In decades past, we had to wait for new gossip magazines to tell us what our favorite celebrities were up to. What they wore, who they were dating, and what they did with their free time were a mystery unless a photographer caught them out and about. In today’s digital world, though, we can scroll through our social media feeds and see a famous singer or athlete alongside our family and friends.
For celebrities, whether they are the traditional stars or “influencers” who gained their fame online, the internet (and especially social media) has opened up new channels to interact with fans. These platforms have also given artists of all types new ways to reach broader audiences. For example, musicians can now gain a worldwide following by putting their music onto YouTube. Fashion bloggers can share their daily outfits to Instagram. Social media allows creators with a small following to grow their fame over time.
The openness of social media is both its advantage and its downfall. While fans love that they can peer into the personal lives of their favorite celebrities, those who are extra committed to the star may feel resentful at the same time. In the past, you had to do a lot of research to be a “superfan” and know everything about your favorite star. Now even the most casual fan knows not just the highlights of the celebrity’s life, but also what they ate for lunch, who their best friends are, and where they are going on their next vacation.
While many influencers and celebrities get paid by allowing ads on their sites or by doing sponsored content. However, perfecting online content is a lot more work than it seems. In order to keep posting regularly for their fans, stars need to find a way to monetize their content.
That’s where exclusive content comes in. Celebrities make exclusive content (i.e. blog posts, podcast episodes, videos) for their most devoted fans, putting it behind some sort of wall. For many creators, this is a paywall that lets stars get paid for their work and fans feel like they belong to a special club. Exclusive content allows celebrities to hear what their truest fans want to see from them and fans get to feel a more personal connection (whether real or imaginary) between them and their favorite star.
One platform celebrities are using more often is ConnectPal. ConnectPal is a subscription-based social media platform. Users create a profile and upload exclusive content and set a price to view their ConnectPal page. Many users also add in subscriber benefits like discounts on merchandise or early access to public content. Other users can then subscribe to the profiles of their favorite stars, gaining access to content they can’t find anywhere else.
Celebrities of all levels of fame also often use Cameo. This service allows stars to record personalized video messages for a set price. Users can order a video for themselves or to give as a gift. Even though the celebrity and the fan never actually have contact, this type of personal interaction is something fans crave in a hyper-informational world.
Fans love to feel like they are sharing a secret with their favorite celebrities. Creators need to get paid for all of the content they make. That’s what makes exclusive content platforms a win-win.