21 Content Creator Examples – Learn from Successful Creators
One of the best ways to be a successful online content creator is to learn from others. We're all aware of some of the most prominent content creators on the internet, like Kylie Jenner (or literally any Kardashian/Jenner), Gary Vaynerchuk, or Marie Forleo. Following these accounts can provide inspiration. However, you can also find yourself discouraged. Their millions of followers and engaging fans can make the mountain climb look pretty steep!
Instead, study the strategies of successful but smaller creators. Review those who are just a few steps ahead of you, along with others who are running a full-time business as an online creator. You'll discover actions that you can take for more immediate and achievable results.
First, What is a Content Creator?
In this context, we're talking about creators who are publishing content online to grow an audience and eventually monetize their work. Bloggers, online publishers, newsletter authors, podcasters, YouTubers, course creators, video game streamers, and social media influencers all fall in the "content creator" bucket.
What Skills Do You Need to Become a Content Creator?
You need ideas and knowledge to share, along with a spark of creativity. On top of that, you need to enjoy learning and have the patience and fortitude to keep going.
Yes, other skills can help. If you plan on doing written content, then being a great writer helps. If you are putting out a podcast, audio editing experience is advantageous. But, production skills can be learned or hired out.
Truly, anyone with content to share and a willingness to learn along the way can become a successful content creator.
Content Creator Examples
Creators can be successful with many types of content. Some choose to operate within one medium, while others expand to additional formats and channels over time.
We've compiled an extensive list of content creator examples below, covering a spectrum of content strategies and monetization models. Check out these creators for inspiration but remember that there's no perfect formula. Becoming a successful online creator happens by developing your business around your strengths and your audience's needs and preferences. It's a lot of trial and error and patience as you find what works.
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Newsletter Content Creator Examples
Newsletters are booming. Journalists and other creators are cultivating their audiences in the inbox! Platforms like Revue, Mailchimp, ConvertKit, and Substack make it easy and inexpensive to start publishing. These platforms include everything you need "out of the box" for your newsletter with built-in sign-up forms, landing pages, and payment processing.
Just like with other content types, newsletters have several different options for monetization. The two most popular are subscriptions, where the audience pays for access to the content or sponsorships, where companies pay for exposure to the audience. In either case, having a sizeable and engaged audience is a precursor to successfully monetizing your newsletter. So, focus on the audience first, then decide how you'll monetize.
Not Boring Newsletter
The Not Boring Newsletter by Packy McCormick is self-described as "...the most fun way to learn about what's going on in business and the strategy behind the decisions companies make." Packy started the newsletter in 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Just a year later, he amassed over 40,000 subscribers. How did he accomplish this? In a How I Built My Audience podcast episode, Packy talked about focusing on quality, being consistent, and "just keep doing it." He uses the newsletter to help feed the content that he posts on Twitter, and his Twitter following helps fuel sign-ups to the newsletter. He mentioned that he'd tested several "growth hacks." Still, at the end of the day, he attributes his success to producing unique and interesting content in his niche consistently.
On the monetization side of things, the Not Boring Newsletter generates revenue through sponsorships. Packy says that he'd rather keep his newsletter free, so it reaches more people. Sponsorships have allowed him to do just that.
Find Not Boring Newsletter Online
For the Interested Newsletter
For the Interested is a newsletter by Josh Spector featuring "ideas to help you produce, promote, and profit from your creations." The newsletter is sent out weekly with a collection of original content from Josh and curated content from around the web. Josh intros all links with a synopsis of what you'll learn from each piece.
With over 20,000 subscribers and counting, Josh is helping fellow creators grow their audiences and generate revenue.
For the Interested is a free newsletter, but Josh also offers a paid series of content called "This Is How I Do It." Individuals can buy an annual membership for access to all "This Is How I Do It" content or buy individual resources for around $15 each. This content goes deeper into Josh's specific processes for running his business.
For the Interested also features classified ads in each issue. Anyone can purchase the classified advertisements which consistently sell out in each issue.
