Creators vs. influencers
Interchangeable? Not in our house
Hi, everyone! Not to get too into self-promotion (she says as she writes a newsletter literally called Smoothletter), but we’re doing something super exciting next week: hosting an event for creators in LA. Watching our team’s incomparable attention to detail in planning this event has inspired me to ask them on no fewer than three occasions if they’d plan my wedding. So…
The event: We’re teaming up with Notion to host a stellar event (on 10/25) all about running your creator business like a startup—useful insight and fun conversations for creators and operators alike. RSVP here.
—Kinsey, cofounder and head of editorial
Creators vs. Influencers: Who You Got?
Just kidding. It’s not a competition…unless…?
It’s currently New York Tech Week (sorry, #NYtechweek), and we’ve popped into a couple panels about building and selling apps, creating product-market fit, and mobilizing teams to think in decades instead of days. That last one is what I’d like to talk about today.
In the creator industry, there’s a tendency for operators who support creatives to think in decades while the creatives themselves think in days—or more specifically, videos and posts and deliverables. With the day-to-day responsibility of content creation, creatives are often left with little means, motive, or opportunity to think for the longer-term. That establishes something of a misalignment, or at least a diversion of focus, between creatives and operators.
Earlier this week, a conversation about doing just that got our team talking about the difference between a creator and an influencer. To anyone outside this industry/all of our parents, they’re the same. But to us, they represent vastly different long-term paths and long-term versions of success.
And that matters. Because a creative optimizing for the long-term needs to know where they fall on the spectrum of influencer ←→ creator in order to make the most informed decisions about opportunities, teams, and ambitions.
So here’s how we differentiate between the two:
These two are different, but: One is not better than the other, and some creators are both—we think Emma Chamberlain falls into that category. Her lifestyle videos earned her acclaim, but her focus on mental health and wellness earned her expertise.
Understanding which you are or which you serve—influencer or creator—helps anyone in our space to 1) make better decisions 2) work with the right people and 3) set the right expectations. And while this might seem like splitting hairs over semantics, we feel strongly that vocabulary is a useful tool for pushing the industry forward.
So which category do you fall into?
Major, super cool deal news we love to see: LADbible publisher LBG Media has acquired Betches in a deal worth up to $54 million ($24 million up front and $30 million more if Betches hits certain targets) ((Betches is bootstrapped which makes this even cooler)).
In Passionfruit’s Creator Newsletter, an exploration of how and why Content™ feels so trivial right now given *gestures to everything*.
The Washington Post is cutting 240 jobs (the voluntary buyout way) after being "overly optimistic" about its growth in readership, subscriptions, and ads the last two years.
A look at the ways Shopify is “wooing” creators, whom they’ve classified as the entrepreneurs of the future.
#digibuzzcodevoxious is a term we coined back in our Morning Brew days—a portmanteau of Digiday, BuzzFeed, Recode, Vox, and Axios. Obviously, the year was 2018 and the interest rates were zero. But still, the sentiment of “interesting media trends and news” remains. So the name stays.
Last week, the Smooth team got together for SQIRL (or Smooth Quarterly IRL, our quarterly off-site/on-site/excuse to get together in-person to make fun of Head of Partnerships and Very Competent Business Person Colin Richardson for loving cow’s milk).
As part of our Smooth programming last week, we had a heated game night that ended in defeat for my team, the Rothenbergers.
Our punishment for losing: We must watch Cats (2019) and deliver a thoughtful review of the film to be published here in Smoothletter. So keep an eye on your inbox for the best Smoothletter yet, and in the meantime please enjoy this photo of the team doing cute team things (going to lunch). ❣️
Thanks for reading! Please send any critical thoughts about Cats. We’ll see you next week!