Entertainment

Lauren Zoltick, Marketing Exec at Storyblocks on partnerships with creators

We sit down with business leaders from the creator economy to get their best advice for creators looking to start and grow their careers. This week we spoke to Lauren Zoltick, Storyblocks’ director of performance marketing, about salary transparency for creators, diverse representation in marketing, and why she sees YouTube as a popular platform for creators.

Zoltick is a marketer with over a decade of experience launching social media, digital media and influencer marketing campaigns for high-profile brands such as Marriott International, Kroger, Volkswagen and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Now she continues her career at Storyblocks.

Storyblocks is a company that offers creators a media subscription service for video, audio and image files. At Storyblocks, Zoltick leads a marketing team that manages partnerships with paid creators, implements a social media strategy, runs affiliate programs, and more.


Lauren Zoltick told Passionfruit she first fell in love with marketing at a comedy club. It was there that she got her first job as a video producer after college. Each week, Zoltick shot and edited videos of comedy sets to post on YouTube – which soon gained traction and boosted ticket sales.

“It was like 2011, so more of a wild wild west of organic social performance,” Zoltick said. “I thought, ok, I like that. There is something about social marketing that I enjoy.”

Zoltick transitioned to a career in social media, digital media and influencer marketing, launching campaigns for clients such as Marriott International, Kroger, Volkswagen and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. During the pandemic, she became interested in working with a company that catered to creatives like herself, which led her to discover and join Storyblocks.

Zoltick has been overseeing paid marketing, social media and influencer partnerships for Storyblocks for about two years. She has been instrumental in growing Storyblocks’ YouTube channel, which has nearly 30,000 subscribers and features video editing tutorials, creator interviews, and tips and tricks series.

A series on the Storyblocks YouTube channel entitled “How I Made This” shows creators how to use Storyblocks stock media files to create a high-performing YouTube video on their own channel.

“It’s a great platform for us because it’s kind of a meta. We talk to video editors about video editing,” Zoltick said of promoting storyblocks on YouTube. “It really resonates with our target audience.”

The YouTube channel also has videos for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ creators working with story blocks. According to Zoltick, the videos show the variety of content that the creators create behind the scenes for the Storyblocks library.

Sonya Ballantyne, an Indigenous writer and filmmaker, was asked by Storyblocks to create Indigenous Joy-themed footage as part of a larger campaign to expand the representation of Native American and Native American communities in their inventory library. Ballantyne said as a creative, she struggles to find non-stereotypical footage of Indigenous Peoples on traditional mainstream stock sites.

“That really annoyed me. I thought, ‘I need something that isn’t stereotyped. It would be cool to have pictures of people just living their lives.’ … When they approached me with the idea of ​​incorporating more diverse content into such a white space, it was something I was really passionate about,” Ballantyne said in an interview with Passionfruit.

Ballantyne also expressed that while stock footage is traditionally seen as a non-creative, generic field of work, she had a lot of creative freedom when working with storyblocks — saying the project made her “look at something company with new eyes.” . ”

Zoltick said she encourages creators to always approach partnership videos with their own unique perspective, saying brands often make the mistake of not giving creators enough “creative freedom” to create the best content for their audiences.

Additionally, Zoltick said many brands are failing to take the lead to guarantee pay equity between white creators and creators of color – citing a study that found the racial pay gap between white and BIPOC influencers was 29 % amounts to. She also pointed to another study on the gender pay gap in the authoring economy, which found that female authors earn, on average, 30% less than male authors, even though women make up the majority of paid authors.

She advocated transparency on the brand side of sponsorship deals, saying companies should explain why they’re paying a certain amount for a creator’s time.

“What we’re looking for depends on how much work we’re putting into something and the cost we’re spending on the creator, how much money we’re getting back, and whether it’s sustainable to run our business,” explained Zoltick.

From the creators side, Zoltick recommends checking how much time and money is being invested in the content you produce, talking to creators of different sizes and niches to see how much they’re making, and finding out the price you’re getting require partnership from a brand to ensure your livelihood.

Ballantyne said Storyblocks has been flexible and understanding throughout the pay process for her work. Her team responded to Storyblocks’ original salary offer for footage, requesting almost $3,000 more for her film production budget. She said that in Canada, where she lives, it’s less common for filmmakers to own as much of their film equipment as it does in the United States, making it more expensive to shoot. When Ballantyne explained why she needed more money, Storyblocks agreed.

“We made a huge powerpoint presentation about why we need this. They were very helpful with accommodations especially as we wanted to do our best. It has helped us actually pay our models the price they deserve,” Ballantyne said.

Ballantyne said she enjoyed being part of Storyblocks’ YouTube channel, and while she sometimes dislikes social media because of her colonial roots and tendency to attract hate speech, she said she appreciates the platform that makes filmmaking more accessible might.

“With the rise of digitization, more people like me can participate [filmmaking] without having that glass ceiling of not being able to afford things. I really enjoy that on YouTube,” Ballantyne said.

Zoltick said that YouTube is one of her favorite social media platforms, and as she looks to the future of the creator economy, she’s keeping an eye on how the creator fund compares to other sites’ monetization options.

“Therefore, from the creators’ point of view, there is a great deal of loyalty to platforms like YouTube. It’s still the biggest platform that creators post to because they have a creator fund that can actually get people to make a living,” Zoltick said.


Do you work in a creator economy company? E-mail [email protected] for the chance to be featured in an upcoming newsletter.



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Jaclyn Diaz

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