Ever wondered how the likes of Logan Paul or Lele Pons made their millions? The answer might not be as complicated as you think.
You can take your popular Instagram profile or Youtube channel and turn it into a full-time business. Here’s our top three ways of making money as an influencer.
- Brand deals
Brand deals are at the heart of how influencers make their money. Ever wondered how Youtubers like Mr Beast fund their lavish over-the-top videos? Mr Beast is very open about the fact that the majority of his videos are funded by brand deals.
Brand deals can range from small one-off post sponsorships to a long-term partnership or campaign. The more posts you do the and the bigger reach you can offer the more money you will get in return.
So how do I get one of these brand deals? I hear you say. Well, there are a few options. One way is to sign up to an influencer network. Youtube networks such as Maker, Machinima, Revision3, are examples of networks who, amongst other things, will help match you with companies looking to do some influencer marketing.
If you’re an Instagram influencer do not fear as there are networks for you too, although unfortunately you have less options than your Youtube counter-parts. Some examples of Instagram Influencer Networks are The Influencer Marketing Hub and Hive. These networks work in very much the same way as Youtube networks, they offer to put you in touch with brands looking to work with influencers.
So these Influencer networks will help set up brand deals with companies looking to use influencer marketing for one of their products or campaigns. Sounds very good right? But be warned it does come at a cost.
One of the drawbacks is that while a network can boast of links with major brands it is important to remember that you will not be the only influencer on the Network. Brand deals are far from guaranteed much of the time and so you may find you’re being passed on a lot.
Furthermore, influencer networks often want to have a certain amount of control over the content you produce for clients. Often hidden in the small print of the contracts they get you to sign, are caveats about how much control you have over the messaging and nature of the content you produce for your clients. Always make sure you fully understand the nature of any contract you sign with an influencer network. If you can’t understand the jargon in a contract we’d recommend you’d find someone, i.e a lawyer, who can.
- Ad revenue
This is the easiest way to start earning money on your content on Youtube but it is also the least profitable of the three options listed in this article.
How much money you get from Youtube advertising on your videos is decided by two things:
- If you Youtube deems your video to be suitable for advertising i.e. if it is monetised and therefore has ads during, before or after the video.
- Providing it has been monetised how much money you get will depend on the CPM (Cost per Mille) rate your video receives and then your RPM (Revenue per Mille) based off that. The ‘Mille’ part of CPM and RPM comes from the latin word for a thousand so it effectively means the money you receive per 1000 views.
Unfortunately, nowadays CPM rates and therefore RPM rates are not as high as they used to be. Various controversies have made companies wary of throwing their money at Youtube advertising for fear of being linked to controversial content or content creators. Youtube have thus got much stricter as to what videos are monetised in an attempt to allay advertisers’ fears.
While more difficult nowadays, monetising your videos can still be a lucrative way of making money, especially if your videos are consistently bringing in a lot of views.
Out of all the options Merchandise is perhaps the most lucrative way to earn money as an influencer. The catch? It also has the highest start-up costs and is the hardest to pull-off. However done correctly it can earn you millions, as shown by the massive growth of Jeffree Star’s beauty brand or Logan Paul’s Maverick brand.
Making your own merchandise also has the added benefit of helping to bolster your brand and online identity. Providing you are smart with your designs, every time somebody wears your hoodie or bracelet they can effectively be a walking billboard for your channel and help bring others to your content. If you’re name or online identity isn’t suited to being plastered on a hoodie then you can always go with a strong adjective or feeling to link with your brand – think Logan Paul’s Maverick or KSI’s TANK brand.
Often, the hardest part will be sourcing your products. Once you’ve got your design you’ll then need to find a supplier. Ideally, the supplier you chose would also be able to act as a warehouse and distribute the products for you too. Due to the nature of wholesale buying you would need to be buying your products in bulk which can mean hefty up front costs. While the upfront costs may be be fairly large it is only a problem if you don’t manage to sell your merchandise.
If you are feeling unsure as to whether there’s demand for merchandise from your followers then why not simply ask them? You could put out a video on your Youtube, Twitter or Facebook and put forward your designs and monitor feedback. You could put out a Twitter poll or even ask people to sign up to a mailing list to receive the link to your shop when it goes live. This last option is a great way of getting a good idea of roughly how many you would sell while also building up an email database for future product marketing and announcements.
The good news is that once you’ve got an idea of the merchandise to sell and how to source it, setting up an online shop is relatively easy. Website development and hosting services such as Wix or GoDaddy offer easy and user-friendly webshop templates and have built-in payment widgets which make set-up cheap and easy.
So there you have it, three lucrative ways to make money as an influencer. Turning your Youtube channel or Instagram account into a business is not easy. While the steps explained in this article seem simple on paper, what is in between the lines is a lot of hard work, dedication and investment.
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