The creator economy is worth more than $100 billion, and there aren’t any signs of it slowing down. But, how much do content creators make in reality?
Many content creators start out making a side income. Some are able to turn it into a full-time business that generates more income than they’d make in a job.
To understand the industry and manage earning expectations we’ll discuss how much content creators can make on different platforms. We’ll also share how to monetize content and increase your earning potential.
Content creator income by platform
The most popular social media platforms for content creators are YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. Creators often start making money through those platforms’ ads and creator funds. Then, as their audiences grow, they land more lucrative brand sponsorships and diversify their income outside of these methods.
For example, many creators sell online courses and digital downloads with Teachable to generate more income than they do via ads.
Of course, each platform has unique earning potential, but your niche and audience size also affect your income. Let’s look at how much content creators make on each platform.
How much do YouTubers make?
The average YouTuber makes between $4 and $24 for every 1,000 views. A YouTube channel that gets 200,000 views per month could earn anywhere from $800 to $4,800 per month or $9,600 to $57,600 per year from ad revenue alone.
YouTube partners get about 55% of ad revenue. Location and subscriber count also affect a YouTube content creator’s income.
The highest-earning YouTuber in 2021 was MrBeast. His channel got 10 billion views, and he earned $54 million, mostly from ad revenue and sponsorships.
However, he has one of the largest followings on YouTube with close to 150 million subscribers. Most YouTubers don’t make nearly that much unless they have a similar audience size. So, it’s important to manage expectations and set realistic goals.
How much do TikTok creators make?
TikTok has also started to be a profitable revenue platform for creators. TikTok has 1.53 billion users and recently launched a new, invite-only way to monetize on the platform called the Creativity Program. With the Creativity Program, Creator Fund, and brand sponsors, TikTok is one source of income for content creators.
TikTok creators can earn up to $5,000 or more per month. However, like other platforms, this depends on follower count, location, and monetization methods.
Teachable creator, Konstantinos Synodinos, grew to 1.5 million followers in six months on TikTok. In that time, he also earned six figures via affiliate marketing, ad revenue, and selling online courses.
How much do Instagram content creators make?
According to ZipRecruiter, Instagram content creators make an average of $44,169 annually. You can usually earn more if you have your own brand, choose your rates, and leverage multiple revenue streams.
In 2020, 500,000 content creators earned a full-time income from Instagram. A recent report by Insider discusses various Instagram content creators’ earnings, with one creator making an average of $5,000 per month through affiliate links alone.
How much do Teachable content creators make?
Teachable makes it easy and affordable for creators to make money with three main knowledge-based products:
- Online courses
- Coaching services
- Digital downloads
Because you can diversify your income with different digital products on Teachable, you have more ways to make money online. However, like social media, how much you make on Teachable varies.
For example, Teachable creator Andrea Head earns $3,000 monthly from one digital product (and about $37,000 in side income yearly), while working a full-time job.
Some full-time Teachable content creators earn up to $10,000 monthly or more selling a mix of courses, coaching, and digital products. Your earnings depend on your products, pricing, average order per sale, and more.
One way to think about it is to set a goal of how much money you want to make. (Keep it ambitious but realistic.) Then, work backward to plan what you need to do to get closer to that goal.
For example, let’s say you want to earn $2,000 monthly from online courses. If you sell courses for $200 each, then you’d need to sell at least 10 each month. Adding other products could make it easier to reach your monthly income goal.
Factors that influence content creator income
Now that we’ve answered how much content creators make, let’s look at the factors that influence income:
- Audience engagement
- Monetization methods
- Subscribers or followers
While almost any content niche can make money, some are more profitable than others. Profitable niches in 2023 include:
- Health and fitness
- Making money online
- Personal development
- Digital marketing
- Home improvement
To earn money as a content creator, you’ll need an engaged audience that consistently likes, comments, and shares. A higher engagement rate demonstrates people consume and trust your content—and may lead to more brand sponsorship opportunities.
Tips for engaging your audience:
- Create valuable, relatable content
- Address topics your audience cares about
- Interact through comments and polls
- Listen to your audience and pivot
- Track your analytics to see what kind of content works best
Brand sponsorships are the most common way content creators make money. Other monetization methods include ads, merchandise sales, and affiliate marketing.
- Sponsorships – Brands pay you to promote their products or services. This study shows brand sponsorships are one of the most lucrative income sources for creators.
- Ads – Companies display ads on your site, social media, or blog.
- Merchandise sales – Sell branded products like shirts, mugs, and stickers.
- Affiliate marketing – You promote a brand’s product or service and share an affiliate link. Then, you earn a commission when your audience purchases through your affiliate link.
Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income is a creator who earns passive income through Teachable’s affiliate partner program:
There are multiple ways your location can affect your earnings, including:
- YouTube ad earnings
- Instagram engagement rates
- Pay by state
On YouTube, creators can earn money by displaying ads. The location of your viewers affects the CPM (cost per thousand impressions) because different places have varying levels of competition. CPM changes based on individual ads and what geographical area a company wants to reach.
Location tags can also affect Instagram engagement rate. Posts that share a location often have higher engagement rates, which increases earning potential. As a content creator, you can set rates that reflect your location and cost of living.
Subscribers or followers
A large following and high engagement rate show that people like and trust your content. This can lead to more possibilities for brand partnerships and other lucrative opportunities.
That said, a high subscriber or follower count is optional to earn an income as a content creator. The report below shows micro-influencers have the highest engagement rates. In fact, companies often opt for partnering with content creators with higher engagement rates over follower count.
How to make more money as a content creator
Brand sponsorships and affiliate marketing are common ways to earn money, but they’re not the only way You can also increase your earning potential by:
- Building your audience
- Diversifying your income
- Pitching directly to brands
- Signing up for creator programs
- Promoting your content via paid ads
1. Build your audience
Audience size and engagement are necessary for making money as a content creator. So, here are a few ways to increase your visibility, accelerate audience growth, and boost earning potential:
- Share consistent, valuable content – Sharing high-quality content builds trust, raises brand awareness, and grows your audience.
- Collaborate with complementary creators – Work with a creator that has a similar target audience. Live social media interviews are an excellent way to do this and help you connect with more people.
- Create accessible content – If you’re selling digital or physical products, offer various options and price points to meet your audience where they are.
- Use multiple platforms – Many content creators use a mix of platforms to earn money. For example, Julia McCoy utilizes Teachable, Instagram, and Twitter.
2. Diversify your income
Diversifying your income by selling your own products and services can help you earn more. What does this look like:
- Monetize physical products – Use your online platform to sell branded merchandise or other physical products. For example, a content creator in the wellness space might sell a journal.
- Sell ebooks and digital downloads – Sell your knowledge via ebooks or other digital downloads such as PDF guides, checklists, and spreadsheets.
- Create a community or membership – Members might pay a monthly fee for exclusive content or membership programs.
- Offer online courses or coaching – Thousands of creators use Teachable to create online courses and sell coaching services.
3. Pitch brands
Don’t wait for brands to come to you for partnership opportunities. The best way to start earning money is by pitching yourself to companies.
Tips for pitching potential brand sponsors:
- Research opportunities by seeing who other content creators partner with.
- Build a list of brands you want to work with and start with smaller companies first.
- Create a media kit or online portfolio that shows your brand’s niche, audience demographics, statistics, and accomplishments.
- Email the appropriate party (i.e., head of marketing, advertising manager, etc.) to share your media kit.
- When you send your pitch, tell them how working together benefits both parties.
- Send a follow-up email if you don’t get a response after a week.
4. Sign up for creator programs
Social media platforms want creators to share content, that’s why some offer incentive programs you can—and should—look into
If you’re a YouTuber, you can sign up for YouTube’s Partner Program once you have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours. This allows you to earn money directly through the platform.
Similarly, you can monetize your TikTok account through the TikTok Creator Fund. You need at least 10,000 followers and 100,000 video views in the last 30 days to join. Earning potential depends on views, engagement levels, and following community guidelines. In time, you may grow your account and income.
5. Promote your content via paid ads
While organic traffic is ideal, promoting your content with paid ads can help you get traction. With paid ads, you target a specific audience with specific content to drive traffic.
You can boost your content on Google, YouTube, and social media platforms with paid ads like this Instagram post by Dow Janes.
Here are a few guidelines to follow for paid ads:
- Identify your budget to avoid overspending
- Do keyword research to learn what phrases people search for
- Use these phrases in your ad copy and captions
- Repurpose your most engaging organic content for ads
- Track your paid ad performance regularly
- Make changes based on results
Unlock your earning potential as a content creator
How much content creators make varies. But consistently, the most successful content creators diversify the ways and platforms they use to generate income.
Are you ready to dive into the creator economy? Consider trying out Teachable, a no-code platform for creators who want to build a more impactful business through courses, coaching, and downloadable content.
Below, we’ll answer common questions about how much content creators make.
1. How much do content creators make per post?
Content creators can earn up to thousands of dollars per post. However, this varies based on engagement rate and follower count.
2. Do you need a large following to make money?
Although a large following helps you earn money, your engagement rate is often more important. For example, if you have 5,000 engaged followers, you can earn up to $100 per post. Then, make more money via other income streams like courses and affiliate marketing.
3. Is it possible to make a full-time income as a content creator?
While content creation often starts as a side hustle, you can grow your following and diversify your income to earn a full-time salary. In fact, many content creators make more than $100,000 per year.