YouTubers these days are able to make a living from their channel in a number of different ways - you can connect your channel to YouTube Adsense, open a Patreon account, and even start your own clothing line or swag (as the kids say). However, in my (unbiased) opinion, brand sponsorships is by far the most promising path to growing your channel and becoming successful in this space.
Working with brands not only allows you to have control over your income at the end of each month, but also choose the type of brands that make sense for your content and audience. Most importantly, if you treat brand sponsorships with the same level of professionalism that you treat your content, there is a clear path to earn more money as you improve.
The surprising answer to this question is...not as big as you might think. There isn't one clear cut answer, so we can’t really say, “once you reach 10,000 views each video” you can start reaching out to brands.
It is completely dependent on the type of content you create, your audience, as well as the brand. For example, if you have a gaming channel with 5,000 views each video it means a gaming brand could potentially promote a new product to 5,000 potential buyers. However a brand that specializes in VPNs or website building would probably look for a wider potential audience.
That being said, we’ve seen plenty of creators with really niche content becoming really successful with brand partnerships despite having a much smaller audience compared to other channels.
Just remember, the more your channel grows, the more brands you’ll be able to partner with.
At the end of the day, the brands number one question when they decide to work with a certain channel is how many impressions will their product receive. So, while having a large subscriber base is a great achievement, at the end of the day, brands are keeping a close eye on the channels’ average views.
It’s also important to mention YouTube’s constantly evolving algorithm. A little insider tidbit: These days, the number of subscribers is not as important as it once was. You can get the latest updates here. During negotiations with a brand, having the ability to specify the approximate number of views the sponsored video will get or provide the brand with a view guarantee (more on that later), you will have a significant advantage over your competitors.
If you’re just starting out in the world of sponsorships, choosing the right brand is really important. Keep in mind, you are promoting products that you believe can genuinely interest, and even, help your audience. Integrating the right brands can help continue building your relationship with your audience. But, promoting the ‘wrong’ brand may cause you to lose viewers. The following factors are crucial at all times when dealing with brand sponsorships but all the more crucial with the first partnership:
Make sure you feel comfortable with the brand and that you see long term potential with them. While being a full time YouTube content creator is a great gig, there are a number of pitfalls and hurdles any YouTuber looking to step into brand sponsorships must be aware of before taking the leap.
I love to share this great example - we recently introduced Yarnhub to the world of sponsorships and helped them land an integration with the right brand. As you can see from the comments below, their audience thoroughly enjoyed this brand integration, helping them create an even stronger relationship with their subscribers.
That being said, as you become more comfortable with brand sponsorships (know how to reach out to brands, comfortable with negotiations, and knowing which brands are most relevant for your audience), you’ll find that your audience will be much more receptive and open to a wider range of brands appearing on your channel.
Here’s a great example, YouTube chef Adam Ragusea has been sponsored dozens of times with Squarespace. Although Squarespace isn’t the first brand to come to mind when thinking about cooking, Squarespace has seen great results from this integration. This is a clear sign that his audience sees value in these sponsorships as well as the brand.
This is the most asked question!
Probably the most important, and quite difficult, part of being a sponsored creator is figuring out what your rate should be. The following factors should help you determine your rate: The way should determine your rate should be based on the following factors:
If you are indeed just getting your foot in the door of brand sponsorships, it is important to keep ‘sponsorship experience’ and ‘repeating brands’ at the back of your mind for the future.
From my experience as the Head of Publisher Relations, if done correctly, a channel with 50,000 average views and no prior history of working with brands can make between $500 - $1,500 a video in a matter of a few months. However, each channel is unique making it impossible to offer a ‘one-size-fits-all’ rate. According to research, although there are many online brand sponsorship calculators, they usually don’t take all the different factors into consideration, making them not completely accurate.
It is important that I don’t leave you without an answer, so here’s what to keep in mind: If you are just getting started on your very first sponsorship, ask for a rate that will cover the cost of creating the video (remember, time is money).
We said it before and we’ll say it again - Most creators that are new to brand sponsorships focus on just landing an integration rather than looking to create a long-term relationship with the company. Brands are eager to find channels they can invest in long term, so if you’re willing to offer brands added value to the integration, your channel will stand out and increase the chances of the company sponsoring you again in the future.
Here are a few ways you can catch (and retain) the brands attention:
As you can see, there isn’t a clear-cut strategy to landing and retaining brand sponsorships. However, if there is one piece of advice I can give you - if you want to become successful at brand sponsorships, make sure you are professional. It is important to treat the integrations with the same level of professionalism that you treat your content. Remember to treat the brands as potential long term partners.
There is a lot more to brand sponsorship than what was covered in this article! If you’re a creator and looking to get into brand sponsorships or even becoming more successful in maintaining consistent brand integrations, make sure to reach out.