Published on 
August 13, 2021

I'm a YouTuber, how do I start with brand sponsorships?

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. 


How big of a channel should I have to work with brands? 

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. 


Do brands care more about subscribers or views? 

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. 


How important is it to choose the right brand?

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: 

  • What value does this brand bring to your audience? 
  • Is the brand connected in some way to your content? 
  • How much artistic freedom are they giving you in creating the sponsorship?

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.

Yarnhub comment


Yarnhub comment


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.  


How do I figure out my rate?

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: 

  1. Your average views - I suggest focusing on your last 10 videos 
  2. Who is your audience - Can you prove you have a strong follower-base that matches what brands are after. 
  3. Vertical / Niche - How often do other channels in your vertical get sponsored? For example, general knowledge channels are sought after and tend to get a lot more offers than a news and politics channel
  4. Sponsorship experience - The more sponsorships you’ve promoted with high quality brands, the better value you’re able to offer
  5. Repeating brands - Probably the most important and overlooked factor. As mentioned above, the more sponsorships you have, the better value you’re able to offer. However, having a large number of one-off sponsorships (brands that you promoted only once), causes high-quality brands to raise their eyebrows. Why didn’t these brands continue sponsoring on your channel? Having a number of ‘repeating brands’ shows future companies that you can be trusted, proving your worth. 

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). 


How can I get an advantage over other channels when it comes to sponsorships? 

Yes!

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:

  • Views guarantee: A brand might request a certain number of views to be reached within an agreed number of days (for example: 30,000 views within 30 days from the moment the video goes live). If the video fails to reach the number of views, the creator creates another sponsored video for free. While this might sound a bit unfair, brands see this as a sign of confidence from the creators side. 
  • Utilize other platforms: If you’re a creator with an audience on more than one platform, offering brands the opportunity to appear in front of a different type of audience is also a great way to give you an advantage in closing the deal. 
  • Video Descriptions: Offering to integrate the sponsored description in some of your other videos even for a limited time is also a great way for you to get more impressions for the brand. 

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. 

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