For the Interested acts as the primary driver of a diversified monetization strategy for Josh.
Find For the Interested Online
Blog Content Creator Examples
While everyone is buzzing about the "creator economy," bloggers are over here like, "yeah, we've been doing this stuff for YEARS." While the terminology around creating content online may have changed along with additional distribution methods, a blog (and website) is still an important hub for your content creation business.
Bloggers have been growing their online audiences through brand building, SEO, and social media platforms for decades. Bloggers employ various monetization methods, including ads, sponsorships, info products, courses, communities, subscriptions, and more.
Y Travel Blog
Y Travel Blog began as a blog in 2009 but has grown into an independent media company. The Makepeace family documents their travels worldwide, going deep into the local experiences of their destinations. What started as a way for the family to share their passion grew into a sustainable long-term business.
Y Travel Blog has diverse revenue streams, including ads and sponsorships, affiliate marketing, info products, speaking engagements, and more. Y Travel is successful within the highly competitive travel blog space because they focused on quality and authenticity early on.
Find Y Travel Online
Vilma Iris Book Blog
Vilma Iris's book reviews and recommendations have earned her blog, and social media accounts a loyal following. Her community connects around their love for reading, but Vilma expands around other lifestyle themes like home and beauty. She maintains an active following on Instagram and Facebook, where she shares her content and style tips.
Readers can shop Vilma's book and style recommendations. Shoppers can learn about the products on her website and then click through to purchase via the affiliate links on her site via Amazon and the Reward Style platform. Vilma also offers a range of advertising options to brands.
Find Vilma Iris Online
Examples of Course Content Creators
Today, it's easier than ever to create online as technology becomes easier to use and more accessible. Those with knowledge and skills to share can create online courses, teach others, and generate an income by doing so. Platforms like Teachable, Gumroad, Facebook Groups, Zoom, among hundreds of others, make it possible to enter the knowledge economy with little friction.
To monetize, course creators simply charge for access or enrollment to the course. Fees can be broken up into installments, a subscription, or a one-time fee. Many platforms make it possible for participants to learn on-demand. Other course creators choose a cohort model, limiting participants, doing live sessions, and encouraging interaction among students.
Hom Sweet Home
Visit Hom Sweet Home on Instagram, and it's very easy to get sucked in by the beautiful photos and hand lettering work. The artist and designer shares her impressive work and teaches others how to learn hand lettering themselves. You can find resources for running an art-based business on her website and sign up for her online courses. Not only can you learn hand lettering from Lauren, but she also teaches artists how to stand out online.
With hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers, an active blog with advice and resources for artists, and a propensity for teaching, Lauren has grown her income and influence as an artist.
Find Hom Sweet Home Online
The Cold Email Wizard
When Daniel Fazio started his marketing agency, he went through a lot of trial and error to acquire clients. He began emailing prospects. He found that as he added more personalization to his cold emails, people began to respond. After several iterations in his strategy, he developed a process that consistently converted.
Daniel decided to take his strategy and package it into an online course to teach others how to implement a cold email strategy successfully. He also started a Twitter account where he's generously shared his knowledge. Daniel is known as "The Cold Email Wizard" and has been able to grow his online following and continue to help others while making a steady income through his online course, which he sells on Gumroad.
Find The Cold Email Wizard Online
Examples of Info Product Content Creators
Info products are similar to courses. However, courses are typically organized into learning modules, requiring completion of one module to move onto the next. Info products are often PDFs, reports, videos, or some collection of resources. Info products can be sequential but aren't required to be.
Creators monetizing with info products simply charge a fee and then provide access to the resource.
Is it possible to make Google Sheets interesting? The answer is yes! Through his Twitter account, Andrew Kamphey shares Google Sheets tips, tricks, and templates. He also shares his learnings as a creative entrepreneur. He helps his audience learn new skills, become more productive, and implement systems through Google Sheets for free that they'd have to pay for in other software.
