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Collective Voice Karis Dodd's Guide to Thriving in the Creator Economy

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Collective Voice: Karis Dodd’s Guide to Thriving in the Creator Economy

Karis Dodd’s Guide to Thriving in the Creator Economy

At the forefront of brand strategy and casting at Collective Voice is Karis Dodd. She leads a team dedicated to pinpointing the perfect creative strategies and creators that align with brand clients’ goals. With her dual experience in talent management and brand alignment, Dodd offers a blend of insights, crucial for those navigating the tumultuous waters of the creator economy. Here, she dives into the implications of emerging platforms like TikTok Shop for creators and provides strategic guidance for making the most of these platforms.

Digital Dynamics: Karis Dodd's Guide to Thriving in the Creator Economy

“I head up our brand strategy team here at Collective Voice. We’re tasked with determining the optimal blend of content and creators for our brand partners. And with my prior experience in talent management, I bring both a brand and creator-facing perspective.”

The digital landscape, especially with the rise of platforms like TikTok Shop, poses both unique opportunities and challenges. Dodd’s principal message to creators? Embrace diversification. “Diversifying your platforms is really a strategic move for creators looking to expand their audience, reduce risk, and just be creative and unlock a new world of monetization,” she explains. But it’s not just about being present on multiple platforms, it’s about understanding the nuances of each. “Each channel reaches different audiences in different ways.”

Dodd believes creators can really tailor their content to specific goals and purposes while building authenticity. “Creators don’t really need to create individual pieces of content for each platform. It’s really about building a strategy that can work across all of the platforms you’re active on.”

One of Dodd’s key strategies is content repurposing. “Start with one longer form piece of content, like a blog or video, and break it down into shorter form pieces of content to use across TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. While it might feel repetitive to you, it’s probably not going to feel repetitive to your followers, especially if you can reach different audiences on each platform.”

Dodd also emphasizes the importance of platform-specific strategies. “It’s important to tailor your strategy to each platform since they all have their own audience and algorithm. My tip is to start by promoting that content and then playing around and figuring out what works on each.”

For those creators feeling daunted by the myriad of platforms available, Dodd offers words of encouragement. “Creators should not let the number of platforms overwhelm them. Especially when starting out on a new platform, repurpose what you already have. Then, tailor from there as you test and learn. It’s the best way to get started without feeling burned out.”

Following her insights on the importance of diversification in the digital landscape, Dodd delves deeper, highlighting specific platforms and their unique content strategies. These insights provide creators with actionable steps to effectively diversify their income streams.

“Each platform really encourages a different type of content,” Dodd begins. “Referring to the rise of TikTok Shop, I’ve personally observed a trend. My TikTok algorithm seems to be heavily favoring shoppable content.” For creators active on TikTok, Dodd believes that integrating shop stickers and delving into TikTok Shop can significantly enhance engagement and funnel new followers back to their main page. “This not only boosts visibility but also offers an opportunity to guide audiences to other products or platforms via link-in-bio features, like Collective Voice’s solution,TapTo.Shop.”

However, she also warns of potential pitfalls. “There’s been a surge in comments questioning the authenticity of TikTok Shop product recommendations. The underlying sentiment being – ‘Is this a genuine endorsement or just a bid for virality?’ Hence, it’s imperative for creators to stay genuine.” She believes creators should only endorse products they’ve personally tried, loved, and can vouch for. “This approach solidifies trust and ensures that your audience resonates with every product recommendation you make.”

Dodd then touches upon another emerging trend. “Livestream shopping on TikTok offers a fresh avenue for creators. Especially for those with a track record of effective shopping recommendations, experimenting with live shopping features can open up a new revenue stream. An example is how at Collective Voice, we’ve casted livestream shopping creators with select clients paired with time sensitive promotions to drive urgency to purchase.”

Highlighting the shifting content consumption patterns, she notes, “The current generation, be it Gen-Z or even millennials, have notably shorter attention spans. The digital world is responding with platforms like Instagram Reels, TikTok, Facebook Reels, and YouTube Shorts, all emphasizing bite-sized content. As I mentioned before, it’s about diversifying your content. Ensure you have a presence on all these platforms.”

Dodd concludes by offering a strategy for monetizing these platforms. “For instance, if your TikTok boasts twice the followers as your Instagram, it’s an opportunity to tier your pricing. Charge more for a sponsored spot on TikTok compared to Instagram. This flexible pricing structure can cater to brands with varying budgets, ensuring you can collaborate with a diverse range of partners.”

Expanding Beyond Social Media: Emerging Monetization Strategies

Building on her earlier discussion about platform diversification and content repurposing, Dodd underscores the significance of venturing beyond traditional social media platforms, especially as the holiday shopping season draws near.

While live shopping and platforms like TikTok Shop are undoubtedly making waves in the creator economy, Dodd points to other avenues that creators can tap into. “There’s a resurgence in creators turning to self-owned channels, such as personal websites and email newsletters,” she explains. Contrary to the belief that blogging’s golden age is behind us, Dodd emphasizes its continued relevance.

