- The emergence of generative AI tools will disrupt the creator economy and transform the way content is created and consumed.
- Human creators will not be displaced. Rather, they will be empowered by AI to scale their content production.
- Reliance on AI content creation tools will lead to an overabundance of content, making it difficult for creators to stand out. Maintaining a unique human voice and style will be the answer.
The rise of social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Tiktok, has led to the growth of the creator economy in recent years. Millions of creators all over the world are leveraging these platforms to build their brands, engage their audience, and monetize their content. Currently, the market size of the creator economy is estimated at $104.2 billion.
More platforms now offer content creation and monetization opportunities, and brands are increasingly partnering with influencers and creators as a marketing strategy. As a result, many predict that the creator economy will grow rapidly in the future. For example, Gary Vaynerchuk was asked what business ideas had the greatest potential for growth in the coming decade, in a 2021 interview. His response: “Becoming someone who can create content — written, audio, or video — for the Internet contextually. Because there will not be a human nor a business on earth in a decade that isn’t in need of a substantial creative department of making — not thinking — making [great content].”
However, when he made this prediction, he could not have envisaged the meteoric rise of generative AI the following year. Today, generative AI tools can create new content such as text, images, videos, music, and code, just like humans — and at a faster pace.
As a result, creators everywhere are worried that brands will no longer require their skills and services since they can now rely on AI.
But is there truly a cause for concern? Will AI disrupt the creator economy to the extent of rendering human content creators obsolete?
In this article, we share ten predictions on the impact we expect AI to have on the creator economy in the coming years, and how content creators can distinguish themselves and remain irreplaceable.
1. Creators will be empowered to scale their content creation
Creating quality content is anything but easy. It involves brainstorming ideas, executing ideas (such as recording videos or writing blog posts), and editing the content before publishing. This process consumes a lot of time and energy and limits how much content creators can produce.
AI-powered content creation tools eliminate these challenges. Using specific prompts, creators can generate content automatically, which helps to significantly reduce the amount of time and energy they spend on content creation.
For instance, they can use ChatGPT to generate social media posts, Midjourney to generate images, and Synthesia to generate videos from a script.
With AI tools speeding up content production, we expect creators to increase the quantity of content they publish, as well as publishing frequency. For instance, bloggers who used to post once a week can now increase their output to three times a week, relying on ChatGPT.
2. There will be an influx of new creators
To create content, having an idea or “something to say” is not enough. People need certain talents and skills, such as copywriting, video editing, or graphic design, to transform their idea into shareable content. They also need to invest in resources and tools like microphones (for podcast creators) or cameras (for vloggers). This makes it difficult for aspiring content creators to get a foot in the door.
AI tools remove these barriers to entry, making it easier for anyone with an interesting idea or perspective to become a content creator. For instance, you no longer need a camera or video editing software to create a video, since you can simply use AI video generation tools.
Moreover, these generative tools are easy to use, making them accessible to everyone. As of January 2023, over 100 million people use ChatGPT actively. Similarweb also estimates that the ChatGPT website gets 25 million daily visits — and that is just one generative AI tool.
Anyone can now become a content creator, and the major skill they will need is prompt crafting — creating specific and detailed prompts that ensure the AI output meets their needs. They may also need to edit the output if there is any inaccurate information.
As generative AI tools level the playing field and open the door to new creators, more niches will become saturated and competition will rise.
3. Creators who prioritize quality will win
AI tools will empower creators to increase the volume of content they produce. However, using them poses the risk of creating generic and unoriginal content that does not add value to their audience.
Attention remains a scarce commodity in this digital age. If creators don’t create high-quality content that not only grabs but retains people’s attention, their content will get lost in the digital noise.
Content creators who use generative AI tools to create content without sacrificing quality will succeed in engaging and retaining their audience. They won’t have to worry about the surge in competing content creators because they’re giving their audience just what they want, what they can’t get anywhere else.
As Dan Shipper writes for Every, “Creators who properly utilize AI tools to make better content faster will be able to build a critical mass of fans.”
As such, creators must ensure that their content — whether purely human-created or AI-generated — is tailored to their audience’s needs and interests. They should also strive to produce content that provides fresh and original ideas, perspectives, and insights.
4. Authenticity will be more important than ever
As the digital landscape becomes flooded with AI-generated content, audiences will flock to creators who are authentic and stay true to their brand. Because here’s the thing: it’s not a creator’s content that creates a connection with their audience, but the creator behind the content — their unique beliefs, personality traits, perspectives, experiences, and style. And generative AI content cannot replicate that, no matter how great a prompt is.
Creators who infuse their uniqueness into their content and share their personal experiences, challenges, and perspectives, will get a huge chunk of the attention everyone is vying for. So, creators who want to set themselves apart from the crowd must colour their content with uniqueness and focus on vulnerable and authentic storytelling.
5. Platforms will reward conscientious creators
The prevalent use of AI to generate content at scale will result in content overload on distribution platforms. And as we have mentioned earlier, much of this content will be bland and generic with no real value for content consumers.
Consumers will filter what they consider to be rubbish and engage with relevant content that meets their needs and interests. But with thousands of posts being published every minute, their ability to filter will be highly limited. This is where social media algorithms come in.
