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Being an online marketer, it’s up to you to find new and more effective ways to market your brand. Sticking to traditional advertising channels will cause you to drown out in the crowd.
Most marketers think that they should be looking for content publishers/bloggers to promote their businesses, but there is one very significant group that they are missing out on:
There is a huge trend in video-based influencers taking over as major players in the industry. And one of the most popular platforms that these influencers use? YouTube.
YouTube is the second most visited website in the world only after Google. Not utilizing the potential of this powerful platform would be a mistake.
In this article, we are going to talk about the steps and best practices you can follow to find the right YouTuber to represent your brand. We will also talk about how you can reach out to them effectively to form a successful collaboration.
How To Find The Right YouTuber For Collaboration
Step 1: Set Goals
The first step you need to take before you start any kind of marketing campaign is to create a timeline and plan for your outreach. This will help you set concrete goals, targets, etc.
Get creative and create a timeline graphic using a tool like Venngage. A graphic like this will allow you to convey your timeline clearly to your team, and in this case, the YouTube influencer as well.
Use these timeline graphics to hold you and your team accountable.
My personal goals for this phase is to reach out to 10 influencers per month with a persistent (but not annoying) cadence. I’m hoping that I can get responses and continue the conversation with at least three of the influencers. The others that didn’t respond should be bumped for six months before you reach out again.
Step 2: Fix Your Budget
Once your plan and timeline are in place, it’s time to fix a budget for your outreach. There are different levels of YouTubers based on their popularity, number of subscribers, and the average number of video views
A majority of Youtube influencers will request sponsorship money rather than being paid on a performance basis. YouTubers that have millions of subscribers and millions of average video views will charge you much more compared to smaller YouTubers. If you have a budget of $10,000, do you want to do a test with two influencers at $5,000 each? Or would you like to test 20 influencers at $500 each?
Personally I like to test on a wider scale. If I can find 10 influencers that will take $1000, I’m going to get a good mix of results. Some will be stinkers; just chalk it up to a learning lesson. However, there are going to be few that blow up and make you look real good.
The important thing to keep in mind here is that you need to first identify your target audience, and then choose the category of YouTubers that caters to your specific audience.
Step 3: Identify Your Target Audience
Suppose you own a business that sells high-end, luxurious, and expensive make-up. Would you rather target an audience of:
- A) women
- B) women between the ages of 30-50 years, who have already shown interest in expensive cosmetics?
The second group would make more sense since there is a higher chance of those women purchasing your products.
Create a target customer profile and then look for influencers with an audience most similar to your created profile. Find a free customer avatar creator that will help you narrow down exactly who you should be targeting.
Google is constantly identifying Youtube viewers and categorizing them. They share that data freely (not all of it) with each Youtube channel. When you reach out to influencers, request they send you stats on their audience. If they can’t provide that to you, they probably aren’t a partner you want to work with.
Step 4: Find Prospective YouTubers
Now that you have set your budget and created your target customer profile, it’s time to find prospective YouTubers to pitch to.
You can do this in two ways. The first is using Google search and YouTube search to type in your keywords and find a list of influencers you could pitch to.
Pretty straightforward right?
But the problem with this method is that you get an unfiltered list that you need to personally check for audience, number of subscribers, and other information.
The second way (and the simpler method) is to use special tools with lists and filters that help you pick a handful of YouTubers according to the criteria you enter.
These tools have a database of YouTube influencers along with a ton of information about them such as their subscriber bases, locations, and average video views.
My first stop is always SocialBlade. This free tool will give you quick stats on all the Youtube channels, along with a grade for the influencers. I really love the “similar channels” feature that will give you a list of 20 other channels that might be good prospects.
If you are willing to invest other resources, here are some other tools that make life even easier
BuzzSumo is an excellent resource for finding all social stats on each influencer. You’ll be able to find the right contact info and keep track of who you reach out to as well.
FameBit is a content platform that helps you easily connect with influencers that are ready and willing to make partnership deals. You can negotiate the terms and price right on their platform.
GrapeVine a great influencer platform focused on Instagramers.
