In episode 263, we talk with Justin Moore, founder of Creator Wizard, about common mistakes food bloggers make when pitching and pricing themselves for sponsored work.
We cover information about how to put on your detective hat and get details of the campaign before you say a word, how to use words that illustrate your worth and don’t focus on being a creator, be a consultant.
Listen on the player below or on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast player. Or scroll down to read a full transcript.
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Bio Justin Moore is the Founder of Creator Wizard, an online resource where he teaches the *business* of being an influencer. Along with his wife April, he has been a full-time creator for over 7 years (on social media for 10+) and has personally made over $3M working with brands. He has also run an influencer marketing agency for over 5 years that has helped other creators earn an additional $2M. He has worked on more than 500 brand deals, interpreted 1,000+ sponsorship contracts, and has partnered with pretty much every consumer brand imaginable. He has a unique perspective because not only has he been a creator in the trenches doing brand deals for years but by running an agency, he has been in the room with countless brands helping them decide how to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on influencer campaigns.
- Content creators are a production company in a box.
- Ask the brand about their goals and plans for the campaign as if you’re a detective. Find clues to help you know how to tailor your pitch and price and can deliver more value. It will help you stand out.
- Do not have a standard media kit rate and never blindly send it out without asking questions to understand the bigger picture.
- Working with brands has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with what a brand is trying to accomplish.
- Keep in mind D.U.E. when working with a brand reaching out to you – Deliverables, Usage Rights and Exclusivity
- All of the things – levers and negotiation strategies, all of this has to be done prior to getting the contract. Once you have the contract in hand, it’s too late.
- Be careful not to negotiate against yourself.
- Be confident in your capabilities. Know your worth and know that you’re bringing a lot of valuable assets to the table.
- Don’t be a creator, be a consultant. Illustrate to the brand or the agency that you really know what you’re doing and in fact, they’ll actually probably learn a thing or two from you.
- If you can pitch in person, on a zoom or phone call, do so to establish rapport so the brand can connect with your personality and expertise.
- Offer multiple packages when working with a brand. Show what you can do and offer at different levels. You should always be upselling.
- Be sure to communicate well – answer all the questions and respond timely to emails/calls.
- Once a proposal is submitted, while you’re waiting, it’s good to follow up. Provide an article, some statistics or more value when you do. You’ll make yourself stick out from other creators vying for the same job.
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263 Justin Moore
Justin Moore: Hi, this is Justin Moore from Creator Wizard, and you’re listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast.
Megan Porta: Hey, food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast for food bloggers looking for the value and confidence that will move the needle forward in your business. I’m your host, Megan Porta, and you are listening to episode 263 with Justin Moore from Creator Wizard.
Today, we are going to have a chat about how food bloggers can charge what they’re worth. Justin Moore is the founder of Creator Wizard, an online resource where he teaches the business of being an influencer. Along with his wife April, he has been a full-time creator for over seven years. On social media for over 10 and has personally made over $3 million working with brands. He also runs an influencer marketing agency for over five years that has helped other creators earn an additional $2 million.
He has worked on more than 500 brand deals. Interpreted more than 1000 sponsorship contracts and has partnered with pretty much every consumer brand imaginable. He has a unique perspective because not only has he been a creator in the trenches doing brand deals for years, but by running an agency, he has been in the room with countless brands, helping them decide how to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on influencer campaigns.
Super impressive. Bio Justin. I think that’s probably one of the best, most robust bio’s I’ve ever read. So I’m really excited to chat with you today on this topic, but first we all want to hear what your fun fact is.
Justin Moore: My fun fact is that I was in a heavy metal band in high school. How awesome is that? I still listen to heavy metal music a lot.
Megan Porta: What was the band called? We have to hear the name of it. Because heavy metal bands have such great names.
Justin Moore: Ours was a little bit more not as heavy as you might expect. It was Othello, like the Shakespearian play. So yeah, I dunno how hardcore that sounds, but that’s a fun fact.
Megan Porta: And what heavy metal do you listen to today? What’s your favorite?
Justin Moore: Oh my goodness. Let’s see. Lately I’ve been listening to Trivium and KillSwitch Engage and Underoath. So it was like metal slash screamo slash you know? So I was one of those scream kids.
Megan Porta: I love it. So here’s a little fact about me that I don’t tell many people just because it rarely comes up, but I loved heavy metal in college and in high school. I grew up with Metallica and some of those classic bands, and every time I hear it, I don’t know, sometimes my husband will play heavy metal when he’s working out. I’m like, oh, I just am taken back to those high school days.
Justin Moore: Totally. It transports you.
Megan Porta: It does. One song, you can just be like lost in another world. Great fun fact. I’ve literally never had anyone say that. So, you are unique. Okay. So let’s talk about food bloggers and how they can charge what they’re worth. Overall, food blogging is a relatively new, I don’t know, like job. It’s a well-known hobby, but as a job it’s relatively new. So navigating sponsored work, which is like an off-branch or a piece of the whole food blogging puzzle, is a new thing. It’s a little bit tricky. It’s a newer thing that we’re all learning about. Oh, we have to get paid for what we’re doing. We have to ask for that. We have to put value on ourselves and on our work. So I think this is really relevant and something that’s going to really help food bloggers dig into their businesses in a new way.
