The secrets to working with creators

There should be mutual benefits for marketers and creators

A collaboration should always benefit both; the brand, represented by marketing, and the creator with reach in its community. 

You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. 

What are the benefits and reasons to work together? Let's get some clarity. 


Why it matters

Cutting the crap. Success in working with creators depends on the brand, not the creator. 

It's up to the marketer to do his research and prepare an outstanding briefing. A briefing that goes beyond the product features, taps into the brand's values, and how the collaboration with the creator can benefit the creators' audience. 


Fleur Willemijn van Beinum

Make sure you choose the right creator and head for a long-term relationship. I prefer nano and micro over macro, as it's more niche, more authentic, has higher engagement, and is cheaper. 

Fleur Willemijn van Beinum

First, what is a creator?

Creators make original content and focus on their expertise, while influencers have a large following and use their popularity to promote things. Sometimes, people can be both creators and influencers, combining their content creation skills with brand partnerships.

In short, a creator builds his, hers, or its fame on social by producing amazing content; there are no restrictions to the social channel they use. An influencer builds a name through fame. Nigella Lawson is an influencer as she's famous all over for her indulging recipes; Alejandro is a creator due to his superb engaging, amazing content. 

N=1, I see more value in working with creators over influencers. Just plug & play promoting your stuff by influencers is a thing of the past. It's about connection and making an effort as a brand to show that you care about your audience. And that's where the creators are taking the extra step. 

Read more about the characteristics of creators and influencers. 


influencer - creator


Why marketers work with creators

I’m happy to see that the top three reasons to work with creators are not commercial. Commerce is in fourth place. 

  1. Create engagement with existing audiences
  2. Reach new audiences
  3. Build communities
  4. Commerce

The WARC research shows that driving revenue is not a top priority when brands work with creators. Check out their Creator guide for all details. 

 Next to the above, working with influencers can also become a distinctive brand asset. E.g., Clooney for Nespresso. 





Why creators work with brands

This is where it gets interesting. The collaboration goes both ways. Creators work with brands for more reasons than just the payment. 

Creators are looking for a long-term relationship with a brand, and they care about how that collaboration benefits their audience or community. After all, the creator has reach by being relevant to their followers. Hence everything the creator does has to add value to them. That's the ‘what’s in it for me' game creators understand excellently, and brand marketers can still learn from them. 

Reasons why creators NOT work with a brand

  • If the brand's values don't align with the creators
  • Lack of budget, creators are professionals, treat and pay them accordingly
  • Lack of creative freedom; marketers tell creators exactly what to do


Tips for choosing the right creators

While partnering with creators can supercharge a brand’s engagement and reach, using the wrong partner can have a negative effect on the brand (WARC)

It's a no-brainer that you have to select your creators with care. A few tips from me

  • Working with a creator is a long-term commitment, not a one-off. It takes time, just like sales. 
  • Hire a professional agency to source and select the creators. Don't rely on your media agency. They are experts in media, not in creators or influencer, that's a different game. 
  • Look beyond the vanity metrics such as followers. Go for the values and audience fit. Bigger and more is not always better. Sometimes selecting a niche creator has more engagement and impact. Nice side effect; mostly, they're not as expensive as the macro creators, so you can work with more creators simultaneously. 
  • Start small, track every step in every creator collaboration, and not just the overall campaign end result in sales numbers. 
  • Don't forget to do your research; what are other brands in your industry doing? And are there any creators in your existing customer base? 


Work with multiple tiers of creators to achieve maximum reach and engagement

Working with multiple tiers of creators or creators allows brands to achieve maximum reach and engagement. Micro and niche creators generally have higher engagement rates, can be perceived as more authentic, and are cheaper. Macro creators have more reach and are more expensive.

 Please check the sources in the last paragraph for more insights, numbers, and details


Final words

Working with creators can be tricky. Don't fall into the pitfall of going for the celebrities. My best tip is to get the experts on board to help you to select the right creator. And give you solid advice on how to set up the collaboration. 

It's not just plug & play briefing the creator on what to make and then expecting revenue in the short term. That's simply just not how it works. 


Read also

As all good things come in three, so this series about creator marketing. 




All credits to WARC and their guide, ‘Working with Creators’. Check it out, as I can't reveal all insights of this amazing guide. Above is an excerpt of what I think matters and marketers should know. 

Special credits and shout out with a big thanks to David Shadpour, Founder and CEO of Social Native, and Nick Backlanov

WARC is my go-to source for insights, research, best practices, and cases. Yes, it's a paid subscription; for me, absolutely worth it. If you're a freebie, subscribe to their newsletter and podcast to get some content for free. 

More research for this article: