For many influencers, sponsorships contribute a great deal to their livelihoods. The money you make through sponsored posts and videos supplements what you make through ad revenue, merch sales, etc. Therefore, as an influencer, landing better sponsorships should be a major career goal.
However, while you’re still growing your audience, it can be tempting to take any and every sponsorship that comes you way. While this may seem like a good idea now, being picky about the sponsorships you accept will be better in the long run. By clearly defining the kind of deals you’ll take, you can weed out the sketchy sponsorships and ensure you only work with brands that will benefit both you and your audience.
1. Research a company well before replying or reaching out.
After a long day of editing, you decide to check your business email. At the very top you see a message from a company you’ve never heard of before. They want to give you a couple hundred dollars and some free clothes to do a sponsored haul video on your channel!
Though it may seem like an exciting opportunity, you should never, ever say yes to a sponsorship before doing thorough research on the company. This scenario is similar to something that happened to vlogger Carrie Dayton, who was scammed by a brand she created several sponsored haul videos for.
Next time you receive an email from a potential sponsor, immediately do a Google search of the company’s name with the word “scam.” Then, check out their website and read reviews. Look up the company on the Better Business Bureau or you country’s equivalent. Finally, search the company on YouTube and watch any sponsored videos you can find.
After you’ve done your research, don’t be afraid to continue asking questions. In fact, you should ask for a formal contract that will be signed by both you and the company. Researching and having a contract will protect you from being scammed or from working with a company that wants to scam your followers.
2. Have data about your target audience and past success ready to share.
Once you find a good sponsor to work with, you should have a bit of background information readily available to help them design an effective campaign. Aside from your number of followers and subscribers, you should have data about sales you’ve driven from past sponsorships, your average video watch time, and your audience’s level of engagement.
Draft all of this data into a single document or spreadsheet. You may even consider adding graphs from your channel analytics.
You can also use this information to help you reach out to brands you’d like to work with. When you send an email asking about the potential of a brand deal, you can use this data to back up why that company should choose to work with you.
3. Know your worth and ask for it.
For a brand, the most important part of a sponsorship is reaching new potential customers. As the influencer, however, the most important part of a sponsorship is being compensated for your work. If you’re not being fairly compensated, then you’re only wasting your time.
Just as with anything in life, when it comes to sponsorships, you need to know your worth and ask for it. This means setting rates before potential sponsors come at you with their own.
Your rate will depend on the size of your audience, the kind of content you produce, and the size of the project. To find out exactly what you should be charging for sponsored content, be sure to check out this post.
4. Make your sponsored posts and videos feel more personal than paid-for.
Every post and video, sponsored or not, should tell a story. Your fans hit that follow or subscribe button because of the personal connection they have with you. You’re more of a friend than a fictional character, and your audience trusts you. Therefore, it’s important to keep that personal connection in every post.
Though you’re being paid to make sponsored content, it shouldn’t feel out of place with your typical stuff. For example, if you went from uploading gaming Let’s Plays to uploading a sponsored video about why you love this new shampoo, your viewers probably wouldn’t be very interested in the new video.
Instead, think of ways to integrate your sponsors and their products with your signature video style, like how singer Dodie covered “I Want Candy” to advertise Chupa Chups.
5. Increase engagement by including relevant hashtags or keywords in your posts.
Finally, you can help your sponsors reach more potential customers outside your own sphere of influence by including relevant hashtags and keywords in your sponsored posts. Once you get in this practice, you’ll attract bigger sponsors and be able to raise your fees.
In a sponsored post, include a list of relevant hashtags at the very bottom of the caption. For example, if you were sponsored by a shampoo company, then you might use #beauty, #hairgoals, and #blonde.
For a sponsored video, you can include relevant keywords in your video tags and, most importantly, your video description. Add a brief paragraph at the end of your description and load it with keywords. For example, working with the same hypothetical shampoo company, your video description might say, “In this sponsored video, I show you how XYZ Shampoo helped me grow my hair longer and stronger. It’s a beauty essential every girl should have, whether you’re a blonde or a brunette.”
Getting better sponsorships starts with making yourself a more marketable influencer. Know your worth, have your data ready to share, and, most importantly, do your research.
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Kristen Harris enjoys listening to a wide range of music, from Taylor Swift to, on occasion, Celtic instrumental. She also spends her time writing, reading, and baking.