Justin Moore: Absolutely. To that point, I think one of the biggest pieces of advice I always give creators in general, is that you’re like a production company in a box. Right? I think a lot of creators don’t think about that, which is that you ideate the content. You’re like a creative services team. You actually shoot the content, you write the content. So you’re a copywriter, and then you market the content on all your social media platforms and things like that. So if you are a brand looking to partner with a creator or get content that you can use on your own social platforms or on your own website and things, if they did not hire you, they would have to go out and spend a lot of money, hiring agencies and hiring food stylists and hiring another like production company, ad agency to do all this stuff for them, which costs money. So you, as a creator, do all that stuff yourself. So that’s a great primer for this conversation. Because I think a lot of creators don’t think about that.
Megan Porta: Production company in a box. Oh my gosh. That’s such a great way to say that. Food bloggers literally do so many things and we get so used to it. It’s just a part of our worlds that we don’t stop to back up and look at the fact that we are doing so much. So it’s valuable, right? Like you said, people would have to go out and hire multiple different facets, like multiple different people and companies to get all of this covered. But we’re giving them all of our talents in a single box, which is valuable. I would love to ask you this. What are some of the biggest mistakes creators make when they are pricing themselves for sponsorship?
Justin Moore: Yeah, it’s a great question. There’s a couple of things that I think of top of mind and the first is that not enough creators ask the brand what the goal is for the campaign. I think this is especially relevant for food creators, because a lot of times brands are wanting to repurpose their content, right? They want to get recipe rights or they want to use it for their websites or to repost on social media or use it for paid advertising or things like this. There’s three major campaign goal types that every brand is going to try and want to accomplish. So the first being a conversion focus campaign. So this is where a brand is looking to drive some sort of very specific action. Whether it’s sales or whether it’s conversions, or maybe it’s coupon redemptions, download this coupon and then go into this store and buy the food product or whatever. So that’s like a very specific goal that the brand is wanting to accomplish. The second one is content repurposing. Listeners may have experiences where the brand reaches out. They’re less concerned about you posting it on your social platforms or on your blog or whatever, and it’s more about they want to get great recipe content or get great assets that they can repurpose in other ways. So that’s content repurposing. Then the last one is brand awareness. This is where the metrics are squishy, right? Where it’s like the brand, oh, we just want to get the word out there. When we want to spread the word. So it’s like the metrics that they’re going to be tracking are just impressions and engagement and more of those vanity metrics. So as a creator, it’s extremely important what the brand is trying to accomplish by reaching out to you because your pricing should change based on that. So if you understand that the brand is let’s say it’s content repurposing and they just want to get great assets for their website. Congratulations, your rate can now be detached from the number of followers you have, or the number of page views that you have on your blog, because it doesn’t matter at that point, right? It’s about creating content for the brand. So it’s just a small example of how critical it is to ask these types of questions. You should not have a standard rate card. I know a lot of creators think this. They just send their media kit and they have their rates listed in their media kit. Oh no. Starting today, remove your rate card page from your media kit because it has nothing to do with you. Again, I say this to creators a lot. It sounds strange, but working with brands has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with what they’re trying to accomplish. By the way, I could talk for hours about this. So just tell me to shut up whenever you want me to.
Megan Porta: You’re doing great. This is so interesting.
Justin Moore: I’m a big fan of rules and frameworks and methodologies. Because I think it helps people remember these things. So I’ve created this framework called due rule and that’s D U E. So whenever a brand reaches out to you about a partnership or you’re pitching a brand, you always have to keep in mind these three things, which are the major price levers that you need to use when figuring out your rates. The first is deliverables. So that’s the D. Essentially figuring out exactly how many posts they want you to do? How many recipes do they want you to develop? A lot of times when brands reach out, they’ll be like, oh, we just want to partner up, create a couple of recipes, do this kind of thing. It’s no, you need to get this very specific. Know exactly what you’re trying to do. Some of you might’ve had this experience where the brand all of a sudden comes back with all these expectations of what would be part of this partnership. You’re like, oh, I didn’t really think I was signing up for all that. So getting the deliverables nailed down is critical.
The U in DUE stands for usage rights. This is one that not enough creators think about. Which is that, what does the brand actually want to do with your content? Do they want to just organically repost it or reshare it on their social media or do they want to run a billion dollars of paid advertising behind it? You laugh, but this happens, and so you need to be compensated for something like that. So it’s really critical for you to understand what they are actually trying to do with this content. Then the last one is e for exclusivity. Are they wanting you to be exclusive to their brand for a certain time period? Meaning you cannot work with other competitors in that particular category. This is actually a funny anecdote. So my wife and I partnered with a food brand and they wanted the exclusivity category to be snacks. We were like, that’s very broad, right? That could be anything that could be chips. That could be all this stuff. So essentially what we were able to negotiate down was snacking cheeses. That’s super specific, but these are the things you have to think about as a creator, because that would prohibit you from future partnership opportunities that we would consider pretty tangential.
So that’s just a small example of three major price levers that you should consider. So the DUE rule.
Megan Porta: Okay. I love that. I love the DUE rule. So talking about your three goal types and then also your three points under the DUE rule. Is that something you discuss with the brand before you even get to the contract stage? Do you just bring that up right away?
