So you wanna know about the creator economy? Welcome to the club.
Before we begin, let’s take a quick second to remind ourselves of what a content creator actually does.
In simple terms, this is anyone who creates a piece of communication to be distributed and shared with the public. Content in its broadest sense, is made up of various forms. This could be anywhere from paintings, music, and novels to TikTok and YouTube videos, blogs, and Instagram posts. The aims can also be endless. Creators create to entertain, to educate, to inspire, to advise or to simply share their craft with others.
According to the ‘State of the Creator Economy’ study by ConvertKit, creators are pretty optimistic about their prospects, with 80% expecting to earn more this year than last. To give you some perspective, the creator economy is booming, currently worth around $250 billion. There is still a way to go, but the market is a clear sign that the creator economy is no side gig, it's mainstream and here to stay. And hey, if you're just starting out in the space, you're in good company: 47% of creators have been in the game for less than two years, so it’s never too late to start.
So, technology has allowed people to create and make a living on their own terms, and reach audiences they otherwise could not have imagined. But with having your own freedom, comes great responsibility, which leads us to our main issue - The overarching debate of quality vs. quantity.
When you feel the need to be everything, everywhere, all at once (excuse the movie reference) lines can get blurred between what you should do and what you’re feeling pressured to do according to what you think is ‘right’. It isn’t as simple as one or the other, there are many pieces of the puzzle to be addressed before creators can make a decision for their content. Sounds hectic? Well, it is.
So, where do you draw the line? How do you stay true to your craft without burning yourself out or losing sight of what makes you unique? That's what we're going to explore in this blog post.
I’ve been consulting with creators for over 3 years now, helping them successfully grow their creator businesses through various outlets. This has given me perspective into the real experiences of different creators, allowing me to question the so-called "rules" of the creator business, and hopefully helping you figure out how to find the right balance for you.
The Significance of Quality Content
When it comes to quality, it’s easy to misinterpret what it means. So, what exactly does having "quality" content entail? Let's break it down.
1. Originality: High-quality content starts with being yourself. It doesn’t just mean doing something no one's ever done before (as that’s virtually impossible to do) it means doing it your way, adding your own voice and unique perspective. Following trends can give you a short-term boost, but it’s your personality that'll make people stick around.
2. Depth: Quality also means creating real, curated content. It's about fully exploring your topics and giving your audience something substantial. Don’t just make something they can scroll right past, put time and care into it to really get your point across. This will also increase your credibility. Present yourself as an expert in your field by sharing valuable information, and don't be afraid to back up your statements with facts and well-researched data. This not only showcases your knowledge but also proves to your audience that you take your content seriously. If your content makes people think, reflect, or learn something new, you're on the right track.
3. Relevance: Does your content speak to your audience? If not, maybe you need to change things up. Quality content speaks to people’s needs, interests, and passions. Sure, you want to share what excites you, but you also want to make sure it's something your audience cares about. So listen to their needs and make more of what resonates with them.
4. Engagement: Finally, quality content connects. It doesn't just get scrolled by and forgotten about. It starts conversations, builds relationships, and creates a sense of community. Don’t get me wrong, it does feel great to get recognition through likes and shares, but what really matters is if you made people feel something, think something, or do something.
So now you think you know what quality content is…But here's the catch: Quality doesn't have a one-size-fits-all definition. Your content quality will evolve as you learn more about your craft and your audience. So don't be too hard on yourself if you don’t get it right the first time.
What Audiences Want To See
If you’re reading this and you consider yourself to be a creator, you’ll know how hard it is to keep up with everyone else.
Content never stops, and the bar only keeps going up. Today's audiences aren't just passive consumers, they're invested and their expectations are constantly rising.
This is what it means for creators:
1. Evolving expectations: As content becomes easier to consume, audiences become more difficult to satisfy. Before, people were happy just to have access to information online, but things have changed. Audiences now look for content that stands out. They crave content that feels tailored to them, not just a generic message to the masses. But here's how to take it a step further: exceeding those expectations. Going above and beyond can turn casual viewers into devoted fans. It's about showing that you not only understand what they want but that you're committed to going the extra mile.
2. The importance of authenticity: In the last few years, AI has taken the creator economy by storm. It is increasingly popular for creators to use technology to generate perfectly curated content at an increased rate. 34% of creators incorporated AI tools last year, and 51% want to try them this year. It has been revolutionary in accelerating content creation, especially for people who do everything themselves.
