The 9 types of creators and the tools they use to scale their business

Business Models Marketing
16 min read
In this Article

Writers, teachers, filmmakers, artists… different types of creators have been around for longer than any of us can remember.

Creator economy, however, is quite new. The term only became widely used in late 2020.

The online tools we can access today to publish articles and videos, build communities, and sell digital products have democratized the world of creation. Getting your work and talent in front of an audience that wants it no longer relies on gatekeepers like book publishers or TV producers.

Interest for the creator economy term worldwide from 2012 to 2022. Image via Google Trends.

The power is now with you—the creator.

The diverse content formats and types of revenue streams created lots of different types of creators. This guide dives into each type of a modern-day creator, along with the tools and resources they use to build and scale their business.

1. Educator

Educators focus on distilling everything they know about their expertise into content their audience can easily learn from. They create step-by-step guides, templates, and plug-and-play formulas.

They deliver them in various formats—blog posts, newsletters, free email courses, Instagram captions, YouTube videos, Twitter threads, webinars, and paid courses.

Regardless of the content format and platform, the goal for these creators is to become the go-to person for tips and insights about a specific topic, including creativity, online business, nutrition, personal finance, and more.

Here are some examples of creators educators:

Which social media platforms do educators use?

In ConvertKit’s 2022 State of Creator Economy report, educator came out on top as the most common creator type. It’s no surprise you’ll find content made by educators on every platform, including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and TikTok.

Do educators use email marketing?

Yes—big time. It’s how educators bring their followers into a platform where they don’t have to rely on social media to deliver valuable content.

Email marketing is also how they go the extra mile and give tips and resources that aren’t publicly available, which lets them build a deeper relationship with their audience.

Finally, as they prepare courses and other paid resources, email marketing lets educators launch them to a warm, nurtured audience that already trusts them, which makes even the smallest email lists profitable.

Newsletter signup pop-up form on Her First $100K. Image via Her First $100K.

2. Blogger

As the name reveals, bloggers are creators whose core content lives on their blog. Blogging became popular in the 2000s—well over a decade ago—and social media changed the game for creators who want to build an audience.

Still, bloggers remain a huge creator subset—the second largest creator type, according to ConvertKit’s report.

Fashion, travel, food, and fitness are common blogging categories. Their blog posts usually focus on their own formulas and experiences, like recipes, workouts, outfits, travel guides, and shopping lists. Bloggers want to serve as inspiration and motivation to their readers.

Check out these blogger examples:

Which social media platforms do bloggers use?

Instagram and Pinterest are often the social media platform of choice for most bloggers.

Instagram adds to the visual nature of categories like food and fashion. Pinterest acts as a great visual, topical search engine and can be a huge source of blog traffic. Take Choosing Chia as an example—with 64 thousand followers and over six million monthly views on Pinterest, it’s a valuable place to invest time as a blogger.

Pinterest profile of Choosing Chia, a food blog. Image via Choosing Chia.

Do bloggers use email marketing?

Often, but not always. Larger, more established blogs have a signup box in the blog’s sidebar, a pop-up opt-in form, or a free downloadable built into their blog posts. Newer blogs may not use email marketing (yet), but usually add it to their tech stack as they grow.

3. Coach

Coaches are another subset of creators that focus on education. The subtle difference between coaches and educators is the focus of coaches on teaching in a more individualized format—through 1:1 coaching, group coaching, and masterminds.

Coaches can take an individualized approach to their teaching because they work directly with one client or a small group of them, while still applying their signature style, approach, and teaching.

A coach is an ideal solution for an audience that needs hand-holding and a targeted approach to a problem they’d otherwise struggle to solve on their own.

Here are some examples of coaches:

Which social media platforms do coaches use?

The platform of choice will depend on the area each coach focuses on, but it’s safe to say that Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are the usual choices—in most cases, only one out of the three.

For example, a career coach will focus their content efforts on LinkedIn, while an online business coach might thrive on Twitter or Instagram.

Do coaches use email marketing?

Yes—email marketing is how coaches build a connection with people looking for solutions to a specific problem and build a waiting list. Coaches have a limit when it comes to the number of clients they can take in a week, month, or quarter, so letting potential clients sign up to hear about free coaching posts is essential.

