One of the most important things about creating content online is finding your voice.
Well, it used to be.
Now, the most important thing about creating content seems to be ‘how you’re going to become an influencer’. In the influencer marketing gold rush, blogging is now people writing for perks. Free product, event invites and sponsored content. The problem is that all these similar sounding bloggers drown each other out in a sea of noise. Instead of a unique voice and style that brings in an audience, they write with the intent of luring PR people. Not to single them out, but you could swap the content of most parent blogs and never know you were reading someone different. It’s that samey.
YouTuber. Instagrammer. Influencer?
YouTube has its own problems with influencer marketing. In years past, YouTube’s built-in ads enabled creators to avoid doing too many brand deals. Every thousand views on the platform earn YouTubers between $1 and $10. This allows creators to focus on creating great content. But, as the site crosses over 1.5B active users per month, monetization is becoming a problem. CPM (cost-per-mille) has been dropping for years, and the #Adpocalypse caused some panic. No longer could they (or should they) rely on Adsense for their pay. But in that panic, YouTubers didn’t sit down to develop a business plan… instead, they opted to take whatever brand deal paid big bucks. That’s not to say that sponsored content didn’t exist on the platform, but it was the first time POORLY DONE sponsored content flooded the site. It was also immediately met with criticism from their long-term subscribers.
Instagram… I mean, I don’t even need to say anything and we all have a mental vision of what sponsored content looks like. Tea anyone?
This is why INFLUENCER is such a gross word. It immediately conveys the image of poor content backed by a brand. Content created for the brand with little thought of the audience. It even sounds duplicitous. “Hey what are you up to?” “Influencing people.” “Uhh…” But the reality is between all the bad content – there is some great sponsored content being created. Stuff that is better than any ad you’ve seen in the past. Content that is interesting, informative and entertaining. Most of all, it’s the kind of content that audiences are open to seeing. There’s a world of great sponsored content that we could live in – but it’s not so simple as accepting every corner store brand deal that comes your way.
Content Creators Create Content
Let’s also make an important statement: making money as a creator is not only necessary, it’s a GOOD thing! As long as creators have cash, they can continue creating content that inspires, educates and entertains. But we also need to respect the people reading. At the end of the day, if you don’t focus on the audience first – they’ll think of you last.
That’s one of the main reasons why I started this site – because I found influencer to be such a gross word. Content creators aren’t influencers any more than they are doctors or helicopter pilots. Content creators are CONTENT CREATORS. If they work with brands, they are still content creators creating branded content. The only people using ‘influencer’ should be brands as an internal communication term. So, for the sake of the collective gag reflexes of woke content creators and audiences everywhere… let’s make a concerted effort to drop this word from our lexicon.
It’s content creators. We create content. Fin.