To optimize user experience, platforms will have to improve their content recommendation algorithms to deliver high-quality and relevant content to individual users.
Earlier, platforms used to prioritize popular posts, such as posts that had many likes, comments, and shares. Over time, their recommendation algorithms grew more sophisticated and started distilling posts to deliver personalized content to users based on their behaviour, interests, and preferences.
As AI-generated content becomes more commonplace, we expect recommendation algorithms to evolve too. In addition to factoring user data, recommendation algorithms will also factor the reputation of creators and the quality and value of their content. These algorithms will reward content that is original, leads to meaningful conversations, and elicits favourable reactions. As a result, generic and thoughtless content will take a backseat.
6. Content curation will become increasingly relevant
Today, content creation is the centrepiece of the creator economy. But as niches become saturated with content because Generative AI tools make content creation easier and faster, content curation will become more valuable.
Consumers will appreciate people who point them to high-quality and relevant content within niches or industries they’re interested in, as this saves them the trouble of separating the wheat from the chaff.
Many brands already use content curation as a marketing strategy through channels like monthly newsletters. However, we expect more individual influencers and creators to take on the role of content curators for two reasons. First, it is easier to stand out if they become a one-stop-shop for the best content in their niche than if they are only adding to the digital noise. Second, content curation is as effective as content creation in attracting a target audience and building an engaged community, while requiring less effort, time, and money.
Our advice? More creators should take advantage of curation platforms and tools, especially email newsletters like Substack and MailChimp. They can share high-quality blog posts, social media posts, YouTube videos, and podcasts in weekly or monthly roundups.
However, content curation goes beyond compiling meaningful and relevant content for an audience. To give their audience a richer experience, curators should express their original opinions or perspectives about the content they share. Doing this will reinforce their position as authentic and credible thought leaders.
7. A multi-platform approach will be easier and more beneficial
Most creators and influencers make a name for themselves on one platform. For example, there are TikTok creators, YouTube creators, and Instagram Reel creators. This approach is common because audiences, content preferences, and algorithms differ across social media platforms. So, content that performs well on one platform may perform poorly on another.
However, generative AI tools will make creators and influencers platform-agnostic. Because these tools make it easier to repurpose content for different social media platforms, creators will expand their presence to other platforms. For example, a YouTube vlogger can use clipmaker.ai to repurpose videos into short TikTok clips.
Video content creators aren’t the only ones who will be empowered to broaden their reach on multiple platforms. Other creators will be able to repurpose written and audio content into different formats, without possessing the necessary skills. With tools like Steve.ai, bloggers can convert blog posts into videos, and podcasters can repurpose podcasts into videos.
Creators who can contextually deliver high-quality content across multiple platforms are likely to enjoy a wider and more engaged audience than those who focus on one platform.
8. Creators are at risk of copyright infringement
Generative AI models create new pieces of content, such as text, images, drawings, and photographs, from existing human-created content on the Internet.
However, the AI-generated content may not be entirely original. In the course of generating new content, these AI algorithms may inadvertently replicate existing content, especially texts. In an article published by CMSWire, Greg Matusky, founder and CEO of public relations firm Gregory FCA, narrates how significant portions of a blog post he generated with AI were plagiarised, amounting to copyright infringement.
Consequently, creators who distribute AI-generated content that is largely similar to copyrighted work may be sued by their original creators.
Creators can avert this risk by running plagiarism checks on AI-generated texts. For AI-generated images, a reverse image search can help to unearth images with similar visual elements.
9. The role of social media managers will change
With AI expediting content creation and curation, social media managers will become more of brand guardians focused on protecting how brands are presented and perceived online.
Brand guardianship involves maintaining a consistent brand identity on all online platforms. So, social media managers will have to review and edit content generated by AI to match the brand voice and style. In addition, they have to ensure that the content is high-quality and well-tailored to their audience’s interests and needs.
10. Content infrastructure platforms will need to innovate or die
Currently, many startups provide social media marketing and management tools with which creators schedule and publish content, among other tasks. As the demand for generative AI models increases, these startups will integrate AI-powered capabilities that help creators create and repurpose content into their existing tools.
This evolution is already happening. In February, Buffer launched an AI Assistant that helps creators generate engaging posts, repurpose content for different social channels, generate ideas, and more. This month, HootSuite followed suit with OwlyWriter, an AI-powered tool that generates social media posts and captions.
With AI-powered features, these tools will become an all-in-one resource for content creators, streamlining their workflow. This innovation will be the key to ensuring that these tools remain relevant and valuable to creators. Otherwise, they will be unseated by new competitors that rely on AI models to provide content creation and distribution tools.
Creativity — once a purely human skill — can now be replicated by algorithms, and these machines will certainly become more sophisticated over time. This new reality has induced fear and anxiety in people who earn a livelihood from creative work.
However, rather than viewing generative AI as a threat, creators should leverage it to increase productivity and efficiency. As James Bridle writes for WePresent, “‘Artificial’ and human intelligence, and the creativity which flow from them, are not, and should not be perceived as being, in competition with one another, but are equally fascinating and valuable ways of exploring and making sense of the world.”
Creators should also safeguard themselves from obsolescence by maintaining a unique voice and style that AI cannot copy — a quality many brands will still value, despite the emergence of AI.