There is only one problem - if not used correctly, it can leave no space for authenticity.
AI is an amazing way to augment creativity, but it shouldn’t replace it altogether. 11% of creators are worried about keeping content original (which is a valid concern) as people can sense the fakeness. However, if used properly, AI doesn’t have to be a disadvantage, in fact, it is a real superpower! It just takes a second to adjust and learn how to use it to help you grow. As long as you embrace it and let it help you build the bones of your projects, you can still personalise your content and make it your own. So amidst the AI-generated noise, your genuine voice can stand out as something unique and valuable! Share your struggles and wins, and don't be afraid to open up about your creative process.
3. The desire for value: Audiences are looking for content that adds value to their lives. Whether that's a how-to guide that solves a problem, an article that challenges their views, or simply a funny video that brightens their day. They want to walk away from your content feeling like they've gained something, not wasted their time.
So what does this all mean for you?
It means that understanding your audience's expectations is a crucial part of making quality content. You need to listen to them, engage with them, and craft content that speaks to their needs, wants, and values.
I know what you’re thinking. It’s a lot. But don't let this intimidate you.
Embrace it as an opportunity to make deeper connections and create content that resonates on a whole new level. Building and maintaining trust with your audience is an ongoing process, but trust me, it’s worth it in the long run.
The Impact of Quantity
Now that we’ve covered the ‘quality’ side of things, let’s move on to quantity.
This is a riskier path to follow. On one hand, producing content regularly can amplify reach, engage audiences, and build your online presence. On the other, it might lead to an unsustainable pace that threatens quality and leads to burnout.
So, what exactly does it mean to produce quantity content and what advantages does it provide for creators?
- Staying relevant: The internet never sleeps, and neither does your audience's appetite for fresh content. To put this into perspective, YouTube users consume an average of 694,000 hours of video every minute. So yeah, that’s a lot of content. Regular posts keep you in the algorithm and prevent your content from being forgotten. It also allows you to keep up with trends and position yourself as a leader in your field.
- Building a routine with your audience: When you post content on a regular schedule, your audience comes to expect it. This routine creates anticipation and keeps your followers coming back for more.
- More opportunities for engagement: The more content you put out, the more opportunities for your audience to engage with it and to build a deeper relationship with them. Responding to comments, sharing your journey, or even just acknowledging feedback shows that you value and see your audience's opinions.
- Data insights: Regular posting allows you to gather data on what resonates with your audience. By tracking trends and responses, you can fine-tune your content strategy, ensuring that you're always putting the best content out there for your followers.
Let’s explore these advantages a little deeper. One of the biggest upsides to putting out content frequently, as mentioned, is that you have more of a chance for wider reach.
Consistent content across platforms means there are higher chances that someone will stumble upon your work and become a part of your growing audience. The algorithms of most social platforms also reward regular posting, increasing your visibility and, in turn, the potential for broader engagement. Discoverability isn't just about the volume of your content, it's about leveraging current trends and hot topics to tap into new audiences.
But there is a catch - you can’t just consistently deliver low-quality content. That will just give you a bad rep. So even if your focus is on quantity, make sure you’re still delivering on quality to meet your followers’ expectations. When you meet or exceed those standards consistently, you're not just entertaining them - you're earning their trust.
Essentially, you’re not only reaching wider audiences, but you have more of a chance to increase your relevance in your field. For context, 20% of creators are looking to YouTube, including YouTube Shorts, to expand their business this year, meaning expanding is definitely a top priority in creator’s minds.
The Dilemma: Quality vs. Quantity
So, we’re finally here. We've talked about the importance of crafting top-quality content and the benefits of keeping your content consistent. But what happens when these two paths intersect?
Welcome to the age-old dilemma: quality versus quantity.
In this section, we'll explore the challenges and considerations when balancing these two critical aspects. We'll also touch upon the risks and rewards that come from leaning too much on one side or the other.
Let's get started.
Going all in on quality
Pros: Focusing on quality means you're producing content that’s deep, meaningful, and probably resonates with your audience on another level. You're also building a strong brand reputation. People will see you as a thought leader in your space, and you'll earn trust and credibility.
Cons: The downside? You might get caught up in the perfectionism trap. You could end up spending days or weeks on a single piece of content, and let’s be real, not everyone has the time for that. You also risk losing relevance. The internet moves fast, so if you’re not posting or updating your content regularly, you can quickly get forgotten by the masses. Brutal, but true.
