new ways to use creator coins and create my own economy for my fans. 

This is new to me as well as it is for everybody else and that makes it so thrilling because there is so much to be learned. I just can’t wait to see what I can do with the coin and where it will take me next.

If you want to learn more about this exciting new addition to the creator economy, I have written a blog that explains the coin in more detail here. 

How Else Do Creators Make Money?

This is the burning question for many. Make content and make money from it? Fine! But how?

There are numerous methods of monetization that can be found on different platforms.

Advertising

You know when you’re watching a video on YouTube and an annoying advert comes on?

While they can be irritating, we should try and appreciate them in a way because if it was not for those adverts, you might not be seeing the content in the first place.

YouTube offers a profit-sharing scheme with creators who place adverts on their video. Whenever an ad is shown then both parties get a share of what the advertiser pays.

According to Influencer MarketingHub, and average YouTube channel will receive around $18 advertising revenue for every 1,000 views. It is not uncommon for an individual video to receive more than 100,000 views and this will mean more than $1,800 for each video published on the platform.

Take into account that a single channel may publish multiple videos weekly and it’s easy to see how a very attractive income can be made.

Paid Subscriptions

If you produce good quality content on a regular basis there will be people who are willing to pay a monthly subscription to access that content.

In most cases, it will not be necessary to have a subscription to access all of a creator’s content.

Instead, they will often publish some content that is free for all to view with the *premium* content being behind a paywall. This acts as a kind of hook that gets viewers interested – hopefully interested enough that they’re willing to pay for more.

Subscription business models vary with most platforms taking a percentage for themselves.  

Contributions

A lot of content you will find online is available for no charge at all, with no hidden costs.

However, these creators will often give people the opportunity to donate to help fund their efforts. This method tends to be popular among modders – people who create add ons to games and other software.

With popular games having players in the millions, modders can make a good income just by receiving donations from a very small percentage of the gaming community.

Many online games are updated often meaning the mods will also need to be kept up to date, enabling modders to ask for more donations. 

Merchandise

T-shirts, caps, mugs, pens, mouse-mats – there’s a huge range of merchandise that can be sold. Many creators will develop their own brand and this then leads to a wider range of marketing opportunities.

One example is Logan Paul, a controversial yet very successful creator known for creating a variety of content including sketches, music, and even challenging professional boxers to fights.

 

 

Not only does Logan create merchandise but he has even created his own line of clothing called Maverick.

Sponsorships

A lot of creators have a large audience and this is a potential gold mine for businesses.

With this in mind, it would make sense for a business to sponsor a creator to keep on creating provided it’s content that benefits the company.

Not only can a product be promoted directly but the sponsorship, along with the Sponsor’s name, can also be mentioned. This, in turn, will help to increase the brand’s visibility and also directly generate some revenue.

Creators with large followings can demand some very lucrative deals from potential sponsors. 

Conclusion

The creator economy only looks set to grow further as more and more people come online and get access to the tools needed.

Not only has the pandemic affected the way millions make an income but the world can expect to see further disruption in the future as increased automation means fewer jobs are available.

We can also expect to see the creator economy to become more diverse as people look to exploit new angles, and discover the possibilities as a creator.

You might even be poised to take advantage yourself without realizing it. Just ask yourself, do you create anything that might be in demand from other people?

It doesn’t just have to be music, video, and other similar arts.

Perhaps you can provide valuable business or investment advice that other people will be willing to pay for? Maybe you are an expert in DIY and can create content that will help people around their own homes. 

Whatever you may do, the opportunities are endless with the creator economy. You have to learn how to become your own creator economist.