How to Negotiate with Brands as an Influencer: a Pro’s Guide

by kaya@comfygirlwithcurls.com
Cover Image Black Blogger - How to Negotiate Brand Deals as an Influencer/ Content Creator

In the world of content creation, securing brand deals is a huge part of building a successful career. And yet it’s an aspect of the creator business that leaves many influencers to wonder just how to best negotiate with brands.

Negotiating often feels like unchartered territory. It leaves content creators feeling intimidated, wondering how to strike the balance between charging their worth, and maintaining a positive relationship with the brand.

So in this post, we’re going to break down some essential negotiating tips, so that you are equipped with the knowledge to navigate these discussions confidently–creating a win-win situation for both you and your brand partner, without leaving money on the table.

Related Post: How Brand Deals Work from Start to Finish

*Some of the links included in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on them and make a purchase, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.*

How to Negotiate with Brands as an Influencer/ Content Creator

If you’re a video-person, I share my tips for negotiating brand deals in the below video! The text-version is beneath it!


Understanding the Landscape of Brand Deal-Negotiations

There are a lot of skits out there that misrepresent brand deals as a sort of standoff. With brands asking on one end: “what’s your rate?” and content creators and influencers alike simply responding: “what’s your budget?”

But if this is how your brand deal negotiations are actually going… know that there are much more professional and effective ways to proceed.

In fact, I think the only time you need to ask a brand about their budget… is after you’ve presented a number, and they apologize saying it’s beyond theirs.

Because if you’re really clear on what a partnership entails, their budget is kind of irrelevant.

Related Post: Debunking 6 Myths about Influencer Rates

That being said, negotiating is part of the brand deal game. Your contacts are usually expecting it and there are no hard feelings about the process.

So how can you proceed strategically?

The Four Pillars of Successful Negotiations

Even though you don’t need to ask about a brand’s budget to effectively negotiate, you do need to be clear on four things:

  • The scope of work
  • The terms of your agreement
  • The value you bring to the table
  • Your “get out of bed” number
Brand Deal Negotiations as an influencer or Content Creator

So let’s break down each of them, and the role they play in getting to yes with a brand.

1. Scope of Work: Understanding the Ask

Before you start arbitrarily throwing numbers back and forth with a brand, it is critical to completely understand the scope of work being asked of you.

And before you say, “yeah, yeah–I know the scope. It’s a reel and a story”, know that the scope goes far beyond just the bare-bone deliverables.

In addition to the deliverables, consider:

  • Platforms
  • Timeline
  • Concept
  • Approval Requirements
  • Revision Allowances

The purpose of this knowledge is to truly understand what is being asked of you–how much work you’re being expected to do, so that you can price yourself accordingly.

Be wary of seemingly simple requests that may involve more work than meets the eye. A single story slide might seem like a breeze, but when the turnaround for it is a single day, and that story needs to be a video made up of 10 different shots in 10 different locations… things get a little overwhelming–and you should charge according.

Negotiating Scope of Work

If the brand hasn’t provided you with all of the above information up front, make sure you ask before providing a number.

Or if a brand has already presented a number, make sure you’re clear on the entire scope before agreeing or countering.

If it turns out that you and the brand are not aligned on compensation, you can be flexible by proposing to adjust the scope by removing deliverables, extending timelines, or limiting the amount of platforms you’re posting to.

Best practice–offer a couple package options at different price points, one at their full-ask, one in the middle, and one at the lowest (their budget).

For example:

“Thanks so much for the additional information, my rate would be $2,500 for this scope of work–but if you’re flexible on timeline, and open to reducing revisions I could do the entire scope for $2,000, or meet your budget of $1500 by doing a single reel, and omitting the stories.”

Plug and play until you find an agreement that the brand sees value in–and that you are comfortable with doing.

Upselling on Scope of Work

Establishing the scope of work isn’t just about being able to settle on a number.

It’s also a chance to upsell.

If a brand approaches you to do a campaign on Instagram, offer to leverage the assets to post on additional platforms like Pinterest and your blog. Educate them on the benefits, presenting a bundled deal–allowing you to charge more.

2. Terms of Agreement: Know What you’re Signing

Next, to negotiate with brands effectively as an influencer you need to understand what rights you may be signing away.

Does the brand expect…

Exclusivity, meaning you can’t work with or sometimes even engage with their competitors for a certain length of time?

Usage rights that allow them to use your content however and wherever they wish? Will you be popping up on a billboard in Timesquare and not be compensate for it?

Whitelisting that allows the brand to tap into your audience to run targeted ads with your imagery?

All these agreement terms can respectively run an extra 20% to 100% of your base rate per month.

Contract Signing Negotiation Tips for Influencers
Negotiating Agreement Terms as an Influencer

All of these contract terms can significantly impact your pricing and are negotiable.

In fact, it’s how many small creators leverage a lot of money out of their partnerships, and just like with scope of work–can be slashed if the brand doesn’t have a big enough budget.

3. Know Your Value: Articulating Your Unique Contribution

The next key to negotiating with brands is to understand your value as a content creator. This is a slight mindset shift from “knowing your worth”, which I think is a concept too self-centred for something like a brand partnership.

Content creators need to be extremely clear on what they bring to the table in a brand deal.

Brands need to see how your unique strengths directly benefit them. Influencers need to be able to articulate what sets them apart from other creators, whether it’s the quality of your content, a hyper-focused niche audience, unique storytelling abilities, or something else.

This self-awareness is crucial for confidently stand behind your rates, and know what you will and won’t settle for. This is especially the case when a brand tries to play the “well other influencers with your following size accepted this number”.

4. “Get Out of Bed” Number: Setting Your Minimum

Finally, knowing your “get out of bed number”, the non-negotiable minimum you will accept, is key to negotiating with brands.

This number is really just for you to know. It is the baseline for your services, ensuring that any collaboration you accept is worth your time.

When it comes down to the actual negotiating, it’s important to always propose a rate higher than your “get out of bed” number to allow room for adjustment. This ensures that even if the final number is negotiated down, it still aligns with your true minimum rate, making the collaboration worthwhile.

The Power of Walking Away

So what if you’ve done everything in your power to come to a happy agreement. You’ve proposed different packages that include different deliverables and terms, and the brand won’t budge above your minimum rate?

Well, don’t be afraid to walk away.

I can’t count how many times I’ve done so and have brands *conveniently* return with a larger budget.

But the key to not being afraid to walk away, is to be truly okay if the brand doesn’t return.

Final Thoughts on Negotiating as an Influencer

Figuring out how to negotiate with brands as an influencer requires a strategic approach.

So arming yourself with a clear understanding of the scope of work, agreement terms, your value, and your “get out of bed” number, will help you confidently engage in negotiations.

Remember, professionalism is key, and being unafraid to walk away can sometimes lead to a more favorable outcome.

Thanks for reading, and until next time – happy negotiating!

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