For the past 20 years, being a successful independent creator or publisher on the web has also meant being an effective systems integrator. Tools emerged that helped democratize the creation, publication, distribution, and monetization of digital content, but stitching together these point solutions to form reliable technology “stacks” has remained a technically challenging and time-consuming undertaking.
But as creators’ businesses mature and grow, technologies and tools are evolving with them. That’s giving rise to a new breed of creator “suite”, which aims to pull together much of the functionality they need to power their businesses into full-featured solutions that eliminate the need for them to manage and maintain numerous systems and platforms.
This next generation of creator tools promises to introduce greater simplicity and efficiency and to help identify and unlock growth opportunities more effectively. With publishing and distribution, monetization, data and analytics, audience management, community features and more being brought together within single tools, the frustrations, inefficiencies and technical difficulties of managing multiple systems are becoming a thing of the past.
No single tool can meet every creator or publisher’s needs, of course. In some cases, creators with highly specialized needs will feel the need to build their own technology features or to integrate with specialized third-party offerings to find the specific functionality they’re looking for.
But for many creators the prospect of more full-featured creator tools will be an appealing proposition, providing greater flexibility, making day-to-day operations easier and freeing up time and brain space to focus on the most important element of their businesses: creating content that satisfies the needs and interests of their audiences and communities.
Potential benefits could include:
Simplicity and efficiency
Creators are often forced to wear multiple hats when operating their businesses and juggling various platforms, technologies and tools – each with their own approaches, philosophies and quirks – adds a further layer of complexity to the mix.
As creator tools become robust they promise to make creators’ lives simpler by ensuring closer integration between different features, automating more of their workflow, and removing even small nuisances such as logging into and switching between multiple tools. Perhaps most importantly, if something goes wrong or some advice or guidance is needed it’s clear who to ask for help.
Piecing together tools and technologies and ensuring they play nice with each other on a daily basis can quickly become a full-time job. Connections can break down unannounced, and product updates and changes can quickly throw well-oiled stacks into turmoil if they’re not monitored and maintained meticulously.
Perhaps the main benefit of creator suites is the reduced need for ongoing maintenance, boosting reliability and freeing up time as a result. This enables creators to spend the majority of their time thinking about how they can serve their audiences more effectively, rather than worrying about technology.
Creator suites might not be cheap, but they’re often far more cost-effective than paying for multiple solutions that may or may not be used to their full capabilities.
While point solutions might appear powerful on paper by promising advanced features and functionality, the complexity and operational cost of maintaining and extracting full value from them means they don’t often move the needle enough to justify their added cost.
More useful data and analytics
As creator tools become more sophisticated, the ability to collect, analyze and act on audience and member data will become increasingly powerful.
Creator suites promise a more complete picture of member activity, and the ability to better understand the types of content and experiences that members crave – as well as what’s driving them to become members – can help unlock growth opportunities for creator businesses.
Superior audience and member experiences
Full-featured systems often result in a far cleaner experience for users since they’re not being bounced around between different systems and tools or falling through cracks that inevitably emerge between them.
Something as simple as email communication is far more streamlined if it’s coming from a consistent source with consistent styling and branding, for example. Audiences increasingly expect a polished experience from the creators they pay to support, and a janky user experience is a hurdle to growth.
Creators must now react and adapt to changes in audience behaviors, demands and interests on an ongoing basis. Increasingly they’ll expect the tools and software they already use to help meet those needs as they arise, rather than constantly bolting on new tools to create complicated, cumbersome and costly stacks.
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