“A blog or website offers evergreen, shoppable content that can be frequently updated and serves as a central hub directing followers to other platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. This is advice we share with all our Collective Voice creators to make sure we strategically diversify platforms.”

Dodd also spotlights the rising trend of email newsletters, highlighting platforms like Substack. “Newsletters are a powerful tool to foster deeper connections with the most engaged members of a community. They offer exclusive content that’s not available elsewhere,” she notes. Moreover, newsletters present a dual opportunity for creators – they can seamlessly integrate shoppable affiliate links and offer brands a dedicated space to reach a highly engaged and loyal audience.

Digital Dynamics: Karis Dodd's Guide to Thriving in the Creator Economy

Striking the Right Chord: Authenticity in the Age of Monetization

Diving deeper into the complexities of the creator economy, Dodd addresses a nuanced challenge: How can creators ensure a steady stream of content without compromising on authenticity, particularly when navigating commercial collaborations?

Dodd understands the reservations creators might harbor. “Many creators are apprehensive about appearing overly commercialized, especially when they venture into affiliate marketing or enter brand partnerships.” She emphasizes that the cornerstone of any creator’s journey is authenticity. “The strategy should always be a reflection of the creator’s genuine interests and, importantly, resonate with their audience’s preferences.”

She suggests weaving affiliate products and brand mentions seamlessly into the creator’s regular content flow. “When you organically tag and link to brands, they notice. And when a partnership blossoms from this organic engagement, it’s a testament to authenticity,” Dodd points out. This approach not only bolsters trust but can also lead to an audience celebrating the creator’s achievements and partnerships.

“For creators, it’s not about the sheer volume of content but the value it delivers,” Dodd continues. “It’s a quality-over-quantity game.” To ensure consistent engagement without overburdening oneself, she proposes a structured approach. “Develop a series of content that’s sustainable for you. For instance, a weekly Instagram story roundup reviewing products or a TikTok gift guide, especially with the holidays around the corner.”

Dodd wraps up by highlighting the potential of interactive segments. “Host ‘Ask Me Anything’ sessions on platforms like TikTok or Instagram. By setting a specific day for such interactions, you not only create a predictable content cadence but also deepen audience engagement. It becomes an anticipated event, fostering a closer bond with your followers.”

Dodd shifts focus to a closely related domain: brand collaborations. She addresses the potential advantages and pitfalls creators might encounter when entering partnerships and offers advice on maintaining one’s unique voice amidst commercial undertakings: “The key is identifying the right brand partners that resonate with a creator’s values and aesthetics,” she points out. 

One strategy Dodd recommends is seeking out “creative synergy.” Before committing to a campaign, creators should have a clear understanding of the brand’s expectations. Brands, in turn, should be open to feedback from creators, ensuring the content aligns with the creator’s style and appeals to their audience: “Creators have an innate understanding of what resonates with their followers. When brands and creators view their collaboration as a genuine partnership, the results can be phenomenal,” 

Dodd then touches upon a pressing concern in today’s digital landscape: how can influencers and brands craft campaigns that are both authentic and engaging, especially when audiences are increasingly wary of advertisements?

Dodd believes the essence lies in crafting content that feels natural, and resonates with what audiences expect from a creator. “It’s pivotal to share personal experiences. Narrate your unique journey and the tangible results achieved using a product. This approach not only showcases authenticity but also builds relatability,” she advises. 

Transitioning from content creation to assessing its impact, Dodd delves into the metrics and strategies that both brands and creators should prioritize to gauge the efficacy of their collaborations: “Storytelling, which fosters connection and relatability, humanizes brands. Content that evokes emotion, solves problems, and educates has proven to increase a consumer’s likelihood to purchase products by a significant margin,” she notes, referencing studies that attest to this efficacy.

Diversity, she suggests, is another cornerstone. “Collaborating with a diverse array of creators amplifies unique voices and styles. This approach ensures a deeper, more genuine connection with varied communities.”

Dodd also highlights the role of intermediaries like Collective Voice. “We bridge the gap, ensuring meaningful outcomes for both creators and brands. The growth witnessed by Collective Voice partnered creators and brands speaks volumes about the effectiveness of genuine collaborations and the resources we offer.”

Continuing her insights into brand and creator dynamics, Dodd now spotlights a burgeoning segment in the influencer landscape – nano and micro-influencers. Their growing prominence suggests a shift in how brand partnerships are being reimagined. “At Collective Voice, we’ve observed an intriguing trend,” Dodd begins. “Micro-influencers, though they might not boast the massive following of their counterparts, are driving impressively high engagement rates. In fact, some of these micro-influencers are achieving double the engagement and conversion of influencers with significantly larger followings.”

The emphasis, she suggests, is on authenticity and niche expertise. “Our platform is designed to ensure brands collaborate with creators who not just engage but are in tune with the latest trends, regardless of their audience size.” She adds, “Nano and micro creators, with their unique perspectives and specialized knowledge, offer brands an opportunity to connect with specific, engaged audiences.”

