Creator Economy


What is the Creator Economy?

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Team Storyly
May 22, 2023
0 min read

What Is the Creator Economy?

The creator economy refers to a segment of the economy driven by individuals who create content, products, or services and monetize them through various digital platforms. 

This ecosystem has emerged due to the widespread adoption of the internet and the rise of social media platforms, which enable creators to reach and engage with global audiences more easily.

Creators in this economy produce a wide range of content, such as videos, articles, podcasts, music, art, and more. They typically generate revenue through various monetization models, including advertising, sponsorships, subscriptions, direct sales of products, and crowdfunding.

The creator economy is characterized by the emergence of various tools and services that support and empower creators, such as content management systems, social media management tools, e-commerce platforms, and online marketplaces. This trend has led to the rise of numerous creator-focused startups and platforms that cater to the needs of these individuals, enabling them to build sustainable businesses around their creative work.

The History of the Creator Economy: How It Started

It's not entirely clear when the creator economy began, but it arose around 2012 when social media platforms and others gave different types of personalities platforms to create various kinds of content. People could easily use channels like Facebook and YouTube to produce videos and more without spending too much money while reaching potentially millions of people.

As creators began to gain more traction with their content across the web, they began to see an opportunity to profit from their content. As such, they started to demand that the channels they use compensate them in exchange for bringing more traffic and income through ads. This initiated the development of the creator economy.

Over time, more and more creators came along and some found their initial popularity on a variety of platforms. While the majority of whom we now know as "creators" started out as "YouTube stars" in the early 2010s, YouTube is merely one of the many platforms that creators use to gain popularity and grow their audiences, along with their income.

Early on, creators couldn't make a whole lot of money with their content, but today creators are making as many as millions of dollars with content of all types.

How Do Creators Earn Money?

There are many ways creators can earn money online with their content. Some of the many channels for income include:

  • Paid partnerships and sponsorships with brands
  • Selling digital or physical products
  • Advertising revenue
  • Becoming a brand ambassador and engaging in regular promotion
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Donations from followers directly through their platforms or on external channels such as Patreon
  • Marketplaces such as the TikTok marketplace
  • Channel memberships and subscriptions
  • Brand merchandise
  • Repurposing their content
  • Selling exclusive subscriptions to access hidden content

Ways Creators Can Earn Money

If you want to get into the creator economy, there are plenty of ways to do so. There's a wide range of creator types out there who make money with nearly any type of content imaginable.

The following are some of the many creators and the ways they earn money online.

Social Media Influencers

These are creators who rely on social media channels to earn money from their followers, advertisers, and sponsors. They tend to stick to a single platform where they build a loyal following and may potentially grow to become one of the "faces" of that platform.

You might find these influencers on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn, among others. In most cases, they make money through sponsorships when they work with brands and promote them to their audiences. They may also earn money through other means such as digital design products sold through other stores like Etsy.


These are creators who focus primarily on video content. They typically use YouTube and many may refer to them as "YouTubers" instead of videographers. They may create all types of video content, including entertaining breakdowns of pop culture icons, history lessons, video essays, short films, or feature-length films.

In many cases, videographers make money through YouTube ads and other ad revenue, but they can also earn an income through sponsors or viewer donations.


Live streamers, or just streamers, are primarily popular in the gaming industry. Using platforms like Twitch, streamers may spend up to several hours at a time engaging audiences with live streams of their online and solo gaming experiences. Of course, streamers may also stream other types of experiences, from professional and live events to pranking scammers and attending festivals.

Streamers could use Twitch, YouTube, and other platforms to connect with audiences, and they normally make money through donations, paid subscriptions, and influencer marketing.


Unlike many other creators, bloggers use their own blogs and may use text and image content alone or a combination of these and videos. Bloggers have been around for a very long time and comprise some of the earliest online creators. Social media gave many of them an even better chance to grow.

Bloggers often build their own websites or use existing blogging platforms, and they may cover topics such as recipes, travel guides, fashion guides, workouts, and many other passions. Bloggers most frequently earn their revenue through affiliate marketing and ads.


On the audio side—and sometimes also on the video side—there are podcasters. These creators are effective storytellers who can engage audiences through entertaining anecdotes, impressive knowledge, and helpful information.

They produce podcasts covering all types of topics and may use a variety of audio and video platforms alike from Spotify to YouTube. They tend to make their money through a combination of ad revenue and sponsorships.


Creators who are educators want to share their knowledge and expertise with their audiences across many platforms. They don't tend to stick to a single platform or format, creating content in the form of videos, blog posts, ebooks, webinars, and more extensive course materials. They may also cover all kinds of topics, such as nutrition, fitness, and finance.

Educators can make money through everything from affiliate sales and sponsorships to ad revenue and sales of the products they create.


