Published on 
August 13, 2021

I’m a brand - how should I kickstart my sponsorship strategy?


Kickstart your sponsorship strategy

Let’s start with some stats that show off how effective sponsorships can be. 49% of customers said they relied on content creators for product recommendations and 42% of people who saw a product promoted by a creator ended up purchasing the item or service. 74% of people rely on social platforms to make purchasing decisions. 


From gamers to studytubers, HelloFresh to Helix Sleep, content creators and brands make a perfect match. On the brands side, partnering with content creators gives a human element to an advertisement, helps brands expand their target audience, and, thanks to ‘use the link below’, companies are able to easily track interest and engagement. According to experts in the industry, brand sponsorships, or influencer marketing, is the single-best method of marketing. 


Now that you’ve decided to add brand sponsorships into your marketing strategy, the next big step is deciding whether or not to use an agency. Here are just some advantages of working with an agency

  • They have great existing relationships with publishers and can get you great deals
  • They are able to strategize about your overall marketing strategy
  • They know the industry trends that are just around the corner - for example, what YouTuber is about to blow up


For example, our agency worked with Magic Spoon and allowed them to grow their sponsorships from experimenting with a few individual channels to confidently partnering with high-profiles, and using this format as a major part of their brand strategy. Just look at this graph showing their growth in sponsorships over time: 

Magic Spoon sponsored channels
Increase in number of thought leaders Magic Spoon sponsored since January 2020


Getting on the same page

As a brand that is just kickstarting sponsorships, you want to work with an agency that will take the time to learn about your company in detail in order to better understand expectations, goals and budget. 

Even if you haven’t yet done much work in this area, a good agency will want to know about your sponsorship history. This will include questions about: 

  • Successes/misses - which channels did you sponsor in the past (did it work? What were the results?)
  • Target audience - demographics - gender, age, ethnicity, etc. For example, many apps can only be accessed in specific regions so make sure the creator you partner with has a demographic that can access the product. 
  • Conversion goals - what are you looking to gain from the partnership, such as brand awareness, impressions, or buying the product? 

These important points help align expectations with the account managers and help create a starting point to finding publishers and, ultimately, create a long-term relationship. 


Channel Search

After nailing down on your goals, expectations, and budget, it’s time for the account managers to do what they do best - search for publishers that could potentially be a good fit. Most account managers will do a general search on YouTube, check their network of creators they previously worked with, and look at what competitors are doing. 


Ask your agency to pinpoint other brands (not only your direct competitors) that may be targeting the same audience. For example, HelloFresh, a meal kit delivery service, and Honey, a browser extension that applies online coupons, aren’t direct competitors but they both target family channels, lifestyle creators or cooking channels and search for publishers that reach a high female demographic. Looking at these kinds of indirect competitors can really help you to learn more about what has worked for a more experienced brand in the same space as you, and incorporate elements of their strategy into your campaign. 


Reaching out to publishers

After generating a list of possible creators that align with your brands expectations, the account manager will begin reaching out to the publishers. Due to their experience in the industry, account managers are pros when it comes to contacting publishers and pitching your brand. While communicating with the creators, the account managers ensure they are available for a sponsorship, they are reaching the expected demographics, and making sure the specific creator fits in your brand's budget. The best agencies negotiate and reach a mutual agreement that benefits your brand and the creator.


“At the agency we are able to run various campaigns ranging from brand-awareness to direct-response, seeing great results from everything we have run. Our great relationships with publishers and agencies help us get the best rates to hit desired impressions goals and get well-produced Youtube integrations.It's also extremely easy for our brands as we do all the research, outreach, negotiations, and asset management on our side, and all they need to do is approve the channel proposals and give final draft approval.” - Max Rochman, Account Manager at Thought Leaders


Pitching the publishers

Don’t skip out on booking calls! During a booking call, the agency gives a detailed overview of the available channels and why they may be relevant to your brand. During this call, it’s important to make sure these channels truly align with your expectations, and of course, budget.


Following the booking call, your brand is usually given a few days to decide which channel you want to continue with. After making the final decision, the account manager is notified. The best agencies will have some sort of system that allows you to easily ‘accept’ or ‘reject’ potential publishers.


Final Decision

The account managers are responsible for notifying the publishers whether they were selected or, lightly put, rejected. This is a great advantage because you don’t need to have that awkward conversation with the creator about why they weren’t chosen. The creators that were selected, or purchased, are sent all the information about the partnership. This information pack includes talking points and the lock in day that the sponsored video should go live. A few days before the ‘live’ date, the publisher sends over a draft video that will be delivered to you via your account manager. Having a chance to review the draft video allows you to make sure you have the final say in all sponsorships related to your brand: nothing is published until you have looked it over and given that final ‘OK’. Once the ‘draft video’ is approved, the video is set to go live. 


And it’s live!

The best agencies will notify you when the video goes live, even sending you a direct link (bonus points!). From the moment the video is uploaded to YouTube, it should be tracked by both the agency and your brand in order to ensure it reaches the expected conversion rates. 


Congratulations, you have just completed your first brand sponsorships. Remember, you are not only looking to create a partnership between your brand and publishers, but also a great relationship with the agency. In order to maintain a strong, trusting relationship, communication is key. If you are looking to launch your brand as a company to watch on YouTube, there’s no time like the present, feel free to book a call

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