The Horizon of Influencer Marketing: Predictions and Paradigms

The landscape, she suggests, is both evolving and maturing: “In the coming years, we’ll witness brands intensifying their focus on diversity and representation. The intent? To cast a wider net and ensure their campaigns resonate with a broad spectrum of audiences, making everyone feel included and valued.”

Another shift she foresees is the rising demand for tangible results. “The current economic scenario compels brands to seek measurable returns on their campaigns. Tools like TikTok Shop are enabling brands to track sales uplift from influencer initiatives, offering insights into product clicks and purchases,” she elaborates.

However, Dodd offers a word of caution. “While measurable metrics like sales uplift are valuable, it’s essential for brands to not lose sight of broader goals. Brand awareness remains paramount and should be weighed alongside direct sales ROI.”

She emphasizes the broader picture: “At Collective Voice, the marketing funnel isn’t just about immediate sales. Engagement, overall sentiment, impressions, and even deep dives into follower comments are becoming increasingly significant. Brands are keen on ensuring every marketing dollar spent results in tangible, measurable outcomes.” This holistic approach, Dodd suggests, will be the hallmark of future influencer marketing campaigns.

Expanding on her predictions about the influencer marketing landscape, she delves into the anticipated role of AI and emerging technologies in shaping the creator economy. “The potential of AI lies in its ability to alleviate the administrative and repetitive burdens that creators face. From content planning to video scripting, editing, comment moderation, and even tasks like invoicing, AI can streamline processes,” she explains. This allows creators to channel their energies into the heart of content creation, ensuring innovation and creativity thrive.

However, Dodd underscores an essential distinction. “While AI can assist, the essence of influencer marketing is the human touch, the unique perspective and authenticity that a creator brings. That is irreplaceable. Brands must value the human element in influencer marketing.” This sentiment ties back to her earlier emphasis on authenticity and the genuine connections that lie at the heart of successful influencer collaborations.

Navigating the Privacy Labyrinth: Transparency as the North Star

Building on Dodd’s insights into the future of influencer marketing and the role of AI, she now turns her attention to another pressing concern – the implications of privacy regulations in the domain of personalized marketing.

“Privacy regulations are a moving target, always in flux,” Dodd begins. “At Collective Voice, our response to this evolving landscape is to adhere rigorously to existing laws, with an unwavering commitment to transparency.”

She emphasizes that data transparency isn’t just about compliance; it’s a strategic tool. “Transparent data sharing serves a dual purpose. For creators, it offers insights into their campaign performance, enabling continuous refinement. For us at Collective Voice, it provides a clearer understanding of the value a creator brings, guiding our decisions in brand partnerships.”

Digital Realms and Authentic Voices: The Metaverse Era and the Future of User-Generated Content

Dodd turns her gaze to the burgeoning realm of the metaverse, a digital frontier that’s capturing imaginations worldwide. “The metaverse is rapidly emerging as a space where people spend significant amounts of their time,” Dodd observes. “This shift is creating a robust demand for digital products, services, and experiences, paving the way for new commerce avenues and even novel creator personas.”

She offers guidance for those creators looking to make their mark in this digital dimension, emphasizing the power of community. “In the Web3 domain, a strong community can be both an asset and a revenue stream. It’s all about leveraging and monetizing your community effectively.” 

However, she also strikes a note of caution. “From what I’ve seen, brand investment in the metaverse is still in its early stages. Most of the players making moves are big entities with expansive budgets. Hence, creators should be strategic, focusing on partnerships with brands that have the resources to innovate in the metaverse.”

After discussing the potential of the metaverse, Dodd delves into another significant trend: user-generated content. “UGC is not just a buzzword; it’s a testament to the organic enthusiasm of consumers,” Dodd asserts. “It’s especially potent when it comes from micro and nano influencers, who often exhibit genuine passion for the products they showcase.”

For brands aiming to harness this raw energy, Dodd recommends a proactive approach. “Brands shouldn’t just wait for content to come to them. They need to actively scout for creators who are already engaged with their products. These creators are not just influencers; they’re organic advocates.”

Dodd also emphasizes the importance of equitable partnerships. “Even if a piece of content has been crafted without a brand’s initiation, it doesn’t mean it’s free for the taking. Brands should always compensate creators when their work is repurposed, especially for advertising. It’s not just about legality; it’s about valuing the creative spirit.”

Charting a Successful Path in the Creator Economy: Tips from an Expert

At Collective Voice, Dodd offers a compass for both budding creators and brands aiming for impactful connections. Drawing from her extensive experience, she emphasizes the significance of authenticity and a deep understanding of one’s audience: “For both creators and brands, it’s imperative to identify and cater to your specific niche. It’s not about being everything to everyone, but about being invaluable to a specific community,” Dodd suggests. She further underscores the importance of content that strikes a chord with the audience. “It’s about a genuine narrative. Whether it’s through transparent product reviews or personal anecdotes, the aim is to establish trust.”

Dodd also sheds light on the art of successful partnerships. “For creators, collaborations should feel organic, an extension of their persona. And for brands, the key is to team up with influencers who already have a rapport with products akin to theirs. This ensures a natural resonance between the audience and the brand.”

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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