The Future

The Publish Press staff puts together our creator economy predictions for the end of 2021

How’s it going, Publish Press readers? After a few months of covering the most important creator economy stories, I’m excited to bring you something a little different in today’s issue: predictions. Our staff has compiled some of the biggest trends we’re watching out for in the rest of 2021 and beyond. Enjoy!

 - Max Lowenthal

In Today’s Issue 💬

→ Samir on the growing importance of creator-based communities

→ Colin's theory about the future of creator hiring

→ Alice’s expectations for the rise of POV content on TikTok

→ Max’s thoughts on why creators + ecommerce is the next big thing


The Rise of Creator-Based Communities

Tori Dunlap is a personal finance podcaster who just announced that she’s putting her content on pause for 3 months while she writes a book. For most creators, that type of a break would be a major blow to their business - but not Tori. 

That’s because she runs a community called “Her First 100K” that helps female entrepreneurs achieve their first $100,000. In the space she’s created, her community can interact with another, as well as with Tori herself, to add more value to their experience. Despite taking a break, Tori can jump into her community to spark conversation or get feedback for a fraction of the effort it would take to release a new podcast episode. 

Community platforms like the one Tori built provide a great source of consistent distribution and support, even when you need to take a break. And with platforms like Discord developing YouTube integrations, these spaces are only going to become more communal. I predict that more creators will start to focus on building communities of like-minded people to help take the pressure off the grind of consistent uploading.


Creators are Hiring & Getting Hired 

It’s clear from the tweet we put out last week that creators are quietly growing their teams and becoming the media companies of the future. Happening in concert will be the inverse; creators getting hired and embedding within larger companies. Our own team consists primarily of college dropouts who were creators in their own right before joining us. They all know what it’s like to try, fail, and try again — and that’s far more valuable to us than a degree.

Even massive companies like Disney are noticing that creators are the next great hiring pool. They recently launched their Disney Creator Lab, a three-month program that will train 20 creators on branding, monetizing, and marketing the Disney brand on social media. Company-led creator programs like this will be a must for any group looking to get an edge in their industry, and the creators they employ will get to hone their crafts with stable salaries before most likely venturing out on their own. It’s a win-win. 


POV TikTok Will Make Everyone “That Girl”

2021 TikTok looks a lot different from the light relief, dance trends, and comedic skits that populated our FYP during quarantine. This year, we've seen an explosion in POV, or “point of view”, creators, supported by trends like the "becoming that girl" aesthetic, with 1.2 billion views for #thatgirl, which shows easy-to-follow routines to transform your daily habits into the Pinterest-perfect lifestyle. 

I expect lifestyle content will become one of the largest driving forces on TikTok, with creators building massive audiences supported by the platform’s continuing investment in turning profiles into a one-stop-shop to monetize your life.

Creators like Emily Mariko, who has grown from 500,000 to 2.6 million followers this week alone (+5.7M likes for her videos in the past 24 hours!) offer the perfect example of the opportunity lifestyle creators have on TikTok. Expect to see "daily vlogs" segmented into anywhere from 5-30+ uploads, highlighting the details of everyday life, in what I call the art of elevating the mundane. 


Creator Commerce is The Future 

After dancing around the rumors for months, TikTok finally confirmed this week that they’re launching TikTok Shopping - a platform that lets businesses integrate their products directly into the platform. They aren’t the only ones keen to jump into the fray, we’ve also seen Instagram, YouTube, and even Snapchat dip their toes into the world of creator-based ecommerce.  

It all boils down to one simple idea - creators influence the purchasing patterns of their fans. It all has to do with the parasocial relationship creators and fans have, where fans build a personal affinity for the preferences and opinions of the creators they follow. From food to fashion, we just have a tendency to more highly value someone whose content we consume - even I have three shirts I first saw on TikTok in my closet. 

As platforms continue to invest in building out their ecommerce chops, I expect that creator-led shopping, and live streaming shopping in particular, hold the future of America’s clothing industry in their hands.