Both old and new creator economy brands, business leaders, and creators gathered at 2022’s VidCon. While much has changed—with a push toward short-form content and gaming—in our eyes, the dominating themes of the conference’s panels revolved around some of the classic challenges creators face: the scalability and sustainability of their careers.
With that in mind, here are some of our biggest takeaways on actionable tips, tricks, and tools for building careers mentioned at some of the VidCon panels Passionfruit reporters attended.
The fundamentals of building a creator-driven product
A hot topic at VidCon was creators launching and developing their own products. Infamous YouTuber MrBeast’s food brand Feastables was loudly marketed with large advertisements and an outdoor activation giving away prizes at the conference. Feastables co-founder and CEO Jim Murray discussed how he thinks it is important for creators to tie every aspect of themselves to their brand. He said MrBeast does that well, pointing out how the company, which sells chocolate, did a Willy Wonka-esque giveaway for “golden” tickets to compete for the deed to MrBeast’s “chocolate factory.”
“We want to build an experience that people expect out of MrBeast. We want the fun, the gamification, the chance to win anything at any point in time,” Murray described at the panel.
Skincare guru Hyram Yarbro, another popular creator, discussed creating his own sustainable skincare line, alongside brand partner the Inkey List, and stressed the importance of creating a strong product outline and set of ethical standards prior to working with other brands.
“It’s kind of easy to lose yourself in the demands of the industry,” Hyram said at the panel. “Have exactly what you want to create in mind, and most importantly the values and the ethics that drive that, really crafted out before you start looking for or having conversations with partners.”
Venture capitalists warn creators of the pitfalls of taking money from investors
A panel full of venture capitalists discussed why they are investing in various companies that serve creators. Though you might expect these investors to push for creators to seek out capital, the panelists actually advised creators to be wary of taking money from investors when starting their own creator-led products and companies.
“I would try to build what you can do as much as possible, bootstrap as much as you can, create as much value as you can,” Anand Radhakrishnan, managing director at Investcorp, said at the panel. “Sometimes it’s not possible. Depending on your business model and what you want to do, you might need capital. But as an entrepreneur, my advice would be to try to see how long you can go without getting outside investment.”
Zhenni Liu, a partner at MaC Venture Capital, agreed. “The reason why I say that is because as a [Venture Capitalist], when we invest in a company we really want some large outcomes very, very fast. The speed of growth, and the pace of growth will sometimes bring down your company.”
Going multi-platform, and how Jellysmack can help
Jellysmack, a creator content strategy and management company, sponsored a panel about going multi-platform with creators who use the company’s services. Creators said they create and upload videos to YouTube, where much of their creative energy is focused, and Jellysmack takes care of translating their content to other platforms like Snapchat and Facebook.
The panel described some of the benefits of taking on multiple platforms, including reaching more demographics, increasing revenue, and becoming less vulnerable to platform changes.
“I’m a video girl, so I love YouTube. But I’m also a music girl, so I love TikTok and Spotify,” creator and singer Niki DeMartino said at the panel. “They all feed into each other, and you don’t even realize it.”
Short-form insiders say don’t delete your TikToks, and keep an eye on comments
At a sponsored TikTok panel, three creators discussed their TikTok strategy. Specifically, they mentioned they don’t take down videos that flop. Melissa Tecson, panel moderator and growth strategy lead at TikTok, advised creators not to delete TikToks right away if they don’t do well, reminding them that videos get pushed out for 90 days after posting.
“The [lifespan] of your video getting pushed and reaching new audiences is much longer than I think most people realize,” Tecson said.
Panelists also said that while views matter, comments sections are an incredibly valuable place for engagement and audience information. The panel discussed how they love TikTok’s reply-to-comment feature and said they use the feature to crowdsource ideas.
YouTube legends share their best advice
While the short-form video war certainly garnered its fair share of attention at VidCon, creators of longer-form video content demonstrated their continued stake and longevity in the creator economy landscape.
At a panel titled “The Legends,” creators with careers that started in the early days of YouTube—including Jon Cozart (aka Paint), Kurt Hugo Schneider, Nathan Zed, Vy Qwaint, and Chad Wild Clay—each shared their best piece of advice for up-and-coming creators.
The advice included having a story hook at the beginning of videos, thinking carefully about title and thumbnail, learning hard skills like editing and camera work, finding inspiration from other popular media, and practicing instead of waiting for a genius idea to roll around.
“Just try to keep making things happen, put stuff out without trying to make it feel like it’s the end of the world,” Zed said at the panel.
Habits to help avoid burnout
At a panel called “Get Schooled In Productivity,” six creators provided some tips on avoiding burnout and setting work-life boundaries.
“You’re readily accessing a lot of information, bad comments, good comments, but it’s not normal for any human being to receive the amount of feedback that creators receive,” YouTuber and panel moderator Miki Rai said at the event. “What kind of boundaries do you set so you can maintain your mental health as a creator?”
Advice from panelists included working and sleeping in different rooms, avoiding your phone early in the morning and late at night, refraining from checking post analytics within an hour after posting, blocking people who aren’t respectful online, taking regular breaks from social media, and turning on filters in user settings on Instagram and TikTok to delete comments with offensive language.
Tiered memberships, exclusive events, and other community management tips
At a sponsored panel at VidCon, titled “Cultivating Community” and moderated by Discord community manager Emily Hayes, four creators who lead communities on the platform shared why they like Discord, tips for other creators wanting to use the platform to connect with fans, and how to use chat to collaborate and co-create with their audiences.
Specific community-building activities mentioned by the creators included implementing community gaming on their servers; hosting charity events, talent shows, karaoke nights, and roasts; as well as having niche sub-channels, community roles, and exclusive emotes.
Discord also recently launched a test group for creator premium subscriptions. VTuber (virtual avatar creator) Bao the Whale, discussed her experience as a member of the test group and provided specific details about her subscription tiers to inspire others. She chose to go with a low-pressure $4.99 per month plan, which would grant subscribers some exclusive time to watch movies and play games with her. She also has another “joke” tier, which is just a dollar more and is called “Bao’s Kittens,” which gives fans access to drop recordings of their best “meows” for her to rate.
“It can be as professional or as laid-back as you want it to be,” Bao said. “You don’t have to put so much pressure on yourself to deliver perfect content.”
After publication, an Investcorp representative clarified Anand Radhakrishnan’s title is managing director, contrary to the title listed in his VidCon bio. This story has been updated to reflect this.
What did we miss at VidCon? Shoot an email to [email protected] to provide your feedback.