Who Are Content Creators And How To Partner With Them?

Like many developing relationships, content creators and brands embark on a journey that begins when they “fit” each other. It continues through some trials and tribulations and hopefully ends happily.

But sometimes, there’s just no connection, or common ground, or one party’s behavior messes things up. So how can these two be together?

There’s no doubt that the rise of content creators is disrupting classic marketing. Over the past few years, advertisers have noticed the innate ability of creators to engage their audience. Influencer marketing has become a critical part of a successful marketing program.

According to Influencer Marketing Hub, the influencer marketing industry is expected to jump 29% to an estimated $21.1 billion in 2023. For content creators, this means monetizing their subscribers is key.

While their primary motivation may be to share their passions or express their creativity, content creators increasingly see their creativity as a means of generating revenue. And that means partnering with brands.

What’s the difference between a content creator and an influencer?

Content creator and influencer are 2 different roles in the world of digital media and social media, but sometimes they can overlap. Here are the main differences between these concepts and examples.

Content Creator:

  • Focus on content creation. A content creator’s main activity is creating a variety of content, such as videos, photos, interactive PDFs, articles, audio podcasts, etc.
  • Free choice of topic. Content creators can choose content topics and formats based on their interests and skills.
  • Mixed audience. Their audience can be diverse and not always limited to one topic.

Examples of content creators: Felix Kjellberg, Caspar Lee, Mark Rober, Marie Kondo, Shariy Ivan, Casey Neistat, Markiplier.


  • Focus on influencing the audience. An Influencer’s main role is to influence their audience, often through product or service recommendations and advertising.
  • Specific niche or topic. Influencers usually specialize in a particular niche, such as fashion, beauty, fitness, travel, etc.
  • Large and active audience. Influencers often have a large and dedicated community of subscribers.

Examples of influencers: Kylie Jenner, Chris Hemsworth, Leonardo DiCaprio, Selena Gomez, Gary Vaynerchuk, Kim Kardashian, James Charles, Jake Paul, Greta Thunberg.

It should be noted that there is some overlap between these roles. For example, some content creators may become Influencers when their audience reaches a certain size and they start partnering with brands to promote products. However, the key difference is that content creators emphasize creativity, while Influencers focus on influencing their audience in a specific niche or topic.

Example of content creator on YouTube

Ryan Kaji is an exceptional content creator, especially in the realm of children’s entertainment and educational content. Born in 2011, Ryan rose to fame through his YouTube channel, “Ryan’s World,” formerly known as “Ryan ToysReview”.

He has effectively combined entertainment and education, maintained high production standards, engaged a wide and diverse audience, and leveraged his platform for positive impact. His journey from a young child creating simple toy unboxing videos to a global phenomenon is a testament to his unique talent and the changing landscape of digital media.

Example of content creator on TikTok

Patrick Barnes emerged as a prominent figure in the world of canine-themed content on TikTok. His journey to TikTok stardom commenced during his college summer breaks when he began crafting delightful videos featuring his charming white poodle, Quincy.

Unsurprisingly, Quincy steals the spotlight in his creations. Beyond her remarkable “singing” talents, Quincy captivates her audience with a medley of endearing quirks showcased in short comedic skits. Patrick’s TikTok following, now exceeding an impressive two million, eagerly laps up Quincy’s antics.

Example of content creator on Instagram

Karen X Cheng is a notable content creator known for her work in various creative fields, including video production, technology, and storytelling.

She is a versatile content creator who combines her skills in technology, storytelling, and entrepreneurship to produce engaging and educational content across various platforms. Her work resonates with a broad audience, from tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs to those interested in creative problem-solving and personal development.

How to forget a relationship between content creators and brands

Brands have clear needs. They want to work with content creators representing their values and whose subscribers reflect their target audience. They know that a content creator’s ability to start a conversation and create a buzz around their product or service can build credibility, introduce them to new audiences, and impact their bottom line.

But there are tens of millions of content creators worldwide, so how are brands supposed to find, recruit, and partner with them effectively?

