Getting sponsors for your YouTube channel can be a lucrative income strategy and a great way to make money. When you are starting out, you might wonder why anyone would want to sponsor your new creative outfit. But, in today’s quickly developing digital landscape, the ability for brands to associate themselves with an engaged audience is much more critical for them than mass market advertising.
This presents an opportunity for small YouTube channels that are highly relevant and connected with their audience. It therefore, follows that if you are doing an excellent job with your YouTube channel and you are creating content that is relevant to your audience, you will also be desirable to a potential sponsor. In this article we will be exploring some of the strategies you need to consider when you are looking to get YouTube sponsors.
Before reaching out to potential sponsors, it is essential that your channel is compliant and has started to develop an audience.
Your channel needs to have a certain amount of traction before a potential sponsor will want to associate its brand with your channel. A brand will only want to sponsor you if it is interested in marketing its products to your subscribers. In very basic terms you need to have an audience that the sponsor has an affinity to, and you need a reasonable volume of subscribers to make it worthwhile exercise for everyone.
It, therefore, stands that the more subscribers your channel has, the more lucrative a proposition it will be for yourself and the more appealing it will be for the sponsor. So, in order to maximize your opportunity to get sponsors you need to focus your attention on maximizing your channel’s potential for acquiring new subscribers, and to do that you need to consider the following things.
Create the Best Quality Content You Can
YouTube spits out an enormous volume of content on a daily basis, so ensuring that your content is of the highest quality and highly relevant to the theme of your channel is paramount. This doesn’t mean that you need to use expensive cameras and lenses with high production value and cost. It means the content needs to have some thought and structure to it, be consistent and be produced with your audience engagement in mind.
There is a general understanding that content quality develops over time, and it is usual that your original uploads will be a little bit rough around the edges. It is important that your users see this is improving over time and this is indeed something for your sponsors will be interested to see.
You may think that some of the big YouTube stars just sit in front of a camera, playing video games, but in reality, a lot of thought has gone into the structure of those pieces of content to ensure it is positioned accurately towards the target demographic/ subscriber.
Try to Create a Backlog of Content That New Subscribers Can View
Having a backlog of content from the outset gives new subscribers the opportunity to flick through and see what you’re all about. It’s difficult to form an opinion about whether you wish to subscribe to a channel on at just a couple of pieces of content. Create as much as content as you can, while maintaining the highest quality, before looking for sponsorship. This will give both new subscribers and potential sponsors the ability to see what your unique proposition is all about before subscribing or sponsoring.
Frequency Drives Engagement
Generally speaking, people don’t like to watch the same thing twice, so you’ll also need to think about scheduling a variety of content that people will find engaging and look forward watching when you post it.
It’s a good idea to create a forward schedule or planner so you can make sure you are working to a structure of production and posting across different topics. This will demonstrate to a potential sponsor that you are committed to building your audience which gives the sponsor reassurance that they are working with an excellent new client focused on building a channel with high engagement.
Ensure Your Channel Content is Compliant and a Good Match for Your Potential Sponsor
A sponsor will prefer to work with a credible channel that engages with its audience. A part of demonstrating credibility to a potential sponsor is to ensure that you are compliant to YouTube regulations, which ensures you have a consistent channel. YouTube will delete your channel if you violate the rules and this is not preferable for a sponsor.
Posting things like unauthorized music, nude photos, racial or offensive behavior are a massive NO! Potential sponsors don’t take kindly to channels that are frequently suspended for a violation of the YouTube code and this will limit potential sponsors that are interested in your channel.
Types of Sponsors
Once you are happy that your channel is gaining traction and you have a small following, it is time to start approaching potential sponsors.
The most basic type of sponsor is an affiliate sponsor. Affiliate sponsors distribute affiliate links or affiliate codes that you can use in or around your content. Your subscribers can use these codes to get discounts or other promotional offers on products and services and you will receive a commission from the sale. Affiliate sponsors are easy to sign up through a wide range of affiliate websites or directly with brands that run their own affiliate programs. Each affiliate sponsor will have a commission structure that rewards you for the amount of money that is generated from the links and codes that your subscribers use. These commissions vary according to the particular sponsor and usually range from 2 to 15%. Although not the most profitable sponsorship program it is an excellent place to start generating revenue when you are starting out.
Product sponsorship can be a useful technique, especially if your channel is a review channel. Products sponsorship is a little bit “chicken and egg” as you need to have a certain level of subscribers before it is worthwhile for a product company to send you free stuff to review. So, you will need good negotiating skills and a good understanding of your audience.
The key to success in this category, is to build a channel that is highly engaged with your audience and has some credibility, so that the product brand wishes to associate themselves with you as an influencer.
Paid sponsorship is the superior way to earn revenue from sponsorship programs. This is a sponsorship method that is most like regular TV advertising. Sponsors will require you to talk about their products before or after your video, or it could form a part of the content that you are creating. It is difficult to solicit this kind of sponsorship when you are just starting out, as it requires your channel to have enough subscribers to generate a meaningful response to any money that is paid. But once your channel has gained some traction, it can be a significant source of revenue.
To be successful at generating sponsorship for your channel you need to formulate a sponsorship strategy that you can then implement. Do your research on potential sponsors, but also understand who your subscriber is, so you can sell your channel proposition to potential sponsors.
Identify your audience demographics
identifying your audience demographics is crucial to successful sponsorship. You have to know who your audience is before approaching potential sponsors. There is no point trying to pitch a baby channel to the Dollar Shave Club. Potential sponsors want to know the age, demographic, fashion trends, hobbies, and interests so they can match your audience to their sponsorship strategy.
Identify what you can offer to a potential sponsor
Create a sponsorship rate card highlighting product placement options on your channel. Will it be adverts at the start of the video and the end, will the content be broken in the middle with a 30 second ad, will you be talking directly to the camera and endorsing or reviewing the product? Decide what is right for your channel so that it fits seamlessly with the audience expectations and doesn’t interfere too much in the viewer’s enjoyment of the content.
Identify potential sponsors
For both parties to maximize a sponsorship opportunity, it is essential that the product sponsorship matches the demographics of your channel and is relevant to the subscriber. There is no point trying to advertise grass-fed beef steaks on a vegan cookery channel! So, spend some time doing your homework before approaching.
Now you are ready to make the pitch. It’s a good idea to put all of this into a clear to read one- or two-page document that you can mail or email to potential sponsors. Personalize each pitch, explaining why you think there is a synergy between your YouTube channel and their product. Determination is the key to get your pitch in front of the right person, but if you have followed the steps so far, we are sure you will have some success.