Example: Let’s look at someone who values the quality of their work and staying connected to their creativity more than anything - Lawrence Yeo. Lawrence is the writer, illustrator and storyteller behind the blog ‘More To That.’
He’s attracted millions of blog readers and over 26k subscribers by word of mouth alone. No growth hacks, no tactics, nothing. Sounds impossible? I thought so too. But somehow it worked. Lawrence has spoken before about how he relies on the quality of the work itself in order to attract readers. He is aware of the power of that over anything, so often focuses on putting effort into the actual product rather than on selling it.
Granted, the type of content he writes about isn’t exactly one for hopping on trends, but even if it was, I doubt he’d do it anyways. He has expressed how he is not the kind of guy that goes online to look at and copy what other people are doing. I’d like to clarify that there isn’t anything wrong with that. As long as you put your own spin on it and credit the creator, it’s perfectly fine to gain inspiration from others. However, Lawrence strays away from that. He values the motivations behind the content creation rather than the end goal. And lucky for him, it paid off!
A big part of choosing quality over quantity is in order to maintain a healthy relationship with his creativity. This is often something that can be compromised when focusing too much on quantity. For context, in his first year of creating, he only published around 9 blog posts the whole year. On top of that he admitted to spending around 100 hours on one single blog post (I know, crazy). So basically, if you’re really passionate about it, your craft becomes more of a lifestyle rather than a job. So quality becomes everything.
Going all-in on quantity
Pros: Frequent posting keeps you at the forefront of people’s minds. Plus, the more you post, the better your chances of something going viral. You'll cover more ground, engage with a broader audience, and give algorithms more chances to notice you. It also allows you to keep up with current events and trending topics that matter to your target audience. This means you have more of a chance of making relatable and timely content.
Cons: The obvious downside is the potential for lower quality. You might start creating filler content just to meet your posting schedule. But if you’re not putting your best work out there, is it really worth it? People understand quality. They can spot generic, repetitive and dull content from a mile away, and they won’t stick around for long if that’s all you can offer.
Example: Let’s look at another example. This is for someone who’s known for staying extremely consistent, having accounts on multiple platforms, and always being present in their craft - Ali Abdaal.
Ali is an ex-doctor turned YouTuber, Podcaster, entrepreneur, and author. With almost 5 million subscribers, he makes videos on productivity, organisation and how to overall improve your life habits. Ali published a weekly newsletter, podcast, YouTube video, and daily content across platforms. Not to mention, he also hosts his own course on how to become a part-time YouTuber. He does this while still maintaining a high standard. But how?
As you can see, Ali is the type of creator who focuses a lot on staying consistent and frequently putting out content. But spoiler alert. He doesn’t do it alone. A major part of what he does involves a whole team behind it. This isn’t to say he isn’t the brain behind his content, but he’s openly spoken about the help he receives to achieve this. This and knowing exactly how to repurpose his own content has played a huge part in Ali never running out of things to say.
His relationship with content is an interesting one. He often talks about consistency being the key to success, and how just ‘showing up is better than nothing’. This has definitely worked in his favour, but it might not be the case for everyone. Ali’s content definitely focuses on educating and motivating audiences to better themselves, but may sometimes lack the transparency that audiences crave. Of course, there is endless value in his content, but is it specific to him or could you be getting it from elsewhere?
Right. So where does that leave us?
The sweet spot is obviously somewhere in the middle, just as long as you stay true to who you really want to portray yourself as online. If you're paralysed by perfectionism, remember that an imperfect post can still resonate with people, offer value, and generate engagement. However, if you're putting out quantity with a hint of burnout, it may be time to take a step back and ask yourself if it’s really worth the sacrifice to stay consistent.
At the end of the day, it's up to you to understand what will work best for you and your audience. But whatever you decide, just make sure you're doing. Action is better than inaction every time. Trust me, you learn more from a post that doesn’t do well than from never posting at all.
Creating a Balance: Strategies for Success
So, how do you find that sweet spot between quality and quantity?
Believe it or not, it is possible to keep the quality of your content high while still pushing out a decent amount of stuff. The key? Don't compromise on what makes you unique.