Justin Moore: Oh my goodness. A hundred percent. All of the things that we’re going to be talking about today, about these levers and negotiation strategies, all of this has to be done prior to getting the contract. Because once you have the contract in hand, it’s too late. When you have the contract again, there’s definitely contractual language that you can potentially discuss with them. But the major deal points, such as the deliverables and the usage rights and the exclusivity and how much you’re going to be paid, all of that needs to be done before you have the contract in hand. Essentially what’s happened is that once you get the contract, to understand what happens on the other side of this, for the brand or the agency that you’re working with, for you to have that contract in hand, they have actually had to go to the legal department or potentially their boss and said, okay, this is influencers locked in. Here’s the rate, here’s the deal points. Legal team, can you draft this con contract for us? So it’s already gotten these approvals. So if you know then go back to them and be like, oh, I looked at the contract and no, I’m not going to do this. You have to pay me more money or you have to like, do all these other things, you are making your contact look very bad. Because they have to go back to their boss and be like, oh, like I screwed up. Sorry. They’re not actually not going to do it for this rate. Then they have to go to the legal team and be like, oh, I’m sorry. Can you redo this or whatever? Basically, you need to have this perspective that this all has to be negotiated ahead of time so that you can ensure that everything is running smoothly.
Megan Porta: Oh, I love to hear that. Yeah, like you save yourself so much time by thinking through things like this, I’m sure, on both ends. So what other mistakes do you have?
Justin Moore: Oh, my goodness. So here’s one that I see being made a lot. I think creators negotiate against themselves a lot. So a brand will reach out and they will be very interested in partnering with the creator. Then the creator is so excited about not losing this deal or not screwing it up, because let’s say it’s a dream brand or something. So they say, oh I usually charge $1500, but I can do it for a thousand. I really want to make this work. But no, you say my rate is $1500 and then you shut up. Truly you are negotiating against yourself. Give the brand the opportunity to surprise you essentially. I have done hundreds and hundreds of sponsorships at this point. I think I’ve literally only ever had a brand pull an opportunity off the table once. In hundreds and hundreds of deals. So I think a lot of creators think that they’re just going to yank the deal away. No, the worst they’re going to say is, no. They’re going to say, no, sorry, we can’t do it at that rate. But you could still say sorry, our rate is this. Then you could still take it. A lot of it has to do with confidence. A lot of it has to do with knowing your worth and knowing that you’re bringing a lot of valuable assets to the table when you do these types of partnerships. That’s what I teach creators a lot in my content and my courses and things like that is you need to stand your ground and be confident in your capabilities.
Megan Porta: What about bringing up a number? Because I know this is always an uncomfortable thing for me. I have not worked with many brands, but when I have, I don’t want to say a number because I feel like maybe they have a budget that’s way beyond what my number is. So how do you manage that?
Justin Moore: So the advice that I always give is always try to ask the brand’s budget prior to giving a number. A lot of these things that I’m talking about, asking campaign goals and asking about all these different aspects of the campaign, can really go a long way. What I teach creators is that you need to be a detective. It’s all about asking all these different questions so that you can get a much fuller picture of what the campaign entails. Here’s a good example. The best thing is if you can get on a call or a zoom call or something and just ask about the campaign, understand a little bit more about the goals and the messaging and things like that. For example, if the brand tells you, oh yeah, there’s like a broadcast component to this. A TV campaign that we’re doing or running print ads in magazines, in Cosmopolitan and Better Homes and Gardens and Food and like all this stuff. Then you as a creator, the light bulb should go off in your head and be like, wow, they’re spending a lot of money on this campaign. So it’ s things like that. Again, it’s about being a detective and trying to understand this influencer marketing campaign component is just one small piece of a much larger campaign that the brand is working on. So that’s just an example of things that you can do as a creator but really it should be about using vocabulary and using words that illustrate the brand that you know your worth. So for example, some of the phrases that I like to use are, oh, I’m so excited about this opportunity. Can you let me know the budget that you have allocated to this partnership? So I’m asking these types of words. Another example is, I’m so excited. I love using the word investment a lot as a creator because it implies that the brand is going to get something in return. So rather than saying cost or fee or rate or my price, no, it’s not an expense working with you. It’s an investment. Because they’re going to get these amazing assets. They’re going to get these assets that they can repurpose. They’re going to get this amazing partnership with you. I coach creators a lot about language and vocabulary, because the way in which you describe your value proposition to the brand, price is secondary. It’s a secondary thing. It’s not the thing you lead with. No, as part of this partnership, you’re going to go boom. You’re going to get all these things when you partner with me and then, oh, by the way the investment is going to be X, Y, Z. Then at that point, It’s a secondary thing that you talk about with the brands. So you’re right. It is tough. I actually just did a thread on Twitter the other day about how do you tell the brand that they need to pay you when you’re the one pitching them first? Because that’s also a very challenging thing. When they reach out to me, it makes sense. They will expect to pay me, but when I pitch them, how do I say yeah, I want to work with you, but you still need to pay me. So there’s all these kinds of tactics that you can take but you’re right. It’s always like the first person to name the numbers is the loser, right? Cause you’ve price anchored yourself.
Megan Porta: Totally, first of all, agree with that. Language really does matter. It’s so important because you can come off as being not very confident just by the words you’re using. Even if you are totally confident. So I was doing some practice talks with a friend because I’m hoping to work with brands more. She kept pointing out that I was saying things like, I hope that this will be, or just not strong. My words were not confident. They weren’t exuding excitement. They were just very loose and squishy and she’s nope, you are going into this excited. There’s so much power in the words you use.
