The creator economy emerged almost out of nowhere less than a decade ago.
But it’s now a $100+ billion industry, fueled by talented individuals and companies that support them.
Creators is a broad term for all people (pros and hobbyists), producing content on the Internet. TikTok dancers, YouTubers, Instagram influencers, digital artists, and all sorts of independent product makers are now shaping consumers’ perceptions of pop culture, brands, and current events.
The power of individual personalities can be massive. According to the latest data,
If you’re wondering how to harness the growing influence of content creators, this guide explains how to hire, onboard, and manage the best creative talents.
To produce epic content, you can hire full-time staff, partner up with freelancers, or get an agency on a retainer.
Having a full-time content creation team is a great option when you have predictable workflows and a clear-cut niche (e.g., commercial video production). However, payrolling full-time creatives isn’t something every company can afford. Agencies can handle an equal (and sometimes bigger) scale of content production with less day-to-day involvement. Though lower supervision can be both an advantage (more time to focus on strategy) and a downside (subpar results). Partnering with freelance content creators is the option growth-driven companies choose as you get both flexibility and a high scaling potential. But running distributed teams requires some managerial magic.
Here are the pros and cons of each option model to help you decide what's best for you.
Working with the same top-caliber team is a dream for any Art Director or Head of Creative. You get to cultivate incredible synergy and leverage each other's strengths to deliver award-winning (and money-making) creative campaigns. Plus, there are several more perks to having an in-house content creation department:
While it’s tempting to assemble to have a creative powerhouse under one (virtual) roof, there are quite a few blockers to doing so:
The creator economy is growing bigger year-on-year, with roughly 450,000 people now identifying as full-time content creators. The global talent pool is much larger though as many people prefer to go by “freelancer”, “influencer”, “photographer”, or “business owner” titles.
Finding incredible freelance content creators has never been easier and the prospects of doing so are rather attractive:
Although 75% of business leaders agree that it’s more efficient to hire a specialist freelancer rather than train an existing employee, managing a large freelance workforce can be challenging (Though Xoloknows how to make things smoother!).
To meet the surging demand, most advertising and marketing agencies switched to offering on-demand content creation services — from social media content creation to managed podcast production.
Working with an agency exposes you to a wider range of creative talent and types of production opportunities:
Content creation agencies can be great partners in the long run. But the costs can run steep too. Moreover, you should account for the following disadvantages:
Audio, video, visual, or even mixed reality content — you can make your pick and commission the creative services from the following freelance professionals.
Content is everywhere and so are the people that produce it. If you want to hire the best freelance content creators, we recommend using Xolo — cut your hiring time down to zero, and let a team of industry experts pair the perfect freelancer(s) to every unique project you bring.
Contacting the Xolo crew, and informing them of your project details and mission, means you’re just a few business days (or less) from hiring amazing freelance talent.
We’ll go over some alternatives to finding freelance designers today, and give you a chance to decide which fits your needs best.
Digital content creation isn’t a skill you pick up in the Uni. It’s something you learn by doing. Most content creators begin as hobbyists and then progressively transition to a full-time job as an Adobe survey recently found.
Apart from monetizing their audiences via ad integrations and sponsorship deals, many creative folks are also open to on-demand content production for brands.
A quick search on your network of choice (Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube), should get you some solid leads (plus, an instant view of the person's portfolio).
Have a bigger budget and want to streamline your talent search? Check platform-recommended creators:
The creator economy grew from non-existent to a $104.2 billion market in less than a decade. Most of the industry value comes from collaborations between brands and creators — from the #sponsored campaigns to ongoing brand ambassadorship engagement, and on-demand content creation of course.
Creator marketing platforms have emerged to facilitate all of the deal-making. Apart from offering tools for campaign management, many now also offer talent match-making services.
Check these creator marketing platforms to find your next freelance hire:
Still haven’t found the ideal match? Well, you have another option left: specialized freelance marketplaces. Unlike all-purpose sites like Upwork and Fiverr, niche talent marketplaces specialize in one vertical — video content production, photography, or design services.
