• As we move into the new year, you guys are all thinking how am I going to change my station in life. Again, how am I going to make sure that in 12 months in December, I get to make this whole post about how I was in a much different position a year ago. I have grown so much, and it's been such an amazing year, and I have you guys to thank. Thank you so much. Gratitude, gratitude, blah, blah, blah. How do we get there?

    I'm going to talk about all the ways that you can get there, and it's up to you guys. Something we hear a lot of influencers talking about is wanting to get more long term partnerships, specifically year-long ambassador programs. For us, it's something we pitched to our clients all the time. We think we're increasingly pushing our clients into year-long contracts with us, because it makes a lot more sense. I know that influencers enjoy it as well. We just renewed a bunch of this Sephora Squad for next year. We're doing Sephora Squad again. Yes, can I say that? Yes.

    We're doing Sephora Squad again in 2020, which we're super excited about, but those year-long contracts have worked out really really well, and the influencers involved have enjoyed it. Let me give you a few points on how to pitch yourself more effectively for a year-long contract. The first thing I think you want to focus on-- Well, let's step back. First, you need to find the right clients for it. Unlikely that you will be able to pitch in a year-long ambassador program with a brand you've never worked with.

    Possible? Yes. Especially, you're a much bigger influencer. Probable? No. Your best bet for year-long ambassador programs are brands that are already working with you multiple times throughout the year, so get your spreadsheet. Hopefully, you have every brand you've ever worked with, when you worked with them, how much they paid you, the lifetime value of that client, everything like that. Look at the people that worked with you the most, the most number of times. Not who gave you the most money once, but who worked with you the most number of times. Those are your first hot leads to go after.

    Then you go to them. A lot of ways, you're talking about giving them some economies of scale. For those of you that didn't study economics in high school or college, economies of scale essentially say that as the scale of anything gets bigger, the unit costs of that thing go down. If I buy one of these pens, it's a lot more expensive than if I buy a thousand of these pens. It's a lot more expensive than if I buy 10,000 of them per unit. Economies of scale is a driving force in every single business.

    As an influencer, if you're selling 15 posts to a brand, they should be-- if you're selling 15 posts to brand, they should be paying quite a bit less each post than they would if they bought those 15 one-off throughout the year. Does that make sense? Let's do the math this year, because I'm not a huge math guy. Let's say you're selling one post a month, 12 posts for the year, I'd probably sell them that for the price of maybe eight posts, so I think that's like a 35% discount, give or take. Right there you're saying, "Look, you already going to want to work with me, we know that. Doing this saves you 35%."

    The other thing it saves is-- and another thing to talk to brands about and talk them into this is that, if they sign a contract with you in January and they buy 12 posts from you. If you gain 50,000 followers by December, they're not paying for those new 50,000 followers. Any growth that you achieve throughout the year is like a bonus for them. For Sephora Squad, I think the Sephora Squad grew something like 900,000 followers over the course of the year. That was 900,000 more people Sephora was reaching with each post than they had paid for.
    It's a great deal for brands, especially if you're an influencer that's growing really quickly to say, "This is a really good deal. Not only am I giving you a 35%, 40% discount on these posts, but every new follower I gain, you're not paying for that." If you're at 100,000 followers today, and you're charging a thousand dollars a post and you get to 150,000 followers by December, and you're charging $1,500 a post. For them, they paid maybe 650 a post in January. Economically, makes a lot more sense for the brand.

    Now, obviously another thing to talk about is it just makes more sense for the audience. There was a gap between when Sephora Squad ended, and when the people that were re-engaged could announce that they were reengaged. You could see their audience being really upset that the Sephora partnership had ended. It was this year-long robust partnership that felt really authentic, really organic, really natural, and the audiences really enjoyed it. I think that is the holy grail for brands, and something influencers want as well.

    They don't want to work with 10 different brands in the same category. They want to say, "This is my thing, this is my favorite skincare brand, and I'm going to work with them for the whole year." I think that's a much better feeling for you, it's much better for your audience, it's much more authentic, and so why brands should do this is really-- That's the number one. Yes, it is cheaper. More importantly, it's just works better. We also know that people need to see something multiple times. The textbooks will tell you seven times. Seven times to get to a point of purchase. How the hell you're going to do that if you buy two post from you? It doesn't work. You have to see something a lot.

    For a brand working with an influencer. If they don't hit that audience seven times, and they don't know that they can hit them with traditional marketing, or Facebook ads, or Instagram ads on their own, how are they going to sell that product? The year-long contract takes care of that. It allows enough touchpoints throughout the year that we can move that audience through the purchase, and that's an important point to talk about when you're trying to sell this to brands.
    Another thing is flexibility on the brief. If they buy 10, 15, 5, whatever post from you, you don't have to say what each post is about. If it's one a month, they can tell you at the beginning in the month, "We are focusing on sweaters these months, so we want you to do a post on sweaters." If it's a skincare brand, "We're focusing on dry skin because it's winter." You can tell them that you don't have to lock in what every single post is going to be about. You can be flexible. What they're buying is a number of posts from you that they get to use.

    They basically have a credit essentially that they get to use throughout the year. You don't have to set the whole program up. It's way too much if you have to say exactly what you're going to post all year, so make sure that they know that. Two things for you to think about as you negotiate these things is exclusivity. If brands are giving you a year-long ambassador program, certainly they have to pay for exclusivity. Yes, but they're coming through with big money potentially or certainly a large contract.

    I think that you as an influencer also have to respect that, and know that it might mean having to turn down some of their competitors, and you should have that conversation beforehand. Are they willing to pay for exclusivity? Probably, not. That would be very very expensive for category exclusivity for something like skincare, but you might want to ask, "Look, are there any brands that you really really hate? Are there any brands that you'd be really upset if I work with?"
    As a beauty influencer let's say, it's natural that you're going to post about a lot of different brands. People want to see you try a lot of different things, but a lot of brands have like an arch-enemy brand that like if you work with that brand, they're going to be really pissed off. Think about it from a brand's perspective. I buy 15 posts from you, I put my trust in you. I don't have to do that. I don't have to buy 15 posts from you, but I do.

    Then my competitor sees that, comes along six months later, and buys one post from you, and you post about it and say, "I love this product so much." How am I going to feel? I'm going to feel like, "Wait, I'm paying you 10 times as much as this brand, and you're just going to go and post about them?" It's best to have those conversations early. Talk about that. Again, for exclusivity, they have to pay. Look, there's two sides for that and you have to understand that. Let's say you have a year-long ambassador program with Canon and then Nikon comes along and wants you to do a post for them. You think Canon's going to be stoked on that? No. You would have to turn that down, I think.

    To maintain your relationship with Canon in that instance, you have to turn it down even if they don't pay for the exclusivity. That may not be fair, but again, you have to think about, again, what is the nature of my relationship with brand A that is paying me for a year-long ambassador program and brand B that's come in and give me one post. Is it worth jeopardizing my relationship with brand A, which might renew for another year next year, to get one post from brand B? Probably not.

    Look, that's a lot of stuff. We can dig into year-long ambassador programs more if you'd like and get more into the nitty-gritty. Now is the time to pitch yourself for them. They make sense for you, they make sense for the brand and I think they make sense for your audience. Go get those.
    Episode #181
    - Looking ahead to 2020, Manifesting growth, Year-long partnerships