YouTube BrandConnect started sometime in early 2023, but it’s been accessible to only a small subset of YouTubers. At Feisworld, we have finally been granted access to BrandConnect and want to share our firsthand experience from a creator’s perspective.
We want to go beyond what it is, what we think it can do. Instead, we will break down the pros and cons, showing you the benefits of using BrandConnect to create assets such as a media kit directly through BrandConnect, revenue potentials, and limitations. Most importantly, we do not believe in sitting and waiting for brands to reach out to you. So we included BrandConnect alternatives and steps you can pursue proactively to engage with brands.
What is YouTube BrandConnect?
BrandConnect is a new platform where top brands can reach out to YouTube creators directly in YouTube Studio to collaborate on their upcoming campaigns.
BrandConnect is currently invitation-only and available only to YouTubers in the US and India. Here’s what the invitation email looks like:
How to Qualify and Gain Access to BrandConnect
There are no clear guidelines to qualify for BrandConnect other than:
- Your YouTube channel is monetized and you are part of YouTube’s Partnership Program
- Typically we’ve seen YouTubers with 25k subscribers or more to receive the invitation first (although for Feisworld, we received the invitation when we were just short of 24K subs)
- YouTube channels based in US and India (as of Fall 2023)
How to Get Started Once Approved
Once you receive the approval email, it’s as simple as hitting “Get Started” to activate BrandConnect and accept their Terms and Conditions.
What BrandConnect looks like inside your YouTube Studio:
How to View and Edit a Media Kit using BrandConnect
You can view your Media Kit inside BrandConnect directly without doing any extra work. Click on “View Media Kit”, here’s what Feisworld Media’s Media Kit looks like:
Furthermore, you can edit certain sections inside the Media Kit including Audience Interests, and Shopping Interests by clicking on the 3-dot and choosing 5 categories to display on your Media Kit. However, these selections are only temporary for you to generate new versions of the Media Kit. Once you exit BrandConnect, these sections will default to their original categories.
How to Set Your Suggested Price (as a Creator) for Brands and Advertisers
There’s a section (lower-right-hand) corner inside BrandConnect called “Set your suggested prices”. This is exactly what it sounds, where you can enter your prices for creating a long-form and a short-form video. These fields are optional, brands and advertisers can still reach out to you even if you haven’t specified your prices here.
As for Feisworld, we have been partnering with brands since 2020, and we feel comfortable entering our prices in these fields. Once entered, you can also change them at any time.
How much are you getting paid as a creator? And what’s YouTube’s cut?
Believe it or not, I couldn’t find any verbiage that answers this obvious question. It appears to be that whatever you end up negotiating with the brand is what you will get paid for, in full. Unlike the YouTube Partnership Program where YouTube generally takes about 45%, and you keep 55% (before taxes), BrandConnect doesn’t point out their cut. For now, assume you’ll be paid for what you asked and negotiated for. It’s also possible that YouTube will automatically charge an additional fee on the backend directly to brands and advertisers when the deal is completed. If this is the case, it’ll make creators’ lives a lot easier.
Pros and Cons with BrandConnect
BrandConnect’s user interface doesn’t seem like anything groundbreaking. And to begin working with a brand, the brand has to reach out to you first.
In other words, selected brands will have visibility into your channel, and your stats, but not the other way around. You cannot proactively contact any brands for collaborations.
On the brighter side, BrandConnect is a leap forward for some YouTubers, including those who are actively growing their channels and want to consolidate the brand partnership effort as part of YouTube Studio, without having to manually reach out to brands and be able to organize everything including contracts, deliverables, payments all within a single platform.
If you have followed me for a while on Feisworld, you probably know exactly how I’d respond to BrandConnect’s limitations. No, I will not sit and wait for brands to contact me.
We, as creators, have more power and control if we proactively treat our creative work as a business.
Learn how to win brand deals on your own
- Proactively reach out to influencer managers, content managers, and marketing directors from brands you love to work with.
- Remember to approach multiple people within the same company (we recommend at least 2-3 to start), and contact multiple companies that are of interest.
- Don’t just focus on tier-1 brands. They tend to work with big YouTubers and creators. Instead, consider your brand outreach similar to how you applied to colleges back in the day, create your list of safety brands, match brands, and reach brands as part of your outreach.
- Stay organized and keep track of inbound and outbound leads using tools such as HubSpot (one of our favorites). And yes, their free version is very powerful.
If you want to learn more about how to win brand deals with a sustainable approach and templates (including email templates), be sure to check out our mini-course here.
Working with influencer agencies
Most influencer agencies are designed for creators with over 100k followers (and often much more). This makes most influencer management agencies out of reach for micro and small creators.
Here’s one reason why influencer agencies won’t take on micro or small influencers. When you get started working with brands and advertisers, the payment you could expect from a single or a series of videos is quite limited (think $300 or less, and generally under $1000 for channels with less than 50K followers). Agencies will need to take a small portion of your income when they bring brands to you. If that portion is too small, then it doesn’t warrant a sustainable business. Hence they are much more likely to work with big creators whose brand deals start at 5K, 10K, or more.
In addition, I argue that you have much more control if you learn to work with brands on your own first by picking up the necessary business and negotiation skills. They take practice, and you will make mistakes, but the journey is invaluable and will benefit you for years to come.
For Brands and Advertisers Looking for YouTubers
For any Brands and Advertisers (which are used interchangeably as part of BrandConnect), how exactly can you reach out to YouTubers?
I have researched this quite a bit on Google but couldn’t find definitive answers. As strange as it sounds, there’s no manual for brands to sign up for BrandConnect and reach out to creators directly. As it turned out, this isn’t how it works for brands in general. Instead, brands likely need to work with their Google AdSense representatives to set things up so that they can reach out to YouTubers for collaborations.
From what I can see on Reddit, Quora, and YouTube communities, the process isn’t so straightforward. It’s also the case that not every advertiser or brand has an AdSense rep. We have worked with brands with AdSense reps only if they consistently spend a certain amount on ads each month. To learn more about AdSense and how to sign up as a brand, you may want to give Google a call using the number listed on their BrandConnect page: 1-877-763-9810
Let us know what you end up learning and I’d love to include additional insights on this article.
Conclusion: Is BrandConnect right for you as a creator?
The short answer is yes. Once you are accepted into the program, it can be treated as an additional income and exposure to other brands.
On the flip side, just because it’s convenient, it doesn’t make BrandConnect the best or the only option. I urge you to connect directly with brands through the people who run their influencer and content programs. One of the best and also free channels to do that is LinkedIn.
Another option is to join your favorite brands’ affiliate programs and start creating content for them proactively as seen here on Feisworld’s blog. Several brands have reached out to us in this past month alone because they have seen one of our ranking blog posts or videos on YouTube related to their products. Whenever I receive an affiliate email reminding me of new features and encouraging us to create more content, I’ll respond directly to the affiliate managers and find out if there are paid opportunities.
Start creating, start connecting, and then the rest will follow. Good luck creators! Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback below. I’ll continue to develop this article as I learn more.
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