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Making Money and Finding Your Voice in the Creator Economy

Tade started content creation sometime in 2020. She started by sharing how she’s trying to get back on track in life despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Creative digital content creator, tade  started content creation sometime in 2020. She started by sharing how she’s trying to get back on track in life despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Later, she transitioned to making reaction videos. She’s seeing growth in her followers and engagement, and as another content creator had advised her, she posted more to keep her page busy. In addition to reaction videos, Tade also started sharing reels of her favourite places and moments of joy in her life. She was advised to diversify her content creation to identify her niche and understand audience preferences.

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She tried various forms, using filters, and switching characters and one day, one of her videos reached 500k views. This prompted her to launch the thought that was always at the back of her mind: she wanted to start monetising her content. She had seen the rate cards of some content creators and that became her target in 2022. At the end of each piece of content, she included, “Reach out to me for your ads and brand promotions.” She posted more, posted screenshots of her engagement numbers and even did a free advert for a brand. Yet, no brands, no ads, no money.

It didn’t take long for the feeling to creep in. She started asking questions: Is it my content? Are they not good enough? What else do I need to do? Is it my face? Or there’s something I’m doing wrong that’s pushing the brands off? She could not understand because she’s been intentional about her content and she’s made sure everything she puts out has that touch of originality. Yet, no brands, no ads.

Since content creation has become a lucrative industry, many individuals are trying to capitalise on it to make money. Generating original content ideas has become increasingly challenging, leading to a trend of creators imitating established ones in hopes of replicating their success. Even news outlets and content websites are monetizing their content. Some websites only offer limited free access, while others require payment for any access at all. Only a few platforms keep their content entirely free. It’s understandable, as creating and developing ideas has become expensive, not just in terms of money, but also in terms of value.

According to a 2021 Forbes study, the value of digital creators was assessed at $20 billion, with projections indicating a potential growth to a $104.2 billion market by 2022. Additionally, data from Policy Circle revealed that the creator economy accounts for slightly more than 6.1% of the global gross domestic product, with an average ranging from 2% to 7% of national GDPs across the globe. This means, there’s money in content creation but like every industry, it takes a lot of work and process to hit the market value.

For creators like Tade who put in the work yet get almost nothing in return, the industry can seem frustrating. However, the primary goal of a content creator, especially in this period when the industry has been saturated, shouldn’t be to make money. In an interview, one of the fast-rising content creators in Nigeria, Seniorman OA, shared, “If I’d advise anyone looking into content creation, I’d say that at first, it might not be easy. You might not be making any money. But just be consistent and make good content. If your content is good, it’ll take you far.”

Meanwhile, this doesn’t mean creators shouldn’t eventually consider monetising their content, but the initial priority is to create value for the audience. The key to successful content creation in today’s competitive environment is to provide real value and meaningful connections to the audience, rather than solely focusing on generating revenue.

The yearning for money, as is evident in some pieces of content nowadays, has reduced the value some offer. Every digital platform has strategically transformed into a content platform where creators could potentially earn on the platform. In April 2022 when Elon Musk acquired X and made it a monetisation platform, the platform transformed into a mess of toxicity because every verified user wants to farm for engagement. It became so apparent that Elon announced to ban on accounts suspected of such. Last year, a Nigerian skit maker was investigated by the police for propagating child abuse for content creation. Two others also faced backlash for sexualising a three-year-old girl. The mess that washes over these platforms emphasises that content creation’s heartbeat is not majorly to make money but to provide something valuable that attracts money.

While it’s tempting to seek quick success and big profits from content creation, those who stay true to their unique voice, vision, and audience are often the ones who achieve lasting success in the ever-changing landscape of the industry. You don’t have to be a menace to entertain or give value to your content. Monetisation can be challenging, but with authenticity and genuine creativity, the rewards can be truly fulfilling. It also requires patience, persistence, perseverance and constantly evolving, as advised by Justin UG.