Andrew also offers paid membership for his info product Better Sheets. Members get access to a suite of helpful information and videos to help them accelerate their knowledge and skills of Google Sheets. Andrew offers so much value for free that audience members can trust that whatever is behind the paywall for Better Sheets must be truly valuable.
Find Better Sheets Online
Examples of Community Creators
It's easier than ever for people across the globe to interact around common interests online. Content creators are bringing their audiences together to connect over shared interests and goals online. Often these communities deliver educational content and encourage learning of knowledge or a specific skill. Other communities form around a shared passion.
Creators who can cultivate interaction and engagement within a community are creating value. Therefore, they have the option to charge for access to that value with a paid community.
The Complete Boutique
Janine Mix is a business consultant in the retail sector. She's worked for big brands and boutiques throughout her career in various roles. Over the course of those roles, Janine recognized her knack for sales and cultivating teams to reach their sales goals. So, Janine took that knowledge online to launch The Complete Boutique. Members of The Complete Boutique get access to exclusive content, templates, and guides to help their retail businesses grow. Not only do they access Janine's expertise, but they can network with other retailers inside the Facebook group.
Janine has continued to help retailers in their online and brick-and-mortar businesses. As she's grown her online influence, she's established her authority in the space and books out for speaking engagements in the retail industry and more.
Find The Complete Boutique Online
Pailor provides resources for women entrepreneurs. The popular website offers a library of articles, advice, and resources for women business owners.
Qualifying women business owners can join the Pailor Community to connect with other members. Pailor also facilitates "flight crews," small cohorts of members that meet monthly to connect and help one another in their businesses.
Parlor is a non-profit. The organization is on a mission to increase equality for women-owned businesses by connecting them to capital, opportunities, and more.
Find Pailor Online
Examples of Podcast Content Creators
Audiences are loving audio, and the industry is growing with significant investments in talent by companies like Spotify and Amazon. While getting your podcast discovered within the platforms can be difficult, creators who are building audiences across platforms, on their website, and via an email list can sustain a successful podcast.
Many creators choose podcasting as their primary medium, while others use it as part of their digital content mix. Podcasts are monetized through sponsorships and ads or as a means to drive conversions in other areas. Some podcasts help the creator acquire customers or clients for other products or services that they offer.
Pantsuit Politics is a podcast committed to "grace-filled political conversations" with hosts Sarah and Beth. Each Tuesday and Friday, listeners get to dive deep on political topics impacting the United States. The commentary is analytical, thoughtful, and often brings emotion to the discussion because these topics are often deeply personal. The podcast offers a unique voice to U.S. politics that you simply can't find in mainstream media.
The podcast generates revenue through sponsorships (you'll notice several ads in each episode) and listener support via Patreon. Pantsuit Politics also hosts live events, and Sarah and Beth are hired for speaking engagements at various events.
Find Pantsuit Politics Online
Dan Benjamin and the 5by5 Podcast Network
5by5 podcast network founder Dan Benjamin has been coding for decades and previously wrote for A List Apart and O'Reilly. Dan also founded several successfully acquired startups. The official Wikipedia page for 5by5 describes the podcast network as "the NPR for Geeks," a clear indication that the organization knows its audience of designers, developers, gamers, and entrepreneurs.
Shows include "The Big Web Show," "Back to Work," "Home Work," among several others. Many podcasts are in support of some other endeavor for their hosts. Often, the podcast attracts customers or clients for a business or launches in tandem with an online community, membership, or publication. 5by5 podcasts genuinely exist to put out audio content. Shows are monetized through sponsorships. With many of their shows running for over ten years now, going all-in on audio was clearly a good decision for this creative brand.
Find 5by5 Online
Examples of YouTube Content Creators
YouTube continues to appeal to audiences looking to learn a skill or find entertainment. While it can seem like a crowded space, it is still possible to break through the clutter with quality content. Focusing on keywords and promotion outside of YouTube can also be beneficial. Creators who remain consistent can see their audience and subscribers grow.
