There are tons of benefits to working with online creators. Their dedicated audience means guaranteed eyes on your campaign. The intimacy they have with that audience lends your content extra authenticity. And, when it comes to the content itself, their skills, expertise and creative vision can be a huge boon.
Collaboration, not commission.
When it comes to getting the best out of the partnership, there are some things to bear in mind. The process is likely to look quite different than it would if you were hiring an agency team, or even freelance creatives. Online creators speak in their own voice, from their own point of view - even when they’re creating content on behalf of a brand. The key, of course, is to see it as collaboration rather than a commission.
Creators know their audience inside out and have a clear idea of what works best. They’re experts when it comes to their platform and content formats too. It pays to trust in this skillset and afford them enough creative freedom to do what they do best - their success in engaging their audience is the basis on which you’ve hired them after all. Of course, this can feel scary, so you need to establish boundaries from the outset. An agency that’s experienced in working with creators will be able to manage the process and ensure you get what you need.
Repurposing existing content
We’ve seen another model for working with online creators emerging recently. A great example is this hilarious piece of content from Paddy Power, responding to footy fan backlash against the European Super League. It gave us a laugh in the office and, when we dug a little deeper, we found it was actually an update of an existing sketch. The creators, Exploding Heads, post comedy content themed around football and other sports.
This is a great move from Paddy Power - using existing creative rather than making something new from scratch. It’s a smart way to react quickly to conversations their audience cares about. It got us thinking: how could more brands benefit from this approach? Creators have their finger on the pulse of fast-moving trends - especially on newer platforms like TikTok where the style and format is very different to, say, YouTube. A roster of creators making quick turnaround content could be very useful to a brand looking to be responsive to ongoing conversations.
But what about the ~development~?
Isn’t this kind of set-up too transient, too ad hoc, to engender good work? Isn’t the best creative made by teams working closely with a brand over time to understand its customers and unique business challenges?
Sure. But your longstanding agency partner should also be thinking about creators as an executional approach. Sometimes the content your audience wants most is immediate. On the pulse. Part of the conversation. And if you partner with online creators who are working in your space, with overlapping audiences and a similar tone of voice, their content will be on the money for your customers. That’s why Paddy Power’s sketch worked so well. They have a really well-defined proposition and point of view, which resonates with Exploding Heads’ content, making them a great match.
You still need your longstanding agency relationship to manage it all, and the output can be the right creator partnership as well as just conventional campaigns.
So what’s the takeaway?
- Make sure you - or your agency - have got their finger on the pulse of online creators in your space.
- Reach out and form relationships (we can help with that!)
- Stay quick on your feet with what’s current, and get ready to join in with a relevant conversation.
Here are a few of our current faves you should be following:
Yashana Malhotra, a menswear design student at Central Saint Martins, is amassing a big audience on TikTok for the dresses they make and model. We think their content is some of the most exciting in the fashion and photography space right now.
Harry, who describes himself as a “very shy national treasure”, has recently blown up on Twitter for his comedic sketches, often depicting awkward scenarios and neurotic characters.
Introducing clips from her #HolaDares series, Holamiday says “I do the things you’re too afraid to do and show you that no one actually cares, so BE YOU and DO YOU!” Her account promotes self confidence and authentic expression, a hit with her young audience.
Alec documents his projects as a blacksmith for his 2.3m followers, sharing an insight into the creative process of a maker. It’s inspiring stuff for anyone interested in making things.