“Do you just shoot videos all day?”, is no longer a snarky remark. Content creation is one of the hardest jobs out there in the marketing industry right now. And for those who have cracked the formula of attracting a huge audience and keeping them engaged, it is a goldmine.
Growth possibilities are endless in the content creation industry, and the more you look into it, the more it amazes you. So if you are a content creator now, the world is truly your oyster. You have something that most people would do anything to have.
But are you making the most of it? If you are not exploring launching your own merch line, you may have to agree that the answer is no.
You may have noticed your peers doing it and wondered, does it really do anything beyond getting a little publicity?
Yes, it does, and this blog will break it down for you. And if that convinces you enough, we have a brief section on making your merchandise line stand out too.
Let’s get into it.
What started as an unconventional profession has changed how the world works. Yes, there is no better way to talk about the impact of Creator Economy and Influencer marketing today. Customers are turning to their trusted influencers and creators for shopping advice, travel advice, insights into trends, and so on via social media platforms. The Creator economy is so special that TikTok has created a billion-dollar creator fund to help influencers grow.
There are 50 million creators, each with a sizable following and a dedicated audience hanging on to their every word. The number sounds big, but when you consider the one billion active users on Instagram alone, you get the value.
Now, when you can influence your audience to purchase what you recommend, why don’t you think they would love to purchase something you create as well?
In fact, many professionals and influencers from the creator industry have become successful entrepreneurs in their specific niche. Many have launched clothing lines, makeup lines, skincare, and so much more.
Influencer marketing is becoming just one subset of the creator economy, and merchandising is one of the fastest-growing revenue opportunities outside of it.
In fact, David Dobrik, a YouTube creator, has agreed that his custom merchandising line makes up a majority of his income.
You can do affiliate marketing, be an influencer, blog, monetize content with ads, and so much more – so why are we stressing the need for an exclusive custom merch line? And is it even a big thing right now?
Let’s answer the second question first and shine a light on what is happening in the non-branded merchandise industry.
A report on Forbes tells us that non-fashion brands have been launching merchandise lines all over social media, especially from the creator industry. Right from podcasts, comedians, and even beauty creators, everyone is launching their merch.
They quote Alexandra Toulch, founder and CEO of creative agency Rebl House, saying “Branded merch has become a type of ‘social currency’. It’s a conversation starter, it’s a public stance, it’s a representation of ideals. What’s cool about this trend is that it doesn’t discriminate against the industry you may be in. It’s an opening for any business into a new revenue stream while spreading the word about who they are and what they stand for.”
So yes, branded merchandise lines from the non-fashion industry are here to stay.
Being a creator is hard work, and you must do everything to reap the rewards. Here are some you can achieve just by launching a merchandise line :
When you are a creator, your community is your biggest asset. Your brand deals, influencer deals, engagement rates, and everything associated with monetizing your content comes from building a great community. Well, merchandise like T-Shirts, caps, mugs, notebooks, and so on can do that with ease. People want a tangible product to hold and feel like they are a part of an exclusive world. Your merchandise can do that. And if someone stumbles upon your merchandise anywhere else, your community just grows.
This is one of the direct benefits of launching a merchandise line. Instead of relying on external players like the platforms (YouTube ads) and brand deals (influencer marketing), you can build your own revenue stream. Even if 1% of your audience buys your merch every month, you have a passive income source without a lot of work. How cool is that?
Brand awareness? But I am just a creator, you say? Well, believe it or not, branding is as important for a content creator as it is for a business. You also have something to sell (your content), have a specific target audience, and constantly promote yourself. A merchandise line will remove the pressure of having to stay relevant and “in the eyes” always. Your merchandise can do it. And if your audience uses it in public, more people can experience your brand and find you.
The biggest apprehension in the creator economy is that the talent and hard work that creators put in is often at the mercy of the platforms. Technical glitches can take away followers, make content disappear, and one wrong move can make your profile disappear too. Rebuilding becomes hard when you have to start from scratch. But when you have an avenue to connect with your audience outside of these platforms, it is a little easier. No third parties. You can directly engage with the audience and rebuild yourself up.
The design may or may not be where you shine. But if you are a content creator launching a merchandise line, the design has to shine on your products. Here is all you need to know to launch a gram-worthy merchandise line that your audience would love to flaunt with pride.
The first step in every design project always begins with understanding the audience. As content creators, this part comes easily to you. Because this is your bread and butter business – understanding your audience and catering to them specifically. But here, you must look for a few different factors :
Start with these pieces of information on the drawing board before you pick any design or product, or make any financial decisions as well.
As creators, you have two big assets: the content you create and the community you build. And you must capitalize on that as you work on your merchandise lines. Some popular merchandise ideas for creators are :
A great place to find these is your comment section and reshare section. See what your community loves about you and how they perceive you. It will help you in creating a merchandise line that will potentially sell out on the first day itself.
We see the audience leaving comments like “This should be a T-shirt” or “ I want a mug that says this..” every day on social media content. Give them what they want, and you have a loyal audience at your disposal.
More on the lines of giving what your audience wants, it is important that your merchandise line is an extension of your online aesthetics. And every creator has one, even if they did not set out to create one on Instagram/ TikTok/ Snapchat/ or YouTube. Customers gravitate to design and associate aesthetics with you.
So if you want a successful merchandise line, ensure that the colors, fonts, design style, and images you use reflect your aesthetic.
A few tips on picking the right design elements for your merchandise aesthetic :
If you are not primarily a designer or a visual creator, we recommend working with a professional design team to avoid being overwhelmed and making the right decisions.
This is a bit of underrated design advice, but we will give it. The purpose of a merchandise design is to adapt it and use it for a variety of products – T-shirts, mugs, key chains, notebooks, and so on. The easier it is to scale and adapt your designs to these, the easier your life will be.
But how do you do that?
Wherever you can outsource the printing, shipping, and even customer service so that you can work on what you do best – creating.
Seeing someone use something you created can be a wonderful feeling. This becomes even more special when you are a creator and can see the community impact coming out in full force.
And we want you to succeed in this venture as much as you have done in content creation. Even if it is outside your arena, spend a little time designing the merchandise and choosing the right partners for production, shipping, and service for a lifetime of happiness.
Who knows, maybe this will take your content creation career to new heights! Now, if you are wondering how to create these designs for your merchandise line, there are plenty of design tools where you can put together your custom designs in minutes. Or the traditional way of working with designers is another idea.