Justin Moore: One of the things I teach is don’t be a creator, be a consultant. Because when you can illustrate to the brand or the agency that you really know what you’re doing and in fact, they’ll actually probably learn a thing or two from you. Then it becomes not transactional. It’s truly a partnership. It’s how you can stand apart from your other creators by asking these types of questions and by being confident in your craft. I think a lot of creators think, oh no. There’s so many food bloggers out there. There’s so many people on social media. What value do I have that’s different from the next blogger or whatever. Oh, I don’t have that many followers or whatever. So I always encouraged them. Your skill set that you have is incredibly valuable, especially to brands. Because we think that we don’t know much, but for example, maybe this brand is really wanting to crack a TikToK strategy. Let’s say you’ve got 5,000 followers on TikToK, which maybe doesn’t seem like a lot to you, but to a brand that’s wow. You have 5,000 followers on TikTok. Essentially you come to them and part of your proposal or part of your pitch is, hey, I will help your brand figure out your TikToK strategy. So now you’re a consultant. You’re not just a creator. It’s not just about leveraging the organic distribution on your platforms. It’s now about how you can bring heightened value to the brand in a totally different way? I think it’s really critical for you not to discount your knowledge and expertise as a creator because a lot of brands have no idea. If you’ve ever gone to a brand’s YouTube channel, I’m sure you’ve experienced this. Any random brand. All they’re posting on there is like their 30 second TV ads. I ‘m sorry, that’s not going to work on YouTube. You have to post long form content. It’s totally different. Honestly, there’s unlimited opportunities to work with brands and help them think through their social strategy. So I really encourage creators to lean more into that.
Megan Porta: Okay. Just a really quick tangent question and then we’ll get back on track. But do you recommend getting on a call with brands or doing all of this through email or does it depend?
Justin Moore: Me personally, I love getting on calls. I love getting onto a Zoom call. I love that you can establish a rapport. It’s very easy for a brand to fall in love with your personality. Especially if you’re someone who’s very outgoing and things like that. When you can put a face to the name. But I also temper that with, I know that there’s a lot of creators who are really terrified of doing that, because they think they’re going to say the wrong thing and they don’t want to screw it up and all that stuff. I don’t think it’s mandatory per se, but I do think it’s a goal to strive towards and to aspire towards. Because when you can get to the point in your creator career where you can just hop on a call, hop on a zoom call and just be totally comfortable and just like confident in your craft and talking about your experience, that is the goal to aspire to. But you can absolutely forge amazing healthy, thriving relationships with brands via email. Totally a hundred percent. So I don’t want to scare people away, but I do think there is a lot of power in jumping on a call.
Megan Porta: Absolutely. You’re not going to get to that point where you’re super comfortable if you’re not doing it. So I always say, even if it’s scary and uncomfortable, do it anyway. Even if you mess up your words and you don’t say everything perfectly, at least you’re doing it.
Justin Moore: Here’s my push to people listening to hear that, which is that, you need repetitions under your belt. Okay? So that you don’t screw up your dream partnership, is my advice. So you want to be doing that. You want to go out there, you’re going to make some mistakes. It’s inevitable. I’m trying to help educate people so they don’t have to make as many mistakes. It’s going to happen. You’re gonna have uncomfortable and awkward conversations with brands and you’re just gonna be like next time, I’m not going to say something like that. I’m not going to say, oh, I hope you’re comfortable with this thing that I’m proposing. No, you’re right. So you just constantly improve and then you’re going to get to the point where it’s oh my gosh, you get an email in your inbox from your dream brand and then it’s, I got this. I’m not going to screw this one up.
Megan Porta: Oh, I love that advice. That’s so great. Okay. Let’s get back to our mistakes. Do you have any more mistakes that creators make?
Justin Moore: Okay. So two more quick ones. Not offering multiple packages. I think this is really critical. A lot of times brands will message creators and they’ll just be like, oh yeah, sure. My rate for one blog post and a round of social sharing is $2,000. It’s very reactive. So my next level tactic that I teach is no, you need to be offering multiple packages at different price points. Even if the brand didn’t ask you for that. Because essentially what happens is that you have to understand as a creator, when a brand reaches out to you for a campaign, they’re probably not just working with you. They’re probably working with, let’s say 10, 20, 30, 50, a hundred other creators. If it’s a giant campaign. So by offering multiple packages, let’s say they ask for in the email, they asked you for one post, but you’re offering let’s say four posts in your highest tier. The brand all of a sudden realizes oh wow, we can actually hire this creator to make four pieces of content. Then that means that we don’t have to deal with three other creators as part of this campaign. So it’s just one email thread, right? It’s one contract. Maybe you’re giving them some sort of volume concession or something at the highest tier, but you have essentially upsold yourself. You’ve won more business because you understand, again, it comes back to asking questions. When you say, oh, how many other creators are you working with on this partnership? If they say 20m you should get money signs in your eyes and be like, oh, okay. I’m going to do some upselling. I’m going to say you can work with me. I know you didn’t ask for this, but you can do four or five posts with me and basically you’re making the brands or the agencies life easier. So it’s a very easy way to upsell your sponsorships and make more money. Even if the brand isn’t thinking about that.
