Foreseeable Future
Tatler Malaysia|May 2021
Is it enough to stick to just one avenue of revenue in a world gone digital? Four of social media’s influential shed light on being content creators in a business dictated by numbers
Koyyi Chin

Chances are, you may be reading this article on your device. And whether you’ve caught wind of it via scrolling through your social media feed or have chanced upon it on Tatler Malaysia’s website, there’s no two ways about it: you’re doubtlessly online, trawling for something or other to entertain and inform yourself.

So, while not necessarily news to anyone, the way we consume media and how we produce it is irrevocably altered. This is compounded by the pandemic-induced digital surge in 2020, and as consumers switched from offline to online purchases, many businesses doubled down on their efforts in the virtual space as conventional methods of advertising had slowed. So, as digital marketing takes precedence in the current climate, a group of multihyphenates emerge. Labelled with umbrella terms such as ‘influencers’ and ‘key opinion leaders’, these are the internet’s affluent—more precisely, if a little ambiguous yet at the same time literal, they are content creators, whose livelihoods depend on being on top of the ever-evolving digital food chain.

WHAT IT SAYS ON THE TIN

“While it may sound surprising, it’s still a fairly new industry actually,” says Jin Lim. Despite being a luminary in the local YouTube community for over a decade since creating his channel, JinnyBoyTV, in 2011, Lim, who is also co-founder of Aspect Ratio Studios, a creative production-cum-social-media-agency, has observed a recent uptick in social media marketing as brands were unable to produce their own content over the course of the lockdown, which led them to turn towards content creators for their all-rounded potential, what with how they were able to film as well as edit their own content. “Brands are realising that by having talents with significant reach create content that will suit their identity, it will not only enable them to tap into that individual’s following but they’re able to garner greater engagement just by repurposing said content.”

Regardless of the industry’s growth, however, Lim notes that there are instances of gross oversimplification when it came to content creators, as it’s thought to be as “simple as posting an image, tagging the relevant affiliations and calling it a day”.

“Nobody knew it took me seven years to get my first 100k views,” Lim candidly states. “And when I hit my seventh year, it was like hitting a wall. I didn’t know what to do with it, because for me, it was pretty tough to constantly churn out ideas—and the creative business isn’t one to wait for anyone, which is why you even see some content creators releasing stuff every four to five hours a day.”

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