YouTube Brand Partnership Deals: Read This Before You Sign

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July 25, 2023

You want to land YouTube brand partnership deals, but you don’t want to compromise your content, your audience, or all the hard work you put into building your channel.

YouTube brand partnership deals are a great way to monetize your content. Looking to put yourself out there to secure a brand deal? Has a brand approached you looking to build a relationship? Either way, there are some important things that every creator needs to consider.

YouTube Brand Partnership Deals are a Big… Deal

As your YouTube presence grows, so will your access to YouTube brand partnership deals. The BENlabs Creator Community can help get you on brand’s radars earlier.

Remember that a partnership is a give-and-take. Authenticity is the key for good YouTube brand partnership deals. That means alignment around not just audience but mission, and values too.

A good deal benefits all involved; it’s not just about giving a brand access to your audience, it should benefit you as well by supplementing your income. The ideal YouTube brand partnership deal gives creators resources to support fresh new content, meaning audiences win too.

But good things don’t often come easy; problems can arise in YouTube brand partnership deals. It’s important for creators to be mindful of who they partner with.

Creators and brands needs to match on values, not just on audience. Creators deserve both brand support and fair compensation. A good YouTube brand partnership deal doesn’t just further the brand’s goals, it also respects the creator’s craft.

Consider these three questions and you increase your chances of finding the right YouTube brand partnership deal for you, and you avoid potentially harmful partnerships:

YouTube brand partnership deals: A content creator shares a product, holding a brown box with eco-friendly packing materials. Background is blurred but a smartphone in portrait mode on a tripod is focused on the scene.

Does the Brand Align with Your Values? 

In order to ensure a brand is the right fit for you, ask yourself if you would support the brand outside of a partnership. Do you already love their products? Do you support their mission? If it’s an easy yes, that’s great. If the answer is no, it’s probably not the right YouTube brand partnership deal for you. Repping a brand you don’t believe in will be inauthentic and jeopardizes not just your reputation but the brand’s reputation too.

No body wants that.

For example, technology company and smartphone maker Huawei partnered with Gal Gadot for the release of one of their phones in 2018. But when the actress promoted the new device, Twitter snitched and revealed that the tweet actually came from an iPhone. The result was bad press for both parties.

Similarly, Scarlett London was under fire while repping Listerine. She shared a heavily staged promotional photo of her morning, with tortillas posing as pancakes, and a bottle of Listerine in the background. Criticism around the lack of authenticity in the post and the nature of reality vs. the sanitized social feed was fair. The vitriolic pile-on, including death threats against the influencer, was not.

These are extreme examples but they illustrate the larger point. Taking YouTube brand partnership deals that reflect your interest and experience is the key to authenticity. Authenticity is the key to great content where everyone wins; brand, creator, and audience.

YouTube brand partnership deals: image shows influencer @scarlettlondon sitting on a bed in pink PJs, holding a coffee in a heavily staged Instagram photo.

Does the Brand Take Creator Safety Seriously?

In a recent study, 95% of creators reported experiencing hate or harassment at one point in their career. This kind of negativity that is, unfortunately, par for the course. Not everyone is going to love your content, not everyone is going to appreciate you monetizing your content with YouTube brand partnership deals. Of that 95%, only half felt that they had appropriate resources to deal with the situation.

Creators, especially those who are new to brand collaborations, deserve to have the support of their partners to alleviate the burden of negative comments and help guide them through this new stage of their career.

When YouTube launched its Creator Safety Center, it did so to monitor and address hateful comments and harassment. That’s great, but things are bound to slip through the cracks. A trustworthy brand keeps a close eye on paid content from their creators and is quick to step in to remove comments or offer support if things take a turn for the worse.

Even before content is posted, brands should be working with creators to align on content and ensure that the content being shared isn’t something that could get creators in trouble. Floyd Mayweather was hit with a $300,000 fine after promoting a crypto company that ended up being a scam.

The point is, you should never post anything you’re uncomfortable with, and a good brand partner won’t ask you to.

Do the research: how does a brand treat creators it engages for YouTube brand partnership deals? How have their brand partnership deals ended in the past? Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

Will You Be Compensated Fairly for a YouTube Brand Partnership Deal?

Audience size is the biggest determining factor in creator compensation for any YouTube brand partnership deal. All creators — whether nano or micro or mega — deserve fair compensation.

Some creators may be content with getting free product but more likely, creators are unsure of how to ask for more. Even if you have a small niche following, the value you offer to a brand looking to engage with that audience has value and you deserve fair compensation. 

Prior to entering negotiations, have a clear idea of what you would like to get out of the deal. Start by thinking strategically about your rate. Stay up to date on shifting trends by connecting with creator peers in communities like r/NewTubers on Reddit.

Consider 2% to 10% of your total following as a range for your base rate. For example, if you have 50,000 followers, 2% would make your base rate $1,000). From there, you can make adjustments that fit each deal. 

YouTube brand partnership deals: A hand holds 16 US $100 bills, fanned out over a white background. If our math is correct (and assuming we counted correctly) that's $1,600.

New York-based creator Cece Xie recommends adjusting based on the level of engagement you have from your audience or more variable factors like your credibility in the industry or how much you need the extra income. Similarly, wellness creator Alexis Barber recommends adding charges depending on specific deal terms. For example, if a brand wants exclusivity, she would add 50% to the original cost.

Prioritizing your interests can be difficult when you really want to land a YouTube brand partnership deal. Be firm and respectful. Know your value as a content creator and don’t settle.

The Best YouTube Brand Partnership Deals

When all is said and done, good YouTube brand partnership deals are just that — a partnership.

You deserve to benefit from your hard work, and the kinds of brands that make great partners understand and respect that. In the same vein, brands deserve to be presented authentically and in the best light, and the content creators that make great partners ensure that’s what happens.

Now go out there and land that perfect YouTube brand partnership deal for you and your audience.