📊 ClassNotes 007: What do creators call themselves?

📊 ClassNotes 007: What do creators call themselves?
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What’s in a name? A lot, actually.

Our brains literally light up at the sound of our name or title. When reaching our target market and growing a core audience, we can use this “activation” to our advantage.

stacked circles chart
Titles based on the number of times a word was used on a social media profile description. Designed by Ilya

I call myself a writer.

It’s how I’ve thought about my work and skillset for many years. The word “writer” is even in the URL of my website.

But as the creator economy grew, my identity started to shift because my activities shifted. Writing is only a portion of what I do each week, along with marketing, consulting, researching, designing, troubleshooting tech, and event planning.

As I heard the term “creator” used more, I started to gravitate towards the word because it felt like it encompassed everything I was responsible for and represented the type of life and business I was trying to build — one centered around creating to help others.

Once I began using creator more than writer, I found a new community. I landed on new podcasts, bought new books and products, enrolled in new courses. My activity changed my identity, which changed my activity even more.

Who is your audience?

I shared that story as a preface to 2 main points.

Our identity is a byproduct of what we do. So, if you’re having a hard time figuring out who your audience is, try answering the question, “What do they spend their time doing?”
Only a small portion of the creator economy uses the term 'creator.'

This second point led me to arrange the chart you see above, which we’ll quickly dive into now. The top 10 creator economy titles are:

  1. YouTuber
  2. Creator
  3. Blogger
  4. Maker
  5. Streamer
  6. Influencer
  7. TikToker
  8. Instagrammer (tie)
  9. Solopreneur (tie)
  10. Vlogger (tie)

Each of these has its nuances. YouTubers, for example, primarily build their entire businesses around a single platform. Many don’t have websites or email lists and make the majority of their income from ad revenue.

Influencer used to have a negative connotation, which has since dissipated. Now, most large businesses have a budget set aside for “influencer marketing,” and if you run an agency representing creators, leveraging that influencer word is a must to land top sponsorship deals.

Solopreneur is a portmanteau that’s shared semi-frequently on social but hasn’t really found its foothold in the larger creator conversation. To be honest, it kind of reminds me of “fetch” from Mean Girls. 😅

What your audience calls themselves is the most important word to use in your marketing. It can literally make or break your business. To find out what that word is, you can use a tool like SparkToro, conduct interviews, or copy the language top companies and personalities use in your space.

The right audience for you is out there. They’re just waiting for you to call their name.

1. The creator economy is made up of many titles.
2. You can find the title your audience likes most by determining how they spend their time.
3. Just because a word is popular doesn't mean it's the right one for your unique business.

Next week I'll share one of my favorite charts to date — a timeline that answers the question, "How long does it take to build an audience?"

— David

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