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As creators are increasingly turning to YouTube and content creation as a viable source of income, simply garnering views isn’t enough. Finding a brand partner has become a lucrative way to both bring in more revenue and build awareness for Youtubers.
You may be tempted to aim for big names, but there are plenty of YouTube brands (big and small) that may be a perfect fit for a collaboration. It’s important to be clear on your own brand goals and to know who your ideal audience is.
If you are a filmmaker, the camera brand you use, whether it be Canon or Sony, would be a godsend as a brand partner. However brands with their stature are prone to be more selective with who they partner with as they are already established. Maybe your favorite tripod or camera bag company would be a better fit.
No one likes to receive a cookie-cutter template; it lacks personality and effort. Taking the time to showcase how your collaboration would be mutually beneficial is the best way to start a relationship. You can imagine how many proposals a brand receives on a daily basis, so what will set you apart from the dozens of identical emails in their inbox?
If you demonstrate that you have taken the time to seriously look into a brand’s business, know who their audience is, and make the connection between theirs and your own, you will stand a greater chance of them considering you to be a brand partner.
This is where you can have the most control over what being a brand partner actually looks like. Depending on the nature of your content, you can directly mention your sponsor, indirectly feature their products in your videos, or perhaps do full on product reviews.
You’ve most likely seen videos where Youtubers start off by saying “this video is sponsored by xyz” or they’ll take a moment at the opportune time to “thank today’s sponsor.” While this is commonplace and most viewers today wouldn’t bat an eye, indirectly featuring a brand in your videos may work to keep things more subtle. Picture using a camera bag in every video, or mentioning a makeup brand you love — these offer a lighter touch and allow you to feel less like you’re marketing.
In some cases, there may be a particular sponsor whose values totally align with your channel. These brand deals can be fruitful as your audience grows and your relationship with the brand strengthens. Youtubers like Johnny Harris have multiple channel sponsors and depending on the nature of the video, he will decide who to feature. For example, in a video that may contain serious topics, he frequently features the company Better Help, which provides online counseling.
Marques Brownlee aka MKBHD, who is among the first Youtubers to receive any new product, has dbrand as a channel sponsor. When Marques’ videos are guaranteed to garner millions of views, dbrand stands to benefit greatly by having their brand mentioned alongside the newest products.
Companies like Facebook/Instagram have created in-house solutions for pairing content creators with brands who are open to collaboration. Until YouTube offers something equivalent, there are a few sites that can link you with your next potential brand sponsor.
To its credit, YouTube once had a service called “Famebit” that they eventually rebranded as YouTube BrandConnect. Some bigger Youtubers have found success but smaller channels may find more success with outside services that help up-and-coming creators.
Even with these select ways of becoming a brand partner, the possibilities are endless. Trial and error will ultimately reveal what works best, but once you find your flow, you’ll soon be on your way to a profitable channel.