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What Is the Creator Economy?
A creator is a person who creates. They funnel their passions, perspectives, knowledge, and unique self into a product and build an audience for that product.
The creator economy is the class of businesses built by independent content creators and community builders, including social media creators, bloggers, bloggers, and videographers. The creator ecosystem is the network of platforms, software, and finance tools designed to help a content creator with growth and monetization.
The History of the Creator Economy
The content creator economy started approximately 2010-2011 with Web 2.0, the growth of YouTube and Vine, and the democratization of media. The democratization of media focuses on the empowerment of individual citizens and the promotion of ideals through the spread of information.
Platforms for video production, video editing, and graphic design coupled with social media spurred the evolution of the influencer star, which led to monetized creation. (An influencer typically has built a very large devoted, engaged following on their social media platform, whether that’s about their point of view, their pet, or some other subject.)
Up until recently, most creators earned money mainly from revenue shares with companies like YouTube or sponsored content from brands on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. There were few creators that made a living running a creator business.
A number of start-ups saw the market gap and started offering creators percentages of revenue, development tools, and business tools.
Creators with large fan bases started moving away from the large tech platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. They were being offered more money and support by new platforms such as Patreon, a fan membership platform; Buy Me a Coffee, a donation and tip jar service; Kajabi, a course-launching, and now Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform; and Substack, a newsletter subscription platform. All-in-one platforms such as Discord and community platforms such as Mighty Networks attract creators by offering multiple avenues for creation and monetization.
The Covid-19 pandemic, with its forced lockdown and work from home, accelerated the creator economy as the avenues of entertainment and spending time were limited to one’s home.
The rise of edutainment, or educational entertainment, is the main growth driver of the creator economy.
How Does the Creator Economy Work?
Creators are people who produce a service, ideas, products, or unique content that is offered online or digitally and has a fan base that pays for their content—even a fractional amount. It only takes 1,000 loyal readers to subscribe to a newsletter for $10 per month for a creator to make a more than livable salary.
A creator develops a niche product or idea and then plans a strategy to communicate their idea or produce their product to a fan base through a medium. Below are a few examples of different types of content creators.
- Writers. A writer has an idea to create a series of newsletters on how their journey into the HR profession unfolded. They plan to divide the newsletter into three unique segments and launch it weekly. This writer creates a Substack account and charges a nominal fee for their audience to read the newsletters.
- Coaches. A leadership development coach wants to design a line of T-shirts based on their unique coaching process and taglines. This coach designs the original art in Canva and sells the T-shirts on Moteefe. Their designs become so popular among a niche audience that the coach creates an OpenSea profile and creates digital art non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
- Course developers. A working mother who loves to cook wants to share her quick, easy and healthy recipes with other parents. She creates an eight-part cooking course on Kajabi and monetizes the course for $99.
Some examples of monetization for creators include:
- Advertising revenue shares
- Sponsored content
- Product placement
- Paid subscriptions
- Digital content sales
- Live and virtual events
- VIP meetups
- Fan clubs
- Paywalled content
Examples of Creators in the Creator Economy
Globally, every vertical, or business niche, has creators who are propelling the growth of the creator economy. Likewise, the HR profession has its creators. We’ll use this vertical to share a few examples of what and how creators work.
Laurie Ruettimann is an author, blogger, podcaster, and LinkedIn learning author. She is best known for her unique style of career advice. Laurie started her creator journey with her podcast and blog “Punk Rock HR.”
Kristin Strunk is a LinkedIn creator, Director of Talent, Employee Experience, and Compensation for Harley Davidson, a podcaster, and a virtual educator. Kristin is best known for her digital content created under #responsibleleadership. Kristin recently became a creator and is now focused on her series, “The Truth about Employee Burnout.”
Coreyne Woodman-Holoubek is a live streamer, digital author, virtual media personality, and member of the HR tech and work tech LinkedIn Creator program. Progressive HR is the name of both her Live stream and newsletter. She has a course on the Kajabi learning platform called “HR Stand Out and Make a Difference on LinkedIn.”
How Is the Creator Economy Affecting Human Resources?
Talented creators find success through no-code or low-code creation platforms such as Canva and Restream. No-code means that the software is easy to use for beginners.
This has not only led to the rise of the creator economy but also created many success stories that accelerated its network effect. More creators generate more content; more content leads to more consumers of content; more consumers mean more monetizing opportunities and success stories, which entice more creators. The virtuous cycle continues. As a result, people who thought about waiting until retirement to pursue their passions are doing it now, and employees have started picking up side hustles. It is estimated that as much as 40% of salaried people in the U.S. are part of the creator economy.
Furthermore, people who lost jobs in the Covid-19 pandemic started to consider these alternative income sources as the primary mode of their livelihood. Returning to an office and traditional work lost its appeal.
The advance of Web 3.0 and access to monetization and ownership via the blockchain and NFTs catapulted unknown creators into viable start-ups.
This has resulted in a variety of challenges (and also opportunities) for HR professionals with respect to talent supply, retention, and engagement.
Creators Influence the Next Generation of Talent
Last year, 30% of children surveyed by Lego said they wanted to be YouTube stars or listed nontraditional pursuits other than what we have come to think about as traditional careers.
Creators Influence Candidates
Talent acquisition is looking to popular creators to influence candidates and support employer branding as an outside-the-box trend on job postings and job advertisements. Cameo’s partnership with Lance Bass to produce recruiting ads is an example of this type of collaboration.
Creators Create Other Creators, Disrupting Talent Development
As the popularity of the creator economy grows, there are a handful of professional creators who are monetizing the development of budding creators via courses, coaching, and specialized creator development platforms, similar to the traditional— or not so traditional—career-path programs of organizations.
For all these reasons, the creator economy is impacting traditional HR because we can now look at how content creation and social media following can be an asset to the organization, as well as how an employee’s personal brand impacts opportunities for our organizations to funnel talent and consumer recognition to the company and how creator skills will help close the tech skills gap through digital enablement. As Kristin Strunk says, “There is huge untapped potential that lives in the creativity of our workforce.”
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Coreyne Woodman-Holoubek is a HR Executive and thought-leader with over 18 years of global business and human resource leadership expertise cultivated in the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain. She is the Founder of Progressive HR, the host of Progressive HR Live on LinkedIn and the creator of “HR…Stand Out on LinkedIn” on Kajabi.
Coreyne is passionate about emerging HR technology and the future of work; and is a sought-after writer, influencer and media personality for Human Resources, HR tech and the future of work conversations across the globe. Coreyne loves improv comedy, yoga, continuous learning and being a mom to her two very precocious daughters.
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Abhisek is passionate about helping people succeed in finding their career mojo and succeed in that. Abhisek regularly mentors young HR professionals to help them grow. Abhisek has a diverse work experience in industries like Technology, Healthcare and Education. Abhisek is also actively engaged in investing and mentoring startups.
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