YouTube creators can monetize in a few different ways. Ads are the method we're all most familiar with. YouTube displays ads within and alongside your video, and with enough views, you can start earning income from those ads. YouTube also has a built-in subscription option where subscribers can "join" their favorite creator's channels for as little as $4.99/mo and get access to exclusive content and other benefits. Creators on YouTube can also work with brands on sponsored content or sell merch to their audience.
Binging with Babish
Binging with Babish is an exceptional cooking video series with high production value. Babish cooks up fun recipes, many that you've seen or heard of in movies or television. The recipes are accessible to everyday palates, the videos are beautifully produced, and Babish sprinkles in humor and sarcasm. It's a unique combination of elements that don't usually go together. With over eight million subscribers, Binging with Babish has developed a recipe for success!
The Babish Culinary University YouTube Channel is monetized through ads along with YouTube's built-in membership feature. Loyal fans can pay $4.99 per month for access to exclusive content. Binging with Babish also has a Patreon where supporters can support the creator and receive added benefits. He's also recently launched a line of cookware!
Find Binging with Babish Online
Button Poetry started in 2011 as a blog and shortly after began a YouTube channel where poetry fans could watch readings and performances. With over 1.3 million subscribers, the YouTube channel has helped Button Poetry cultivate its' fan base and branch out on other social media platforms. Button Poetry is now a publisher of poetry via books, albums, and online content.
Button Poetry has a very diverse monetization strategy with book and album sales on the website, a Patreon program, and member subscriptions right on the YouTube channel. Creative content and a passion for sharing the art of poetry have enabled Button Poetry to support poets to earn a living from their art.
Find Button Poetry Online
Examples of Video Game Streaming Content Creators
Live streaming has opened up new opportunities for content creation, and it's incredibly prominent in the gaming community. Twitch is a popular platform built around online gaming. Audience members enjoy interacting in the chat as they watch their favorite players on some of their favorite games. The gamers add commentary and interact with comments and questions from the chat. It feels a lot like "hanging out" online.
While typically used for live game streaming, congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has famously used the platform to connect directly with her followers and constituents.
Streaming creators monetize through subscribers on the Twitch platform or will often use Patreon separately, where they encourage their followers to support them. Brand partnerships are also common among streamers with sizeable and engaged audiences. Merch sales can be popular in this area as well.
itsHafu streams full-time, and as one of the top female streamers, she's making six figures at it! Her fans can follow along with her across several platforms, including Twitch, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. By mastering popular games, understanding her audience, and remaining consistent, itsHafu has built up huge audiences across all of these platforms.
itsHafu generates revenue through Twitch and YouTube subscriptions, YouTube ads, brand deals, and merch sales.
Find itsHafu Online
Black Girl Gamers
The Black Girl Gamers is dedicated to advancing representation in the gaming industry for women of color. The Twitch channel boasts over 30,000 followers. Rather than featuring one individual, the channel acts as a collective of gamers with a robust upcoming streams schedule.
Black Girl Gamers is a movement. It aims to showcase black girls and women in the creator space and encourage black girls to consider careers in coding and technical fields. Supporters can subscribe on Twitch to support the cause-based organization.
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Examples of News Content Creators
New platforms have made different content formats more and more mainstream. TikTok audiences are accustomed to quick, bite-sized videos, for example. Stories have become a mainstream content format on nearly every social platform, and newsletters are in the midst of a renaissance. Smart creators are re-formatting mainstream publishing industries, like the news, to appeal to audiences accustomed to these new formats and meeting them where they are online.
Creators in the news space are monetizing the same way many other creators are. Subscriptions, ads, exclusive events, and sponsorships are a few prevalent revenue streams.
News Not Noise
Jessica Yellin is a former CNN correspondent who recently founded News Not Noise. Jessica delivers the news to her over 480,000 followers on Instagram with multiple posts, stories, and live videos. Jessica provides more context than you get from mainstream media. She dives into her followers' questions and often has extended interviews with noteworthy guests. Rather than making Instagram conform to a traditional news format, Jessica has packaged the news into the Instagram format, and her followers love it.
