Written by Beatrice Manuel
Marketing is multifaceted. There is a corner for all the possible ways you can tap into new audiences. There are SEO-rich blog posts, advertisements, and social media. In fact, even flash mobs can be considered a fun and creative way of marketing.
In recent times, many brands have taken a shine to content creators and influencers.
Surprisingly so — influencers and content creators aren’t exactly synonymous with each other. There are similarities, and absolutely, you may bump into a content creator who is also an influencer.
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For the most part, though, there are distinctions that you should note. And as a brand, it is a must that you learn the differences between influencers and content creators and the specifics of each to learn which one is the perfect match for you. That's what this article is all about.
What Is a Content Creator?
A content creator’s job description is pretty straightforward. No surprise here — they produce content.
It’s not as simple as it sounds, however. Being a content creator means you have to regularly churn out impactful and gripping content.
Having different forms, content creators cater to audiences with varied interests. It may be through art, photos, stories, vlogs, and a whole lot more mediums.
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The focus of content creators is to create content in the fields they are experts in. They add their distinct spice to a specialized, curated flavor that can be adjusted to fit the palette of your target customers.
Although numbers are at play when promoting products, the highlight of working with content creators does not lie there, as they may have a lower following than influencers. Instead, it centers on the value of what they produce and how they present it in their chosen form of media.
What Is an Influencer?
Influencers, on the other hand, are known for their user engagement. They ooze with natural charm, a convincing persona, and a visually appealing Instagram feed.
They usually have a large following that continuously supports their work or the products they endorse.
Whereas a content creator’s selling point is their content, an influencer’s focus is more on the relationship and trust they build with their audience.
The camaraderie between an influencer and a follower develops with each post and tap. It may be through sharing the most-recent makeup hack they learned or while telling a tale of the meet-cute they had while cooking a homey dish using a reliable and shiny pan.
Regardless, with 70% of teenagers trusting influencers as opposed to traditional celebrities, influencers have proven again and again the impact they have on the purchasing decisions of many consumers.
Content Creators vs. Influencers
The big question is: how different are content creators and influencers in relevance to your brand?
Let us break it down for you. Here are five things that you should consider when picking between collaborating with content creators and influencers:
Go back to the drawing board, remember your goal, and stick to it.
We know. Collaborating with equally passionate people is exciting. You want to get your brand out there, and you are granted an opportunity to do that. Perhaps, one of the goals even is to get your social media accounts verified — something both influencers and content creators can help with.
But it is also vital that you are clear with what you want to achieve (aside from the basic SEO scores, numbers, and success with referral marketing, of course).
Take a step back and reassess what you want to achieve from collaborating with other people. Is it an artistic video of your product or a photo of someone who everyone loves posing with it along with a witty caption?
What resonates with your target promotional activity, and which collaborator will most likely deliver those results?
2. Level of expertise
Why does assessing their level of expertise matter? The short answer: it helps you manage your expectations.
The long one, on the other hand, is this:
As content creators are more art-focused and have experience in their chosen field, their content usually has better quality. So, instead of hiring another team for every aspect, you can find a content creator who has personal knowledge about marketing and other contributing skills.
Let’s unpack this by painting a picture.
If you want a step-by-step guide on making the perfect salsa, a creator with an impressive track record in cooking may be your best choice. But if you prefer an engaging vlog where influencers try out different salsa dips, then counting on them to pull an audience is the right pick for you.
Don’t fret. Some influencers produce stunning and captivating content as well. Content creators don't own quality.
But if you aim to emulate a content creator’s work in the promotion of your brand, what they can offer might be more up to par with what you have in mind.
3. Type of audience
You have your goal written down and have set your expectations. Now, it’s time to ask yourself about the demographics of the audience you want to reach out to.
Trust us; it matters a lot.
Acowebs’s data shows that 92% of online consumers are more likely to trust recommendations instead of content from brands. And according to a study by Izea Insights with over a thousand respondents, 92% of the respondents aged 18-29 follow at least one influencer on social media.
Now, what do these numbers mean for you?
You go back to your list of goals. You already know the efficiency of having someone recommend your brand.
So, if your target is a younger age bracket, an influencer’s following will be highly beneficial for your brand. However, if you want to reach audiences whose niche is on point with your brand, looking for a content creator who produces similar content might be the ideal choice.
4. The services they offer brands
Both influencers and content creators offer promotions. Although there are similarities in what they can bring to the table, most of the time, they offer unique menus. Here are a couple of typical things each offers.
- Do product reviews
- Hold fun giveaway competitions
- Make effective brand ambassadors
- Produce sponsored content
- Produce content that talks about your products
- Produce logos and graphic designs that align with your brand
- Draw, paint, and create mixed-media pieces
- Hold photoshoots
5. Reliance on trends
Let’s talk about trends. Trends do propel sales. That’s undebatable. We have seen this result in various social media platforms and industries. Trends do not just give birth to new products and careers; they also highlight products that consumers want to get a hold of.
