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Industry Insider Debunks the Biggest Myths About Influencer Marketing

Chris Ryan got his start in the creator economy by helping elevate top influencers like Alex Griswold to new levels of fame and opportunity. Before he was a talent manager, he assisted digital celebrities in gaining access to exclusive events and VIP status at major festivals and awards shows.

After a stint managing writers and working on event sponsorship, the pandemic prompted Ryan to pivot fully into the world of representing digital creators through his talent management company, Chris Ryan Marketing. Now, he’s focused on guiding the careers of content entrepreneurs and sharing his philosophy for how they can build sustainable businesses and authentic fan bases.

As the influencer marketing industry keeps reaching new heights, Ryan is expanding his agency’s roster to include more diverse, niche talents across different verticals.

Ryan’s Marketing Agency Guides Creators In The Booming Influencer Economy

Chris Ryan started out by getting top influencers like David Dobrik and Logan Paul to exclusive events. “I met and helped many of the bigger creators that we see today get into events for the first time,” Ryan says of securing sponsors for VIP lounges at festivals like Coachella and Sundance.

The pandemic’s toll on live events led Ryan to pivot to representing digital creators full-time. “An acquaintance asked me to come to work with him at a new talent management firm,” he explains. When that company folded in 2023, Ryan launched his own shop.

In his view, the creator economy is “a dynamic space linking creative talents to business needs” that streamlines content production and monetization. Ryan’s core philosophy? “I want talent that creates authentic content that entertains and informs,” he states, encouraging clients to “not worry about the business side” while he manages brand deals and strategy. “I see a lot of creators [who] focus more on the business side and not creating good content that resonates.”

Building a Sustainable Creator Career

“First, you need to diversify your platforms,” Chris advises creators. “You can’t just be on TikTok – that might go under. You also have to adapt. If something’s not working, don’t keep repeating it until it’s dead.”

His second piece of advice? “Build a community. You need a fan base that likes you for you.”

When vetting potential clients, Ryan examines view counts for consistency, ensuring “you’re not like 1,000,001 views one day and then 500 the next day.” Engagement rate matters too: “All the brands and agencies I work with, that’s one of the main things they’re looking at.”

Ultimately, he wants to represent creators he finds personally compelling. “Do I like them? Do I find the content entertaining? Does it seem like a person I want to work with?”

Debunking Influencer Marketing Myths

“The main misconception with brands is that every influencer is bottom of the funnel doing hard sales like they are the QVC channel,” Ryan emphasizes. He pushes back on the idea that creators always aggressively pitch products. “A lot of influencers are focused on entertaining and informing their audience, not selling things.”

While some brands seem focused solely on conversions, Ryan “knows that some creators are better” at driving awareness instead. “I have creators with really big followings, but they’re top of the funnel – more about brand awareness. They’re not going to sell products hard.”

Ryan advises creators to consider getting a manager once the business side becomes a distraction from content creation. Key indicators include steady view counts that attract brand interest. “Managers aren’t magicians that can force brand deals,” he notes, “but many other talent managers just work on incoming offers.” A manager allows creators to focus on output rather than negotiating contracts.

To stay relevant, creators must evolve with audience tastes. Chris points to TikTok star Alex Ojeda, who shifted from dance videos to travel content when his views dropped. “He totally pivoted…perfectly aligned for his audience.” The risk paid off—Ojeda now has 8.5 million followers and commands $20-30K per sponsored post.

“Be willing to change if something stops working,” Ryan counsels creators. “Be prepared to pivot.”

The Evolving Creator/Brand Partnership In an AI-Driven World

While AI promises “enhanced personalized, immersive collaborations” between brands and creators, Ryan believes “the human connection still remains critical.”

He foresees sustainability and social responsibility becoming more important considerations shaping the creator economy’s future. “Whether it’s a creator or brand, we need to think about what we’re doing for the big picture,” he states.

When asked what he would change instantly about the industry, Ryan calls for creator economy products and services to understand their market better. “A lot of them don’t understand my business…They’re trying to make [offerings] do this and this when I actually need that other thing.”

He cites being frequently pitched talent management platforms without a viable client base to sustain the business long-term: “I get pitched all the time on talent manager tools…There’s not a ton of us, so how is this sustainable for them? This company is going out in two years because there are not enough clients.”

Ryan’s take? “People creating new creator economy products really need to understand their market…Don’t try to put a square peg in a round hole.”

Forging An Authentic Creator Path

For aspiring influencers, Chris Ryan’s advice is simple: “Focus on developing a unique voice. Do what you love. Don’t just copy others.” He looks for creators who stand out from the pack. “I’m not looking for somebody that’s just doing the same thing everybody else is doing. I want something unique and different.”

Ryan encourages a patient, persistent approach to audience building. “Grow your audience…If you’re not getting the views right now, just keep producing content.”

So, what’s next for Chris Ryan Marketing? “Right now, I’m trying to grow my roster of exclusive clients,” the agency’s founder states. He’s prioritizing diversity across channels and content verticals. “There are a lot of buckets I get brand deal requests for that I don’t have anybody for. I want to fill those buckets.”

The agency is also staffing up, a sign of its quick growth. “Pretty soon, I’ll be hiring a coordinator and other people,” Ryan reveals. Despite the expanding headcount, his philosophy remains creator-focused.

Ryan’s success mantra combines an obsession with quality, differentiated content, and a dogged commitment to constant output. According to him, this approach has powered the careers of many top influencers and, he insists, is still the path for rising stars. “Do what you love…[and] develop a unique voice.”

Cecilia Carloni, Interview Manager at Influence Weekly and writer for NetInfluencer. Coming from beautiful Argentina, Ceci has spent years chatting with big names in the influencer world, making friends and learning insider info along the way. When she’s not deep in interviews or writing, she's enjoying life with her two daughters. Ceci’s stories give a peek behind the curtain of influencer life, sharing the real and interesting tales from her many conversations with movers and shakers in the space.

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