In 2015, I received my first email from a brand looking to collaborate with me. After recovering from the initial shock of it all, I stopped to actually read through the email. They loved my work. They were interested in working with me. And of course, they wanted to know what my rates were. Now, at that stage of my content creation life, I knew not the first thing about how to create a rate card.
After doing a little bit of research, I learned that there really isn’t a cut and dry answer for questions like, “how much should I charge” and “what are other influencers in my industry charging.” Unfortunately, this information is just not readily available.
I like to think of myself as an open book and I genuinely want to see more and more influencers receiving compensation for their work. I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post that I used to work for a pretty big cosmetics brand and a big part of my job was working with influencers, negotiating rates/contracts and all that good stuff. I’m also a beauty influencer. As such, I have a bit of insight to share from both perspectives.
This article is the first of my #PaidToCreate series that is all about helping bloggers and influencers secure brand collaborations and ultimately secure the bag. If you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more in-depth information on these topics.
Okay! Now that that’s out of the way, let’s hop right into this good-good information and figure out how to create a rate card and appropriately price yourself.
What the Heck is A Rate Card?
If you read through the intro and scratched your head upon hearing the term rate card, fret not. You know, I’ve got you! A rate card is essentially a document (JPEG, PowerPoint, PDF, etc.) that spells out your services and the cost for those services. Simple right. Yes, it all seems so simple. However, things get a bit tricky when it comes to setting a fair price point and knowing how to negotiate with brands that may not want to come off of those coins. It happens. Quite a bit, actually!
How Do You Establish Your Rates For The First Time?
As I mentioned earlier, when I first started out as a content creator, I didn’t know what was an acceptable amount to ask for when entering into brand collaborations. I was as clueless as a thumbtack, okay! So the first thing that I did was conduct some research. I checked in with my best friend, Google. I asked some of my fellow influencer friends. I literally looked for information wherever I could find it. After doing this research, I looked at the rates that I received and looked for any commonalities. For example, maybe a good number of influencers were asking for $50 for one Instagram post. From there, you can decide whether or not you want to price yourself the same as those influencers or higher/lower.
What Are Some Things To Consider When Coming Up With Rates?
Experience/Skills: I won’t sit here and say that experience isn’t important. It is in a lot of cases. However, I think that a lot of times skill, talent and individuality can completely trump experience. When I was managing social media for wet n wild Beauty, if I came across someone that was extremely talented and created good content, I didn’t give a hoot-nanny about how much experience they had. Their talent spoke for itself.
Now, where experience does come in handy is when you get into brand collaborations like Snapchat Takeovers, Live Sessions and the like. I’ve witnessed some really tiny-big disasters in my time from brands that have worked with influencers that weren’t experienced when it came to speaking in front of an audience that was not their own. Like…disaster. But that’s neither here nor there!
The point that I’m making here is that you want to assess your skills and experience level to help you determine what your price point should be. If you have a ton of experience or if you’re mad talented, then make sure your rates reflect such.
Quality. If you wish to collaborate with brands, your content should be up to par. You’re going to have to ask yourself, ‘Self, are you working this content or is this content working you?” This step is important. If a brand feels they cannot repurpose your content or get something out of the collaboration with you, then they’ll be less prone to pay you even a penny.
So take time to perfect your craft. You got this!
Brand Love. Kiki, do you love me?! So Drake is not the only one wondering if you love them. Brands want love too! If you’re interested in working with a brand that you love, be sure to let them know that. If you’ve used their products, let them know that! If you have a following that you know loves their products, let them know that. Don’t keep that love a secret because sometimes it can be the difference between zero dollars and a big payout.
Social Footprint. If you’re a social media rock star with hundreds of thousands of followers across your social media platforms, chances are that you’re already on a brand’s radar. The larger your following, the higher you can price yourself.
Engagement. While your overall social footprint is important, engagement is probably even more important. Brands have become hip to the fact that a lot of folks purchase followers/likes/comments and so they’re starting to pay closer attention to engagement rates. If you don’t have a huge following, then maybe you have a really high engagement rate. Don’t underestimate the power of a strong engagement rate! It holds a lot of power.
*The standard engagement rate is about 3%. You can visit the following website to calculate your engagement rate: https://phlanx.com/engagement-calculator
Time, Energy and Money. Look. Any piece of content that you create is going to require some time, energy and in a lot of cases, money. This should ABSOLUTELY be considered when creating your rate card. For example, if you’re buying flowers for a flatlay or purchasing a new camera lens to achieve a certain look. These things should be factored into your rates.
Finalize Your Rate
Once you’ve completed all of these steps, you should arrive at a rate that you’re comfortable with. Fohr is a great resource for helping you check your rates against other bloggers/influencers. I personally find their numbers to be a bit on the lower side, so keep that in mind when making adjustments. They don’t really account for the quality of your content. If you’re producing some bad a** content, then don’t be afraid to ask for more money.
At this point, you should be able to send out your rates to brands. If you find that you’re not getting responses or if brands are refusing to pay what you’re asking for, you can either stand your ground or reduce your rate. It’s completely up to you. There may even be times where you decide to collaborate for free simply because you love the brand.
These rates do not have to be set in stone. Adjust them accordingly until you find your sweet spot. In the end, it all comes down to doing your research, assessing what you bring to the table and then putting yourself out there!
Best of luck!