Are Content Creators in Trouble? Plus June 2023 Reports

By Kimberly


As a content creator, the landscape of content creation is constantly evolving. With the rise of social media platforms, the increasing demand for video content, and the emergence of new technologies, it can be challenging to keep up with the latest trends and stay ahead of the competition.

With all of these changes plus AI, it can seem like content creators are in trouble. However, content creators can be just fine if they set up their businesses to be financially smart, keep their business flexible, and keep up with market trends.

It’s a lot of work, but the only way to stay relevant in today’s seismically changing industry.

An image of a man working at his computer, stretching

The Challenges Faced by Content Creators

As a content creator, you face unique challenges that can make it difficult to succeed in the industry. The regular challenges include changing algorithms, competition and quality, monetization (and income), and consistency (and audience retention). Beyond that, there are other challenges arising each week.

In this section, we’ll explore content creators’ most common challenges and offer some tips for overcoming them.

Changing Tech and Algorithms

Software and systems use algorithms to make life easier; those algorithms regularly need updates. Content creators rely on those algorithms to reach their audience, but big changes in the algorithm can cause stress when traffic (and ad revenue) change for the worse.

Right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty in the air about how the algorithms will change with regard to AI and AI-powered search. There’s also a lot of uncertainty about the future of Reddit as related to its 3rd-party apps and integrations.

My husband, who loves searching via Google on Reddit, is watching carefully – because if Reddit keeps on its path, it will likely learn some of the hard lessons Pinterest learned over the last few years.

The main lesson is this: don’t piss off the people who make content on your site because that’s your product. They will leave if you make enough of your content creators mad (or they quit making enough money). And then your product will be significantly lessened, so people will stop using it.

Search engines that turn to AI-powered search must also be wary of this lesson.

Competition and Quality

Competition is one of your biggest challenges as a content creator. With so many other creators vying for attention, standing out from the crowd can be hard. To make matters worse, the quality of your content is also a major factor in whether or not people will watch and engage with your content.

Focus on creating high-quality content that’s unique and engaging to overcome these challenges. Invest time researching your niche and understanding what your audience wants to see. Use tools like analytics to track your performance and make adjustments as needed.

Seriously. Use the analytics.

Monetization and Income

Another major challenge for content creators is monetization and income. While there are many ways to make money as a content creator, finding the right channels and streams that work for you is no cakewalk. Building up a large enough audience to make a significant income also takes time.

To overcome these challenges, focus on building your brand and product. Develop a strong marketing strategy that helps you reach your target audience and build a loyal following.

Consider partnering with brands and sponsors that align with your values and niche. Finally, be patient and persistent in your efforts to monetize your content.

Only do what makes sense. Don’t sacrifice a stable brand next week for a quick buck today.

Ad rates in 2023 are all over the place. Some colleagues report record-breaking revenues, while others are digging deep into their data to determine why they are hemorrhaging compared to last year’s ad rates.

Consistency and Audience Retention

Consistency and audience retention are two more challenges that content creators face. Consistently creating high-quality content can be draining, especially when you have other responsibilities. Keeping your audience engaged and coming back for more can be a challenge in and of itself.

Focus on developing your talent and skills as a content creator. Invest time learning new techniques and tools that can help you streamline your workflow and produce better content.

Additionally, engage with your audience regularly and respond to their feedback and comments. Doing so will build a loyal following that will stick with you through thick and thin.

Being a content creator can be challenging, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. By focusing on the challenges outlined in this section and taking steps to overcome them, you can build a successful career in the industry and achieve your goals.

An image of a jenga game in danger.

The Future of Content Creation: Continuous Evolution

The world of content creation is constantly evolving, and it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends and challenges, especially for smaller channels or creators with smaller revenue streams.

In this section, we will explore some of the emerging trends and potential challenges that content creators may face in the future.

Emerging Trends

One of the most significant emerging trends in content creation is using AI-powered tools. These tools can help content creators to automate tasks such as research, data analysis, and even content generation. Using these tools allows content creators to save time and focus on creating high-quality content that resonates with their audience.

Another trend that is gaining momentum is the use of interactive content. Interactive content such as quizzes, polls, and surveys can help to engage your audience and encourage them to spend more time on your website or social media channels.

This type of content can also help you to gather valuable data about your audience, which you can use to create more targeted content in the future.

Potential Challenges

While there are many exciting trends in content creation, there are also some potential challenges that content creators may face in the future. One of the biggest challenges is the sheer amount of content being created and published on the internet daily. It can be difficult to stand out and get noticed in the sea of content.

Another challenge is the need to create high-quality content that is both informative and engaging. With so much competition, creating well-researched, accurate, and valuable content to your audience is essential. This can be time-consuming and challenging, but it’s crucial if you want to build a loyal following of readers or viewers.

The future of content creation is both exciting and challenging. By staying up-to-date with the latest trends and using AI-powered tools and interactive content, you can create high-quality content that resonates with your audience. However, you must also overcome the challenges of creating high-quality content in a crowded marketplace.

With hard work and dedication, you can succeed as a content creator and build a loyal following of readers or viewers.

Staying Financially Solvent

Another key issue in today’s market is to keep your content creator business financially healthy. What this looks like for you as a content creator will look vastly different than what it looks like for me.

