In the first session of the YouTubes Pro Series, a panel of successful YouTubers, including Elle Walker, Dane Boedigheimer, Kurt Hugo Schneider and Spencer Griffin of College Humor, give advice on how to work with brands. We’ve compiled a list of five takeaways from the four-video session. Check them out beneath the full session, which is embedded below.
Stay true to yourself and your channel
When deciding whether or not to work with a brand, it’s important to think about whether or not the brand is a good fit for the type of content you create, and vice versa. Kurt Hugo Schneider says, “I never want to sacrifice the authenticity of the brand and the people that are watching.”
In other words, you shouldn’t work with any old brand just for the money – you should work with brands that you genuinely believe in and that you believe your audience will like too, and authenticity will shine through in your content.
Make cold calls to recruit brands
If you’re interested in working with brands, you may be lucky enough to have them approach you. However, it’s more likely that you’ll be the one reaching out to brands to see if they’re interested in striking a deal with you. Nearly all of the YouTubers on the panel recommended making cold calls in order to drum up business.
When making cold calls, Dane Boedigheimer of The Annoying Orange explains that it’s important to “explain what you do, why you do it well, and why they should do business with you.” Remember, you are presenting yourself as a product and want to make it clear to the brand that if they work with you they’ll get great exposure for themselves. Points you can focus on range from the type of content you produce to your number of subscribers and their demographics, the average number of views your videos get, and your social media following.
Spencer Griffin of College Humor says it’s important to be aggressive – keep calling and contacting brands and eventualy someone will respond.
Get someone else to negotiate for you
Once a brand shows interest in working with you, many of the experts on the panel suggested getting someone else to negotiate for you – especially if you’re used to being on the creative side of things. Elle Walker explains, “You’ve built this audience, you have the authenticity, you’re giving them a great product, and… you need to remember how much you’re worth.” That being said, it can sometimes be difficult to stick to your guns when it comes to judging your own worth. If you get someone else to negotiate your deals for you – whether it’s a YouTube network that you are a part of, or even if it’s just a friend or family member – you’ll be less likely to cave to brands asking you to lower your rates an unreasonable amount.
Map out everything in your contract
You’ve got a deal in the works and are ready to draft up a contract. The experts on the YouTube Pro Series panel stress the importance of mapping out everything in your contract. Dane Bo explains that leaving space for interpretation in a contract can lead to trouble (and a heck of a lot more work for you). For instance, if you don’t make it clear that the brand you are working with will have X rounds of giving feedback before the video cut is complete, you may wind up having to put a lot more work into the project than you anticipated.
Elle Walker also points out that you need to “be very clear upfront” about video views. Let the brand know that they’re paying for the production, but they’ll be responsible for promoting it if they want to get X number of views.
Get a lawyer
Finally, Dane Bo suggests that along with not negotiating contracts yourself you get a lawyer to ensure that the deal you’re making is airtight.
Have you done any branded YouTube deals? If so, what advice would you give to creators looking to start working with brands?