Creators ❤️ brands

A match made in monetization heaven

Happy Valentine’s Day! My personal beliefs re: Valentine’s Day? As nauseating as it is that late-stage capitalism has cemented into our calendars and lives a manufactured “holiday” on which Americans will spend a literal $25.8 billion this year with little if any regard for the ancient Roman fertility ritual of Lupercalia that inspired it…love is pretty unbelievable. And I love a reason to celebrate love of all kinds. XOXO!

P.S. Keep scrolling to see the jaw-dropping personalized Valentines Ali made for each member of the Smooth team. Pure genius, I say.

—Kinsey, cofounder and head of editorial

Creators and the Key to Effective Marketing

If account management were a professional sport, Smooth would be fielding the ’85 Chicago Bears (I’m told they were good). Our two account management powerhouses, Ali and Delaney, run their department like a fine-tuned machine—no email is left unanswered, no question unasked, no vibe unchecked.

So when they Slacked me with an idea for today’s Smoothletter inspired by a recent Creator Economy NYC x Notion x Passionfroot event  they attended (#lifelonglearners), I said “next question.” Passing the mic to these two for their 3 pieces of advice for marketers looking to scale creator partnerships.

1) Success is impossible without establishing goals.

Defining what success looks like early is instrumental to achieving a positive outcome in any creator x brand relationship.

Is success brand awareness? Is it conversions? Is it something else? Going into a campaign without knowing the answer to that question is like going out to dinner and not saying “we’ll take a look” when offered the dessert menu…a significant mistake.

Having clearly defined objectives empowers both creators and brands to more effectively build messaging, creative, and campaign copy with everyone’s shared goals in mind. Added bonus: Talking about this early allows brands and creators to each share their POVs on what’s worked and what hasn’t historically to achieve said goals.

2) Long-term, integrated partnerships with creators can be a huge unlock.

Quick wins are fun, but when there’s potential for a perfect creator x brand fit? It’s all about building campaigns with long-term potential.

For marketers: Creators know their audiences and what moves them better than anyone. Getting those creators integrated with your brand (and compensating them fairly!) creates a more advantageous setup in which they’re an extension of your team, not just a marketing expense. 

The panelists at this event offered some really great insight on the importance of making creators accessible to brands and vice versa. We give that a hard cosign, with the addition of injecting real feedback among all parties—it’s awesome to see creators and brands exchange real, applicable ideas about each other’s strategies.

TL;DR: The better the brand/creator relationship → the better the ad → the stronger the results → the better the brand perception.

3) Diversification is vital.

Brands that work with creators can’t expect or rely on one singular creator to carry the brand’s marketing strategy on their back. In fact, diversifying your marketing strategy can lead to more conversions.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that marketers should throw everything at the wall and see what sticks (after all, finding those great, long-term partnerships requires some precision). But it does mean that experimentation is key to navigating the growing creator x brand ecosystem effectively.

Bottom line: An ideal brand partnership can look like many things, but it should always be authentic, mutually beneficial, and intentional. Creators aren’t necessarily a brand’s entire marketing strategy—but they can play an instrumental role in bringing it to life.

We loved attending this event and thinking about how to engineer creative and successful brand relationships. Got any other tips, tricks, or ideas to share? Hit reply—the account management team is eager to hear your POV.

Side note: Brett from Creator Economy NYC has a great write-up on the event here for any inquiring minds!

  • Good news alert! Journalist-owned tech publication 404 Media is profitable after six months in business.

  • An interesting POV on the latest strife at TechCrunch (and the shuttering of its premium subscription offering) from Lux Capital.

  • Some new and noteworthy (see what I did there) stats from Pew on the podcasting industry: 76% of top-ranked podcasts brought on at least one guest in 2022.

  • Bustle Digital Group is effectively shutting down its parenting publication, Fatherly.

  • Payload is launching a sister publication called Ignition covering the nuclear energy industry.

#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.

Thanks for reading! To close things out, a sampling of Ali’s unbeatable Valentines for the team.

Happy Valentine’s Day (or Wednesday, depending on your vibe) and we’ll see you next week.