Pricing, Partnerships and Playing the Long Game

Creators have more control over their brand relationships and agreements than they might think. As influential individuals who have spent years honing their craft and building a loyal and engaged audience, many brands want to tap into your content and community. Still, when it comes to negotiating deals and sponsorship campaigns, the way you price your involvement may have a significant impact on the future work you may (or may not) do together.

A key point that often gets overlooked is that creators truly do have the ability to price their “wears” at a level that is not only appropriate to you but also the unique value you expect to provide. Consider chocolate stores in Belgium. I probably went to 20 different stores during a recent Eurotrip and each one had amazing chocolate to offer. But the prices at each individual store were noticeably different, as was the feel and experience at each store. As a creator, you are your own figurative “chocolate store” – your product is unique and you make the call on how much you will charge for your “goods”.

Metaphors aside, you may only get one shot with a brand to demonstrate your value and that your content is a great fit for future partnerships. If you ask for a substantial amount, let’s say $10,000, and the brand doesn’t see the conversions they’d expect for that level of investment, it’s unlikely that they’ll be eager to work with you in the future. Because brands have to be efficient with their budgets to generate the results they are looking for, talent must be mindful of what they charge and price themselves competitively. On the flip side, many creators are also leaving money on the table because they are charging lower rates from past campaigns with different brands or are simply undervaluing their own product.

Consider why you initially started at $10,000. Was it because of a previous offer from a different company? This becomes shaky ground to stand on as companies and individual campaigns are just as unique as the creators themselves. Could you have asked for $3,000, paid your bills, and created an ongoing partnership with that brand? Possibly, and you may still have converted at a high level, increasing the feasibility to charge a potentially higher cost for the next time around.

Try to see it from a brand’s perspective. Regardless of how much a brand likes you as a creator, the results of every campaign must be reported and assessed within that organization. There are always KPI in place, so learning what those brand goals and expectations are ahead of time is always valuable information for both determining the price you will charge and how you will approach your involvement. We believe that the success or failure of a campaign rests within the initial negotiation between creator and brand.

While making a quick buck is exciting, longevity and staying power should be your main objectives for maintaining a successful business. When a brand decides to partner with your content, they are putting trust in your message. Be sure you are pricing yourself based on your needs and the value you can offer, not just the average ask. Your content and audience are different, so why would you ask for the same price as someone else?

Our advice: be fluid with your approach to pricing based on the variables at hand. Take into consideration brand appeal, timing, brand ask and KPIs, and your own needs as a creator. Allow yourself the flexibility to set your own price in accordance with their ask, as opposed to presenting a standardized price across the board. The process will be ongoing and unique to each circumstance, but keep an eye out on pricing trends with creators in your network and be prepared to adjust accordingly based on what you bring to the table. Lastly, embrace a mindset shift to the long game and focus on fostering solid business relationships and let your value shine through in your work.

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