Brand Deals 101: From Collabs to Sponsorships

Brand Deals 101: From Collabs to Sponsorships

the spark show Jul 15, 2020

Welcome to The Spark Show! In this episode, I’ll be covering:

  • The different types of brand deals from collaborations to paid sponsorships
  • What to look out for when working with brands 
  • How to go from free, unpaid partnerships to paid brand deals 


Types of Brand Deals 



1. Review Request:

The brand asks you to buy the product and review it for them. They say they will refund or give you the money back so that essentially, you get the product for free. A lot of brands do this to get reviews and testimonials. 

I’ve seen both instances where the brand keeps their word and everything is great. The influencer ends up working with the brand multiple times and keeps a relationship with them and can lead to getting free product or paid deals. I’ve also seen instances where brands don’t fulfill their end of the bargain and start ghosting someone after they do their part. 

The thing is, you won’t really know until you try it out. It’s up to you as the CEO/boss to do your research on the brand by checking out their website, social media accounts, looking at reviews, Googling them, etc. to see if they’ve had issues with other influencers or customers in the past. 

The #1 thing to look out for when working with brands is to make sure it’s a brand that you love and are already using. If you haven’t heard of the brand before, make sure you try it out first yourself BEFORE you even recommend it to anyone. That’s like recommending a restaurant that you’ve never eaten at before. 

Your audience trusts you and you’ve been working to build that trust. So, everything that you talk about and recommend to them should be something you believe in and are a fan of. 

Keep in mind that there is no right answer here. You have to make a decision based on your research and be willing to be right or wrong. If it doesn’t end up well, you learn your lesson. Part of this journey is about learning from your experiences. 


2. Affiliate Ask:

This is when a brand offers you the ability to make a commission for everyone that you refer their product to. 

You will have to promote the product or service to your audience and if they do purchase, you make a certain percentage of the sale. 

I highly recommend that you only become an affiliate for products and services that you’ve already tested out, have purchased and are a fan of because you want to promote authentically and have first hand experience with the product/service. 

Many brands will offer this partnership in addition to any of the other deals listed here.


3. Discount Code:

Some brands will reach out to you to offer you a discount code to buy their product. Some influencers like this deal because they were going to buy the product anyways and the discount works out great for both parties. 

Same as the review request, you have to decide if you want to take this deal or not. Some influencers will not take discount codes and some will, and, you have to decide what’s best for you and your brand. 

I’ve seen some influencers turn this into a long-term paid partnership later on and they were willing to have this type of relationship in the beginning for the first campaign. It is up to you to communicate with the brand on what that partnership becomes and evolves into. 


4. Collaboration:

This is when a brand offers you free products, meals, comp stays, tickets to events, etc. where you do get a value exchange but are not paid on top of receiving the product or experience. 

A lot of influencers are thrilled to get collaborations, especially in the beginning of their influencer journey. It’s a great way to build your influencer portfolio (which I teach inside of The Spark Society) and build a relationship with the brand. 

Some influencers do collaborations for the first time and then turn it into a paid sponsorship later. 



1. Sponsorship:

When I say sponsorship, it means paid brand deals. Some people use this interchangeably with collaboration, but in the influencer marketing world, it usually means paid (there is money on top of free product/service/experience).

Depending on the brand, the campaign, and their budget, some will reach out to you and offer payment for your services to promote their business and advertise on your channels, because they know that this is influencer marketing and advertising. 


How to go from Free to Paid Partnerships 

Some brands will not offer payment, as you can see from all the unpaid brand deals that I’ve talked about earlier. 

Why? Because they’re trying to save money, they haven’t allocated any budget for influencer marketing, they don’t know and aren’t educated enough (they don’t align influencer marketing with advertising), because everyone always tries to get things for free. 

It is up to you, the influencer, to ask for payment, to let them know that this is how much you charge. 

There are many ways to ask, the three steps from going from unpaid to paid is:

- Creating a connection and relationship with the brand first. Some brands need warming up and want to know that you’re a true fan/customer or they need to see in your content why you would be a great brand partner (that’s why it’s so important to show your high-value, high-quality, consistent content already in your channels).

- Presenting yourself professionally with an influencer portfolio which includes your media kit, your rate card/prices so the brand knows what you charge, and your case studies which shows examples of your work with other brands in an organized way (that's why you want to do unpaid partnerships and collabs to build your portfolio).

- Communicating/pitching in a way to let brands know why they should pay you.

This is exactly what I teach inside my membership, The Spark Society. 

My students have gotten free collab requests and turned them into a $500 and $1000 brand deal just by using my methods. They’ve gotten free products and hotel comps even with 1,000 followers. 

So, there is a step-by-step strategy and method to this. This doesn’t just happen randomly, especially if you want to monetize and make this a full-time thing where you can quit your job and be your own boss. 

There are influencers getting random brand deals, $50-$200 here and there, but that isn’t a full-time sustainable income. You have to have an influencer business plan!

Also, brand deals are just one way to monetize. There are different revenue streams you can tap into to supplement that income, which is what I teach my students to do. 

Listen to the full episode here:  





Watch the Masterclass

Listen to Previous Episodes: 

How to Start Your Influencer Business from Scratch

The Dos and Don'ts of Working for Free

Let Your Menstrual Cycle Guide You featuring Cassandra Wilder

How to Use Astrology in Business featuring Tarra Lee

How to Create Content at Home


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