If you want to turn your YouTube presence into a job, you should focus on getting sponsored.
It’s the best way to make money and get free products while building your audience in the process.
Of course, getting sponsored on YouTube doesn’t happen overnight and sponsors rarely work with channels that don't have an audience of loyal subscribers.
But there are several tricks to building your channel to the point where sponsors want to work with you. Our goal is to build out a framework that can lead any channel to generating and securing sponsorship opportunities on a regular basis.
In this guide, you’ll learn more about how to prepare your channel for sponsorships, how to find sponsors, what types of sponsorships exist, and even some things to avoid when choosing your sponsors.
Types Of Sponsorship
There are several types of sponsorships that you should know about.
Each one will make you create content in different ways.
There’s no need to focus on just one. Using each to your advantage at different times and on different videos will increase your revenue streams.
Here are the types of sponsorships that you can receive:
- Paid sponsorships
- Free gifts
- Hosted events
- Affiliate marketing
The type of sponsorship that most creators aim for is a paid one.
You get a certain amount of money to do an ad, a mention, a review, etc. in your video about the specific brand or a product.
Paid sponsorships are every YouTuber's dream; creator gets a fixed amount of cash they agree with a brand, and their success is not dependent on how well a video is received, or if the people actually care about the ad or not.
They also don't need their audience to click-through to the product or a service for them to make money.
Another great thing about paid sponsorships is that it provides a good revenue stream that can serve as an opportunity to upgrade a channel further.
If you invest into additional gear or hire people to help with production, your channel will produce more and better quality content, and that will likely result in even more sponsorship opportunities.
Some brands don’t want to spend money on sponsorships, but will send creators free gifts to mention in their content.
These gifts are usually relevant to the channel and fit into the content that the creator is making.
For example, it’s not very likely that a YouTuber who talks about making music will receive a pair of skis. However, they might get a new microphone to test out on their channel.
For a creator, getting gifts is obviously not as good as getting paid to talk about a product or a service. But it also doesn't obligates a creator to mention the product, or talk about the product in a good light if a creator actually doesn't like the product.
Some companies prefer to invite influencers to an event that the brand is hosting. If you get this type of sponsorship, you will be expected to make a review or include footage from your stay on your channel.
This is obviously most common with creators who focus on traveling.
They will get a trip to a hotel or holiday destination for free. They can stay for a few days and mention the experience on their channel to their audience.
For many, this is a dream come true. Traveling and being paid to do so certainly has its appeal, but it does come with its own set of obligations and can sometimes get very tiresome.
Affiliate marketing has become a common method of increasing revenue on majority of social media platforms.
Through affiliate marketing program, creators get a link or discount code to the product the brand is selling. Whenever someone uses the link or code, they get a commission from the company.
For this to be considered a good sponsorship opportunity, a creator should negotiate a better than standard commission a company usually offers.
This makes their chance of making this a revenue stream more secured. With a better commission, they will instantly make more money. They will also incentivize more of their audience to sign up through their link, given that such opportunity can't be found elsewhere.
This works very well with hotel stays, educational courses, and plenty more.
How To Integrate a Sponsor Into Your Content
Including a sponsor in your content can take on various forms. An easy way to split them up is into:
- Fully integrated sponsorship
- Sponsored mentions
- Partially integrated sponsorship
Fully Integrated Sponsorship
Content that includes a fully integrated sponsorship can be a video that talks exclusively about the product or service that the brand offers.
This can include unboxing videos, how-tos, vlog experiences, reviews, and more.
For example, if a creator receives a camera from a company like Sony, they could make a review of the product, mentioning how it works, what pros and cons it has, what are the most important or special features available, and plenty more.
The entire video would be dedicated to these ideas.
The best example of a fully integrated sponsorships are the videos Marques Brownlee is doing:
Brands can sponsor videos without being directly related to them.
Creators can make a short- or long-form message regarding the product then move on to the main theme of the video.
This will usually happen at the beginning or in the middle of the running time before getting back to the topic.
This message can be a quick “thanks to Brand X for sponsoring this video” or a break in the flow to talk about what the product is and how viewers can benefit from it.
Partially Integrated Sponsorship
Finally, a partially integrated sponsorship combines elements of the previous two. The video will make reference to the brand, but not for the whole time.
However, the product will fit into the theme of the content.
For example, the YouTuber could choose to do a review of the 10 Best Ergonomic Chairs Available Today. One of these chairs could be from the sponsor, but will receive equal dedicated time as the rest of the list.
How To Prepare Your Channel For Sponsorships
Finding sponsors who want to advertise their products and services on your channel takes time and hard-work.
Not every channel has the right presence for being sponsored.
If you want to find a sponsor, you’ll need to prepare your channel by following certain frameworks to increase your chances. Here are some examples:
Find Your Niche
Determining a niche is essential for growing your audience.
Fans will want to come back to your channel regularly to enjoy your ideas. This will also help you find sponsors.
When you give attention to certain themes, sponsors who fit into those topics will want to associate themselves with you.
They'll know that you can reach a large audience and present their products to dedicated viewers who are more likely to buy what you advertise.
Here's a list of YouTube niches with high CPMs - these tend to have the largest pool of best paying sponsors.
Have a Professional Look and High-Quality Content
Investing time in everything that represents your brand is important for attracting others.
Focus on titles, thumbnails, profile photos, and the content you share.