However, in each case, it requires knowing your costs and income and keeping your books in the green (technically the black. But you know what I mean).

Pivot as Needed

When you discover that your business needs to change, make the change. Rely on analytics and data to make decisions that will move you forward while staying financially solvent. Go for it, and don’t hesitate (too much).

For my business, a few months ago, I made the choice to return to a one-woman writing show, although I kept my graphic designer. This last month, I decided to take my entire marketing strategy in a completely different direction (one with better analytics so I can see what’s working).

This means I’ve got to do the work myself. That sucks, but if I don’t set things up right to start, then I won’t know what the analytics mean – and I will be right back where I am – wondering what works but not being able to figure that out.

It’s another pivot, but it’s one that (I hope) will help things continue in the right direction while keeping the bank account healthy.

What Does the Future Hold for Content Creators?

Nobody knows for sure what the future holds. It’s still 100% speculation at this point. But plenty of people are waiting, watching, and wondering what will happen.

There are a lot of educated guesses, though, by a lot of smart people. I’ve been keeping tabs on it and trying to come to my own conclusions.

I’ve got some thoughts on this – but let’s get into the site reports first.

An image of a crystal ball at sunrise at a farm-like backbround

June 2023 Portfolio Report

May to June was a bit of a downward trend for publishing and traffic, but such is life when you’re rethinking everything you do, am I right? And, on a positive note, the revenue was not a downward trend. That’s due to a heavy-hitting affiliate.

Month to month

  • Publishing: -65%
  • Traffic: -22%
  • Revenue: +78%

Year over year

  • Publishing: -56%
  • Traffic: -50%
  • Revenue: -44%

Year to Date

  • Publishing: -19%
  • Traffic: -45%
  • Revenue: -45%

If you want to see last month’s numbers, you can check them out here, along with my thoughts (and some data) on AI’s impact on publishing..

In any case, on to the data and timeline recap:

  • I started blogging in 2013.
  • I joined Income School’s Project 24 in 2019.
  • Going from $0 to $1000 monthly took me 26 months from implementing the Income School style strategy.
  • Going from $1000 to $2000 for the first time took another 4 months.
  • Getting to above $2000 monthly consistently took another 3 months.
  • Months since I first hit $2,000/month: 18 and counting

The gross income has been over the place for 18 months since I hit $2,000 monthly. That’s part of why I decided (some months back) to pivot my portfolio business. The pivot has been absolutely the right call. I see other content creators following suit all over the place.

June 2023 Site Report

For the sites in June, I did a lot of work ensuring each site was truly GA4 (Google Analytics 4) ready. I also upgraded each site from a standard GA4 integration to the much cooler (much more complicated) Google Tag Manager (GTM) integration.

Now that I know more about GTM and how much more robust GA4 is, I think they’re fabulous. Definitely a step in the right direction. But getting there was definitely a journey. A big shout-out to Renee of Structured Creator for her help getting everything squared away.

Here are the new stats as of end of June 2023.

Site A

  • Gardening
  • New posts: 1
  • Total posts: 333
  • Monetization: Ads + affiliates

Site B

  • Parenting
  • New posts: 0
  • Total posts: 134
  • Monetization: Ads + affiliates

Site C

  • Genealogy
  • New posts: 2
  • Total posts: 74
  • Monetization: Ads + affiliates

Site D

  • Writing
  • New posts: 4
  • Total posts: 45
  • Monetization: Ads + affiliates

Site E

  • Sports
  • New posts: 0
  • Total posts: 67
  • Monetization: Ads + affiliates

Site F

  • Entertainment
  • New posts: 0
  • Total posts: 26
  • Monetization: Ads + affiliates

Site G

  • Home
  • New posts: 0
  • Total posts: 28
  • Monetization: Ads + affiliates

Site H

  • Educational
  • New posts: 0
  • Total posts: 23
  • Monetization: Ads + affiliates

A total of 7 posts were published across the portfolio last month; that’s 13 short of my usual monthly goal of 20 or so articles to be published. However, given the huge amount of behind-the-scenes work I did, I don’t feel bad about it.

So – Are Content Creators in Trouble?

Some content creators are in trouble, yes. Others are not in any immediate danger, although keeping an eye on trends and changes would be smart so that you can pivot as needed to stay relevant and solvent.

Reddit communities (and creators who focus on Reddit-based traffic) all over will be scrambling, changing, or closing in the next bit unless Reddit walks back its new policies.

I don’t think Google-based traffic (which accounts for a vast majority of organic traffic) will change too much overnight – but it’s definitely one I’m watching carefully.

I’m still making content. I’m still dipping into marketing. However, I have definitely scaled back to be more intentional about what I do and where I use my resources. I’m also far more involved in all of the work – because as things change, I can’t do both the hands-on work and keep a team to do the work for me. That also affects the quantity of content I can publish each month.

So some content creators are in trouble, for sure. Others aren’t in immediate danger, and others will be just fine. Which boat you’re in will depend entirely on your situation. And your mileage may vary even then.

What do you think will happen? If you want to sound off, feel free to leave me a comment (yes, they’re enabled! Shocker, I know). I read and respond to as many as I can, which these days usually means I respond to every comment that isn’t obviously spam (those get deleted, sorry, not sorry).

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