Similarly, content creators have needs. Communicating with interested brands is an exciting part of their job. They have worked hard to engage their subscribers and know that what they promote must seem authentic to their audience. However, content creators can receive information from dozens of brands a week without always knowing who those brands are, what they sell, or what they stand for.

In addition, brands are not always clear about their expectations or how much they are willing to pay. When a creator-brand partnership works, it can bring long-term benefits to both parties. But when it doesn’t work, both parties waste time and resources.

Content creators recognize that their audiences view connecting with brands as a direct reflection of values, and any endorsement can directly impact their subscribers’ trust. This is especially true for large content creators (those with more than 100,000 subscribers).

However, many content creators find that brands don’t always take the time to understand their needs. They send vague and rushed requests. They don’t fulfill promises of compensation. In the end, the rewards may not be worth the effort. Good relationships require effort on both sides and mutually beneficial cooperation.

What should you know about content creators?

Here are interesting insights about content creators and how to partner with them.

1. Transparency is crucial

When brands reach out to content creators, they must be clear about their expectations for the partnership. While personalized communication and links to past posts certainly help, explaining expectations and defining compensation is the most important thing.

8 of 10 content creators indicated that it was vital to be clear about compensation during the initial outreach. The same % of people reported the same about performance expectations. Compensation was found to be the most important factor in evaluating a partnership.

A brand doesn’t need to immediately make a partnership offer at the outset of the work. Content creators know that a good brand partnership requires a lot of preparation.

2. Fixed payments are a matter of agreement

There’s an ongoing debate about how much compensation content creators want to receive. When it comes to getting paid, content creators tend to favor a flat fee over a straight bonus/commission structure, although most want a combination of both.

Content creators are more open to performance-based rewards when building strong relationships with a brand. The one thing to avoid is offering discounts instead of compensation.

3. Clarity is essential from day one

When content creators are inundated with partnership offers, they pay the most attention to those brands that clearly communicate rewards and expectations upfront. It’s not that other factors aren’t important, but the “show me the money” script is crucial.

The pain point is that the excessive narcissism of any brand owner is a deal-breaker. It’s helpful to talk to content creators in a way that aligns with their priorities. Note that “tell your brand story” is at the bottom of the list.

4. Values alignment

Content creators try to keep their subscribers in mind, which is an important factor when evaluating a partnership proposal. Thus, brand reputation and values take precedence over brand popularity.

Additionally, among larger creators (i.e. >100,000 subscribers), 56% said brand reputation is extremely important, compared to 39% among smaller creators. However, 49% of smaller creators cited “alignment with my values” as extremely important, compared to 29% of larger creators.

5. Content creator satisfaction

After working with a brand, what is most satisfying varies between large and small creators. Large content creators focused on engaging their audience with the content they created for their sponsoring brand.

Small content creators often have less experience with brands and appreciate when brands repurpose their content. Conversions and sales growth are the least.

What should you know about content creators?

Ready to build a long-term, successful partnership with content creators? Here are 5 points to help you do so effectively!

1. It’s all about quality

So, how can a brand convince a content creator to enter into a long-term partnership? Start by offering a good quality product or service. After all, no content creator wants to disappoint their audience when their authenticity is at stake. 

The brand must provide excellent customer service. It’s frustrating when subscribers come to content creators for help with customer service. A great experience for content creators is clear expectations, constant communication, creative freedom, high pay, and many more little things.

2. Accelerate the process

Recruiting and matching content creators can be a daunting task. The most effective way to build your network of content creators is to utilize comprehensive platforms like Keyhole to manage influencer marketing campaigns throughout the entire lifecycle.

Keyhole can help identify the right partners, engage them, track their actions, and pay them based on agreed key performance indicators.

3. Focus on the metrics that really matter

As with any outreach, focus your communication on what’s important to the content creator, not what’s important to you. Sure, your goal in partnering with content creators may be to increase revenue and build your brand.

But that’s not what all content creators respond to. Understand what types of content creators thrive in your market. Use Social listening tools to assess what’s important to them and what their audience responds to. Then, build your communication around these insights.