Megan Porta: It goes back to what you said in the beginning about us being a production company in a box. So if we can present ourselves like that, then that is way more appealing than separating out our jobs into five different people.
Sponsor: I just want to take a really quick break here so that we can talk about a few things going on at Eat Blog Talk, and then we will dive right back into her conversation.
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One more quick thing, and we can dive back into the episode. As of the time I’m recording this, there are a couple spots left in the Eat Blog Talk mastermind program. I am closing this group down at the end of the year. So December 31st, 2021 will be the last day that you can apply to get inside this group. We likely will open up another mastermind group in the future, but there are no set plans for that currently. I want to fill this group. Get the value rolling even more than it already is. It’s so powerful inside. So if you’re interested, go to eatblogtalk.com, fill out an application, and get on the waitlist. I hope you’re a great fit. I hope to see you inside. Thank you. Now we can get back to the episode.
Justin Moore: I think really the last major thing about mistakes is just not knowing when to walk away. I think a lot of creators feel like when they get down the road of a negotiation and just something doesn’t feel right. There’s something in your gut that just is like a red flag. This just doesn’t seem right. You are completely within your rights to walk away. Because at the end of the day, not only do you need to be comfortable with the partnership, but you need to be attuned to your audience, right? If you have this gut feeling that it’s just not going to go over well, and they’re trying to force you to do things and say things that aren’t really authentic to you, you cannot ignore that. I think it’s a really critical thing that when you finally feel the power to say no, you’re going to naturally start manifesting the partnerships that are the right ones. Because you’re going to free up your time and your mental real estate to focus on the brands that really do truly value you. I hear this a lot, which is like creators, they’re doing a lot of these couple hundred dollar deals, thousand dollar deals and they’re just doing like a large volume of them. It just seems like they just can’t get past that edge of finding the brands that are willing to compensate them fairly. So my recommendation is you’re going to have to stop doing a lot of those deals to be able to start going out there and doing cold pitches and reaching out to brands proactively, not just through the brand deal platforms and things like that too. There really is power in the word no. That helps get you to where you want to be.
Megan Porta: I feel like so much energy and time can be opened up for us if we just listen to our gut more. It’s so hard to do, especially when money’s involved and you feel the pressure to make money and find ways to earn more money. You’re like, oh, a brand is interested. Yes. Even though our gut is telling us this doesn’t feel right. I’ve had that happen before. It’s not good to follow that money, the dollar sign, instead of what your gut is saying. Okay. So we talked about a lot of huge mistakes that gave us a lot of food for thought. So thank you for all of those. What mistakes do you see creators making when brands reach out to them? So not necessarily when we’re seeking out brands, but when we get that random email in our inbox saying, Hey, Megan, I want to work with you. What are the mistakes there?
Justin Moore: Okay. So there’s three main ones that I see. By the way, this is the most typical situation, right? Where creators, you’ve been chugging, you love your craft. You’re trying to build up your platforms. So it’s not like you’re actively out there trying to work with brands. It’s just oh, this opportunity to just randomly show up in my inbox and it’s oh, what do I do? The first thing I want to talk about is responsiveness. Because in, in my experience, there is a very high correlation between the influencers that reply to emails very quickly, let’s say within a few hours and how seamless that partnership will ultimately be. Look, I tell creators, I get you don’t want to constantly keep an eye on your inbox. You can work smarter and not harder. So for example, you can let’s say set alerts in Gmail, for certain keywords like sponsorship or partnership or collaboration or paid or something like that. Ensure that those emails get sent to your let’s say priority inbox. Or you can hire a virtual assistant part-time to triage your email inbox, and maybe alert you about important messages. It’s actually a lot more affordable than I think a lot of people realize. Again, maybe they’re not like doing it for eight hours a day, but maybe they check in for 20 minute blocks three times a day or something for a total of one hour, right? You can honestly find VA’s that will do this for very affordably. Look, I think it’s important to understand how influencer campaigns come together. So when the brand or the agency is actually reaching out to you, that means they’re actually pretty far down the path of execution. If it’s the brand, that person already got their manager’s approval. If it’s an agency they’ve already got the brand’s approval. Typically, when that approval comes, it’s time. So they don’t want to wait three or four days to hear back from you. If they emailed 50 or 75 people, who do you think they’re going to give priority to? The people that email them back right away so they can get this thing going. Here’s another really critical thing is that by not responding for days, you’re basically telling them that if they were to hire you, every single time that they email you, they’re going to have to wait three to four days to hear back.
Megan Porta: That’s a message. It’s sending that message.
Justin Moore: It’s a message and that’s simply not going to cut it. You might say yeah, but if I was hired on the campaign, I would be more timely. But they don’t know that. The timeliness of your first communication is all they have to go off of. So you really do need to treat that moment with the gravity it deserves.
Megan Porta: That doesn’t mean you have to be a slave to your email. You can check your email once a day and be very responsive with that.
Justin Moore: A hundred percent. Exactly. I want to mention one other thing, which is that if you have a manager, I know some creators have managers, make sure you have some sort of agreement with them in place about how quickly they’re going to respond. You might think, but wait, isn’t that the manager’s job to handle all that? You would think so. But two things happen a lot. Either the influencer responds quickly and then CCS their manager, but then the manager doesn’t respond for multiple days or it’s clearly a manager’s email address in the creators business inquiries area or contact form or whatever. But, no one ever responds to those inquiries. So that’s honestly the worst because, like I mentioned, I run an influencer agency and at that point we have no idea if the creator even knows that we’re trying to bring them an opportunity. So I just wanted to mention that because I just make sure that you do your due diligence when adding people to your team to help manage your business.