Brands are businesses and they will want to associate themselves with other businesses who take their profession seriously.
Your content is what will convince them that you’re a good match.
Follow YouTube’s Community Guidelines
Sponsors won’t want to work with channels who share content that doesn’t follow the Community Guidelines.
They can avoid bad press by choosing creators who make great videos that they associate themselves with and that won’t possibly be banned in the future.
Be Open to Contact From Brands
Brands that want to be your sponsor need a way to contact you and find out more about your way of working.
Make sure to have contact details on your profile and links to other social media.
Working on a media kit or portfolio is also a good strategy because brands who contact you might not be 100% certain that they want to advertise with you.
Show them what you can bring to the table with a round-up of your best work.
Tips For Finding Sponsors
Finding possible sponsors can seem like a complicated process, but with these tips, it’s easier than you think:
- Reach out yourself
- Expand and maintain your network
- Use sponsorship marketplaces
Reach Out to Brands Yourself
In many cases, you will be more aware of brands than they will of you and what you do.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to them yourself. You can send them a message on social media platforms or by email.
Use your media kit to show what your brand is and how you can be a good match for them.
They might appreciate your confidence and services, especially if they weren’t aware of the possibility before.
Expand and Maintain Your Network
Stay consistently connected with companies that you want to sponsor you.
You will show them that you are dedicated to your job as a YouTube creator and can make a difference to their brand.
This can be done by commenting on their social media and keeping up to date with their newest products and services.
You should also make an effort to connect with other YouTubers who you can collaborate with on future content. By combining forces, you might be able to hook sponsors and work towards bigger deals.
Use Sponsorship Marketplaces
Sponsorship marketplaces are services that can connect you with brands that are looking to sponsor social media channels.
One of the best examples is YouTube’s own service, YouTube BrandConnect.
You still have creative control over your content and get to choose who you work with. The main goal is to be connected with possible advertisers.
Other examples of sponsorship marketplaces include:
- Air Media-Tech
Another example of a website that can help you strategize your sponsorship deals is Social Bluebook.
It won’t directly connect you to sponsors, but can help you figure out how to negotiate these deals.
You can calculate how much your fee should be depending on your channel’s worth in terms of reach and relevance, and talk to experts who have more experience in this area.
What Brands Look For Before Sponsoring
Most brands want to make sure they work with creators who align with their needs and values.
They will tend to look at certain stats from your channel to see if collaborating with you will be the best choice business-wise.
They’ll be paying attention to your content’s:
- Quality - do you create high-quality content?
- Quantity - do you post consistently and have large numbers of views, likes, subscribers, etc.?
- Reach - do your videos reach a large community of viewers and have the potential to grow your (and their) fanbase?
- Relevance - is your content relevant to the sponsor’s products?
Before reaching out to possible sponsors, you should ask yourself these questions. If you can guarantee that your channel has the quality, quantity, reach, and relevance to be sponsored, you’ll increase your chances of finding a brand that’s right for you.
These questions can also help guide you when creating a media kit. The brands you reach out to or that reach out to you will already have the important information detailed in your kit, so they won’t even need to ask these questions themselves.
Things To Avoid When Trying To Get Sponsored
Getting in contact with your first possible sponsor can be an exciting time, but there are plenty of issues to be aware of before taking the next step.
Keep these in mind when you start negotiating a deal.
Find the Right Pitch
You may feel that your presence is worth a lot of money, but brands can think differently, especially when you’re starting out.
The opposite is also true.
Some brands might try to take advantage of you by offering a low deal, and you might feel like agreeing because this is your first experience and you’re lacking confidence.
You need to pitch a value for your participation that is both fair to you and doable for the company.
Don’t undersell yourself, but don’t have an inflated sense of your channel’s worth.
Don’t Accept Every Brand That Contacts You
The best partnerships work when both parties are respectful of each other.
From your part, you should only promote products and companies that you believe in and that fit into your niche.
If you usually make instructional yoga workouts, getting sponsored by a company that makes yoga mats will work great.
They’ll fit into your content and your audience can find a new brand to buy from.
If you start advertising gaming accessories, your fanbase might lose trust in your brand.
Your community will drop off, and so will your chances of monetizing your channel.
This can be hard if the only brands that are contacting you are from outside your niche.
But holding out and working towards finding sponsors you believe in will be best in the long run.
Make a Contract
Never throw yourself into a deal without first drawing up a contract.
Lots of brands are trustworthy, but there are plenty of others who will try to scam you.
You might not get paid or allow the sponsor to use and redesign your content for their own purposes.
Protecting yourself is the only way to guarantee you maintain full creative control and get paid what you deserve.
Learning how to get sponsored on YouTube is an essential step in your journey to monetizing your channel.
Once you feel that you’re ready, build a media kit that shows off your strengths.
Start reaching out to brands, get connected with them through sponsorship marketplaces, and build a network so you can find what you’re looking for.
Don’t forget that you need to be relevant, have the reach, and publish a high quantity of great content to be considered for the best brands.
Finding a niche, presenting yourself in a professional way, following YouTube’s guidelines, and being open to contact will drastically increase your chances.
By following this framework, you can get to the point where you include sponsorship content of all kinds into your workflow.
In no time at all, you’ll be living the life you’ve dreamed of.
How do you find sponsors for your channel? Feel free to share your experiences with fellow readers.