Influencer vs Content Creator — What No One Tells You

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April 29, 2022

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A quick guide to influencer vs content creator.

One of the most commonly searched phrases on google is, you guessed it, influencer vs content creator. Meaning, there’s quite a bit of confusion surrounding these roles. So let’s break it down. As you probably already know, each day brands partner with content creators and influencers to create unique content to meet their marketing goals. So if you’re hoping to learn how to work with brands and get paid as an influencer or content creator, keep watching all the way to the end to find out how content creators and influencers BOTH make money working with brands. 

By the way, if you’re new here — welcome, I’m Jaye and I’m the creator of 11 St. Studio influencer agency and I’ve been helping influencers like you price their rates for brand deals, and negotiate brand contracts, since 2019. With that said, I recently launched a NEW webinar where I share exactly what goes into calculating rates for brand deals — IN DETAIL —  because let me tell you, it is NOT a one-size fit’s all approach. And in that webinar I also reveal how to get your hands on my personal influencer rate calculator, because trust me when I say, it’s a MUST-HAVE if brands are asking for your rates.

Again, I reveal IT ALL in the webinar. So make sure to click the link below this video to join the webinar because I don’t want anyone (who’s interested in learning how to price their rates for brand deals the RIGHT way) to miss it.

influencer vs content creator

Influencer vs Content Creator

So I think we can all agree that with the continual rise of social media, content needs to evolve rapidly to keep up with the ever-changing trends. People on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok consume more and more content every day, and whether it’s an outright ad or a sponsored post, we are all constantly exposed to brand messages.

Content Creators vs Influencers

SO… this new reality has launched influencers and content creators into the limelight. But… the line that separates those two titles is kinda blurry, and often, the terms are used interchangeably. And regardless of the platform, the content produced by influencer vs content creator is very different. Plus, with so many platforms to choose from, content creators and influencers are constantly challenged to create new, engaging, and really innovative content. And in doing so, many have discovered a niche that makes them very distinct and unique from others.

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Content Creator Description

So what exactly is the difference between an influencer vs content creator? Well to start let’s talk about the term “content creator”. It was first used way back in 2011 on YouTube to describe the first YouTube stars. As social media continued to gain popularity both celebrities and rising YouTubers identified with the term, because to put it simply, content creators are often experts within a niche or specific industry.

influencer vs content creator

Today, however…content creators come in many different forms. They are photographers, videographers, editors, writers, and other types of artists who showcase their work on social media. They typically use their social media profiles as their portfolio to market their brand, so in many senses, content creators are also influencers. In many cases, these individuals became influencers by chance, however… while they gained a massive audience, that was not necessarily their original intention. Many simply used their content as a creative outlet for their interests, hobbies, and well, artistic areas of expertise.

Influencer vs Content Creator

​​So…what do content creators do?

Well, to put it simply, they create content. Their job is in their job title. To put it bluntly, they create media, so think…. videos, photos, graphics, blog content, and more for themselves and brands and then publish it across various channels like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, their own personal websites. So, to make things simple, content creators are highly skilled and experienced photographers, editors, writers, graphic designers, or videographers who develop assets intended to be shared with brands for advertising purposes. They’re also a great go-to for brands sourcing content for social media, websites, emails, print, etc. …without paying for the additional price of influence (so for example, followers, impressions and engagement).

Content creators are also evaluated by the deliverables they produce, their unique creativity and their ability to create eye-catching assets rather than by the size of their audience. They’re also very knowledgeable in regards to best practices across social media platforms.

Influencer Meaning

So now let’s pivot and chat about influencers. Influencers also create content, but as many of you may know, they have a very different approach. While they also share amazing images and videos, they also focus on being relatable through the interactions they share with their followers. This helps them build their brand and grow their audience to huge numbers. And, influencers, like content creators, can be found on nearly every social media platform, from Instagram to YouTube, TikTok, and even podcasts.

influencer vs content creator

SO, most importantly, influencers influence us. People feel connected to these individuals and trust the advice that they provide. The main difference will often appear in the content they produce — it’s pretty straightforward in many cases, and some may even say it lacks the same quality as the HIGH quality content created by professional content creators.

