Getting started with brand partnerships
Partnering with brands can be an additional way to make money with your YouTube channel--regardless of channel size. Learn the fundamentals of working with brands.
Partnering with brands
In the past, working with brands was thought to be a financial opportunity only for famous people. But that’s no longer the case. The evolution of YouTube and new media has given independent artists and creatives a voice and a dedicated audience.
YouTube creators, like you, are valuable to brands because you have a fanbase who trusts you. Your relationship with your viewers brings a human element to an advertising opportunity. Trust can lead to purchases, which is the ultimate goal for a brand.
Typically, partnering with brands is mutually-beneficial to creators and brands:
- You develop an additional source of revenue and gain access to products.
- Products can spark new video ideas.
- Your audience can benefit from learning about new products and services. Sometimes, you’ll get early access and coupon codes to offer your fans.
- Brand deals can help establish your channel as an influencer and open doors to career opportunities beyond YouTube.
- Brands benefit because they’re able to reach a specific audience with their product and expand their target market.
Remember, anytime you partner with brands or receive a product or service for free in exchange for content, you may have disclosure obligations. For more details, check out this Help Center article.
You’re an asset to brands!
- Creators have a community of fans who love them.
- Creators usually “do-it-all”! From production, to creative direction, audience-building and more.
- Many creators are considered to be experts in their field.
See it in action
Soccer enthusiast tries out new brand-sponsored equipmentKieran Brown produces a video similar in style and tone to the other videos on his channel while practicing with a soccer ball from Adidas. He notes in the description that Adidas sent him the ball to test and review.
Loey went beyond YouTube with a book deal and fashion lineLoey Lane went from hosting small brand integrations on her channel for beauty products, to speaking opportunities, and now has a book deal.
Defining industry terms
Videos or other types of media assets you develop with a brand are called “branded content". Branded content is usually paid for by a brand and features their products or services in some way.
A “brand deal” is a partnership between creators and brands and is sometimes referred to as a “brand sponsorship” too.
“Brand integrations” are a type of branded content where a creator finds a way to seamlessly feature a product or service in their videos. The idea is to do something with the product in the video that makes sense and aligns with your own channel’s brand.
A few common types of branded content videos:
- Comedic skits
See it in action
Overcoming your fear of branded content
In the past, it was somewhat taboo to partner with brands, but now it’s more common and your audience can benefit. For example, audiences can learn about products they might be interested in, and brand deals support your ability to make more content.
The two keys to producing branded content that your audience will love are:
- Partner with a brand you believe in and think your audience will like. While it can be exciting to be approached by brands, it’s ok to tell the brand “no”. Brands want to work with creators who believe in them and are a good fit.
- Be transparent with your audience. Consider asking them what they think about a potential brand partnership. Are there products or types of videos they’ve been asking you about? Remember, what you think your audience will benefit the most from may not always be what they want.
Still not sure about branded content? Try looking at what other peers in a similar space are doing and how their audiences react. Don’t be afraid to compare experiences with creators in your network who are doing branded content.
- Be mindful of how often you upload branded content. It may not be a good experience for your audience if you post brand integrations every time.
- Communicate what you’re willing and not willing to do for a brand. You can approach this by making suggestions when talking to brands.
How big should my channel be to land brand deals?
You can think about branded content at any size. Small channels can still be influencers!
The more niche your channel is, the easier it could be to partner with brands because you may not have a lot of competition. For example, a smaller fashion and beauty channel will likely have more competition than a smaller channel discussing the history of romance languages. Also, niche channels typically have dedicated audiences who could be perfect consumers for the right brand. Usually this audience is enthusiastic about brand deals because it helps their favorite creators be more sustainable.
Tips for smaller channels
- Lean into your niche.
- Make sure you’re producing high quality content
- Be flexible to get your foot in the door.
See it in action
Niche channels, like Professor Pincushion, have engaged audiencesProfessor Pincushion often displays sponsored products in her videos like her sewing machine and fabrics.
A girls’ night vlog received early access to watch a new movieLifestyle channels, like Ciarahoneydip, typically have dedicated audiences who love their channel.