If you like to frequent video platforms, you’re probably aware of an explosion of both platform choices and content. Add to that the meteoric rise of podcasts, and you can see the opportunity that awaits companies who leverage advertising in the creator economy to promote their brands.
As Martech Series’ Kristlyn Lyons underscores, the creator economy reached $100 billion at the end of 2021 and shows no sign of stopping.
But there’s another statistic that can give marketers and advertisers even more insight into how to leverage this rising trend. As Lyons points out, only 2% of the 50 million content creators who participate in the creator economy are professionals. That leaves 49 million people who simply are passionate about something and want to share their passion with others.
With this new ecosystem in full proliferation mode, let’s take a closer look at all the ways the creator economy has transformed the advertising industry – and how your brand can take advantage of them.
1. The Creator Economy Caters to Niche Markets
Unlike traditional advertising (think Mad Men), content from today’s creators focuses on educating or entertaining users about specific interests. Even the most esoteric topics find enthusiastic audiences on today’s podcast and video platforms.
Brands that want to succeed in the creator economy, then, need to partner with creators whose values and niche align with their primary business. For example, a travel company might partner with creators who teach the languages of the various countries they book trips to. Or, a major lumber retailer could partner with popular DIYers to provide customers with new ways to use their products.
Whomever you partner with, be sure to add paid ads into the mix. Promote your partners’ content with targeted ads. With today’s ad targeting capabilities – especially on Facebook – you can reach customers who follow content in your creators’ niches.
2. Sponsorships Re-Emerge in Importance
Back in the early days of radio and TV, “And now, a word from our sponsor!” was a familiar phrase. Usually, the products the commercials hawked somewhat related to the audience’s interests.
Laundry detergent manufacturers sponsored romantic serials that interested 1950s housewives; hence, the term “soap opera” became part of the nation’s vernacular. Cigarette makers whose customers were mostly men would likely place their ads on Westerns.
As commercials evolved, they lost the “a word from our sponsor,” becoming so intrusive that many people simply left the room or used their DVRs to record their favorite programs and fast-forward through the ads.
However, with the rise of YouTubers and podcasts, sponsors are coming back into vogue. For example, listen to your favorite podcasters and chances are, their chatty banter will segue into an advertisement for their sponsor. Niche audiences for today’s content trust these influencers to deliver value, so they’ll likely trust the products they promote.
Content sponsorships work well when their audiences need the products they advertise. For that reason, it’s essential for you to research your partners’ audience to make sure your products will meet their needs.
3. Make Your Brand an Influencer
Identify niche audiences who could benefit from your expertise in your own industry. Then create content that addresses each niche’s unique needs. If you need to hire new team members or outsource content production to an agency or freelancers, it’s well worth doing so you can take the best advantage of the creator economy.
Use your social media and content analytics to identify new audience segments whose pain points align with your products and services. Then, take a deep dive into their demographics, interests, and behavior patterns to identify niche markets on which your brand could make an impact.
4. Take Advantage of the Creator Economy’s Shifting Trends
Since today’s online creatives aren’t subject to the dictates of major agencies, they’re more likely to think outside the box. That kind of creative energy often gives rise to viral content, driving trends.
Be sure to have your teams on the hunt for new trends your content can jump onto quickly. As Lyons advises, today’s trends often evaporate as quickly as they arrived.
5. Authenticity Is the Key to Creator Economy Success
The Gen Zers and millennials who dominate the creator economy space demand authenticity for the content they consume, as Forbes’ Alessandro Bogliari says. A co-founder and SEO of a successful influencer marketing agency, Bogliari has his finger on the pulse of today’s audiences.
So, instead of heavily scripted dialogue, try a conversational approach instead. Tell stories your audience can relate to, positioning the audience as the hero and your product as the sword they use to slay the dragons in their lives.
After all, as Meta’s Zach Beatty points out, you’re trying to build relationships with your audience. Building personal connections with them via feel-good stories should be a major objective of your marketing operations strategy.
6. Harness the Power of the People You Know
If you come from a traditional advertising background, it might surprise you to learn that in the creator economy, content that your employees or customers generate is often the most influential in moving the needle on a sale.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, though. Since authenticity trumps all else with today’s audiences, there’s no more authentic voice than that of the people who know your brand best.
Michael Brenner, the CEO of Marketing Insider Group, calls employee-generated content “the big daddy of all content creation techniques.” He’s right. Leads that come from your employees’ content have a seven-fold better chance of closing than your slick ads. Perhaps that‘s because audiences are eight times more likely to engage with your employees’ content than your own.
Since your employees aren’t hired to promote your products but rather to help make them, they are more knowledgeable about what makes them tick. And, since they don’t have any incentive to make outrageous claims about your products’ features, people trust that they’ll provide an honest assessment.
Additionally, says Brenner, there’s another benefit to involving non-marketing employees in the content creation process. They take ownership of your brand. It’s no longer a 9 to 5 for them – it’s a mission.
Better audience engagement, better employee engagement on the job. What’s not to love?
Image via GrowMap
As Danka Jankovic points out, “Content marketing isn’t about your brand. It’s about the users of your products and services.” As such, they know exactly the value your products add to their lives.
There’s no better testament to your products’ quality than your customers’ words. Statistics show that audiences trust your customers’ reviews 12 times more than the content your marketing teams produce.
Then there’s the authenticity thing again. No matter how badly misspelled, no matter how many grammatical rules your customers’ content break, people know they’re real – speaking from their experience with your products. That’s advertising gold – and you need to put it to work for your brand starting today.
Take Best Advantage of the Creator Economy with More Efficient Content Production
To get the most out of your partnership with outside creators, your customers, and your own employees, you need a content marketing platform that empowers content planning and collaboration at every level across the enterprise.
With DivvyHQ, you’ll have a dedicated content idea area to plan your creative collaborations, content production within the platform, and custom content analytics to track your progress – and so much more. Try it free for 14 days – starting today!