Monetization has been an ongoing topic I’ve been having with myself for about six months now. Although I’m a full-time student, I’m also a full-time content creator. In my two years working within the local creative industry, I’ve only ever made out with one single pay check. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining…in all honesty I think I’ve been putting off monetization tactics so I don’t make money. On average, I participate in a photoshoot up to four times a week, as well as producing video content for YouTube and TikTok. On one hand, because I spend so much time and effort producing the best content for my audience, I don’t want to be paid as I feel that the content won’t be as authentic anymore. However, on the other hand, because I spend so much time and effort producing the best content for my audience, I do feel as if I need to be paid to keep producing that level of content.
I’ve always told myself that the day I don’t feel like my true self online is the day I quit posting. When I was younger, it was my dream to be noticed as a “big” online personality, however as my numbers and views continue to increase, I’ve realized that being a face people know isn’t as glamorous as it seems. After coming to that realization, I’ve focused 100% on showcasing my authentic self on all of my social platforms as that is what I want to be remembered by. I don’t want to grow or create a fan base, I would rather create a community of like-minded creatives who support each other for their work, not their online personas.
When I first started in the industry, my parents had a lot of doubts as I was putting in the time and effort, but I wasn’t getting paid. Over the years, more and more people- creatives and non-creatives alike have asked me why I’m not being paid for what I do. In all honesty, there was time before I was creating that I thought that I could make millions on content I produced. Back then, I wasn’t passionate about my craft, nor was I in the correct headspace to even create. When I let all of that go and stopped thinking about how great my creative destination could be, I picked up a camera and began on my creative journey. Since then, I haven’t thought about being paid or expecting any form of payment whatsoever. I’ve found my passion and I would much rather be myself online and never make a dime, than make a bunch of cash but hate what I do.
For the day when I do decide to monetize my business, I will be starting with YouTube as I’ve found that when I’m interrupted by paid advertisements, it doesn’t stop me from watching my favourite creators, but on a platform like Facebook, I tend to leave the content when an ad pops up. I’ve decided that I won’t be monetizing my website as it’s primarily visual, and I wouldn’t want the advertisements taking away from my content.
I believe that later down the road, I will be implementing a freemium model when producing content, so my true fans can view special/exclusive content at a reasonable price. However, I believe that until I reach that point, I’m much better off getting to properly know my audience and build what Kelly (2008) calls, “true fans.” Without them, I won’t be able to progress my brand in the ways in which I would like- starting a clothing line, producing music, and writing a book. In order to build this true fan base, I need to keep working on my craft, building up Stanford’s (2015) 4 emotions associated with neuromarketing. Not only do I need to focus on building trust with my audience, but I also need to build that level of trust with myself through self-acceptance and self-admiration. As my brand showcases myself, I can’t expect my audience to feel the four emotions- joy, trust, anticipation and surprise if I myself don’t feel those emotions whilst I’m creating. At the end of the day, I want to create in order to help others and help myself by being true to themselves, whether I’m monetized or not.
Kelly, K. (2008, March 4). The Technium: 1,000 True Fans. Retrieved from https://kk.org/thetechnium/1000-true-fans/
Stanford, D. (2015). “Neuromarketing” Is Becoming A Much Stronger And More Relevant Trend.” Retrieved from http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2015/12/current-trends-neuromarketing/