When you’re stepping into a new industry, particularly one that’s as ever-changing as content creation, one of the first things to do is get familiar with industry terms and jargon.
Here we’ve got your usual suspects like ‘inbound links’, ‘attribution’, ‘funnels’, ‘clickthrough rates’, and more.
But what about ‘content creator’? And ‘influencer’? One and the same right? Well, think again.
Most people use these terms interchangeably, but calling them the same would be inaccurate.
Keep reading to know what it means to be a content creator vs influencer. We’ll break it down so you can determine where you fit and optimise your content accordingly.
All influencers may be content creators, but not all content creators are influencers.
A content creator is anybody who is creating and/or managing content on the internet, be it videos, photography, websites, etc. They can be specialists or also generalists with a range of different skills from copywriting to social media management.
An influencer is a subset of this – someone whose brand is built around themselves, as one of the big movers and shakers of their field. For an influencer, their face is quite literally their brand, and they may or not be working with a crew of people to create content. The guidelines vary, but usually any user with a follower count of 1,00,000+ is generally considered an influencer.
This usually means that their follower count is definitely much higher than a standard content creator’s. And it has to be, because this is their unique selling point. There are also different categories of influencers depending on their follower count. And the amount they can earn is directly proportional to this.
Well, can’t I be both?
Yes, of course! There are a lot of creators who have laid to rest the whole content creator vs influencer binary and are killing it as both.
Here’s an example.
Think of someone like Ankur Warikoo. He started off as a content creator, scripting and recording all his videos by himself.
However, he now heads a whole team that helps on everything from scripting to editing. Ankur remains the face and does contribute to the material, he also has a team of content creators co-creating the final product and packaging it in a way that it can be consumed.
He’s an influencer because users flock towards any of his organic recommendations too, like the books he has mentioned are his favourites.
However, a content creator’s larger focus remains on their niche or their creative field. For a content creator, their work represents their brand. They could also be creating content for an existing brand from their side, or be self-employed and working for a variety of companies.
WHERE THEY POST
Another difference that appears here is that a content creator isn’t always going to be putting content out on their personal page. However, an influencer will pretty much always post on their own platforms.
They bring different strengths to the table.
Think of two scenarios, where a brand is hiring a content creator vs someone for influencer marketing.
For a brand, an influencer is a great option because of, well, their influence. The brand has hired them because of the traffic they can bring with say, a sponsored post. An influencer is valuable if the brand wants visibility.
On the other hand, a brand might hire a content creator if they want to level up their content strategy from scratch. For example, they could approach a graphic designer to design their Instagram content or a videographer to shoot product videos. A content creator is valuable if the brand wants to overhaul its content.
In fact, once they make it big, many influencers tend to outsource tasks like editing and graphic design to content creators.
Key Skills: Content Creator vs Influencer
Though certain core skills like storytelling, content strategy, and things like video editing are fundamentally shared by content creators and influencers, there are a couple of key differences.
Because the influencer is the star of the show, they must have excellent presentation skills to address audiences both live and in recorded fashion.
On the other hand, digital creators need to have strong project management skills in addition to their content skills (eg photography, videography etc.) as they wrangle all the behind-the-scenes issues.
Outputs vs. Outcomes
An influencer can measure their impact by the kind of outcome eg. likes, follows, views, and shares they are pulling in. Their metric is user engagement. And so, analytics are essential for validating their contribution.
Meanwhile, for a content creator, their metric is more about their output – eg the body of work that they have created thus far. That’s why a portfolio makes more sense to communicate what they can offer.
Duration of engagement
In most cases, brands will hire influencers for a single piece of content, or a handful of campaigns. Even if a contract is signed, the deal is usually a pretty short-term one.
However, a digital creator job can be started on a freelance basis, and typically remain engaged for much longer as their work requires more direct co-creation. A digital creator can work year-round for a brand if their equation fits.
Rates for influencers vs creators
Hiring an influencer (if we’re not talking about nano influencers here) can get pretty pricey depending on their follower count.
In fact, it may be more feasible to hire a digital creator to develop the brand voice from the ground up rather than opt for a one-time boost to your follower count.
You could even use the two in combination. First, use the digital creator’s help to sort out the kinks in your content. When it’s perfectly optimised, get an influencer on board to bring their legion of followers to check out your upgraded content.
Ultimately, it depends on the brand’s goals and budget.
Wrapping Up Understanding Content Creator vs Influencer
Now that we’ve settled the content creator vs influencer issue, you’re better informed to decide where you fit and prioritise brand-building in the way that fits you best!
For further reading, check out this article by Neil Patel. simplifying the content creator vs influencer puzzle.
Keep checking back to our blog for more pointers on the creator economy.