Leveraging Empathy To Build & Market Creator Products

May 14, 2021

When you get good at sales, really good at sales, you realize it less about tactics and IQ and more about EQ. The same can be said about founders and product managers. Those that excel are able to leverage large amounts of EQ and empathy to properly address customer's pain points. This is why founder/market fit is so important. The ability to understand and leverage the first-hand experience of a market on a visceral level is important. When you’re the building for creators, first-hand experience of a creators challenges is essential. To gain that knowledge, you need to be a creator yourself.

Empathy not sympathy

The saying goes you don't know a man until you walk a mile in his shoes. The same can be said in the creator economy. You can't understand the challenges and pain points of a creator unless you're a creator yourself.

My knowledge on creators pain points come from experience being a creator; writing a newsletter, becoming a YouTuber, TikToker, brief podcaster, and tweeting consistently. But also, from my experience managing, advising, and interviewing creators directly. This is the reason why I’m able to see the opportunity for focusing on areas areas outside of creator monetization, and more on areas such as discoverability, education, mental health, and building a business.

Leveraging empathy to drive growth

The strategies, workflows, recommendations, and opportunities I share come from deep levels of empathy. I know the pain of going 0-1. I know the challenges that come with trying to ideate, create, and distribute content, all while trying to juggle side jobs and day-to-day life. It’s taxing.

In short the creator game isn't easy, but the first hand experience and creating across mediums gives me an advantage. I talk the talk and walk the walk, and when I meet creators I can empathize and instead of sympathizing.That empathy makes the recommendation and sales process significantly easier. This is why it’s essential if you’re building for creators that you take time to practice being a creator. The medium doesn’t matter but the reps do.

  • Colin & Samir create consistent high quality content across various mediums all while building a hub for creators.

  • Li Jin, writes and speaks extensively about the creator economy, invests in creator focused companies, and teaches founders how to build for creators.

  • Patreon CEO didn't take a salary for the first few years of Patreon (similarly to how creators make little revenue when just getting started) and actively uploads YouTube vids providing updates on the creator economy.

  • Sahil, Founder & CEO of Gumroad is a prolific writer and engineer. In short he gets it.

Notice the pattern? To provide real value for creators, you need to understand the ins and outs of their pain points. The only way to do that is to become a creator. You don't need a million followers (even though it helps) or to spread yourself across multiple platforms; however, you do need to create consistently and maintain a public portfolio of your work. Similar to how "real recognizes real" creators recognize creators. You can instantly tell when someone is faking it.

Don't be that person. Start creating, grow an audience, and understand through firsthand experience the challenges that come with that path. Your product and customers will thank you.

My experience creating content and working directly with creators has allowed me to build up the knowledge and lingo needed to build rapport. The first was realizing that most creators don't call themselves creators. They'reYouTubers, TikTokers, Podcasters, Writers, or just someone that likes to post dog gifs on Instagram. Yet, there are still a number of brands that still use the label in their outbound messaging and overall copy.

Your ability to develop deep empathy in a space that is still relatively new, is a cheat code. The name of the game is EQ>IQ. At least in the early stages.


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