While News Not Noise delivers a lot of value to its followers for free, supporters can subscribe via Patreon for exclusive content and online events. Special Zoom sessions take place where Jessica interacts directly with her Patrons, answering questions and more.
Find News Not Noise Online
Tangle is an independent, non-partisan political newsletter that highlights "both sides" of a topic. Each newsletter issue dives deep to explain the intricacies of a moment's most relevant current topic in U.S. politics, then explains the right's point of view, followed by the left's.
While most of the daily issues are free, only paying newsletter subscribers receive the Friday edition, which often features special transcribed interviews with prominent guests, a remarkable essay, or other coveted content.
Find Tangle Online
Examples of Digital Publishers
Online publications may not be "new," but they remain a part of the creator economy. Digital publications operate much like a magazine, specializing within a niche and publishing based on an editorial calendar. These niche sites continue to perform well with loyal audiences as they've continued to adapt to new platforms while driving traffic to their home base, their websites.
Digital publishers monetize in "all the ways," with ads and sponsorships, subscriptions, online or in-person events, courses, and more.
365 Things Austin
If you're looking for things to do in Austin, Texas, then 365ThingsAustin.com is your go-to source. What started as a simple blog in 2010 by Founder Kristi Owen quickly grew into hundreds of thousands of social media followers. 365 Things Austin helps their audience stay "in the know" on all the best and most timely happenings in and around Austin.
The site generates revenue by serving local advertisers with ads and sponsored content on their website and social media channels.
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Craft Beer & Brewing
The magazine for homebrewers and beer lovers, Craft Beer & Brewing, goes far beyond print! The website features brewers' profiles, recipes for home brewers, free calculators for the brewing process, and more. With over 120,000 regular readers and a solid social media following, Craft Beer & Brewing reaches their audience wherever they are.
Craft Beer & Brewing has several revenue streams, including advertising, live events, online courses, and subscriptions.
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Examples of Content Marketing Creators
Brands understand the value of being digital content creators. Content marketing was once having a blog on your company's website. But, today, content marketing encompasses so much more than that. Marketing teams are devoted to writing website content, developing videos, engaging with customers on social media, producing podcasts, and more.
The goal? To increase awareness, foster consideration, and move followers and website visitors to purchase products and services. Savvy content marketers strategize in the same way that content creators do. They consider their audience and determine content topics and formats that meet the needs of their audience. Then, they decide which channels they can use to reach them.
House of Wise
House of Wise is a CBD product line developed to help women with sleep, sex, and stress. Founder, Amanda Goetz, has established her own social media following, and the brand posts tips and education from the Instagram account. But, House of Wise is a brand that thrives from other people's audiences. Partnering influencers are signed up as affiliates for House of Wise and are given the "Wise Woman" moniker. As a result, House of Wise has a much greater network of followers than the brand's owned channels.
As an e-commerce brand, product sales are the revenue source. House of Wise has created a powerful driver for growth with more voices supporting the brand and partners incentivized through sales commissions.
Find House of Wise Online
Drift began with chat software and has grown its platform's features to serve sales and marketing teams. Drift develops valuable, in-depth resources within their "Drift Insider" program to attract the right prospects and acquire leads. In addition to helpful blog posts, videos, courses, and more, Drift develops comprehensive e-books on topics relevant to marketers.
By creating a comprehensive library of resources for their audience, Drift gives prospects a reason to return to their website, again and again, becoming more and more engaged with the brand. Drift understands that their visitors may not be ready for their software right away, but when they consider advancing their marketing and sales software stack, Drift will be top of mind.
Find Drift Online
We've covered several examples of content creators here but, it barely scratches the surface of the many types of creators that exist. Technology is more accessible than ever to publish your ideas to the world. You can choose your topic niche and create in the format that feels most natural to you. Meet your audience where they are and diversify revenue your revenue streams.
Reviewing examples of other creators can be helpful for ideas and inspiration. But remember that every single one of them started at ground zero. Being consistent and having patience is the only way to achieve success. Trust in the process. You'll get there!
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