Getting hired and building a relationship with the brand
Brand deals are exciting. Learn what to expect once you’ve been hired by a brand.
Video pre-production tips
As soon as you get hired, you may want to tell the brand thank you and express how excited you are to partner with them! This can go a long way in showing the brand that you’re responsive. This is also a great way to take initiative and get alignment right away:
- Consider reiterating your pitch from your earlier communications.
- Set some creative parameters and share your vision. Remember it’s up to you to guide the creative details because the end result is (usually) going to live on your channel, although the brand typically will provide input too. Sponsored or not--you want to be sure the video will be well-received by your loyal viewers.
- If there’s a product involved, now is a good time to give them your shipping address. You can map out a timeline based on when you’ll receive the product and any deadlines originally suggested. Find out if there’s flexibility for deadlines (just in case).
- Look ahead, think through what might go wrong, and come up with solutions. For example, if you’re making a video that features a brand of clothes, it might be a good idea to ask for more than one size or item. That way you don’t lose time if what they ship you doesn’t fit.
- Ask where and how your content will be used. It’s ok to give the brand ownership of the content if you’re comfortable with that and have the rights to do so.
Questions to ask yourself about the project:
- What questions should I be asking the brand before I film my content?
- Where should I place the integration?
- How long should an integration be?
- How much creative freedom should I ask for from the brand?
- What disclosure obligations do I have?
Navigating the partnership
Brand deals are a partnership, so it’s important to consider the brand’s requests while staying true to your own brand. Setting clear expectations and over-communicating can help lead you to a successful brand partnership where everyone is satisfied with the end result.
- Do you know what brand’s objectives are? If not, ask them for a list or talking points.
- What call to action are they asking you to share in your video? For example, do they want your video to drive installs or online orders? Will the brand provide coupon codes to your fans? Asking these things right away can be helpful because your content may take shape around it.
- If you want to mention something about the product that’s different from their talking points or negative, it’s a good idea to let them know your feedback ahead of time and ask if they mind. For example, some brands might want you to talk about all of a product’s features, when in reality, you and your audience would only utilize some of them. Remember, you’re the expert and it’s usually ok to push back, especially if you think your audience will react.
Brand placement considerations
- Let brands know when the integration of their product will occur in the video (at the end, 10 seconds in, 1 minute in, etc.) Brands sometimes think they’re getting featured in the entirety of a video, and that’s not always the case.
- Tell brands how long the integration will be.
- If you’re integrating the brand into a video about a larger topic than the product, it can be helpful to tell the brand about the topic of the video ahead of time.
- Let brands know that you will be using proper disclosures, if appropriate.
- It’s helpful to set deadlines you can meet and try to over-deliver. Deadlines can be a negotiation between both parties.
- Help the brand understand the level of commitment required of them to stay on track with your project. For example, someone from the brand likely will need to review your video. Find out who is going to be reviewing the video and if the person is going to be available to review on a certain day.
- You can negotiate how many content edit requests you will do.
What to do if things are not going as expected.
- If things are going wrong and your timeline needs to change, a lot of creators think, “If I don’t say anything it’s not a big deal.” But the opposite is true. Usually the most important thing you can do in a moment like this is communicate with them. Brands typically understand that things come up.
Paid product placement and endorsement disclosures
Creators must make clear to their audiences that there is a relationship between them and the brands they are promoting. You should never hide that you are working with a brand or being sponsored to feature a product. Creators need to have proper verbal, written, and on-screen disclosures where appropriate. Audiences will appreciate it and brands will appreciate your professionalism.
When uploading, YouTube requires that you check the “content declaration” box in advanced settings if your video contains branded content. Checking this box may result in two things; YouTube may replace an ad that conflicts with your brand partner with an alternative ad and your video will be removed from the YouTube Kids app in line with our existing policies. If you choose to, you can use YouTube settings to visibly inform viewers by selecting a visible text overlay disclosure that appears for a few seconds on your video.
Note: Even if you use the paid promotion disclosure feature, keep in mind that disclosure requirements vary by country. Creators and brands should always check and follow applicable laws. Learn more.
- Checking the ‘content declaration box’ does not mean you’re opting out of AdSense for the video.
- Hiding sponsorships won't make your branded content more authentic or organic, it will likely have the opposite effect in the event your audience finds out and may result in legal consequences for you if you don’t meet disclosure obligations.
Building long-term relationships with brands
Successful brand integrations tend to come from times when a brand and a creator have built a relationship because there’s usually more belief in the product or service. (And brands have more belief in the creator too.)
Doing multiple videos for one brand is often a lot easier and your audience will tend to have more recognition of the brand. Review and note your video performance to inform future sponsorships.
One way to extend your relationship with a brand is to share post-project highlights such as positive comments about the brand, where you shared the video, and key metrics. Help the brand understand the benefits from your end and why it’s important for them to continue working with creators to reach an audience on YouTube.