The other day I went to Instagram to share an old blog post, in which I broke down everything you need to know about creating a media kit for your blog or freelance business. I figured it would be a good post to share as we entered the new year, with new goals and mindsets. I so frequently think back to my 2015 goal list, with hopes of reaching out to brands I admired and loved. Over the last four years those collaborations grew from ambassador programs to content creation and even paid long-term campaigns, but the road there was not always an easy one to pave. Simply because it’s hard pricing yourself within the influencer industry.
Now personally, I blogged for three years before I earned my first paid partnership. But I’ll never forget getting my first paycheck for $50, in exchange for three blog posts and full social media exposure; pricing myself way too cheaply within the industry. Yet I honestly, could have cared less about the money. I was just happy to see my work valued and sought after by brands I admired, that I basically did collaborations in exchange for photography costs. With that being said, it took me a LONG TIME to figure out freelance pricing in this industry, so today I wanted to share my advice on how to price yourself within the ‘influencer’ industry; in hopes of making your journey a little less confusing. Without further ado…
Step #1) Look At Your Reach
An influencer’s job is frankly to reach their audience with creative, inspiring and unique content. Whether you consider yourself a personal brand, fashion icon, interior designer, food blogger or a New England lifestyle brand like myself…brands often hire us to create content within our niche and share it with our audience. I mean this might be taboo to talk about but I want to be honest with you all. So the first thing you should consider when pricing is how many people do you reach. The ‘industry standard’ I often see used is the one cent per follower rule, however, I urge you to not focus just on your Instagram following. There are so many other social platforms available with highly active users, that I often rarely just pitch a brand for a static Instagram post but rather a combination of social media posts.
Step #2) Look At How Long It Takes To Create Your Content
Shooting an Instagram story for a collaboration looks a lot different than shooting a Youtube video within the entire planning, production, and post-production stages. So while reach is important don’t undervalue your time, especially when it comes to creating evergreen or SEO friendly content. This was something I really had to work on in 2018, and looking back it was worth turning down extensive collaboration in exchange for the one cent per follower rule, and waiting for brands with more mutually beneficial who valued my time and my reach.
Step #3) Look At The Turnaround Time
I would say 50% of my collaborations are labeled ‘QUICK TURNAROUND’ and I’m actually a big fan of collaborations with a tight timeline, because as soon as the contracts signed you’re off to the races. However quick turnaround content can also be stressful, demanding and resulting in many late nights; so depending on the turnaround time you might need to increase rates. For instance, I often use Matt or Tessa to shoot my images, but sometimes quick turnaround means outsourcing photography which is a cost I have to swallow. With that in mind, don’t feel intimidated to increase rates for quick turnaround projects. I consider anything 7 days or less quick turnaround for images and 12 days or less quick turnaround for video. Oh, and if you’re wondering what’s the quickest turnaround campaign I’ve shot, it was for a brand I loved and I had a total of five hours to shoot, submit and post the content within. Thank goodness for Matt.
Step #4) Offer Different Package
I would highly recommend offering different packages to brands, as they start to reach out about rates. You can offer everything from blog posts with full social media exposure to just Instagram stories. Sometimes brands are just looking to promote their own marketing material or maybe they want you to take over THEIR Instagram stories; brands come in all sizes, budgets, and campaigns…so don’t be afraid to offer different services with different pricing. This also gives you room to add on options or slim down packages to fit a brands budget, while staying true to your pricing.
Step #5) Ask If There Is A Budget
Often brands don’t even know where to start with influencers, so sometimes it’s easier to ask a brand, what type of budget they have for the activation. I personally do this with freelancers in the industry that I want to work with. If I know I’m being paid (x) amount for a campaign, I’ll often set aside up to 25% of the profit to pay for graphic designers, photographers or videographers needed to complete the activation. By doing this I’m being transparent and honest about what I can afford, and opening the conversation up about pricing. While it’s not my favorite email to send, I often find other freelancers are understanding of my budget and work with me to make my vision come alive, and I often like to give brands the same hospitality.
#6) Go With Your Gut
I’m a big believer that you’ll inherently know if a deal was the right move for you. Listen to your gut and know that there isn’t one way to do this. For the last couple of years, I seriously underpriced myself, my crew’s work, and could feel the growing pains almost too painfully; so whether you have to start charging rates, raising rates or hiring a freelancer to work for you; your gut is everything.
Overall I hope this post helped to clarify some question you might have had or answer some questions you didn’t even know you had. Either way, please leave a comment below with any other topics you’d like us to cover, blog or business related.
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