Influencer vs Content Creator

BUT, like all things creative, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so this assumption is subjective. However, one thing that isn’t subjective is that influencer content is often MUCH more engaging and targeted to a specific audience. Like content creators, influencers create content around various topics and the niches that they specialize in — from lifestyle to food to fashion to travel etc. Regardless of the size of their audience, their followers are not only interested in their content; they are invested in it.

So…what do influencers do? Well, to put it simply, influencers are social media personalities who — again, it’s in their job title — influence their followers to do or buy something based on what THEY do or buy. Influencers are simply sharing how they live their lives, and promoting the products and services they use along the way.

Influencer and Brand Collaborations

Influencers generally partner with brands in order to leverage their audience to build brand awareness and trust. They have an engaged audience that is invested in their content AND advice, and are mostly evaluated by the size of their audience along with their engagement rates. So, for example, they may specialize in travel content, lifestyle content, food, interior decor, beauty… you get where I’m going here. Their followers are often extremely engaged as they are CLEARLY experts within a specific field.

Content Creators vs Influencers

So, what do content creators and influencers have in common?

Well to start they’re both natural storytellers that are vital to brands in terms of marketing and advertising, especially in the digital space. They both thrive at the intersection of business and creativity. As much as creativity is at the core of their work, they must also navigate opportunities with a business-like mindset, and also need to feel confident with some of the more logistical pieces… such as contracts, negotiations, etc. 

influencer vs content creator

Another thing they have in common is that they’re both able to create unique product content (think overhead product shots or flatlays) as well as lifestyle content (think UGC content — or showing the product in use). They both typically have a unique style or aesthetic and may specialize in a niche but are just as capable in creating content for a variety of brands and products in different industries.

Influencer vs Content Creator

Now, on the other hand, there are several distinct differences that separate content creators and influencers. For instance, many YouTubers spend numerous hours recording and editing their video content, whereas influencers on Instagram often focus on creating compelling copy to go with their images. And, while these examples are pretty general, it really highlights the skills necessary for each platform.

The level of skill is also a factor when comparing creators and influencers. Everyone can aspire to become an influencer. Let’s face it, you only need a smartphone and an ounce of creativity to start building your brand. Content creators, however, need very specific (and often very expensive) equipment, technical skills, technical expertise, and professional editing knowledge to produce high-quality content. 

How Influencers Earn Money

It should also be noted that HOW they each monetize their brand also differs. Creators often monetize their videos on YouTube (for example) through Google Adsense, affiliate links, digital products, brand sponsorships, and freelance work for brands. Influencers on the other hand typically receive their income through brand partnerships, affiliate links, and more recently on Instagram, from the platform itself in terms of being paid for bonus Reel’s views.

SO…in the marketing world, both content creators and influencers are sought out by brands for advertising… and promoting products and services on social media. However when working with content creators, brands have unique access to high levels of creativity and knowledge that can typically only be achieved by bringing on professional photographers, videographers, editors and copywriters.

It’s important to also recognize that in many instances, creators don’t always have access to the larger, “general population” like influencers do; but their engagement rates are often similar, if not higher. SO, as you can imagine, more and more brands are becoming interested in content creators and what they have to offer, as many of these individuals have found their way into the influencer world.

On the flip side, some influencers are now making an effort to be more creative and produce higher quality content to compete with content creators. Yet, their focus remains largely the same: aiming to engage their audience in clicking and buying the products and services they promote.

Defining influencer vs content creator in a new guide


Influencer vs Content Creator

SO…at the end of the day, a brand’s choice between partnering with a content creator or an influencer will largely depend on their current marketing priorities. For example, if brand exposure is the primary goal, then working with influencers is going to be the best approach, since they’re best equipped to expose a brand to a wide audience. On the other hand, obtaining high-quality content at a fraction of the cost of contracting a professional photographer, models, videographers and editors is often why choosing a content creator proves to be more valuable.

OK, that pretty much sums up the difference between an influencer vs content creator. Before you go make sure to learn more on our YouTube channel and of course, read our blog to discover how to price sponsored posts, what to charge for exclusivity as an influencer and more.

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