Being a creator now is completely different than it was five or six years ago, when full-time internet creators were limited to a handful of YouTubers. Nowadays, even the meaning of ‘creator’ is transforming rapidly.

As each player breaks into the creator industry, tens of windows of opportunity also get created. That means that there is an urgent need for new tools to help artists see and better use their data, and enhance their work.

Using the success stories from some of the pioneers of the internet industry, here are four keys to understanding the quirks of the expanded Creator Economy, which will allow you to optimize your time and content.

Key #1: Community Development

If you’re not working on building your own community, then you are missing out on a fundamental aspect of growth. The first key is to respect the creator community and do as many things as possible to foster growth among its members. 

Partnerships, webinars, how you speak about them in marketing and social channels, building platforms and more. There’s a new class of service provider companies that entrepreneurs are building or have built that benefit creators. Opportunity is expanding rapidly.

The Success Story: 

The early product team at Youtube focused on fostering the community, like beacon campaigns, which sent a message to the creator community that Youtube wanted to support them and to succeed. Events like VidCon grew as a parallel to the online video industry. There is so much diversity behind the scenes, it’s important to get anecdotes and not just data. “To me, VidCon is not that much about video,” said co-creator of Vidcon, Hank Green. “It’s about people on the internet building communities,” he told Forbes.

Key #2: Social Tokens 

When creators interact with their fans the creator economy and ecosystem grows. Creators have been choosing to create their own form of currency, which connects directly to their fans and circulates within their own micro-economy.  

Social Tokens are shifting and expanding communities across platforms over the past 15 years. Creators went from simply ‘posting videos to youtube’, to today, when becoming a YouTuber is becoming a brand and next-generation media business. 

The Success Story:

From traditional celebrities, YouTubers, social media influencers, to the likes of the Esports and gaming stars, real-time Bitcoin valuations reveal that various creators from a range of industries are successfully utilizing their own forms of tokens.

NBA’s Spencer Dinwiddie raised 1.3 million in token sales and Japanese superstar soccer player, Keisuke Honda’s personal cypto-currency, trading under the ticker KSK, is valued at $0.910

Key #3: Cross Platforming

Every creator, in addition to their media content, is expanding in different areas, such as licensing, products or as a marketing window for seeing their fan base’s interests.

Now, we’re looking at the next generation of media businesses emerging from the creator economy. Originally, Youtube was designed for any creator to post what they desired, with the endgame to get on the most viewed page. 

Now, creators realize that the platform that gave you your start can no longer accommodate your growth. There have been cases of artists becoming “bigger than Youtube” and would be offered opportunities to license their videos to another channel, such as HBO Max. 

No one platform is going to have every users’ needs.

The Success Story:

Just this week, the LA Times reported Netflix’s plan to produce an un-scripted reality television show starring TikTok’s famed creators, formerly part of the ‘Hype House’ collective, their combined follower count racking up to more than 125 million.

This is not the first time Netflix pushes their blended strategy, bridging the gap between internet and social media content creators and more traditional production, an opportunity that today’s content creators can count on as a viable cross-platforming option, not just as a distant possibility.

Key #4: Transactional Affinity

Transactions show affinity. It is not always just physical merchandise, but can be digitizing a creator’s attention, or time.

Switching from advertising to transaction-based revenue (i.e., merchandise being sold on the content channel) is a win-win for creators who are willing to sign up for a membership or buy a sweatshirt with someone’s logo.

How can a content creator earn a significant amount of revenue, just by allowing their audience to buy a 15-minute facetime call or accept digital tips to pay more attention to fans? Being a creator is not just about the photos or videos, it’s also about monetizing transactions that could change the content you are incentivized to create.

The Success Story:

Cameo grew significantly during social isolation in the COVID pandemic, the New Yorker observes. The new creator economy has given rise to platforms like Cameo to flourish and profit under different platforms. The low-barrier-to-entry format has opened up the possibility of monetization for anyone with a following, starting up their content economy on the basis of selling a short interval of their time.

What do all the success stories have in common?

Staying up-to-date with the developments in the creator industry, with a handle on the wants and needs of their audience at the specific time of their content creation.

Having sharp reflexes and a knowledge of the creator economy will help content makers to succeed in building their audience, and more importantly, drawing that audience back again and again.

By Christina Hawatmeh, CEO of Scopio