Remember The Pink Stuff and Clinique’s Almost Lipstick in Black Honey? We bet you do.
With most content artists and influencers using social media as their primary platform, dancing to the buzz of relevant trends is vital to achieving the best results.
According to Izea Insights, an influencer’s post can get 28.9% of people aged 18-29 and 45.3% of those aged 30-44 years old to try a new product. These numbers prove that a relevant presence in social media is a lot more impactful than traditional marketing like radio and magazine ads.
With 90% of business marketers believing that social media promotion has done wonders for their business, it’s the best time to take a look at the latest trends and see which can work for your marketing plan.
Pros and Cons: Content Creators and Influencers
Although both content creators and influencers have a charm of their own, there are disadvantages.
Nope, don’t just leave yet! You definitely want to take a look at this list of pros and cons of content creators and influencers. So, let’s begin.
Ultimately, it depends on what you need and want for your brand but here are the perks that might catch your eye.
Pros of working with content creators:
- Content creators almost always deliver high-quality content.
- Their versatility and many skills. You can have a content creator who is not just an actor but a scriptwriter as well.
- You get access to their online portfolios, where you can see their previous works and working style. Does their work fit the idea you have in mind? Is it aligned with what you are aiming for? You can check.
Cons of working with content creators:
- Content creators mostly have a smaller audience than influencers, so if the goal is to reach as many people as possible, this may pose an issue.
- Lack of artistic control and input. As you are hiring content creators for their work, you may have to lean back and give them more freedom to design the project themselves.
Pros of working with influencers:
- Numbers. Influencers usually have a large following, and reaching more people is always an advantage.
- Influencers have already established trust with their audience. Their endorsement will help curious and hesitant consumers trust your brand.
- Interested followers of influencers may become your brand’s followers too. With their curiosity piqued, they may follow your accounts, hoping to see more of their beloved influencer.
Cons of working with influencers:
- You have to put work into assessing if a particular influencer is the right fit for your brand. Do they share the same principles, or do they have the skillset and image that you need? How do they interact with their followers? Learning that will point you to the right match.
- Again, influencers are more centered on user engagement. They have developed a good following, no doubt. So if you are fine with the quality of the content they release (which may be not as impressive as a content creator’s work), then this wouldn’t be an issue.
Who Should Your Brand Work With?
The big question is: who do you work with?
Both influencers and content creators can provide beneficial outcomes for your brand, and picking who to work with will mostly depend on your brand’s needs.
Weigh down the pros and cons, as well as the services you want to have access to. Whoever seems to be more in line with your vision will be a perfect choice.
While you make your pick, let these tips guide you:
Tips for Working with a Content Creator
- Respect their expertise. Content creators are masters of their own art. It is the primary reason why you chose them. When collaborating, sharing input as a brand is a given, but trusting them to provide you with the best results for the project will grant you an impressive outcome and a healthy working relationship.
- Check out their previous works. It is likely that they have already partnered with other brands as well. Asking them for a sample of their previous work and learning about their experience in collaborating will help you gauge if they are the right fit for you.
- Define their responsibilities. Be clear about the scope of work and what you need. This has to be established early on with the help of an objective and strong meeting agenda.
- Track the success of your partnership. Of course, collaborating with a creator is just half of the process. You want to see the effectiveness of the project and learn from it. Do that by creating a marketing report and using conversion rate optimization tools to implement your insights.
Tips for Working with an Influencer
- Analyze their audience carefully. What are the demographics of the majority of their followers? Are they your target consumers? This will help you see if they are the perfect choice for your brand.
- Use project management software. This will help you juggle multiple projects while keeping your files tidy. You can keep track of your to-do lists and make progress even if you are working remotely. It will make talking to multiple people (including influencers that are part of the project) fluid and up-to-date.
- Provide clear instructions. To avoid creative differences, be clear with your specific brand instructions: color schemes, sales funnel strategies, do’s and don’ts, project details, demands, etc. This way, you can negotiate and reach a consensus that is the most beneficial and fair for both the brand and influencer.
Are You Ready to Collaborate with a Content Creator or Influencer?
As discussed, there are both similarities and differences between influencers and content creators, and either can help you achieve your specific goals.
While it is possible to get the best of both worlds by finding an influential content creator, comparing the two will give you a deeper insight into who fits your brand's vision best.
Whichever you choose, may it be a trending influencer or an artistic content creator, the best choice for your brand will always depend on what you need and the perfect match for you.
Beatrice Manuel is the Head of Content & Operations at MediaBerry. She helps brands connect content with strategy to boost conversions using a smart mix of psychology, storytelling, and data. When she’s not deep in the B2B trenches, you’ll find her penning novels in her lifelong pursuit to become a published and renowned author.