As an influencer network that has been in the business of providing meaningful work and value to both influencers and brands for more than a decade, we know firsthand how much the topic of compensating influencers properly has changed over the past decade (and, surprisingly, we still see brands that are hesitant to compensate influencers for their work!).

If you had the pleasure of attending Mom 2.0 Summit recently, you may have had the chance to hear from Janssen of Everyday Reading share how influencers can negotiate their rates when it comes to working with brands and agencies. As an influencer who now owns and operates two personal brands, Janssen has had a lot of experience with negotiation over the years. She acknowledged her original mindset was to establish high rates, suggesting at the 2017 summit that influencers should charge more. However, she reinforced this year the importance of creating a win-win for both parties instead. Read more for some takeaways from her talk on how influencers can negotiate (and should!) for their work.

“Brands aren’t there to help your dreams come true!”

Janssen made this point to underscore that if your following and influence simply don’t exist, “you can’t expect a brand to pay you to gain influence.” As you are starting up, it may be worth your while to work for free. By doing that, you’re proving to a brand that you will work hard and that you have a genuine affinity for their product or service. In fact, that’s how Janssen was able to get her foot in the door with Stitch Fix!

She also pointed out that sometimes agencies have a bigger budget and can be flexible, but other times, they simply don’t.

When negotiating, Janssen suggested asking yourself: “What areas am I influential in?” and using those as proof points for your negotiation. It’s important to note that sheer numbers and traffic do not guarantee higher rates; some brands consider that to be the ultimate marker of success, but others place higher importance on imagery or engagement, for instance.

Photo from Mom 2 Summit 2018

Tips for Negotiating

Janssen suggested asking about the rate off the bat; you don’t want to wait until you’re halfway into a campaign before agreeing to compensation and the terms!

As you’re in those discussions, be upfront about your standard pricing (media kits that include case studies and proof of your performance for brands can be helpful for making your case). And, remind the brand or agency contact of past successes. After all, if you are going to charge more, you’ll need to tell them why you’re worth that price.

If budget is too restrictive, you can get creative, too: influencers can negotiate other work, like photography, more or fewer social posts, coupons, products or other discounts that are beneficial for both you and the brand.

Making it a Win-Win

To make it a win-win for both parties involved, you’ll need to understand how you can help achieve the brand’s goals. The best way of doing this? Ask about their goals and what a “win” would look like for the brand at the onset of a campaign. Understand how the brand is measuring success and develop your content accordingly.

Another great way to be memorable and hopefully secure repeat business is to over-deliver on your original asks, and efficiently (think over a 1- to 2-day period) give your readers/followers multiple touch points and exposure to the brand.

Finally, merchandising your success is key! Report back with insights, screenshots of great engagement, comments or other interesting takeaways from your work.

We’d love to hear your best negotiation tips! Share with us in the comments.