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What is the difference between a content creator and an influencer?

Content creators and influencers are an essential part of the digital economy. Both can help brands gain credibility and sell products.

The terms are often used interchangeably, but what do content creators and influencers do? How does each differ from a brand or consumer perspective? We will answer these questions below.

What does a content creator do?

As the title suggests, a content creator develops and creates content. These are usually original material based on their expertise and niche. Their main objective is to create content that suits the content strategy, target audience, niche and distribution platform of the business, brand or campaign they represent.

Content may vary in format, ranging from videos, audio recordings, graphics, photographs, and articles to blog posts. This content is distributed on various platforms, including websites, social media, streaming platforms, print media, etc.

For example, video content creators can share their work on TikTok, YouTube, or Instagram Reels. Written content may be distributed to news aggregators like MSN and AP Wire or uploaded to niche blogging sites. Audio content can be used for podcasts and distributed to aggregators such as Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

Different types of content creators

Content marketing expert Joel Capperella classifies creators into four categories based on their expertise and the medium they use. Brands need to recognize the type of creators that match their marketing goals.

  1. The speaker – These content creators are comfortable speaking in front of large audiences. The speaker is usually an articulate and concise verbal communicator. They effectively convey information by speaking in public. For example, podcasters would generally fall into this category.
  2. The writer – These creators are wordsmiths who know how to capture the attention of their readers through written communication. Writers make great bloggers, course creators, and authors.
  3. The viewer – Visualizers are excellent at effectively communicating their point of view using visual aids such as videos, photographs and graphics. Successful TikTok and Instagram creators fall into this category.
  4. The networker – Networkers excel at content that brings people together to share ideas and opinions. Like a radio host, any creator dealing with a live audience must excel in this area.

What does an influencer do?

Often with large numbers of followers, influencers are social media personalities who are quickly becoming an essential part of a successful digital marketing strategy for brands.

Similar to content creators, influencers post content on their social media and other content distribution channels. The type of content that influencers post, however, is mostly personal. Most influencers share intimate details about their lifestyle, purchases, and opinions. This way, they can build up a base of loyal followers who feel connected to the influencer.

Influencers typically make money by sharing sponsored content to “influence” and persuade their followers to purchase products, services, or programs. The content would generally be suitable for the format and channel where they are followed.

Different types of influencers

Influencers are often categorized by size of their audience.

  1. Nano-influencers are social media personalities with between 1,000 and 10,000 followers.
  2. Micro-influencers have between 10,000 and 100,000 subscribers.
  3. Macro influencers range from 100,000 to 1 million followers.
  4. Mega influencers are social media personalities with over one million followers.

What makes a content creator different from an influencer?

A content creator may post extremely popular content, but their audience may not necessarily know it personally. On the other hand, an influencer thrives on a personal relationship with their followers. Other than that, three key factors separate a content creator from an influencer.

1. Monetization intent and strategy

Content creators create their content strategy at:

  1. Meet the marketing needs of brands and companies.
  2. Adapt to the search intent of Internet users.
  3. Meet their own business objectives.

They leverage their audience to make money bloggingvideos, posts and audio content in several ways:

  • Place ads in content.
  • Drive sales for affiliate brands by recommending them in their content.
  • Sell ​​paid content and subscriptions.

Influencers, on the other hand, execute a different strategy. Their primary intention is to:

  1. Cultivate a loyal following. Social media is usually their preferred channel.
  2. Build a personal relationship with followers and drive engagement on posts, which is a key indicator of successful influencers.

Influencers earn income in many ways :

  • Work with brands and use their influence to promote products, services and programs.
  • Sell ​​their products to their subscribers.

It is crucial to note that not all sponsored posts offer a monetary benefit. Influencers often receive free products or services in exchange for promoting certain brands.

2. Skills

Content creators are experts in some or all of the following skills:

  • Narration
  • Verbal communication
  • Writing
  • Video and photo editing
  • Content management and distribution
  • SEO to rank on search engines and social networks

Influencers need to master a slightly different set of skills:

  • Management and public engagement
  • Social media management
  • Niche Expertise
  • Basic technical knowledge
  • Basic photo and video editing
  • Basic advertising knowledge

3. Tools

Content creators and influencers use various online business tools for their job.

Content creators use a variety of writing and editing software, SEO optimization apps, and content management systems.

Here are some of the popular tools used by content creators:

  • WordPress
  • AI content generators
  • Grammar
  • Google Trends / Ahrefs
  • SEMRush
  • Hemingway App
  • Unsplash or Pexels
  • Audacity

Influencers typically use a variety of social media management and editing tools, including:

  • Social media platforms
  • Cloth
  • Remove.bg
  • social sprout
  • Influence.co

The tools identified above are just a starting point. Content creators and influencers can use some of these tools or a completely different set depending on their needs and goals.

Influencers vs content creators

Influencers and content creators are essential to today’s digital economy. Although both create some form of content, their intent, strategy, and tools may differ. Influencers depend on a personality-based lifestyle and following, while creators let their content take center stage.

Both can be extremely valuable for brands and businesses, but knowing the nuances shared in this article is key to formulating the right marketing strategy for each.

Author: Ash & Pri are the founders of AshandPri.com, where they empower readers to make smart financial decisions in all aspects of life. After hitting their FIRE goals in their 30s, they launched their blogging business in late 2021 and quickly grew it to generate consistent income within months.