Who’s Who: Celebrities, Influencers, and Content Creators and Their Roles in Inbound Marketing
Telling them apart can be tricky, but knowing the difference could be crucial to the success of your next campaign
This year, Liza Koshy hosted Vogue’s Met Gala red carpet interviews. In fact, it was the second year she’s done so. On the surface, Koshy’s participation in fashion’s most important night of the year might not seem like a big deal. After all, she is a talented comedian and most millennials and Gen Zers would recognize her.
But Koshy isn’t a celebrity in the traditional sense. She didn’t gain fame by appearing in a television show or releasing a comedy special. Instead, she carved out her own path by posting comedy bits and sketches on Vine and YouTube. Eventually, she grew her YouTube following to over 16 million subscribers, and today she’s one of the most sought-after young talents.
The expansion of the internet and the advent of social media has led to the rise of influencers and content creators like Koshy. As companies begin to focus less on traditional forms of advertising and take their ad spend to the digital space, they’re looking to influencers and content creators to help them connect with relevant audiences. In fact, influencer marketing is expected to become a $6.5 billion industry this year.
While celebrities, influencers, and content creators can have a major impact on your company’s future inbound marketing campaigns, there are some important distinctions to know before choosing one over another. To help you better understand the roles of each, we’ll explore their similarities and differences.
Celebrities versus influencers
While celebrities and influencers are famous in their own ways, they build their influence differently. SmallBizTrends cites two real-life examples – Selena Gomez and PewDiePie – to explain the main difference between celebrities and influencers.
Gomez has grown a massive Instagram presence (she has 150+ million followers), but her fans largely know her through her television roles and hit songs on the radio. In other words, she gained her fame through traditional media. On the other hand, gamer PewDiePie has gained influence through YouTube, where he has 96 million subscribers. Though Gomez might be more recognizable in traditional media, PewDiePie has a niche audience: gamers and those interested in gaming. Outside of enjoying her work, Gomez’s fans might not have that much in common.
Influencers are also more relatable than celebrities. They build their influence by being authentic and sharing their lives openly. When they recommend a product, service, or destination, their followers trust their judgment because they have cultivated a relationship through a shared medium – whether it’s Instagram, YouTube, or another platform.
This isn’t to say that all brands should choose influencers over celebrities for their inbound marketing campaigns. Celebrities can offer companies massive exposure. They also typically appeal to a wider range of demographics, while influencers’ bread and butter is their ability to reach niche audiences and specific demographics.
So who are content creators?
We’ve explored the differences between influencers and celebrities, but content creators are a breed of their own.
According to content creator Jesse Ingalls, “content creators are artists.” The term “artists” is very broad, so Ingalls breaks down the differences between influencers and content creators. He says companies should think of a content creator as a “boutique ad agency with a niche specialty that operates at 1/8th the price of a traditional advertising agency.” When you hire content creators, you hire them based on their creative talent and their ability to bring your project to life. They can read a brief and produce an end result in line with your company’s vision and goals.
Influencers differ from content creators in that they act as media partners. They don’t necessarily create content. Rather, they are the vehicle through which the content or message is shared.
For example, a content creator might direct and produce a high-quality video that features a particular product, while an influencer might post a short product review on IGTV. Neither piece of content is necessarily better than the other; they’re just different. Sometimes content creators and influencers can work together on the same campaign.
One of the most notable collaborations between a content creator and a brand occurred between Casey Neistat and Samsung. In 2017, Neistat released the short video “Do What You Can’t” on his YouTube channel. An ode to dreamers and rule-breakers everywhere, the video – narrated and created by Neistat – was part of a much larger Samsung campaign. Rather than simply put Neistat in a video, they trusted his skill and unique vision to bring an inspirational message to life.
How do you choose?
Now that you know the difference between celebrities, influencers, and content creators, you’re probably wondering: Which do I choose for my inbound marketing campaign? The answer largely depends on the type of campaign you want to create, the channel and, of course, your budget.
Historically, celebrities are expensive to hire. They might ask for tens of thousands of dollars to post a single tweet. However, if you’re looking to reach the masses and a variety of demographics, working with a celebrity could be the right choice.
For the price of a celebrity’s product promotion, you could hire a few influencers to share a similar tweet or video review. Studies show that influencers usually garner more engagement than celebrities in the virtual world, so if you’re looking for a significant ROI, an influencer could be your best bet.
Last but not least is the content creator. If you’re looking for high-quality content that can take your campaign to the next level, whether it’s written, video, photo, or another kind of format, a content creator can help you.
Celebrities, influencers, and content creators alike can be a part of your company’s inbound marketing strategy. For some inspiration for your next campaign, check out this HubSpot blog post or contact us to kick-start your next campaign.
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