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It has been 1 year since creator economy had it's boom.
Now there are more than 234 startups (according to this list) that categorize themselves as creator focused startups.
A lot of the startups also launched creator funds. What is this? A new fancy word for marketing?
In this article I'll share 4 things to look out for in a creator fund before applying.
Not all creator funds are created equal. The creator economy gold rush happened geographically in one very specific place. It's the hearts and the minds of US-located investors and tech bloggers.
As a result, the location of almost all Creator funds is US, Canada, or Australia.
Before applying make sure that the fund is created for you.
A workaround to this can be not being physically in the US, but being incorporated in the US as a Delaware C-Corp.
However, make sure to double-check on that requirement as well.
If you look at the creator funds or fellowships you'll see one dominating theme. It's targeting creators on their platforms.
From the platform's perspective, Creator fund is a marketing expense targeted toward 2 categories of creators.
- The existing creators of the platform with the message: "We take care of you, please produce more content for our platform".
- Creators on other platforms with the message: "See how we take care of our creators, please bring your audience and your products to our platform and make more content here".
Be cautious of converting your audience to a new platform just for the sake of Creator fund.
Ashley Carman wrote in her article about Clubhouse creator fund:
Six creators from Clubhouse’s creator program say no brands sponsored them before the end of the program, and Clubhouse failed to turn any of their shows into sustainable endeavors, as it advertised it would. None of them plan to keep doing their high-production shows, and many are refocusing their efforts on other platforms, simply because they have a better shot at being compensated for their effort.
As any marketing creator funds are an experiment for the platforms, to see how many users convert to being creators, or how many creators switch.
In case of TikTok Creator fund, the recipients were already successful creators on the platform such as Charlie D’Amelio, David Dobrik and Brittany Tomilson. Which outlines the another bias of platforms to keep and empower the top creators who already have audiences.
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Who owns the content that you post on the platform. Is that you? Is that them? Can you delete the content, leave and repurpose it somewhere else?
If there's anything you can take away from this article: please read what kind of content rights the platform gains when you join them as a creator, through the fund.
A few things to look out for.
- Is there a requirement of how many content pieces you need to create?
- Is there a requirement from the platform's side to use your name, and image to promote their platform?
Those terms are usually written down in Creator's terms and conditions. If they are not available on the website, ask for them.
If you apply to our unique fund, you'll get $500/month revenue*.
We are here for creators of all sizes and shapes.
Apply by April 25.
*The payment is made via Amazon gift cards.
This is the term that creator funds usually put in small letters, somewhere in terms and conditions that you probably never read.
Never on a landing page a creator fund will mention how are they paying you.
- Is this just a flat fee that you'll just get every month on your account?
- Is this an Amazon gift card?
- Is this $500/month for 4 videos a month posted on their platform uniquely? (See the ownership section of this article)
- Is this a percentage of the revenue based on the number of unique visitors you bring on their platform?
- Is this "up to $500/month" and the exact amount is determined by a steering committee on the platform's board of directors based on your cumulative social media following.
Sorry, I'll have to bore you for a second: you need to read terms and conditions.
All those examples above, are not from my imagination. Those examples are real terms I've seen from creator funds launched last year.
Because creator funds are marketing experiment, usually there is a clear metric to indicate if it's successful or not.
Because of the bias towards already successful creators, normal creators who get into the funds, are still scrambling to see the revenue.
With over six million views and more than a million likes, [the creator said] the video made her somewhere in the ballpark of $70, and that overall she’s made a little more than $200 over the course of five months.
You'll be competing not only with other normal creators on the platform, but also the big creators.
There's good news, and there's bad news regarding creator funds.
If you're a small niche creator who just does their job and makes money off of their work, you probably don't need a creator fund. Own your website
Use the creator fund as a way to diversify your audience rather then to move to a new platform. Don't have huge expectations from it, and you're all set.
Creators need to approach the funds as marketing partnership, and ask questions.
- How much audience do you [the platform] have currently?
- What is the support I get in return?
- What is your clear revenue share model?
- Who owns the content I make on your platform?
Platforms need creators more then vice versa.
The bad news is the creator funds are usually designed for big creators who already have a lot of attention towards their work. If you're not one of those creators, these funds are not going to work for you, at least at this time.
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