Megan Porta: That’s a great point. I don’t think so. I do have a VA that checks my email and I assume that happens, but communicating that upfront and being really specific about it I think is really smart. Do you have any other mistakes that you see creators making when brands reach out to them?
Justin Moore: The second mistake I see being made is failing to answer every single question that the brand or the agency asks. Remember I mentioned, when we’re emailing 50 or a hundred creators to see who might be interested in the campaign, let’s say that there’s multiple things that we need to do. For example, like in the food realm, there’s a lot of age specific campaigns, right? So you want to have kids who are a certain age for certain foods and things like that. For example: the brand or the agency is asking the ages of your kids or where you live, because the product isn’t available in all parts of the world or the country. Especially if you have an affinity for that product, right? Have you already posted about the brand organically before? If so, can you send that to the brand? So again, the chances of the brand picking you are going to go way up if they already know that you’re a fan of the product. I’m going to be real with you. More than 50% of the time, 50% of the time, influencers either don’t answer any of the questions or only ever answer some of them. Which means that we have to follow up with them, which means that’s more emails multiplied by however many creators didn’t answer everything. I always say look, your number one job as a creator is to make it easy for them. So if you illustrate that you have incredible attention to detail, you answer all their questions. Even if they don’t ask for it, you send them a link to a piece of content that you made a few months ago talking about the brand, you’re going to instantly zoom to the top of their list of creators that they’re going to recommend to their manager or their agency, to the client.
Megan Porta: I suppose that people get so excited that brands reach out to them that they’re like, I have to hurry and respond back, but they don’t take the time to thoroughly look through and make sure that they’re addressing every single question.
Justin Moore: Yup. Yup. Then the last item that I would say is not following up. Let’s say that you did a great job, right? You responded within a day or a couple of hours. You were very professional when you negotiated, the brand of the agency seemed really upbeat and generally they were just good vibes all around. Then what? They probably said something like, okay we’re going to think everything through or if it’s an agency we’re going to circle back with the brand. And then, nothing. I think less than five creators follow up at this point. Most people think I don’t want to bother them. If they really want to move forward with me, they’re going to reach out. While that can be true, you as a creator should use this downtime to continue to illustrate how good of a partner that you’re going to be on this campaign. See, you’re probably right. What’s likely happening is they just haven’t selected which influencers they’re going to move forward with yet. But if they’re trying to decide between you and someone else who has a similar following as you, similar audience demographics or whatever, but you’re the one who followed up with them two or three times over the last month? Which influencer do you think they’re going to go with? It’s probably you, right? You seem the most interested. You’re definitely the most communicative.Which let me tell you is a huge part of what makes a collaboration successful. I can’t tell you how many deals we’ve done, where it was like pulling teeth to get every single thing from the creator. It took multiple emails to get their concept from them, and then for the brand that they could review it before they shot. It took multiple emails to get drafts of the content for review. Those are all the little details that go into a partnership that brands and agencies think about. So if you can show them at the very beginning that you’re going to be super easy to work with, it’s going to be a no-brainer decision for them to hire you.
Megan Porta: How much time do you recommend letting pass until you follow up through another email?
Justin Moore: To some degree, I think you need to observe the cadence or the timeline of how quickly it seems like they’re needing to get this thing turned around. So if they, especially, if they outline a timeline for the partnership, you need to give yourself some grace and be like, okay, they said that they need this content in 10 days. So I’m probably gonna follow up in one day if that’s the case. Because I can’t wait four days, because then I’ll have no time to complete this if they select me. So I think to some degree you also need to understand how these things come together. By that same token, if it’s them just saying, oh, we’re doing initial outreach for 2022 ambassadorship… My wife and I just had a call yesterday for a 2022 potential ambassadorship. So it’s something that has a little bit more lead time. So maybe you give yourself five to six days to follow up after the initial information. It’s all about whose court the ball is in, I would say. You might think, okay, the ball’s in their court. I already said my rates and stuff. No, you don’t need to wait for them to respond. You can follow up and provide additional value. This is one of my favorite things I teach in my courses. At that point, for example, let’s say you send over all your packages, you send all the information that they asked for. Then the next follow-up is not, oh, Hey, I just wanted to follow up. See how things are going. No, that’s not what you do. What you do is you continue to provide value. So for example, let’s say the campaign is going to be on TikToK. Oh, there’s this really interesting article that I just saw on TikToK about how successful you can be, how successful food brands are on TikToK or something. So it’s very easy to find industry focused articles about this kind of stuff. You send that to the brand and be like, oh, Hey, by the way, just want to check in. I saw this article, I thought of you .We’d love to chat about this or something like that. You’re continuing to provide value in every communication that you send to the brand.
Megan Porta: Is it like you’re finding holes and not in a bad way, but just maybe the photos on their site are bad or they’re missing or something like that? Where you can say, oh, I noticed that you’re lacking photos. I can help you with that. Things like that.