These creators aim to gain publicity for the art they create, making most of their money through the sales of that art. These can include filmmakers, musicians, painters, cartoonists and sketch artists, photographers, graphic designers, and others.

They tend to stick with visual platforms to promote their art, including Pinterest and Instagram. They may also sell art on their websites or through third-party platforms like Etsy.

Creator Economy Platform Examples

There are many platforms available for creators to use when developing content and earning revenue. The more popular platforms include:


Content creators can create many types of videos, including short and long videos, live streams, and more. They can also earn money through ads, sponsorships, and channel memberships. Creators can even gain access to exclusive monetization capabilities and features via YouTube's Partner Programs.


Influencers and other creators can produce short videos on TikTok and earn money through its Creator Next Program. This particular program gives creators access to its $200 million creator fund along with a creator marketplace for networking, gifting, and tipping opportunities.


Creators can post videos, images, and plain text posts on Twitter. They can earn money through many means, including affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, product promotion, and ads.


Creators who stream on Twitch can earn money through this platform's Partner Program in numerous ways. Viewers can support their favorite streamers through paid "cheers," with a percentage of that payment going to the streamer. Creators could also build subscription plans for their fans, with different tiers at different prices. Additionally, streamers can earn revenue from in-stream ads.


If you choose Facebook for content creation, you can reach many audiences on what remains the world's largest social media platform. Creators can earn money on Facebook through direct donations from fans, in-stream ads, brand collaborations, paid page subscriptions, and more.


Instagram is a highly visual platform that many creators can use to connect with millions and make money. Some of the ways they can earn money on Instagram are through brand collaborations on sponsored posts, Instagram shops, affiliate marketing, and selling images online.


Creators who are experts in their industries and can connect with other professionals will benefit from this platform. They may earn revenue on this platform through self-promotion and building an audience, but it's often challenging to make money directly on LinkedIn.

How Big Is the Creator Economy?

The creator economy at this time is huge already, and it will only get bigger. According to data from Influencer Marketing Hub, the creator economy is currently worth around $104.2 billion and will continue to increase in the coming years.

Where Is the Creator Economy Heading?

While many platforms still attempt to keep control over their users, creators who rely on these platforms are more likely to become the ones in control. The big brands tend to take in the majority of the money made through their platforms, but creators are likely to turn to platforms that compensate them appropriately, or else these platforms face extinction.

For example, one of the earlier platforms that attracted many creators, Vine, ultimately lost when it failed to implement monetization. As other platforms started to provide methods to compensate creators for their content, more and more creators left Vine in the dust and turned to competitors.

Ultimately, it looks like the future is in the creators' favor as they seek to gain more revenue from the platforms they regularly use. To keep those creators on their side, platforms are going to have to comply with the demands of both their creators and the followers of those creators.

Tips to Be Successful in the Creator Economy

If you want to grow your brand in the creator economy and succeed above competitors in your niche, the following are some helpful tips to keep you headed in the right direction.

Consider the Platform That's Best to Use

The first step to take is to ensure the types of people you want to reach are using the platforms you intend to use. Look into your audience and figure out where they spend most of their time online. Where are they most likely to find you?

Depending on your niche, your audience might hang out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, or other popular platforms. Some may use multiple platforms that you can target with different types of content.

Make Sure Your Brand Is Consistent

When gaining people's trust and attempting to build a strong connection with them through the platforms you choose, you need to make it easy for people to recognize you. If your messaging, visuals, or personality seem inconsistent at any point when interacting with you, it can prevent people from forming a cohesive identity in their minds.

Regardless of the channels you use and the type of content you create, think about yourself as a brand and how you can keep it consistent with every interaction.

Maintain A Sense of Authenticity

If you seem disingenuous at all in your tone or any other aspect of your content, this will turn people away. Make sure you appear authentic with every piece of content and don't try to appeal to people through interactions that feel overly staged or fake. Preparing is one thing, but coming off as nothing but an actor can deter people from following you. Be true to yourself and cover topics that you're honestly passionate about.

Build A Cohesive Ecosystem for Your Brand

Don't stick to a single platform. Instead, try to use multiple channels to connect with audiences and keep them engaging with you. Once people view a piece of content from you on your main channel, guide them to your website, store, or another profile of yours on another platform. This will prevent people from simply moving on to the next piece of content from another creator. The longer you hold people's attention, the more you'll be able to convert people into loyal followers and customers.

Get Into the Creator Economy with the Right Tools

With the help of the right resources and strategy, you can succeed in the creator economy. There are many platforms available to use, ways to make money, and types of content to create.

One innovative solution you can use is Storyly, which enables you to use personalized Stories on your mobile app and website to connect with your audience. Promote yourself and your content with images and text content that stand out from push notifications and other marketing tools. Combined with other helpful solutions, Storyly will help you excel as a creator in your niche.


Team Storyly

Group of experts from Storyly's team who writes about their proficiency.