The Business of Creators in 2022: What Marketers Need to Know

Content creators and the creator economy are becoming more integral to the success of marketing campaigns. Our 2022 State of Inbound Marketing Trends Report found that 88% of brands have a dedicated budget for working with influencers and creators. We also found community will be a top priority for marketing strategy in 2023.

To gain more insight into the world of content creators, HubSpot partnered with Tilt to survey more than 300 marketing and business-specific content creators. Here's a bit of what we found that marketers need to know. To access the full report, check our Business of Creators Report.

5 Things Marketers Should Know About Content Creators

Here are five things marketers need to know about content creators and how to leverage them.

1. Most creators want to grow their businesses.

Growth is at the forefront for many content creators. In our survey, more than 50% of content creators want to grow their businesses to support a small or large team. Almost 40% say they want to grow as a solopreneur. Only 7% report wanting to keep content creation as a hobby.

With growth being the main objective for more content creators, brands should offer mutually beneficial partnerships that help creators meet their goals.

"One of the things [HubSpot's] started to do is invest in independent creators to help them do what they do well," said HubSpot's Director of New Media Kyle Denhoff. "We're investing in podcasters right now. We're providing them financial value, distributing their show across our brand channels — we're cross-promoting their show across our podcast network."

Mutually beneficial deals are great for creators but also provide excellent opportunities for brands.

"By partnering with creators, we can provide them stability financially and through the support of HubSpot's channels, but then we can also start to reach their audiences," Denhoff said. "I think marketers just have to think through how they can partner with creators, how they can provide more value to creators to have a true partnership …"

Financial stability is a hurdle for many content creators. According to our survey, more than half of creators don't earn enough money to sustain themselves or their businesses. So, if you're offering a partnership that will bring them closer to their financial and business goals, creators are more likely to want to work with you.

2. Content creators value independence.

Our survey found that most content creators (32.4%) get into the profession because they seek independence and want to "be their own boss." As a result, creators won't compromise their happiness for anything they disagree with. They want to have control over their work.

With that in mind, marketers should avoid treating creators like employees and treat them with the same respect as any other business. Marketers should also avoid micromanaging creators during collaborations and instead consult creators on strategic planning.

And, of course, pay your creators on time.

3. Creators are reaching new audiences.

Content creators have a knack for tapping into audiences in spaces where businesses and brands struggle. For example, platforms like Twitch and TikTok are challenging for companies to navigate because users rely on those spaces for community and entertainment.

However, content creators like Drew Afualo and Ninja have cultivated strong relationships with their followers on TikTok and Twitch, respectively, prompting various brands to partner with them to reach their audiences.

To find your audience — and the right creators to partner with — consider your organization's goals and research where your audience lives online. You should experiment with a multiplatform project to start so you can later analyze which channel was the most effective in connecting with your audience.

From there, you can decide which initiative will become the main audience-driving platform to leverage, and you'll be able to find creators whose work and vision align with your goals.

4. Micro and nano influencers make for excellent partnerships.

Speaking of partnerships, brands should form relationships with micro and nano influencers who align with their goals, audience, and brand mission. Micro and nano influencers typically have under 1,000 followers, while mega influencers tend to have around 1 million followers.

While you may be more inclined to partner with mega influencers because of their massive following, you may benefit more from micro and nano influencers. Creators with smaller followings often have a higher engagement rate than those with large followings. And in most cases, a higher follower count usually means a higher campaign price. So, creators with a smaller following can be more aligned with your budget.

5. Gen Z is becoming a growing generation within the creator economy.

Most content creators are Millennials and Gen X; however, more Gen Zers are starting to take root in the creator economy. In addition to working with micro and nano influencers, companies should partner with Gen Z creators due to their ability to connect with Gen Z consumers.

Graph from our Business of Creators Report shows Millennials and Gen X make up the majority of content creators but Gen Z is a growing demographic.

Remember I mentioned TikTok has a platform where businesses often struggle to connect with their audience? Gen Z uses TikTok as a search engine more than Google, and social media is becoming the next generation's go-to place for education and growth. Brands should look for opportunities to collaborate with Gen Z creators if they want to reach new audiences on platforms like TikTok and Twitch.

Now that you know more about content creators and their motivations, you have the information you need to create a successful and mutually beneficial partnership with creators who align with your brand's goals.

Download the 2022 Business of Creators Report.

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