How to ask for paid collaborations and how much you should charge

I started blogging over five years ago when working with bloggers and content creators wasn’t really a thing. Back then I didn’t even think that I could get to collaborate with brands and even less getting paid for campaigns. With time, all this influencer/blogger/content creator industry has evolved to the point where brands want to partner with people to reach wider, targeted and already engaged audiences, and rely on creators to show their products and services. Because of it, since it is considered a job and you can definitely make a career out of it, payments are done to reward the creator for the work done.

I’ve always said that this industry, for some reason, wants to keep many things secret, but the biggest and best-kept one is how much people get paid for their collaborations and campaigns with brands. It’s not rare to doubt about how much to ask for a brand to pay you for your work, being scared that you might be asking too much or too little, or not knowing how to ask a brand to remunerate your work with not only gifted items.

That is the reason why I’ve always wanted to write a post on how to correctly and professionally ask brands to remunerate your work and a little guide on how much you could ask for. Of course, this is all from my own experience, what has worked for me, and what I think that hopefully can help you. I’m going to share with you a few different situations and how I would reply to them.

No payment: Many brands/agencies approach without even mentioning the budget available or how much they’re willing to pay you for your work, to avoid the question and having to pay. It is so important to always ask for remuneration for your work. I know it might feel scary sometimes because you don’t want to lose the deal with that brand (believe me, we’ve always been there) and getting a no. I always recommend starting by saying that you’re flattered that they considered you for a collaboration/campaign and that you think that their brand is a good fit for you.

“May I know the budget for this campaign/collaboration?” 

Gifted: Gifted collaborations allow you to post content featuring the product only if you want to. In any case, you’re obliged by the brand since there is no payment for your work.

“Aside from the gifted items to create the content you’re requesting, may I know the budget for this campaign/collaboration?”

No budget: You have no idea how many brands and agencies say that have no budget and they actually do. They always want to save as much money as possible, but I can guarantee you that if you negotiate enough and show them that you can do a great job for them, they will pay you for your content creation and exposure on your social media platforms. In this case, I would share with them some examples of past work done (it’s key to have a media kit), give them insights about your audience, and tell them more about your quality work and what makes you stand out from the rest content creators. Show your value and I can guarantee you that they’ll magically have a budget for you.

If it’s not the case and all they’re willing to give you are gifted items, is your choice to know if it’s worth the work and if you still want to do the work even though you won’t be remunerated. It all depends on if you’re starting and you’re looking for exposure from brands on their social media channels or if you don’t really mind about getting some income from your content creation work. If not, it’s okay to say no to collaboration offers that do not suit you.

Low budget: Here I would negotiate as much as I could with the brand or agency and send them a media kit to show my value as a content creator. Again, I’m going to start by saying that it’s so important to know when to say no and refuse a collaboration proposal. If after negotiating the brand is not willing to pay you what you think you should get paid, just say no and don’t underestimate your work.

How much should I charge?

I’m sorry but there isn’t a simple answer to that. There is no place where it says exactly what you deserve to be paid, so you’ll have to find it by yourself. Of course, it’s always useful to have someone else’s as a reference.

This little graphic maybe helps you have an idea of what it’s recommended to charge. Obviously, this is only a guide (I got it from @influencerpaygap) to orientate beginners who doesn’t know which are the “usual/normal” fees.

I think it’s good to have it as a reference but never think that you can aim for more, especially if the brand guidelines for a campaign are quite strict.

Some advice (from my own experience over the years)

Send a media kit (I will write a blog post soon about how to create your own) so the brand/company can get to know you and your audience a bit better, see your statistics and the target they’ll approach to, and some of your previous work as an example of what you could do for them. Also, I recommend you to add a shortlist of other brands you’ve worked with so they can see that you have experience and that other companies have requested your services as a content creator. 

Always go higher. All brands and agencies will try to save as much money as they can, so they’ll always offer you nothing or way less than what they can actually pay you. Negotiation is key in order to get to a mutual agreement and get paid for your valuable content creation work and exposure on your social media platforms. 

Never underestimate your work and audience. As a marketing and PR student myself, I know how much brands save from hiring a content creator/influencer that will do the same job as a stylist, makeup artist, model, photographer, editor, copywriter, etc., and then share the content with an already engaged and targeted audience. All this work made by just one person makes them save so much money in their campaigns and for that, you should always feel valuable and capable of getting well paid for your work. 

This is all I can share with you right now. These are the ways I answer to emails and the “tips” that have really made a difference for me. I would really recommend you to have a look at an Instagram account called @influencerpaygap so you can have a bit of an idea of how much people get paid and get to know a bit more about the industry and how collaborations/campaigns work.

Did you find this article interesting/useful? Do you have any other advice? Definitely tell me so in the comments down below and I’ll be glad to read!

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