Here you’re more likely to encounter experienced freelance content creators:
Most creative professions — be it design or writing — have price ranges all over the place because of the varying nature of work and deliverables.
Pricing in the creator economy is even more complex since it’s a new niche, where few standard pay grades exist.
That said, you can work out an appropriate compensation package for freelance content creators by factoring in their niche, personal brand (and following), plus the type of creative outputs you expect (e.g., one sponsored post or fully signed over a set of commercial product photos).
According to Later Rates Report, freelance content creators base their price quote on:
Below are the median rates for various types of creative work you can use as a reference for budgeting.
You can leverage Instagram influencers both for influencer marketing campaigns and on-demand content creation. The quoted rates will mostly depend on the follower count (for sponsored campaigns), and the content format.
Video content creation
Creation and posting
Creator ads post
Macro creators (over 100K followers)
TikTok has been gaining strong grounds as a marketing channel (though it’s now facing some uncertain regulations). Still, it’s a channel to look into if you want to market to younger consumers (Gen Z & Millennials) for a relatively low cost.
According to Later, the median rate per sponsored TikTok video is $700. On the lower end, creators charge $250 per video and upward to $1700 on the other end of the spectrum.
Pro Tip: Collabstr offers a free user-generated content creator calculator, which you can use to figure out the going rate for different content types and platforms.
Commercial photographers charge either on commission (aka per deliverable) or through reproduction fees (aka for granting non-exclusive image usage rights).
The rates depend on the brief, assignment complexity, and extra production requirements (e.g., traveling to shoot at some very remote location).
A rate guide by the British Union of Journalists recommends the following freelance photography rates:
A pricing guide by Cherrydeck suggests the following rates for commercial photoshoots and content creation projects:
Your best option? Reach out to several freelance photographers with a creative brief and ask for price quotes.
Videography prices differ a lot too based on the scope of work. Most freelance videographers bill either by project or using a day rate.
The project price quote typically factors in:
Content creation is a job like any other. Yet, independent content creators struggle to collect their dues: 87% experienced payment issues at least once, according to a Tipaltiy report.
Late, delayed, or incomplete payments are the most problematic areas. And while some clients are probably part of the problem, content creators often don’t make things easier either.
Many operate as individuals, rather than incorporated entities, and prefer B2C payment methods (like Venmo, Paypal, or mobile wallets) for client payment processing.
The wrinkle is that many organizations prefer bank transfers and card payments for accounting and tax reporting reasons. Many also cannot handle invoices with short payment terms like “due on receipt” or Net 7.
That’s when tensions arise and payment delays happen.
Xolo smoothes the payment preference asymmetry by providing freelance content creators with a convenient invoicing app. We ensure that all invoices are VAT-compliant and include all the necessary information for tax reporting before routing them to the clients. You can then pay each via a bank transfer (and bank card support is coming soon!) and we’ll transfer the money to the creator. This way, payment experience remains fast and effective, while compliance risks are at a minimum.
Freelancers can help you with more than just audio, video, and photo content creation. When managed correctly, they can become an organic extension of your in-house creative teams (and the brand as a whole).
Such synergetic partnerships can bring new perspectives to your marketing, spark new ideas, and substantially improve your campaign performance.
Create stronger partnerships with creators by applying these tips:
Need more guidance? Learn how to manage freelance teams to achieve great synergy and top performance!
Partner up with the best creative talent without worrying about onboarding, compliance, or payment nuisances. Xolo is changing the way you think about hiring freelancers — less hassle, less time and better results. Send your next project to Xolo, and let a dedicated industry expert curate three freelancers perfect for your exact mission to you in under three business days, leaving you with an easy decision.
And if you’re looking to build a team, Xolo has you covered from discovery to payday.
Elena Prokopets writes content for tech-led companies & software development businesses, marketing to them. Her empathy for the customer, expertise in SEO, and knack for storytelling help create content that ranks well and drives industry conversations.
Elena uses Xolo so she can focus on her solo B2B content writing business without stressing over the compliance and admin overhead.
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