What is the creator economy?
It’s the economy that has sprung up around content creation online with creators monetizing what they’re putting online. Creators can work with brands and organizations to promote products, services, ideas, or awareness. Content creators may sell their own products and services, or receive a commission for selling things. Paid subscription models directly from the audience for content are also gaining in popularity.
Creator Economy Glossary
To learn more about content creation and the creator economy, check out this glossary of common terms.
Affiliate Marketing: A type of influencer marketing where creators receive compensation from a brand for bringing awareness, traffic, or leads for their product or service. For example, a creator can share a unique link or discount code with their followers and receive a portion of the profits.
Algorithm: Each social media platform operates on a different algorithm which is a mathematical set of rules specifying how content shows up. On each person’s social feeds, content shows up differently, with posts often sorted into relevancy instead of recency. This means that the posts by the most popular users that get the most engagement will be shown at the top.
Audience: The audience is the people who the content creation is aimed at, generally grouped around similar interests or needs.
Benchmark: A benchmark is a measurement of how well your content is doing compared to competitors or similar creators. These metrics can include post engagement, follower numbers, and publishing frequency.
BeReal: BeReal is a new social media platform where everyone is prompted at a different time each day to take and share a photo of themselves and their environment within two minutes. As the name suggests, it’s supposed to be more realistic than other platforms, with no filters or editing of photos available.
Brand Ambassador: Brand Ambassadors are people hired by a company to promote its products or services through their followers on social media platforms and elsewhere. They can provide a warmer, human feel to the brand and help promote the brand’s values.
Call to Action (CTA): The action you request of your followers, usually at the end of the content. A Call to Action can show up as a link, button, or clickable image, or be said in a social post, video, or podcast. Examples of Calls to Action include:
- Subscribe to a YouTube channel
- Subscribe to a newsletter
- Donate to a cause
- Try out a free trial
Canva: Canva is an online platform for social media photo and video design. The basic plan is free so it’s a good alternative to Adobe Creative Cloud (below) and you can use it to create Instagram stories, graphics, logos, presentations, ads, virtual Zoom backgrounds, and more.
Cameo: Cameo is a website where you can buy personalized videos from celebrities and other influencers. Now there’s even a Creator section with TikTok stars, podcasters, bloggers, gamers, and even, internet-famous animals.
Clickbait: You know those social media posts with headlines so ridiculous but so intriguing that you have to click it? That’s clickbait – content, like an article, video, or photo, that is intentionally used to attract attention. Clickbait is generally negative as it can contain sensationalized or misleading headlines or information.
Content Creator: Content creators are people or organizations that regularly post content online, which could be videos, live streams, photos, social stories, podcasts, memes, and more. Usually, content creation is a job or way to make money, but can also be a way to spread ideas and create change. Creators generally target specific types of users and can create a community around shared interests or needs.
Conversion: When a follower completes your call-to-action, such as subscribing to your newsletter or purchasing an ebook, this is a conversion. Conversion rates are used to look at the success of marking efforts.
Creative Cloud (Adobe Creative Suite): Adobe Creative Cloud is a suite of computer programs, including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, and more, which are popular with creators working with photography, graphic design, video editing, and web development.
Creator Economy: People making money online off of content creation, such as through social media, podcasts, livestreams, events, and more, usually through advertising, influencer marketing, brand partnerships, and fan support.
Editorial Calendar: An editorial calendar may be used by a content creator or organization to schedule what will be posted, where, and when. Calendars are usually part of social media planning as content must be regularly posted for prime engagement.
Engagement Rate: The number of times people interact with your content is the engagement rate. This can be likes, comments, retweets, or shares on your social media content.
Facebook: One of the original social media platforms and continues to be one of the largest. But user demographic is now skewing older and newer and trendier content is more likely to be shared on TikTok now.
Following: The number of people that subscribe to the social media of a person or organization, such as Facebook friends, Instagram follows, and YouTube subscribers.
Giphy: Giphy is a free online database and search engine for GIFS, short looping videos, and animated stickers. Giphy can be used to embed GIFS in social media content, newsletters, websites, and other content.
Influencer: Influencers are people with large social media platforms, often in specific niches or around certain topics or interests, who are regularly posting new content. For example, there’s a large world of beauty influencers on Youtube, TikTok, and Instagram whose names likely won’t be known outside of this community.
Impression: Each time someone views your social media post, this counts as an impression. This is different from engagement, which is when someone views the content as well as interacts with it – such as by liking or commenting. Impressions are the number of times the content is displayed, but not the number of people who see it, which is reach (defined below).
