The calendar is neatly laid out – 365 days covered over 12 months. And yet, the end of the year seems to sneak up on many of us. So before you rush into the last six weeks of the year, take a breath and think about how to make the best of it. Here are some revenue- and operations-related tips for your creator economy business plan.

Let your audience give (and buy)

Holiday gift-giving is big business. Even if you are a content creator in the early stage of your creator economy business can, you can take advantage of the season. The only technical requirement is that you sell something – subscriptions, classes, memberships, shoutouts, merch, etc.

While merch is an obvious category for gifting, you can get creative in selling gifts of your non-tangible content products, too. A while ago, I was leading marketing for a global inclusive sporting event. Our goal was to sell event registrations, but the event was 10 months away and we had no merch. So, we sold registration gift “cards” and created customized certificates, each with a unique code. We tracked the emails of the givers and recipients (if known) so we could follow up when registration opened.

What offerings do you have now or are planning for 2023 that you could promote and sell in 2022?

#Creators should think about selling gift "cards" for their content products, says @AnnGynn. #CreatorEconomy #ContentBusiness Click To Tweet

And don’t forget any affiliate marketing in place. Now’s the time more people are looking for curated and recommended products to buy.

Reach out to brand partners and prospects

It’s not too late in the year to contact brands and revisit partners to talk about more business. While some brands may have spent their 2022 budgets, others may have some money left. Often, they are eager to spend it because if they don’t, they may not get that money in 2023.

Follow up with brands that have shown interest but haven’t closed deals. Let them know you have some space or time to execute sponsored content, partnerships, etc. Offer them at least a couple of options in case they have a little or a lot of budget to spend. Be prepared to execute quickly. In some cases, it may simply be sending an invoice for future work. In other cases, it will be completing the brand deal.

Tips for Creators working with Brands:  The more you invest in your relationships with brand partners, the more successful your campaigns will be. Learn more in The Business of Creators report from The Tilt and HubSpot.

Say thanks

Businesspeople often use the last six weeks of the year as a time to give gifts to clients and employees. You don’t need to spend a lot or anything at all – the point is to show your gratitude for the business relationship.

As a small business owner, you likely have a small number of recipients, so you can tailor the gift to the recipient. Consider a gift card for a cup of coffee at their neighborhood cafe or Starbucks if you’re not sure where they live. Pack a gift box with some treats mixed in with your branded merch. Make a donation to their favorite charity. Or simply send a note thanking them for their business and explaining what the partnership has meant to you.

Say thanks to your brand partners, contractors, and others you've worked with in 2022 with a small gift or even just a nice note. #CreatorEconomy #CreatorEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

Plan your time

If you’re still working in another business, you know the deal – use your vacation days or lose them. That’s why the halls (virtual or physical) are decked but empty the last couple of weeks in December. But what about you, the content entrepreneur? 

Though you don’t have any official vacation days, you likely plan to take some time off or adjust your schedule to attend holiday happenings. Mark everything – personal and professional – on your calendar. How will that affect the production of your content? What about business operations? Will you adjust your publication schedule? If so, make sure to let your audience know about the plans.

(Here’s some help to plan your content business time.)

Revisit your goals

If you set goals for 2022, now’s the time to revisit them. Do you need to step up your marketing or output? Or are things on track to achieve it?

If you recently started the business and haven’t set your goals (they must be measurable and have a timeframe), you still can evaluate your progress. Look at the metrics most relevant to what you want. For example, if you’re growing a newsletter audience, check the new subscribers. Where is that traffic coming from? You likely would want to further optimize those channels. Examine the unsubscribe numbers, too. Is there a particular topic or distribution time/day that leads more people to opt out?

Here’s some help to plan your content entrepreneur goals for the coming year.

Plan for January 2023

If you don’t plan for January now, you’ll be scrambling over the holidays, especially if you depend on other people as they may not be working. Detail your editorial calendar for the first 31 days of the year. Plan to create the content for at least the first week of January in December.

Make plans now to create your January content so the calendar doesn't sneak up and leave you scrambling, says @AnnGynn. #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Recognize the end-of-year impact

Your December analytics may not reflect the rest of the year as your audience changes their behavior. For example, if your audience is business-related, expect lower open rates and viewer counts the week between Christmas and New Year’s. But if your content tilt revolves around entertainment, viewership might go up.

Don’t get overly distraught or excited if your analytics hit a drop or a spike. And don’t use your December analytics to inform your 2023 plans, as they often are an anomaly.

As you lead your creator economy business into the end-of-the-year season, take time now to think about gifting (selling and giving), plan your personal and professional schedule, and ready yourself for January 2023.

Join your fellow serious content creators at the Creator Economy Expo May 5-7, 2024. Registration opening soon.

About the author

Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. An IABC Communicator of the Year and founder of G Force Communication, Ann coaches and trains professionals in all things content. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter.