Remember when being a “creator” was a laughable teen pastime?
In 2023, we’ve seen the so-called Creator Economy grow to 50 million creators globally, with a market size of $250 billion. By 2027, this number is expected to reach $480 billion.
Perhaps most telling, there are now kids’ summer camps dedicated to content creation.
But with great opportunity also comes drawbacks: The market is saturated, and AI makes it easier than ever for anyone to become a creator — which means it truly takes a special case to be sustainable and profitable.
“Successful creators will be those who generate unique insight, can talk about unique experiences, and are able to truly build trust,” says Jay Clouse, founder of Creator Science.
We got the insider scoop from Jay and several other successful creators, and narrowed their advice down to seven key tips. Read on to make 2024 the year you make it big.
Creators' Tips for Surviving the Creator Economy in 2024
1. Know your way around platforms.
Jay Clouse says that the best content strategy leverages both discovery and relationship platforms. Here’s a breakdown of what he means:
- Discovery platform: Generally refers to social media, but also includes search-based platforms like Google and YouTube. These platforms have a built-in mechanism for connecting new viewers with your content.
- Relationship platform: Focuses on distribution that YOU own and control. If someone opts into hearing from you on a relationship platform (i.e. a newsletter), you receive direct contact information for them, and your messages are reliably delivered there – there's no algorithm deciding whether they see your content or not.
It’s generally a good idea to focus on a few discovery platforms, and one or two relationship platforms, rather than trying to conquer them all. For a long-term strategy, Clouse recommends putting more focus on relationship platforms once you’ve gotten the ball rolling.
2. Niche down and be yourself.
Content creation is like any other art form: It might feel like a constant battle against what you want to create, and what you think your audience (or algorithm) might like. Creators reassured me that however tempting it might be to try to be the next MrBeast, it’s better to stay true to yourself.
Jensen Tung, a YouTuber best known for his honest AI entrepreneurship and crazy fitness challenges, maintains that it’s great to use others as your inspiration. But you should always “put your own twist and spin to it.”
Finding your niche won’t happen in a day, so experimenting is encouraged. Be patient and stay in tune with yourself. Here are some questions to help you begin discovering your niche:
- What are your strengths (personality traits, background, skillset)?
- What is a subject you can discuss endlessly, with a unique perspective that only you possess?
- What kind of content brings you joy to create?
- What content creation format feels most comfortable for you (video, blog, newsletter)?
- Which content is resonating well with audiences? Keep track of comments and feedback.
Once you’ve found your niche, Tung also has some tips for approaching your content.
“Don't be afraid to be real and candid, and talk about difficult or un-pretty topics. Vulnerability often does the opposite effect of pushing people away — it brings audiences closer to you,” he told me.
3. Optimize for binge-able content.
Once you’ve found your niche, aim to become part of your audience’s regular routine. “I now see audience feedback using the word ‘binge’ as the ultimate signal of progress,” says Clouse in a LinkedIn post.
Natasha Pierre, host of the Shine Online Podcast, likes to create a video series, which is a collection of three or more pieces of video content that all have a common theme.
This helps you not only keep users coming back for more, but also makes creating content easier — you have a reliable content structure, and posts that can remain evergreen long after they’re posted.
4. Interaction drives audience growth, and vice versa.
Before, we had the TV Guide Channel that told us what to watch, then we had on-demand, and now, we have Twitch streams where audiences can interact with the creator and even influence the content.
So how do you build an audience who wants to interact with you?
Essentially, you'll need to show that you’re a real-life person. Find out which platforms your target audience inhabits. Discord? Twitter/X? Twitch? Use your analytics tools to find out their media habits and which topics entice them most.
Then, just show up. Engage in those comment section debates (tastefully), utilize the Community tab on YouTube, and go live on Twitch or TikTok. Comment on other folks’ content that you admire, or even a random dog meme account. It’ll put you on consumers’ minds, even outside your niche, and give you traction by association.
5. Consistency is king.
This is the number one tip shared by John Lee Dumas, host of Entrepreneurs on Fire. With over 4,000 episodes out and counting, he has truly mastered the art of consistency.
But it’s easier said than done. One of the biggest pain points is ideation — it’s easy to burn out when your output is so high.
“When you know exactly what the ideal consumer of your content is struggling with, you'll never run out of valuable topic ideas to share with them,” Dumas shared.
“And the more value you can provide, the more likely they are to come back for more content.”
Creator Natasha Pierre recommends productivity hacks to help you stay on track.
“Time block your calendar, add themed days like a day dedicated to admin or creating, and take regular breaks for movement. This has helped me prevent burnout even during the busiest seasons,” she told me.
Additional tips for productivity include AI and automation tools — some examples include Descript, Adobe’s Text-Based Editing, HubSpot’s AI Content Assistant, and Canva’s Magic Design Tool.
6. Join a network.
Networks can be great for many reasons: steady income, more reach, and a trusted corporate partner to fill up some ad inventory. But arguably most beneficial is the community.
Good content can’t be produced in isolation, and there’s no better place to connect with others than a dedicated space for creators. Within HubSpot’s Creator Network for podcasters and YouTubers, creators constantly guest on each other’s shows, do ad swaps, and bounce ideas off of each other.
As an added bonus, they get access to exclusive workshops, blog features (like this one), and networking events like INBOUND.
7. Be willing to put in the work.
In a conversation between John Lee Dumas and Jay Clouse at INBOUND, Dumas mentions the phrase: “The higher the barrier, the lower the competition.”
While building his podcast, Entrepreneurs on Fire, he realized that there were many folks interviewing entrepreneurs once or twice a week. So to create a higher barrier and lessen the competition, he decided to interview entrepreneurs every single day of the week. He maintains that this is a crucial factor to the success of his podcast (He has 155 million total listens and counting).
For both Jay Clouse and John Lee Dumas, it took them years of trial and error to finally break through.
Both of their journeys serve as reminders that success often requires perseverance and continuous improvement. But it also shows that with the right tools, mindset, and community, it is possible.