Working with brands:
a guide for creators
Melissa Croft, 18 March 2022
Guest blog post written by Melissa Croft, a body paint artist and Twitch streamer. You can find Melissa at @MCroft07︎︎︎
So, you’ve been creating content for quite some time and feel ready to start speaking to companies about sponsorships and collaborations. Or, you’ve been approached by them and want to make sure you leave a good impression.
It can be intimidating and daunting at first, especially when you want them to know that you’re serious about working on bigger projects. Let’s break down some best practices to ensure it goes smoothly.
What to expect (the TLDR):
Brands may reach out to you through your email (put it in your bio!) and introduce themselves. They will usually let you know what they’re working on and why they think you’d be suitable for the project. If you’re interested, you’ll respond back asking for more information. After this, they will provide you with a full brief and then you can discuss rates before ultimately agreeing to take part in their campaign. At that point, they will send through a contract for your (electronic) signature.
You will then work with them to meet the deliverables on time and then afterwards send an invoice. You can set up invoices through PayPal, or you can create your own version and send a PDF.Then, usually within 30 days, you get paid. Job done!
Let’s break down the professional side of things.
Rule of thumb
Do what you can to make their life easier. You’re not the only creator they will be working with. Imagine trying to round up and manage 150 content creators for a campaign. So, ensure you treat them with respect, they’re doing their best.
Tone of voice
Leave the "caption voice" out of your emails – the kind of tone you use when writing tweets. It's cool to be excited about upcoming sponsorships and jobs, but remember you're talking to a client. Be courteous, remember you can deter them from working with you again if you're generally difficult to talk to.
Read your contracts
Contracts are legal documents. Read them. Properly. Question anything you're unsure about, they can either change it or explain why it is in there to you. I recommend noting down the exact deliverables from the contract separately so you can easily refer to it during the project to ensure you don’t miss anything they are paying you to do (like a “going live!” tweet). Download and save the contract somewhere safe.
Meet your deadlines
Deadlines are important and they are there for a reason. If you are aware that you are struggling to meet a deadline, it’s important to let the client know. Manage their expectations and be honest about what can be done. Sometimes things come up – family emergencies, illnesses, mental health issues – that's human! But, if you have someone relying on you, you need to explain what’s going on or have a contingency plan for these scenarios.
One thing to remember: “don’t go to them with problems, go to them with solutions.” For instance, “Hi, I’m really sorry that I’m struggling to meet this deadline because unfortunately my PC has been taken in for repair. Would it be okay if I create some TikToks on my mobile and post those in the meantime until I can access my PC again?”. This way it’s clear you’re still trying to help the client achieve their goals.
Stop ghosting your clients
While everyone has to "chase" in an email every once in a while, don't make this a habit for people trying to get in touch with you. If you are difficult to get hold of, they will not want to work with you again.
Be aware of office hours
While you might not be working 9-5, a lot of influencer managers are. Try to get messages to them within their working hours. If you’re doing a live stream at 7pm on a Sunday and you see them there, consider that is often outside of their working hours.
Everything seems urgent, yes. But remember that you're working in social media where trends are key – it's a fast paced lifestyle and job. Try to be mindful of this while managing expectations and understand your client is likely managing ten creators at the same time.
Conflicts of interest
If you are working with competitors, give companies a heads up about "possible conflicts of interest". Imagine working with two keyboard brands at the same time – they’re probably not going to be too thrilled about it. But, if you want to take both jobs, let them know and see if you can space them out. They will appreciate you being honest and trying to come up with a solution.
Follow up with the statistics of social posts/streams/videos. Sometimes clients don't ask for this, but I always like to have one ready so it is easier for them to show their boss. It is just good practice. While it's not always about the numbers, they just need "evidence". I usually do a stat check 48 hours and 28 days after.
Remember that you're working with people. Have respect for one another and it'll make your lives a lot easier.
Have something else you’d like to add? You can find me at @MCroft07︎︎︎ on Twitter.