Justin Moore: Megan, you’re speaking my language now. That’s exactly what you do. So like how many brands have you seen, you come across let’s say their Instagram or something and their content sucks, right? You love their product, but the quality is not great. They’re not posting super frequently. Maybe they’re posting like once every three weeks or something. How powerful would it be if you go to that brand and say, I know you asked me to do a recipe post and social shares and stuff. But I would love to help you take your social strategy to the next level. I can create five to 10 photos or reels or videos for you every single week or every single month or whatever. It’s going to be $2,500 a month but this will help take your brand presence to the next level on platform X. Right? All of a sudden you just gave yourself a recurring payday as a creator. So you are not confined as a creator to what the brand is pitching to you. I’ve had so many creators who have gone through my course, who’ve done this. They’ve turned this type of thing into a full-time job with a brand because they have pitched these different types of partnerships.
Megan Porta: So as the consultant, we are pointing out those things that they really need that they’re missing because we’ve got it all.We’re that entire box. I want to talk about when we get those emails that we’ve all gotten. Every food blogger listening can relate to what I’m saying right now. When they say, I have a great product, I’d love to send it to you. I would love for you to try it out. It’s this weird question mark. Okay. I’d love your free product, but am I going to get paid for this? How do we deal with that?
Justin Moore: Oh, yeah. That’s my favorite one. What I have found is that a lot of creators are very bitter and jaded about this kind of thing, because this happens all the time. What I have often found is that creators do not make the ask. Which is they need to ask, you need to say, pay me. Because a lot of creators what happens is they’ll do this, they’ll get the pre-product and then it’s like, they get mad because they’re mad that the brand didn’t offer outright. So what often happens is that what do you think is going to happen when they’re sending this product out or email inquiry out to a hundred creators? There are going to be creators out there who say yes. So the default for them is to be like, just assume that you’re going to accept it for free. So the onus is on you to illustrate to them why they should pay you. It’s a lot of this stuff that we’ve talked about. So if all you’re going to be doing is sharing it on your social platforms, then yeah maybe the brand is gonna be like, okay, you’re just like every other creator. But if you’re the one who’s saying, Hey, I took a look at your social profiles. I can create content for you. I’m going to give you the rights to use it for paid advertising for this certain duration. Yes. The investment is going to be XYZ, but here’s all the things that I’m going to offer you. So the onus is on you to craft a very compelling proposal for the brand, for them to be so impressed at your initiative that it’s going to be a no brainer for oh yeah, of course I understand this is going to cost money.
Megan Porta: So it’s really our responsibility. I do see this as a common frustration. People get very upset about this. Oh my gosh, how can they ask me that? It’s like that whole concept of doing what’s in your control. Really, if it’s out of your control, don’t worry about it. So this is taking control of that situation. Maybe researching their website or researching their social media and counter offering with oh, here’s what I can help you with. Here’s my rate or something along those lines.
Justin Moore: Yeah, there, there’s this book that I read recently that I really recommend. It’s called, $100M Offers: How to Make Offers So Good People Feel Stupid Saying No. It’s by Alex Hormozi. The big takeaway that I got from this book is that your job is to make your interaction with the brand so unique, so unlike working with any other creator that it won’t feel like a transaction to them. You’re essentially going to help them. You’re a consultant, you’re parachuting into their business. You’re helping them identify gaps in their marketing strategies on social media. It’s going to feel like the best ROI they’ve ever gotten for a marketing investment. So it’s, again, it’s all about asking questions. What is success going to look like? Can you share experiences, your experience with working with other creators in the past? What worked well? What didn’t work so well. What social platforms are your customers most active on? Are there platforms where you’re still trying to figure out your strategy? So what do these questions accomplish? First of all, do you think 99% of creators are asking these things? No. They’re not asking these things. They’re saying, oh, sure my rate for one blog post or one IG post is $2,000. So by showing even the slightest bit of interest in the brand’s objectives, you’re not another creator now. You are not just another influencer, food blogger on Instagram or TikTok. That is why they’re going to pay you.
Megan Porta: Okay. I’m writing like all these amazing quotes you’re saying down. Don’t be just another creator. I love that. You don’t have to be like everyone else. Stand out in some way. What else? Is there anything else that we could touch on regarding that issue?
