5 Things You Should Know: About Working with Brands as a Content Creator
In today’s world, content is king — and not just from an influencer or blogger point of view. The world literally revolves around content, whether it’s news agencies, brands, companies, or even the recent surge of masterclasses. If you can create and deliver content, you’re prime material.
And it is this need that makes excellent content creators highly sought after by brands and companies. These include PR, copy writers and graphics designers. But it’s one thing to create the content, and another to influence people to use or connect with your content. So when you’re a content creator with the ability to influence your following, you’re extra prime material.
Many bloggers by the sheer nature of what they do fit into this box. If you’re keen to receive a slice of the pie, you may have a few questions about how you can monetise your content and work with more brands. Well, good news. I recently hosted an Instagram Live session with Moe of Scale My Hustle and we talked about this extensively! She spilled some nuggets, and by popular demand we must have her back again (yes, the KacheeTee IG Live sessions might just become a thing!).
Here are five of the common questions about content monetisation we addressed:
1. When can I start working with brands?
This is a question many especially growing content creators have. The truth is, there is no magic number as to when you should work with brands. Whenever you think you’re ready, take the plunge. Most brands have a wide budget that includes both larger content creators and the growing / budding ones as well. It’s ultimately a question of engagement and not numbers. Does your audience relate with your content? Will they consider such collaborations as organic and true to you. Then go for it. But first, be sure of what value you’re bringing to the table.
2. What brands should I pitch to?
So you’re ready. But there a million brands. How can you decide: Here are some ways to streamline:
i. Brands you’ve already used, loved, and possibly created content about. Very few things make a brand happy as someone who has bought their product with their own money, loved it, and without prompt made content out of it. So if you’ve done this already, pitch to such brands. Send them the content and helpful feedback or reactions from your audience.
ii. Brands who are currently running a campaign. If they’re running a campaign, chances are they have a budget. One thing to point out however, is that campaigns are often allocated in advance so by the time it’s running, the budget might be all spent — but it’s still a good time to reach out, and make connections for future purposes. They could also be open to gifting items left over from the campaign. See number 4 below for what we think about accepting freebies!
iii. Brands active on social media – If a brand is very active on social media, chances are they’re will be interested in social media / online partnerships and collaborations. Pay attention as well to brands that run sponsored posts — because they’ve got a marketing budget!
iv. Brands that relate with your target audience. Think, what brands will be a natural fit with your audience? Can the stats show this? Then make the pitch!
So you may not be able to pitch to all these at the same time, but make a detailed list or spreadsheet of the brands you love, their relevant contact info, and any ideas you have and keep adding to it!
3. Where can I find the brands contact details?
Now you’re ready. You have a list. But where can you find all of these awesome brands? Moe shared that her ultimate hack is LinkedIn! Of course, these brands have PR managers and/or agencies who manage their campaigns. So it’s a good place to start, especially if your LinkedIn profile expressly shows your work as a content creator or is not in conflict with it. If you’d rather not use LinkedIn, a thorough search on Google of the brand and their website will also likely reveal contact details. In your pitch, you could kindly ask to be redirected to the right email if possible. You can also reach out via social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) after all, those don’t operate themselves — they’ve got humans behind. Finally google PR firms and check out their clients lists. Your favorite brand may be on there.
4. Everyone says don’t collect freebies. What do you think?
Yes true, freebies don’t pay the bills, but you can only totally stop collecting freebies when you’ve built a decent brand. And even at that, this depends on the value of the freebie! The question you should ask yourself is “What advantage do I really gain from this freebie and how can I make it work for me?” And trust me, there are a ton of ways it can work for you. You could enhance your portfolio by including the brand name on your list of brands you’ve worked with. Because yes, you did work with them! You could also negotiate other perks such as requesting that you be put on their mailing list for upcoming paid campaigns or invites to events, request that the PR team (if applicable) introduce you to other brands or campaigns the team might be working on. And even from an internal perspective, you can host a giveaway with the freebie and attract a following. Always ask, how can this be more than just a freebie to me?
5. How much should I charge?
Time for the big M. Money. This is the reason why many content creators want to work with brands. The budgets reserved for digital and influencer marketing in many sectors has arguably overtaken that of traditional advertising. So how much should you charge? It’s honestly tricky as there is no universal guide book, and you will develop your pricing as you go along. But some tips to help you in the beginning:
- Ask your contemporaries what they have charged. It’s helpful to have one or two people in the same industry and level who can be genuine with you about their price point or at least provide a guide so you’re not underselling or overpricing.
- Do your market research. There’s a decent amount of anonymous information online about what some content creators charge. Again, use this as a guide.
- Determine your time per hour. If you have a base per hour charge, you can then figure out how much time it’ll take you to create that piece of content.
- Charge what makes you comfortable. You may have no idea what the market rate is, and if you’re underselling or not. But if you’re happy and comfortable with what your rate is, then it’s fine. You don’t have to bother about what other people are charging.
- Charge in line with the brands budget. The brand may have a very limited budget, but you could still offer to work for less than you’d love to simply because of the extra perks you can gain from the relationship.
Moe and I talked a lot more about required documentation, creating excellent content and protecting your ideas, negotiating, and so much more. But this is already long, so maybe we’ll have probably have another post to discuss those topics.
Are you a content creator and an influencer? What are your challenges in pitching and working with brands? What has gone well for you? Any extra tips - please share!