Here are the top 6 strategies for success in your content:
1. Understand Your Goals and Audience
Before you even ask yourself the question of quality vs. quantity, ask yourself this: "What is my end goal?" Whether it’s brand building, selling a product, or creating a community online, your goals dictate your strategy. The same goes for your audience. Decide who you want to reach and what their pain points, interests and preferences are. Do you have your key performance indicators (KPIs)? After posting for a while, try and understand what your audience wants from you. Once you know this, it will be a lot easier for you to cater your content to them that is genuinely useful, engaging, and in line with your brand.
2. Choose your platforms and formats wisely
Sounds obvious, but many people don’t listen to this. Different platforms attract different audiences and are suited for different kinds of content. Choose where you want to put your energy into. Sometimes when it comes to platforms, less is more. You could be on every single one, but if you’re posting the same content on all and it isn’t designed for that specific platform, it will not perform. Even worse, it could affect your overall stats. So, if you have a visual brand, Instagram could be for you, if you have a more entrepreneurial brand, LinkedIn might be the place instead. Choose platforms that align not just with your content, but also with where your target audience spends their time. It's not about being everywhere, it's about being where it matters.
Audiences also consume content in diverse ways, audio, video, written etc. Diversify your formats to cater to different consumption habits. You don’t have to keep this up forever, but especially in the early days of your content creation, experiment! You can turn videos into written articles or X threads into carousels. The key is testing and learning from the results. Knowing which formats resonate the most will in turn help you decide which platforms are right for you.
3. Develop a plan and schedule your content
I cannot stress this enough. Successful content creation goes hand in hand with planning. You can’t expect to succeed if you don’t plan your content. So don’t leave your content creation to spontaneous bursts of inspiration. A content calendar gives you a clear plan as to what to post, when, and where. Of course, you are allowed to make changes and post as you wish, but this ensures that you’re consistently delivering high-quality content and aren’t coming up with posts at the last minute.
A great way to do this is to use strategic scheduling tools. You’d be surprised at how long posting actually takes, so if everything is scheduled ahead of time, it will allow you to focus on the actual content creation rather than the admin around it. Tools like this one can also help you know when your audience is most active to optimise your posting times. This will become key when ensuring that your content gets as much engagement as possible. Whether you post more quality or quantity, always make sure the timing is strategic!
4. Repurpose and update your content
As mentioned earlier, repurposing can become your best friend if you wanna post across different platforms. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you create, you just need to reinvent how you present it. A podcast episode can become a blog post, a carousel can become an X thread…the possibilities are endless if the content is still valuable! If done well, this approach can spread your content without diluting its quality. Repurposing can also offer a fresh new perspective on your content, which is important when keeping up with the competition. Audiences like to see that you’re listening to them, algorithms are updated, and new trends come up every day. So if you wanna stand out, you need to adapt and evolve. Don’t be afraid to fail, just take those learnings and use them towards your success.
5. Track, Measure and Improve your content
You can't improve what you can't measure. So step one is using tools like Google Analytics or platform-specific dashboards to keep an eye on the data. Look at metrics like engagement, reach, and conversion rates to understand your performance and adjust your strategy as needed. Content is always changing, and so should yours. Make sure you regularly revisit what worked best from your content and hone in on it for the future. This doesn’t mean completely re-inventing your brand every time, but if you don’t measure, you’ll never know what content you should stay away from.
6. Stay true to yourself and your brand
I know I just threw a lot of strategies at you, but listen up. If you take one away from this blog let it be this one: Never lose sight of your voice or your vision. That's your golden ticket. If you start slacking on the quality of your content just to churn out more of it, your audience will notice. Trust me, they always do. Authenticity takes the cake above everything else. If people like you, they’ll likely consume most of what you offer, so make it worth it for them. If you lose that connection, you’ll lose a lot more. So keep sight of your values and what makes you unique. And if you’re having trouble getting back on track, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback! This could be from your audience or even other creators. Sometimes you need to zoom out to realise what’s not clicking.
Navigating the creator economy isn’t easy, especially when it comes to the debate of quality vs. quantity. But here’s the thing: It's not about picking one or the other. Success in the creator economy is all about balance. Finding a middle ground that allows you to focus on the quality of your work while still staying consistent will allow you to create content that genuinely engages, educates, and entertains, without burning out or losing your identity. Work smarter, not harder.
So - After this in-depth analysis (I know, it’s a long one!) take a step back and think: Are you considering all these strategies in your content? Could you be changing your approach? How can you improve your quality/quantity balance?
These are questions only you can answer, but they are your golden ticket to managing a successful creator business in today’s creator economy. Easy? No. Doable? Absolutely.