According to YouTube, YouTube Creators are, “approachable and a constant presence in their viewers’ lives; they are passionate, socially wired and excel at building authentic person-to-person connections.”
More broadly, YouTube Creators are individuals who produce content for the YouTube platform. From vlogs, to “how-tos,” to travel and lifestyle journals, to comedy skits, to “let’s play” clips, to highly produced non-fiction and narrative content, anyone who makes videos for a YouTube Channel can be considered a YouTube Creator.
As YouTube has matured, so have their users. Colloquially known as YouTubers, the moniker can now sound as dated as the images of overly-bubbly personalities and poorly produced videos it conjures.
Today, YouTubers have evolved into what the platform and many in the industry have dubbed, YouTube Creators. As a media force, these entertainers have become more sophisticated in how they produce content and conduct business. Moreover, as a community, they’re being taken seriously by both consumers and brands. Simply put, YouTube Creators are YouTube influencers.
While almost all content producers on the platform exist under the YouTube Creator umbrella, the community is so vast that variances exist across its ranks. YouTube Creators not only cover a wide array of interest categories, but how they integrate with the YouTube community, as well as approach their content and channels can differ greatly, too.
At VidCon 2018, YouTube announced new monetization opportunities for qualified creators. Introducing memberships, merchandising, and live recasts, certain creators can extend their offerings to fans, while generating more revenue in the process.
YouTube Studio (formerly Creator Studio) is the channel hub for YouTube Creators, allowing for the management of settings, content, and analytics. Earlier this year, YouTube debuted changes to the dashboard, offering creators more insight into visitors to their channel and content. In another 2018 update, the streaming giant also improved livestreaming options, making it easier for creators to go live on their computer or mobile device.
In addition to features, YouTube works behind-the-scenes to help maintain a supportive and healthy ecosystem for their creators. The platform also continues to refine tools that help protect creators from copyright infringement, highlighted with the recent launch of their Content Match tool.
YouTube Creators organically cultivate connections with their followers. As their audience grows over time, so does the power of their voice.
A 2015 Variety study found that 63% of Millennials said they would try a product or brand recommended by a YouTube Creator as opposed to 49% who said the same about a TV or movie star. Evidently, the digital prowess of YouTube Creators makes them a commanding force.
Brands looking to partner with creators to reach specific audiences are able to do so by being thoughtful, strategic, and collaborative. From brand “shoutouts,” to video sponsorships, to product spotlights and integrations, to tapping YouTube Creators to act as brand ambassadors, companies and creators are finding creative ways to reach consumers.
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So, exactly what is a YouTube Creator? Over a variety of categories, scopes, and styles, YouTube Creators produce content that reaches audiences on the YouTube platform. Offering value to their subscribers and investing in human connections, many creators have grown to become influential voices online. For their part, YouTube audiences have played an active role in the creation of content and community, as well.
Inherent on YouTube and other social platforms, likes, comments, messaging, and other forms of feedback help creators understand what content resonates with their audience and what doesn’t. While sometimes a “parasocial relationship,” creators and audiences have interpersonal opportunities not often afforded with traditional celebrities through passive forms of entertainment.
In a conversation with The Verge, Arienne Ferchaud, Assistant Professor at Florida State University’s School of Communication, commenting on the topic, stated, “In that way, the audience actually has an active role in the content that is created. […] It sort of blurs the line between creator and viewer [in a way] that hasn’t been possible before.”
YouTube Creators who have healthy relationships with their subscribers, listen to feedback, and pay attention to analytics, are invaluable assets for brands looking to connect with audiences. Leveraging the influence of YouTube Creators, brands can connect with consumers on the channels they prefer, through the content they enjoy.