Whether you’re trying to figure out how much to charge for an Instagram post, a blog, or a YouTube video, setting rates as a content creator is easily one of the most daunting parts of the job.
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In my early days, I would obsess over what my number was–what I would put on a rate card.
I worried that if I set a number too high, I would scare off potential brand partnerships, and if I set a number too low, I would get taken advantage of.
But rates no longer stress me out, especially now that content creation has become my full time job!
So, in today’s post, I’m sharing some tips that will help eliminate the stress and pressure that comes with trying to figure out the perfect number so that you can proceed with peace!
First, we’re going to cover some guiding principles to consider when talking about setting rates.
Second, we are going to dive into how you can determine those rates.
Then we are going to wrap it up with the history of my rates, discussing how they’ve progressed through time. Use the Table of Contents to skip ahead.
If you want the video version of this post, scroll to the bottom!
Guiding Principles for Setting Creator Rates
So, let’s cover the four critical principles you need to keep in mind throughout this conversation.
1. You Are in Charge
Only you can set your rates because they’re yours. I get asked a lot if I can look at someone’s social media page and tell them how much they should be charging, but I will never have as much insight into somebody’s value as they do.
2. Rates Are Not Permanent
Your rates are not permanent. You do not set a number and then get chained to it.
This is where a lot of the anxiety around rate setting comes in. We worry that if we set the wrong number that we are stuck with it. But yesterday’s price is not today’s price. You can change your rates as much as you want. Mine go up regularly…
And sometimes they go down.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Raise That Price
Here, we are addressing the other side of the fear that comes with rate setting. That is, that if you set a number too low, you’re going to get taken advantage of.
But unless you’re one of the lucky few that doesn’t suffer from imposter syndrome, you’ll always be lowballing yourself because very often, by the time you get the courage to increase your rates, they’re already too low again.
So don’t get hung up on it. Chalk it up to experience and move forward.
4. We are Talking Base Prices.
The final thing to keep in mind is that I am talking about the foundational price for creating content and posting it on your socials.
This is your base price without all the extra add-ons like exclusivity fees and usage rights, which I talk about in another blog post.
Speaking of ‘add-ons’, I recently learned about kill fees and virality clauses… I’m not sure I have the confidence to include those yet, but we’ll see.
How can you determine your rates as a content creator or influencer?
Now that we have the rate-setting principles out of the way, let’s talk about the ways you can figure out how much to charge for content creation.
1. Rate calculators and charts
This first point I want you to take with a grain of salt.
While I do believe using rate calculators are a rite of passage for content creators and influencers trying to navigate their worth, I generally think the numbers they spit out are too low.
But they are still a great jumping off point for everything else we’re going over in this post.
Some charts and calculators I recommend are hashtag paid, influencer marketing hub, and inspire.
2. Determine labour + time
The next thing that will help you determine your rates is considering your labor and time.
When creating content for a brand, we are more than a person posing in front of a camera endorsing a product. We are the photographer, the videographer, video editor, the stylist, and the makeup artist.
If a brand were to run an ad in print or run a TV commercial, they would highly likely be hiring for each of these roles individually. And while they are lucky that we come as an all-in-one package, we need to make sure that we account for the time it takes to execute all those roles.
See how long it takes you to finish your content, then divide your rate by your labor hours and you will end up with your hourly wage. Make sure you are at least paying yourself minimum wage.
3. Consider the brand’s ROI
Third thing to consider when setting your rates is the return on investment or ROI to the brand.
I think as influencers we get caught up in knowing our worth, chasing the bag, setting higher and higher rates, while sometimes forgetting that we are offering a professional service and our worth does need to be justified.
We want to do what is mutually beneficial for us and the brand with which we are working. This is also why I consider how long my content will serve a brand when setting my rate.
If my content is serving a brand for a shorter period of time, I’m going to charge less. That’s the content I’m posting on Instagram or TikTok, which has a short lifespan unless they are paying to use it for ads.
Content that will continue serving a brand for the long term, ie. evergreen content that can be found via search on my blog, YouTube, or Pinterest has a higher price tag because it will benefit the brand months or even years even after I posted it.
4. Analyze the brand’s reaction
For this approach you need to choose a number (hopefully one informed by everything we just covered), and present it in your next negotiation with the brand.
Analyze their response to your rate. If a brand accepts your rates without negotiation, they are too low. But that’s okay, we don’t get hung up on it. We’re learning and we just make sure to increase them next time.
When I first started, I would increase $50 at a time and feel it out. Now I increase less often, but in about $100 increments.
Note that if a brand does negotiate or push back on how much you’re charging, that is not a bad thing.
It does not explicitly mean your rates are too high. Negotiating will always be part of the game, but do be aware of how low a brand is trying to push you after you present your number.
5. Assess YOUR reaction as the creator
This point is similar to analyzing a brand’s reaction, but it is a million times more important.
You need to honestly take a look at your reaction, your feelings while you’re completing the work and after the contract is completed.
If you get the feeling that the work you’re doing is not worth your time, the next time around you need to increase your rates. Or dig a bit deeper and determine if it’s a partnership you should have been accepting in the first place.
6. Leverage your community of fellow influencers and content creators
Another huge help in determining how much to charge for content creation, is leveraging your community and friendships.
The majority of my more significant rate increases were motivated by my friends in the content creator space sharing their rates with me.
Many of these friendships developed organically through Instagram DMs, Facebook groups, and Clubhouse chats.
If you have yet to develop friendships, start putting yourself out there, and in the meantime, you can still see what other creators are charging by looking to places where people are being really transparent on the Internet.
FYPM is a good start, and on TikTok there is this budding space of rate transparency.
Make sure you’re following hashtags like #microinfluencer and #nanoinfluencer so those sharing their rates show up on your For You Page.
7. Always account for progress
And finally, when it comes to rates, you need to always be accounting for your progress.
Has your reach increased? Have you learned a new skill that increases your quality? Have you invested in new equipment that improved your content?
If so, increase your rates accordingly.
The history of my rates as an influencer
So now let’s do a quick look at the history of my rates.
So, 2020 was when I really started to put together my media kit. In July of that year I had about 7000 followers and began with $100 per Instagram post, $200 for video or blog content, and I had packages going for about $250.
I came up with these rates with the help of some rate calculators, and these were the rates that I slowly increased with time based off of everything that we just talked about.
In June of 2021, my Instagram posts increased by $600, and I added a whole other zero to my packages. We came a long way and the increase in these numbers are honestly what helped me make close to $70,000 last year as a content creator.
And of course, as we have clearly established, rates are always increasing. At the time of writing this post (September 2022, I really try not to accept a gig that pays less that $1000.
Final thoughts on setting rates for brand partnerships
I want to end this post on a question that I was asked on my Instagram story:
Do I feel like I’m getting paid what I’m worth?
And my answer is yes. Even though I know that there are creators out there at my same level that are charging more.
That is because of everything we covered in this post: I assess how brands respond to my rates. I assess how I feel after I work for my rates, and I feel happy.
For me, it’s not about squeezing the highest number possible out of a brand.
It’s about making what I do a sustainable career. As I continue to improve and better myself, I will continue to adjust my rates accordingly.
I really do hope that this answered a lot of your questions about rates. If you have more, please drop them below.
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