The Rise of the Digital Content Creator

the rise of digital creator

Have you heard about the creator economy? If not, you’re not alone, but give it some time; you’ll hear it mentioned a time or two. To sum it up, it’s a revolutionary new phenomenon that refers to the economy in which content creators like influencers, musicians, writers, etc., and how they make money by getting funded directly by their audience. You may think, “Well, that doesn’t seem like anything new or revolutionary.” And you’re sort of right. Musicians, actors, writers, etc., have all been getting paid since before you and I were even born, so what makes the creator economy world stand out? This economy removes the intermediaries like record labels, TVs, newspapers, and publishers, thus allowing the creator to maximize their profits. However, this also means they need to publish and market their content. If you think this sounds like one of those things that could be very fruitful but easier said than done, you’re 100% right.

How can being a content creator make me money?

Suppose you already knew about the creator economy and the basics of being a content creator. In that case, chances are you’re reading this article to determine whether you can cash in on this phenomenon. Let’s jump into the many ways you can earn a few extra bucks being a content creator or possibly even enough to quit your day job. (I don’t recommend you do that until the check clears, though, hopefully, sizable enough to cover the basics.)

1. Accept donations

Patrons have always been a great way for creators to gain support since the early days of modern media. Today, this type of support is still available for contemporary creators. Several online donation platforms allow fans to donate money to their favorite content creators in exchange for various tokens of appreciation. These tokens can be anything such as a personalized note, exclusive thank-you content, a shout-out in a video, etc. 

2. Allow direct advertising

Direct advertising is another simple way to earn. Influencers with an established following can attract more business from advertisers looking to reach a broader or new audience. This generally involves advertising banner ads at your website’s top, bottom, or sides. As your followers view the content on your site, they’re subjected to seeing the advertisements. It’s wise to select ads that go along with what you do since your followers would be more inclined to interact with them.

3. Offer subscriptions

Subscriptions are another fantastic way to earn some money, and they work similarly to having patrons. The big difference here is that patrons donate once or a few times here and there, whereas a subscriber pays a monthly fee to receive something special from you that regular followers don’t get. This often includes being able to message or email the creator, getting early access to new content, discounts on merchandise, and much more. 

4. Participate in affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is another dragon to slay, but if you have a strong following on specific platforms, this could be a fruitful return. With affiliate marketing, you link your account to certain products online, and when someone (your followers) clicks on the link and purchases said product, you earn a commission. Some people make a living doing this, but it requires a niche, a community, products, and dedication. 

5. Sell merchandise

Selling merchandise may be the most obvious choice on this list, depending on what kind of content you create. If you’re a musician, artist, or illustrator, selling things like t-shirts, mugs, hoodies, keychains, and other merch, your work or logo on them can be an excellent way to add some extra funds to your bank account and get your brand name out there. 

6. Write a book

This one takes time, but if you’re good at what you do and had an exciting time and unique take on getting to where you are now, perhaps a book will serve you well. Or maybe your service is educational, for instance, if you have a YouTube channel dedicated to restoring antique items, or perhaps you teach guitar lessons via online videos. In this case, an instructional book can be great to offer to your community.

Can being a content creator work for me?

The creator economy offers several mouth-watering opportunities for gifted or talented individuals or those with wild imaginations and limitless creativity. In the wonderfully large world surrounding the creator economy, filmmakers, videographers, musicians, writers, graphic designers, and all other creative individuals can showcase their skills, art, and acts and get paid while doing it!

Creators can work with a well-established publishing company or even consider working independently via digital marketplaces like Etsy, eBay, Amazon publishing, and many others. Depending on what you’re bringing to the table, know that some platforms may work better for you than others. For instance, if you want to showcase your singing or musical talents, platforms like Spotify or Soundcloud would be better than Amazon or Etsy. However, those kinds of marketplaces should be among your top options if you craft or build things. Platforms such as Mixer and Twitch are great for live streamers, YouTubers, gamers, and TikTok’ers. Upwork, Fiverr, Medium, or Substack are available for freelance writers. Platforms like Tumblr and WordPress are worth checking out if you’re interested in becoming a blogger. If you’re a photographer, Instagram and Pinterest are fantastic platforms to start or focus on.

The potential for fame and fortune are all there, especially if you’re exceptionally gifted with whatever you’re selling. But there is a genuine factor that you need to keep in mind. You’re not the only one trying to break into the illustrious world of content creation. There’s a lot more than you may think. Check out these stats:

  • Almost 4.5 billion people are currently using social media platforms worldwide, which is more than double the amount of 2.07 billion recorded in 2015.
  • The average social media user is active on seven different social media platforms.
  • Facebook is the leading social network with 2.9 billion monthly active users; second is YouTube with 2.3 billion, WhatsApp with 2 billion, Facebook Messenger has around 1.3 billion, and WeChat checks in with about 1.2 billion users.
  • Nearly 60% of the world’s population uses or has used some variation of social media.

Saying there’s a bunch of fish in the sea almost seems like an understatement, but you get the idea. Before you get discouraged thinking that the market is oversaturated, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, as I mentioned, especially if you’re good at what you’re trying to sell. Even though there are billions of people on these platforms, not everyone is trying to be the next PewDiePie or Lil Nas X. If anything, these numbers give you a more extensive crowd/community to reach out to and connect with. 

Being a creator is hard, but can be profitable and a lot of fun

Being a creator is hard, but it’s possible. If you have a skill, talent, or trade that you think you can cash in on, this is a road you should travel down. I recommend it to anyone who thinks they have something to offer to the beautiful online world we all have grown to love. However, it’s not easy and will require dedication and a great deal of effort, but if you succeed, the rewards will be very worth it. 

Anthony Thomas

Anthony Thomas is a Pennsylvanian-born native who currently resides in the same town he grew up in. Growing up in a farm setting, he learned early on how to hunt, raise livestock, and plant crops and various camping, survival, and bushcraft techniques. By the time he graduated high school, he had taken a job working at a restaurant, and within a few years, he was a certified chef. After getting married with two kids, Tony managed and ran multiple restaurants and co-managed a travel plaza. After 2019, he needed a change of pace and took up an old passion of his in the form of art and creative writing. This also led him to open a private tattoo shop in his hometown. Today he manages multiple freelance ventures from digital art, video editing, creative writing, tattooing, and more.