Courtney Chaal’s paid program signup page offering free, advanced private training to those who apply. Image via Courtney Chaal.

4. Author

The author category is self-explanatory—authors have been around forever. All of them—self-published authors, authors with a publisher, first-timers, and seasoned authors—have one goal: to publish their book to readers who are already excited about it and can’t wait to read it.

Books are incredible because they’re often an author’s lifetime of experience packaged into 200 pages of value. The author’s goal, then, is to reach the right readers at the right time with a book that can change their life for the better.

Check out these authors as great examples:

Which social media platforms do authors use?

Authors use a wide mix of social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.

On Facebook, authors can create their author page and run a Facebook group for their readers and fans to connect. Twitter is excellent for discussions with readers and for participating in Twitter chats. Instagram and Twitter are the go-to platforms for showcasing the behind-the-scenes, day-in-the-life type content, as well as tips, jokes, and book recommendations.

Do authors use email marketing?

Yes! In fact, author newsletters are probably the most common marketing strategy I’ve seen throughout my creator research process. Even authors who have been publishing books for decades—think Danielle Steel—have a newsletter signup form on their website.

Email marketing is one of the best ways for authors to foster an intimate space for their readers, stories, and book updates.

James Clear’s opt-in form offering a free chapter in return for an email address. Image via James Clear.

5. Writer

Writers are an intriguing creator type because you could almost always sort them into other categories this article mentions. They often host podcasts, run online courses, coach individual clients, and publish books.

The key differentiator, however, is that they themselves see and introduce themselves as writers. Writing is the foundation of everything they do. And even if they didn’t make a living from anything else, they’d still be writing.

Writers’ websites often list dozens of their articles and essays—instead of rich imagery or videos—to give their visitors an instant idea of what they’re all about.

Here are some examples of writers:

Which social media platforms do writers use?

Unsurprisingly, writers make the most out of platforms that let them share their words with the world easily. This is where Twitter (along with Twitter threads) and LinkedIn take the cake.
That doesn’t mean you won’t find writers on Instagram from time to time—their images will often be words rather than photos, and their captions might be long.

Instagram feed of Sasha from Frank+Feel. Image via Frank+Feel.

Do writers use email marketing?

Often, but not always. While some writers put their opt-in form right next to their most recent essays, others will direct you to their Instagram or Twitter in case you want to connect with them and hear more about their work.

Opt-in form on the website homepage of Dickie Bush. Image via Dickie Bush.

6. YouTuber

YouTubers are creators who have built their creative business by publishing a video on their YouTube channel regularly—once or more per week. YouTube is how they got started and where their creator journey evolved from.

If you have a favorite YouTuber (or a few), you know that many of them start posting on YouTube to fill a gap they ran into.

They didn’t have friends who were into makeup, so they started making beauty videos instead. They had to learn about sponsor negotiation from experience, so they made a YouTube channel to help others avoid their mistakes.

YouTubers crave connection with their viewers, so they use their videos to get personal and dive deep into a topic week after week.

Check out these YouTuber examples:

Which social media platforms do YouTubers use?

The choice of social media platforms for YouTubers largely depends on their area of focus. You might find beauty YouTubers on Instagram and TikTok, while productivity YouTubers might focus on Twitter or LinkedIn.

It’s usually about one or two platforms in the mix with YouTube. However, don’t be surprised if you see YouTubers that aren’t active anywhere other than on their channel, blog, and newsletter—Nick True of Mapped Out Money is a great example of this.

Do YouTubers use email marketing?

Yes and no. Some YouTubers rely on their email list to support their goals. This is often the case with YouTubers who sell digital or physical products, or even have free downloadable resources that complement their video content well.

On the other hand, there are plenty of YouTubers that don’t have any type of newsletter or email list, and direct their viewers to subscribe to their channel or visit their social media profiles. Most big (and growing) YouTubers—think Nikkie Tutorials—keep their viewers on these rented platforms rather than send them to their email list.

Even YouTubers with external businesses—like Whitney Simmons, a fitness YouTuber who also runs a paid fitness app subscription—don’t use email marketing with their YouTube channel.

Justin Moore’s call-to-action to sign up to his free newsletter, below a YouTube video. Image via Creator Wizard.

