People like to see themselves reflected in the media they consume. This is especially true when it comes to social media. Both influencers and content creators provide expertise, opinions, or information to help brands like yours reach a wider audience.
The terms 'influencer' and 'Content Creator' are often used interchangeably, yet there are distinct differences between the two - and we'll show you what they are.
As a brand, you may find yourself in need of influencers or content creators in order to reach your target audience across multiple platforms. That's why it's important to see that they're in different positions with different demands from their dedicated audience.
In order to help you understand these two options for engaging with talent, here are some points that we'll be covering to help you make an informed decision on which one is the right fit for your business:
- What are the similarities and differences between influencers and content creators?
- Benefits of working with the two
- Pros and cons of working with them
- How to choose between an influencer or a content creator
Ready to learn the key differences between influencers and content creators? Let's dive right into it.
What are the similarities and differences between an influencer and a content creator?
An influencer may or may not be a content creator, and a content creator may or may not be an influencer.
For the most part, these digital creator jobs revolve around partnering with brands and sharing their experiences through various forms of content to give consumers a sense of familiarity with certain products or services.
There are various differences between the two, with some differences being more obvious than others depending on how brands opt to work with them. Keeping this in mind, people can be both influencers and content creators depending on their approach to certain platforms.
An influencer is someone who extends influence over other people's buying decisions. To put it simply, influencers influence. People follow the influencer’s advice and opinions because it is assumed they know best, which helps to build brand awareness through high-quality content.
Influencers can include celebrities, athletes, motivational speakers, or public figures whose endorsements carry weight with specific audiences. Their popularity among consumers depends on their credibility and trustworthiness.
Influencers are often seen more as advocates to promote products and services. It's not always about what they're selling; it's more about the emotion they evoke in their fans through consistent messages across many different platforms. They are known for having higher rates than average content creators simply because they affect purchase decisions when it comes to fashion, beauty, food, entertainment, travel, home items, and more.
A content creator is often thought of as being a blogger, vlogger, photographer, graphic artist, or anyone who produces content for online audiences to consume.
They're often a ‘one-stop shop’ that does the creative direction, acts as the talent, manages the props or styling, and oversees the overall execution of a campaign.
Content creators are typically not seen as influencers because they don't have much power over what people think and do when they're viewing their content. The creation of content will usually be done purely for those who are already familiar with the niche or industry. Some content creators can, however, become influential content creators over time, though this is not always the case.
Benefits of working with influencers
Influencers are trusted by their audience, so they often have incredible engagement rates when it comes to sharing content, which, if well-crafted, can certainly drive web traffic back to your own site and help generate sales, sell merch, drive clicks, etc.
They also have lots of followers who are typically highly engaged, meaning their messages will spread virally throughout their audience much more quickly than the traditional forms of advertising.
Influencers typically have very loyal audiences who are generally happy to buy products their influencer marketing campaign partners recommend, further increasing brand awareness. You can build relationships with customers you would never have otherwise met.
Benefits of working with content creators
Content creators tend to focus on providing expertise about products, services, or other topics relevant to a specific industry, while influencers are typically more focused on the personality behind the brand. Therefore, the former can help you deliver a more authentic and organic social media presence.
You can engage a content creator to produce branded content on your behalf. This means the creator can be the writer, podcaster, photographer, or videographer with their own equipment, who also manages the styling, editing, retouching, etc. They can create great content on your behalf without extensive direction.
You can also get feedback about your product before it even gets released. This is often an incredibly useful way to get initial customer feedback before you’ve invested too much in a new product line.
Pros and cons of working with creators and influencers
Consider these before making any final decisions about hiring an influencer versus a content creator for any of your marketing campaigns.
- They've often got large followings. Influencers have loyal followers who engage with their social media account or other online activities.
- Influencers typically have an established voice and style which can align with the values and tone of your brand. They're often excited to share what they do, see and try with their friends and family members, which makes it an easy task for brands.
- They're less expensive than using actual celebrities. On some social media platforms, they're even more influential than traditional celebrities nowadays.
- Brands can benefit from these large audiences by tapping into them through sponsored posts or ads. This way, you can tap into an existing audience or community and make it part of your own.
- Because there's so much noise in the space, brands will need to find someone who has access to their desired demographic and will completely align with the ideology of the brand.
- You'll need to give them more direction than you would if you worked with a content creator, which could limit how organic the content is.
- There is a risk of not getting the desired effect, especially in the age of TikTok, YouTube and Instagram Stories, where one mistake can jeopardise an entire campaign.
- Influencers typically have higher rates than regular content creators.
- A content creator has a specific style or aesthetic they are well known for. Perhaps it's creating incredible flat lays or a whimsical beach fashion style. Their work is unique and identifiable. They usually stick to one look, feel, and visual style.
- They can create premium content at a lower cost. Blog posts, photos, YouTube video content, reviews -- you name it!
- They have extensive knowledge about a specific topic that few others will be able to replicate. This is especially applicable when you have a niche product!
- They're often skilled at developing their own unique style or specific content formats for their large following (like recipes, viral makeup tutorials, DIY projects, etc.)
- A creator isn't likely to have the same reach as an influencer, who typically has tens of thousands or even millions of followers across various platforms, so the content they create often needs to be further amplified.
- Content creators are less likely to work with you if it isn't typically what they're known for. They typically focus on one industry or niche and not every market under the sun, unlike influencers.
- They tend to be detail-oriented and focused on the product or subject they are creating content about, so it may take longer for them to create something from scratch as opposed to an influencer who can do it pretty quickly.
How to choose between an influencer or a content creator
Choosing an influencer or a content creator will produce very different marketing results, so you need to be clear with what you aim to achieve. If authenticity and creativity are key factors in your strategy, then working with a content creator would probably work best. Meanwhile, if you're looking for credibility and a wider reach, working with an influencer would make more sense.
Why not try a hybrid of strategically creating content and influencer marketing?
Perhaps the best approach is to collaborate with both content creators and influencer marketing talent. This way, the campaign is driven by content and storytelling and supported by trusted personalities when it comes to awareness and social media reach.
For example, if you're launching a new health supplement, you can tap a content creator who will write your product page and create a series of social media posts highlighting its benefits. You can then amplify this campaign by working with an influencer who's a fitness guru and has built an active social media following based on their expertise in fitness.
Regardless of whether you choose an influencer, a content creator, or both, be sure they understand what you're trying to achieve with your campaign. They will only be as successful as you allow them to be because of how closely they're tied to your brand messaging.