Social media has transformed the way brands think about generating assets for marketing. Rather than rely on their in-house teams or on premium, specialized agencies for creativity, they’ve realized the power of harnessing those who already know how to generate content that drives authentic engagement on the platforms they are targeting.
TikTok and other video platforms in particular have highlighted how much creative talent was undiscovered and underutilized. Many creators who’ve been busy sharing their own ideas on social media have found brands have contacted them about working together.
Sponsored content is a common form of this trend, whereby brands collaborate with influential creators to reach an engaged audience. You might be familiar with seeing this type of content on the profile feeds of the creators themselves.
Yet it’s not just about reaching niche audiences, as brands also appreciate creators who can come up with innovative ideas that they’d never have thought of. Brands are also commissioning creators to create content on their behalf, which they can then use in whichever way they’d like.
This is great for the brands because they have greater control over the distribution, and it allows them to build libraries of remix-ready assets affordably and at scale. For creators, it means they are paid for their skills rather than their influence and can take pride in seeing something they made featured on a brand’s channel or even TV. It gives an extra layer of credibility to a creator’s personal brand when they are seen in the commercials of prestigious companies.
If you want to explore this monetization channel as a creator and impress the clients you make content for, here are some simple steps to follow.
It’s often tricky for creators to evaluate the trustworthiness of brands who approach them, and roles and responsibilities can be unclear. This is especially true if the communication starts through a cold direct message, and you’ve never heard of the brand before.
It’s much better to go through a platform like Popular Pays, where everything is carefully arranged. Part of a wider Lightricks ecosystem that includes apps like Facetune and Videoleap, Popular Pays is a recent addition to the family, and the company is doubling down on being a hub for creators, optimizing the platform experience for content gig opportunities.
The Popular Pays platform also has safeguards in place to protect you from unreliable brands. All you need to do is explore the available gigs and find a campaign brief that fits the style of content you excel at and matches your personality. You can properly assess the client and the brief before you agree to start working, and this alignment is crucial to create a meaningful relationship.
One example is Frito-Lay, which recently created a TV campaign using 25 different creators. Frito-Lay asked the creators to come up with creative ideas and film an average of five ideas each once they were all on the same page.
You can bring more than just your video skills to the table when working with partners. A smart approach is to use data to back up your vision to show them you’ve thought about their needs rather than simply recycling previous concepts.
It’s not difficult to do this by testing out your video ideas with your audience before settling on a final idea. You could do this by using Twitter or Instagram Stories to talk about the industry without naming the product to see what people think and what they value.
Let’s say you are making a video to sell a backpack. If you can demonstrate that 80% of your followers say comfort is most important to them, then your partner will be all the happier to let you focus on this trait in the content you produce.
Some topics might be sensitive, and you can use products like NGL: Anonymous Q&A to poll your followers anonymously. This can help you to clarify what people really think, as they won’t be worried about their comments being tied back to them. Whether the data is anonymous or not, it can take your script up to the next level.
When you’ve built trust with your audience, it’s understandable if you’re cautious about who you collaborate with.
Yet, working with organizations on content should be seen as an opportunity for you to raise your game. The brand partner is likely to have a bigger budget than you have for your own videos, so you can ask them to fund ideas beyond your usual limits. They may also have access to places and people you wouldn’t be able to get to alone.
Don’t be afraid to think big. The bigger you think, the better the end result for the partner and their audience.
A great example of this is on the YouTube channel of Moxy Hotels. They hired Taryn Southern to create a talk show for them using one of their hotel rooms. They then were able to connect her with other influencers and creatives to bring in hundreds of thousands of viewers each week. If you watch a few of Taryn’s videos, you’ll be able to see the trusted creative direction. The result is videos they are all proud to be associated with.
An estimated 30% of TikTok users watch without sound. When you create content for a brand, you don’t want to immediately exclude such a large portion of those who see the content. You should always ensure your content isn’t reliant on audio to be effective.
This can be as simple as adding captions to your video, but you can take it a step further by using active word highlights, whereby the word you are saying at any given moment appears in a different color from the rest of the caption. This gives the audience something to follow with their eyes.
Descript is a lightweight tool where you can upload your content and add visual effects like active word highlights and audiograms in minutes.
Creating content for brands can be a lucrative source of income, but you need to make effective videos if it’s going to be a sustainable component of your monetization mix as a creator. This can open up many doors for your career, and you can take pride in being featured on their feeds.