In a world where anyone can be the next big name of their niche on social media and make serious money, content creation and the ‘job’ of being an influencer is becoming much more appealing to many. Many have built influencer empires from their bedrooms with nothing but a camera and a heap load of passion for their subject matter, which in a world going through a pandemic and massive layoffs, is looking more appealing by the day.
You’ve been producing content consistently, gaining a decent amount of followers and receiving a respectable amount of engagement. That YouTube monetization partnership program is paying, sure, but nowhere near what you think you should be earning. Before you know it, you receive an email with the subject ‘Sponsorship Opportunity.’ Many content creators jump at any opportunity for a sponsorship without considering a handful of things, when in fact, they should first ask: “Should I accept this influencer sponsorship deal?”
Here are 5 things content creators need to ask themselves before they commit to a sponsorship deal.
1. Who is this brand?
Perhaps the most important question you can ask yourself when considering a sponsorship offer is to do your research on the brand in question. Who is the company contacting you? Is it a major brand or a small one? If it’s more obscure, do people actually buy from them? Are their products legitimate or do they appear sketchy to you? Many supposedly ‘best-selling brands’ will get in touch with influencers to help them advertise products barely anyone has bought, often for good reason.
Therefore, before you even get excited for this whole thing, make sure you do your research on the company in question and the products it offers. Read professional and customer reviews, watch YouTube unboxings if need be, do anything and everything you can to make sure you’re dealing with a respectable brand that won’t harm you or your followers.
2. Does it fit my demographic?
Yes, the allure of finally making some decent money from your passion project can be quite too irresistible. Regardless, you must still ask the difficult questions: Does this brand or product fit my demographic?
There are countless examples of influencer marketing gone wrong, with responsibility often falling on either party, or both. Often resulting in a mismatching of brand and influencer, the fallout from these mishaps could lead to a loss in followers, diminishing trust in the content creator, or even worse, a full boycott of them. If a vegan health influencer on Instagram begins touting McDonald’s as the next big thing in nutrition, you’ve got a ticking PR bomb on your hands. This is an exaggerated example of course, but my point stands. Think about your audience first and foremost before even remotely considering any deal.
3. What type of partnership are they offering?
There are multiple ways a brand can request an influencer to market their product, which often also dictates the method of payment. Is the company looking for an affiliate marketing sponsorship where you are paid a commission for each of their products or services that a follower buys, or are they offering an upfront payment for a single or multiple call-outs on your page or channel? Make sure you understand what their requirements are before you agree to anything.
4. Are they requesting to keep the partnership secret?
Back during the infancy of influencer marketing, many brands were still testing the waters and uncertain of how to exactly approach celebrities of the internet kind – especially the smaller brands. Many feared customers would be scared off if an influencer fully disclosed that they were being sponsored to market a certain product or service, and that their followers wouldn’t find it genuine.
While this fear is justified, it’s always better if a content creator fully discloses that they are being paid to market a certain product or service, for their sake and the brand’s. People follow these internet celebrities for their personalities and honest opinions, and wouldn’t appreciate being sold on something only to find out later that their favorite influencer was being paid to do that. Many platforms, such as YouTube, now have an option that lets a creator tag their own video with an “Includes paid promotion” label, providing full disclosure.
Consider whether your fans would appreciate the disclosure or not, as some brands will not sign you on unless you agree not to reveal the partnership to your followers.
5. How much are they paying?
While you might think this is the most important question to be asking, and it certainly is important, it’s one you have to ask after you’ve considered all of the aforementioned details. Some brands will be direct about this in their introductory communication – others will require performance data from your channel or page before negotiating a deal.
If you feel the partnership satisfies all of the other criteria we discussed, feel free to seriously mull the financials. Market yourself, and sell a brand on why they should partner with you. Show them what you and your content bring to the table, and why your followers would be a great addition to their customer base. Just, don’t go overboard. Always put your followers before a brand – they made you who you are today, and they can easily abandon you if your betray their trust or sell out.
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