7. Influencer

The term ‘influencer’ has become the catch-all for creators who crave to make a living online. In the context of our guide and the different types of modern-day creators, influencers are creators who focus their effort on one main platform that houses their core content.

In other words, while some influencers have their own website, blog, and/or YouTube channel, many of them don’t. They use one or two social media platforms to deliver all value and entertainment, and keep all of their engagement with followers there.

Influencers usually partner with brands and accept sponsorships to build their income from their audience. Other revenue streams include digital products like printable downloads or photo editing presets, often sold through third-party platforms like Etsy.

Here are some influencers to get you inspired:

Which social media platforms do influencers use?

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok have all sparked the growth of influencers of all sizes. That’s an important note to keep in mind: you don’t need a huge number of followers to be an influencer.

Terms like micro-influencers and nano-influencers (and their various definitions) are gaining more traction, and if you’re a creator with even 500 or 3,000 followers, there’s room for you in the creator economy.

Georgie Swallow’s Instagram profile. Image via Georgie Swallow.

Do influencers use email marketing?

Overwhelmingly not. Most influencers keep their followers on their core social media platforms, or direct them to their blog or YouTube channel.

Their social media following and engagement are the key metrics that influence their leverage in sponsorship deals with brands.

8. Artist

Some creators build their online presence to promote and/or sell their art. Painters, photographers, musicians, filmmakers, fabric designers, digital illustrators, cartoonists—this creator type is a big one.

Artists face a common “there’s no money in that” stereotype, but the creator ecosystem begs to differ. Just look at artists like fabric designer Bonnie Christine, who runs a million-dollar business, or the Strange Planet account by cartoonist Nathan W. Pyle with more than six million followers.

Artists aim to bring joy and beauty to their audience through their art—and make a living doing so.

Check out these artists as great creator examples:

Which social media platforms do artists use?

Unsurprisingly, artists make the most of visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. Not only do these platforms let artists showcase their work in great detail and color—they also make it easy to sell art thanks to shopping features available on both.

Do artists use email marketing?

Yes and no. Lots of artists’ tech stack includes their social media profiles, a website, and an online shop—either on their own website, or a third-party service like RedBubble or Etsy.

However, some artists, like earlier mentioned Jamie Barks and Bonnie Christine, leverage email marketing to connect with their audience inside their personal inboxes. They also use it to automate valuable emails that keep their online business going even while they’re not working.

Bonnie Christine’s free lead magnet. Image via Bonnie Christine.

9. Podcaster

Podcasters have a unique advantage: their content isn’t susceptible to passively scrolling by. Once they’re in their audience’s ears, they have the power and opportunity to capture them and provide them with tips, entertainment, and stories in a way no one else can.

Podcasters usually have a significant overlap with other creator types; you’ll find podcasters who are also educators or coaches, book authors, or writers. But one thing’s for sure: their podcast is the main way they create their core content and build their audience.

Here are some podcaster examples:

Which social media platforms do podcasters use?

It’s safe to say: all of them. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and TikTok are loved by podcasters big and small. It’s a matter of the creator's preference and the podcast topic.

For example, business podcasts often go big on Twitter and Instagram, while wellness podcasts do well on Pinterest.

Do podcasters use email marketing?

Yes! It’s the most reliable way to let your listeners know there’s a new episode coming their way. Otherwise, you’re relying on their podcast app and notification settings, which means they might miss out on a podcast episode they’d otherwise choose to listen to.

On top of that, emails are a great way to give your listeners your upcoming episode schedule, remind them of past episodes they may have missed, survey them for future topics, and send tailored content based on their preferences and email clicks.

Email subscription box on the Divine Hostess podcast website. Image via Divine Hostess.

Earn a living online as a creator

Now you know: the creator economy is here to stay, and creators are a diverse bunch. Whatever you thrive at, you can make a living online from it through blogging, coaching, podcasting, and so many other ways.

You can reach and exceed your goals with the right toolkit. This is where ConvertKit comes in with landing pages, opt-in forms, automations, and commerce features. Use it to turn your readers, viewers, and listeners into lifelong fans and loyal customers.

Learn how professional creators use ConvertKit here.

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Marijana Kay

Marijana Kay is a freelance writer for leading B2B SaaS companies. She uses data-backed, actionable content to help them hit and exceed their growth goals. In her spare time, she collects books and logs running miles.

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