We’ve all seen #ADs on Instagram, TikTok and on YouTube. This is branded content, and is a big way that creators can make money.
What is branded content?
Often called Brand Deals, Sponsorships, Ads or Branded Entertainment, branded content is where a brand pays a creator to create and post content that features a brand or product, on their channel.
E.g A mascara brand reaches out and wants you to create an Instagram Story showing you using their mascara before a night out. They want you to include 3 key messages, and #MASCARABRAND #AD
Branded content is different from the content you create when you have been gifted a product. In a brand deal, you are given money in exchange for your content
Sounds simple, right?
Yes and no. Brand deals can be super simple or more complex: it all depends on what the client is asking you to do.
Brand deals are a great way to make money and get your name out there, however, you also need to make sure you are getting a good deal. Check out our Creator Questions and Toolkit for help on branded content.
Getting a brand deal
You understand what a brand deal is, but how do you actually get a brand deal?
You can get brand deals in different ways:
A brand has already heard of you, and reaches out to you direct
A brand has already heard of you, and reaches out to you through and agency
You reach out to a brand or agency directly
How do brands contact you
More often than not, a brand’s first port of call will be your email address in your bio or on your about page. Make sure that you keep this updated and clear. If you don’t have an email address that is easy to see on your socials, oftentimes brands will not get in touch as they just can’t!
Other ways brands may get in touch is through your DMs, in your comments or through your management.
If a brand reaches out via your DMs or comments, make sure you give them your email. It is fine to chat with a brand over whatsapp or dm messages, but make sure you have it all in writing over email. You will need a record of what has been agreed, and it is easier to pull up an email if there is ever a question or dispute about a campaign.
If your management has a brand deal for you, it is good practice to be on cc for the first email, but normally your manager will negotiate everything themselves.
So what actually happens during a brand deal?
Every brand will have a slightly different process for branded content campaigns. This is absolutely fine, but it’s important to make sure you know what makes a successful campaign, and the things you can be doing to make the process hassle free for yourself.
This is a quick step-by-step guide which goes over the steps in a normal brand deal.
What a campaign should look like:
Initial reach out (explain what this will look like and things to consider)
A brand has reached out to you, either to offer you an opportunity, or to check if this is something you would be interested in. Usually this will be over email, but sometimes brands may reach out via your socials.
A brand will share a brief which is usually a document which contains all the information including creative ideas and background on the product.
Check if what the brand is asking for and the fee make sense for you. Here, you may need to negotiate with the client if you feel you should be paid more, or the deliverables don’t work for you.
Agree with the client when you would be able to go live and when you can send over content for approval.
Final confirmation of interest
After chatting through all parts of the campaign, let the brand know you are happy to move ahead with the project.
To make everything official, the brand will normally send you a contract to sign. This will include all of the details relevant to the campaign, including rights, fee and payment terms. If the brand hasn’t provided a contract, you should look to provide one yourself.
What will you create? (Treatment)
You’ve got the brief and key messaging from the brand, now you need to decide what you are going to create! Before you begin to shoot, you would usually send the brand a treatment which they then approve. This is a paragraph or 2-3 sentences which describes what your content will look like. Think of this as your creative concept.
Create your content! (Production)
When your treatment is approved, and you have everything you need to shoot, it’s time to create your content!
Delivering your content - sending to the brand/client
Send your content to the brand for feedback and approval before posting.
Once the brand receives your content, they will go through it, and see if there are any changes they would like you to make. They will check to make sure you have included key messaging, that the content is brand safe, and that it is along the same lines as your treatment.
The brand has given you the green light to go live!
Content goes live!
How did your content perform?
Share your stats with the brand so that they can see how well the content performed.
Upsell Get more work!
After you have posted your campaign content and shared your results with the brand, try to use this new relationship and those results to get more work from the brand.
The brand pays you! Payment terms vary depending on the brand. It is a good idea to get your invoice ready to send as soon as you have gone live.
You’ve gone live with your branded content - great! You can now see what your results were and how your audience responded:
Take on board feedback from your audience. This can help you when you work on any further brand deals
Use your results from this brand deal to help you to get more work from the brand!
Brand deals are a great way to earn money as a creator, and they can be super fun! They can, however, also be stressful if you don’t know what you’re doing, so we have lots more advice and resources, at Creator Questions and in our Toolkit!