Social Listening is about tracking your target audience’s online feedback, comments, discussions, and brand mentions, as well as analyzing competitor publications, trends, and news in your field. Keyhole is a great tool for Social Listening. With it, you can:

1. Identify relevant content creators: Keyhole allows you to search for and identify content creators who are already discussing topics or keywords related to your brand or industry. This helps you find creators whose content aligns with your brand’s values and target audience.

2. Assess influencer reach and impact: Keyhole provides insights into the reach and impact of content creators. You can see their follower count, engagement metrics, and how often their content is shared and discussed. This data helps you gauge the potential reach of your partnership.

3. Monitoring brand mentions: Social listening with Keyhole allows you to monitor brand mentions across social media platforms. You can identify content creators who are already talking about your brand, whether positively or negatively, and engage with them strategically.

4. Audience insights: Keyhole provides demographic and psychographic information about the audience engaging with content creators. This data can help you better understand the audience you are reaching through partnerships and tailor your messaging accordingly.

So, Keyhole is a valuable social listening tool that can significantly enhance your ability to identify, partner with, and maximize the benefits of collaborating with content creators. It provides actionable insights, helps you measure the impact of your partnerships, and enables you to adapt your strategy in real-time based on the data you gather.

4. Think about your audience

It’s not only what the content creator is talking about that matters but also who they are addressing their message to. Think of the content creator as you would think of a publisher, and target your efforts to who is in the influencer’s audience (i.e., their subscribers).

There are clear differences between the partnership needs of small and large creators. So, consider a customized approach based on the relative size of the creator’s audience, their communication style, the time they have available, etc.

5. Don’t forget about rewards

Content creators are business people, and a growing number see their efforts as more than just a side activity. Remuneration is a key part of the creator-brand partnership. For many content creators, a fixed fee is predictable. This is critical for smaller creators when entering a new partnership.

But performance models can also overlap and give a content creator a greater incentive to provide exceptional content. Don’t just pay on a “last click” basis. Consider compensation models that reward creators for effort throughout the sales funnel. Content creators should also earn passive income. If their links are live, they should continue to earn commissions on any sales they make.


The dynamic relationship between content creators and brands is vital to the evolving marketing landscape. As the influencer marketing industry continues to surge, both parties must navigate the complexities of this partnership to ensure mutual success. Here are the key takeaways from this article:

1. Transparency is key: Brands must articulate their needs, and content creators appreciate knowing what’s expected from the outset.

2. Payment structures matter: Brands should consider offering a mix that aligns with the creator’s goals and efforts in promoting their products or services.

3. Values alignment: Authenticity and shared values resonate deeply with content creators and their audiences.

4. Focus on quality: Brands must provide high-quality products or services and excellent customer service to maintain the trust of content creators and their audiences.

5. Metrics that matter: Social listening tools can help identify key insights.

If leveraged correctly, successful collaborations between content creators and brands can benefit both. By adhering to these takeaways, brands and content creators can forge more meaningful, enduring partnerships that resonate with audiences and drive business growth in this attention-grabbing market.

Try Keyhole’s free trial right now!

Author Bio

Conrad Sturdy from Essay Tigers is a professional blogger, content maker, and freelance writer. He has written many great and valuable posts on a variety of topics. Conrad loves outdoor activities. He believes the fresh air brings him inspiration for new ideas.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are content creators, and why are they important for businesses?

Content creators produce digital content on social media, blogs, and YouTube platforms. They're vital for businesses as they can boost brand visibility, engage target audiences, and promote products/services effectively.

2. How can businesses partner with content creators effectively?

To partner effectively, business partners need to:
-Identify suitable creators
-Personalize their approach
-Collaborate on creative briefs
-Establish clear agreements
-Promote the content
-Analyze performance for future improvements

3. What are common misconceptions about partnering with content creators?

Some of the common misconceptions about partnering with content creators include:
-Always expensive: Negotiation options vary
-Loss of control: Balance freedom and guidelines
-Instant results: Expect gradual impact
-One-size-fits-all: Tailor approaches for each creator and audience

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