Influencer Marketing: This is a type of social media marketing that uses the power of influencers, people with large online followings, to sell products, drive traffic to brands, or create awareness.
Instagram: A social media platform almost entirely concentrated on images. Influencers can attract large followings and brands through partnerships on Instagram, specifically in industries like travel and beauty. Instagram stories are also popular ways to create regular content.
Key Performance Indicator (KPI): KPIs are a set of measurements for gauging for well your content is performing. KPIs you could be tracking include followers, reach, impressions, and audience growth rate.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the professional social media platform for developing work relationships. But it’s also proving to be a useful place to share content, with high engagement rates, especially in topics like business and leadership.
Meme: Memes are a part of Internet culture; they can be a photo, video, idea, style, or more. Anything that is shared broadly online, usually for humor, and that evolves and changes can be considered a meme.
Metrics: Metrics are the measurements of the popularity of social media accounts, posts, stories, and the like. These can include follower growth, impressions, and engagement rates. Often you won't get full metrics on all social media accounts. You’ll need to have a business or creator account on Instagram to see all the information available. With Facebook Pages, you can access Facebook Insights which has more information on your followers, such as location, age, gender, and more.
Monetize: Monetizing means converting something into money. Most content creation starts as a hobby, but if you become popular enough and gain enough of a following, you can monetize your content and start earning money from your social media audience. Social media content can be monetized using brand partnerships, affiliate marketing, or advertising. The YouTube Partner Program, for example, can make you money by running ads on your videos, provided you meet certain eligibility requirements, including having more than 1000 subscribers and more than 4000 watch hours in the last year.
Read more: How to Make Money on YouTube in 2023 (with Best-Practices)
Patreon: Patreon is a way for creators to be paid for their content directly by their audience. Creators, such as writers, podcasters, and YouTubers, can set up a Patreon which people can subscribe to at different price points, either as a one-time payment or a monthly plan. Online creators use Patreon to share exclusive content only for their patrons in return.
Platform: A place to share content online, usually through social media or another digital community. Examples of platforms include TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube.
Podcast: A podcast is a digital audio (or recently, also video) file that you can download via the internet.
Podcasts started out as audio only content, kind of like old radio shows, shared as episodes online and typically downloaded to podcast player apps. Now podcasts have also ventured into video content with some being released on platforms like YouTube. Many podcasters will partner with brands for affiliate marketing or sell products, premium content, live tickets and more directly to their listeners.
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Return on Investment (ROI): ROI compares the success of marketing initiatives with how much money was spent on the campaign.
Reach: Reach is the total number of people that are exposed to your content online. For example, if a Facebook post is seen by 5000 users – that is the reach. But there will be more than 5000 impressions – the number of times the story or post was displayed.
Sponsored Content (Sponcon): Sponcon is a new type of online marketing in which brands sponsor influencers to create and promote content related to their products or services.
Streaming: Streaming in general refers to any live or recorded media content that’s played through the internet, such as on Netflix. In content creation, streaming often refers to livestreaming which is a real-time video feed, such as on Instagram Live, Twitch, and Youtube Live.
Read more: How to Live Stream on Any Device and to Any Platform (2023)
Substack: Email newsletters are back and many content creators are using them as a primary or additional source of income. Substack is probably now the most popular platform, likely because it’s free to get started, and then once you turn on paid subscriptions, they take 10%.
TikTok: TikTok is a video-based social media app that is becoming the most popular and profitable place for new content creators.
Twitch: Twitch is a very popular interactive livestreaming service, primarily for watching live video game play but is now also being used for content like music performances, tutorials, cooking classes, and more.
Twitter: A social media platform based on text – specifically short posts called tweets. Popular people on Twitter include writers and other thinkers, whereas it’s not the ideal platform for product marketing and brand affiliations, which are better for Instagram and the like.
Webinar: A content creation medium that exploded in popularity and potential profits during the pandemic were webinars. Webinars are hosted by people or organizations on streaming services like Zoom or Riverside. Generally, the host will give a presentation on a topic, and then participants can ask questions. Events can be free or paid.
Read more: What is a Webinar & How Does it Work? A Full Guide on Webinars
YouTube: The most popular video content platform in the world continues to be YouTube. Anyone can get started posting videos with a free account and with a certain number of followers and engagement, you can start getting paid for your content with the YouTube Partner Program.