Justin Moore: One thing I really wanted to make sure we covered is like how creators can make brand deals sustainable. Because I think that there’s a lot of creators who really struggle with this kind of one-off thing. Where they get a lot of one-off deals. It’s on the platforms or the brands reaching out. They don’t really understand. They think, I know I can make good money working with brands, but how can I rely on that income?” How can I make sure that this is a dependable source of income in addition to the other ways I’m making money as a food blogger. So I wanted to discuss this concept of what I call a pipeline. So let’s talk a little bit about how long sometimes it takes to bring a partnership together. So you get the initial email from the brand, let’s say. Then you are going back and forth over email for let’s say a week or two, sometimes longer. You agree on the deal terms, then you get the contract. Sometimes there’s back and forth on the contract, right? It’s a week or two with the legal team, even longer, sometimes. You sign the contract, then you’ve got to submit a concept before you create the content, to get that approved. That’s going to be a week or two. They provide feedback. Sometimes you gotta go back to the drawing board, provide new concepts. Then they give you the green light, finally. Then you create the content. That’s going to be another, depending on how many assets, it’s another week or two or three. Then you submit the draft content for review to the brand. Then there’s another feedback round where the brand provides you their edits and their feedback. Then you’ve got to submit that again for final approval. Then the brand finally approves it. Then you may be posted in another week or two. Then you’re going to get paid another 30 to 60 days from that point, when you actually post it. Or 90 days sometimes. It’s crazy. So if we added all of that time up, you probably see pretty quickly that from start to finish, from when that money hits your bank account, it’s probably going to be four or five months. Or maybe three months at the minimum. So it’s not enough for you to sit here as a creator and be like, oh, I don’t know how I’m going to pay my rent next month. As a creator, you need to have a much longer term perspective and what I call a sales pipeline as a creator. So what that means is that you have a bunch of different brands at different phases of the sales process that you’re working with at any given time. So you have some brands who are like just initial conversations. You have some brands who you’re in negotiations with. You have some brands who are in the execution phase, and you’ve obviously, you get quickly overwhelmed by this, but I teach that you need to have an organization system to keep track of where everyone’s at in this process. But that is how you ensure that you have kind of an even brand deal income. So it’s not super lumpy where I’ll get this brand deal and then it’s oh, I don’t get one for another couple months. It’s very anxiety inducing, I think. You just don’t know where that next paycheck is going to come from. So you really do need to have much more of a business mindset when it comes to working with brands as a creator. Because let me tell you, we have made so much more money working with brands and pretty much any other revenue source as a creator. So it’s yeah, we’re on YouTube. We get AdSense. We have affiliates, merch, you have courses and digital products and stuff. So we were making money in other ways. Brand deals, you can make so much more money, especially in food. So we do food, we do family, we do all the stuff. This is the primary, one of the major primary categories that brands want to work with is food creator. So I hope if there’s one takeaway that people get from this discussion, it is brand partnerships can be a much more meaningful part of your revenue sources as a creator than you may have thought.
Megan Porta: I think we’re all gonna eat this up. This is such great information. I agree. There’s so much opportunity. It’s just, some of these pieces that we’ve talked about today seem really overwhelming or insurmountable. How could I ever get on a call? There’s so many different pieces that are maybe a challenge in our minds. So thank you for breaking all of us down and making it seem like it’s worth it, if you dig into it, if you really do want to dig into a new revenue stream and make connections with brands. It is definitely worth the effort.
Justin Moore: Let me lend one more thought here. Which is that I think a lot of creators think that every brand in the sun has worked with creators and influencers before. That is definitely not the case. Not only are there new brands being created every day, but there are thousands and thousands of brands who have literally never worked with a creator or an influencer before. They’re terrified. They’re terrified. They’re scared of it. They don’t understand it. They think it’s unpredictable. They feel like they’re going to lose control if they let someone talk about their product and stuff. You think that’s crazy because we’re so deep in this world that it’s just oh, of course brands work with creators. That’s crazy. But no, there are so many. There’s still so many brands that will find your expertise so exciting and valuable and they’ll pay you money for it. Don’t think that you need to be this like expert guru on social strategy and bringing campaigns together. No, just be your authentic self. There will be brands out there tha value that.
Megan Porta: That makes it so much less intimidating when you think of it that way. We tend to put them up on a pedestal like they know everything. They know exactly how this all goes down and that is not the case.
Justin Moore: Totally.
Megan Porta: Justin, thank you. This has been so amazing. I’ve literally taken three pages worth of notes, so good. So much value here. I am not going to be the only one to think that. So just thank you for your time today. We really appreciate you.
Justin Moore: Absolutely. Absolutely. If anyone would like to follow me, I drop a lot of these 280 character gems on Twitter, if you want to follow me. Then I also, I think would be probably most exciting to people here is that I have a completely free newsletter that I send out every single week with new sponsorship opportunities. So it’s like a lot of them are actually food focused because I just see a lot of those types of deals. I’m very plugged in with a lot of different sources of where all these deals are coming from. You can maybe check the show notes, maybe you can include it in there. The link will be in there. Then I mentioned briefly doing the course, but I also teach a course called Brand Deal Wizard, and I run it three times a year. It’s a cohort-based course. So it’s actually taught live over zoom over four weeks. So if anyone is interested, you can just go to branddealwizard.com to find out more.
Megan Porta: Awesome. Yes, everyone go check it out. Before we go, before we wrap up, Justin, do you have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration to share.
Justin Moore: Yeah, I would say my words of inspiration, which I’ve tried to emphasize over the course of this interview, is just being your authentic self is what is going to differentiate you from other creators out there. Inherently social media is a comparison game. That person has so many more followers than me or they’re getting so many more partnerships than me and things like that. The biggest advice I can give is you’re only on your own timeline, right? There’s no other timeline that matters other than your own. You create great content, you create great brand partnerships and that is enough. That is okay. So comparing yourself to how the life that other people have is the quickest way to burn yourself out as a creator. So I always try to encourage creators, you’re on your own path and that’s all that matters.
Megan Porta: Ah, such wise words to end on. Thank you for that too. So you mentioned show notes. We will put all of this in the show notes. So if you guys want to go peak at that, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/creatorwizard to get all of those goodies that Justin was talking about. Check him out there and are you on Instagram?
Justin Moore: I am on Instagram at Creator Wizard.
Megan Porta: Okay. So go follow Justin there too. Thank you again, Justin, for being here. So great to talk to you today and to connect. Thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time.
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