TubeBuddy is a Youtube video optimization tool that helps influencers maximize the SEO value. I use this to view how much care the influencers take in optimizing each video.
Influicity is more of a turnkey solution that will find the right influencers for your brand and negotiate the deal on your behalf. They excel with podcasts and other avenues besides Youtube as well.
Influenza has a really nice solution to turning the keywords you want into a nice list of potential partners.
Step 6: Study the Youtuber and Build a Relationship
It may look like a certain YouTuber is the perfect choice for your brand with their target audience and their average number of video views. However, it is crucial that the influencer resonates with your brand and can portray your products or services in a way that is consistent with your brand image.
Remember: always choose compatibility over popularity.
It also pays to take time and build a relationship with the influencer. You could create a podcast and host popular YouTubers in your niche. This will allow you to build a good rapport with them and their followers.
You can then cross-promote with them hosting you on their YouTube channel so that both your brand as well as the influencer get recognized by each other’s audiences.
I have personally found that offering influencers something upfront is key to kicking off the partnership on the right foot. It can be something small like a free product, or a linkback to their site. You want to get them invested, not only in your product, but in your relationship.
Step 7: Reach out to Youtube Influencers Strategically
If you own a small brand (one that’s not yet well-known), you will need to build authority before you approach video influencers. Remember that you are spending time and energy to find and reach out to these influencers, and all efforts will be in vain if you don’t do it strategically.
Local citations are a great way to link to your business online. They could mention your address, phone numbers, and website address.
Local citations could be in the form of business directories, social media mentions, photo citations or video citations. They help you improve your SEO and gain organic traffic.
Before reaching out to video influencers, try to obtain local video citations with a service like Loganix to build authority.
This will help you provide samples and expertise to your target influencers, rather than cold pitching them with nothing to show or offer.
Take a sales outbound approach where you start sales engagement tactics on YouTubers. The Outbound Sales Playbook by Reply has some great tips on beginning an effective outreach campaign.
Here is one of the tips from the book:
“Even the most complex sales process can be automated, without losing any of the personalization and quality that gets you results.” – Outbound Sales Playbook
Sounds great, doesn’t it? What a perfect way to save time and build a strategic process!
In your outreach, be sure to offer a calendar invite that allows the prospect to schedule a meeting on their own time.
For example, tools like Woven allow you to send a link to your calendar to schedule meetings with ease.
This ensures a higher conversion rate on your campaigns rather than back and forth of scheduling.
Step 8: Set Expectations & Setup for Success
When you first communicate with the prospective video influencer, you need to be clear and set your expectations. This will save both you and the influencer a lot of time down the line.
Setting clear expectations of what you want the YouTuber to promote and a general idea of how you would like it to be done will help them understand you and your brand better.
You’ll also need to provide all the assets they need to succeed. Free products are always a must offer. Give them the proper tracking links to utilize in descriptions. Let them know how long you expect their videos to be and what selling points they should be focusing on.
One big expectation I like to set is the definition of success. If my company investing money upfront, I want to see sales coming from this campaign. I want this influencer to bring the energy our product deserves so that sales can thrive and we can replicate this partnership deal again. If the influencer is not invested in bringing the energy to their audience, the sales will suffer and future sponsorship will be off the table.
Step 9: Negotiations
Never settle for what the influencer’s initial request for sponsorship. They are trained to shoot for the stars and will ask for a crazy amount of money, just in case some big brand is willing to pay it.
Go in there with a level head and a target deal based on their audience. If you cannot reach a middle ground, move on.
I like offering up hybrid deals for every sponsorship. For example, let’s say a Youtuber with 100,000 subscribers wants $1000 for a 30 second read in the middle of a video. No deal. Instead I would counter-offer with 1 minute read, $400 upfront, and commissions for all sales they bring in.
The key here is to present it in the right light. They will have the opportunity to make MUCH more money if they can bring in sales. This will also motivate the influencer to be invested in making sales. Their tone will be much more positive and upbeat if they have skin in the game.
Step 10: Leave Room For Creativity
There are many ways by which YouTubers collaborate with and promote brands:
You could send the influencer your product and they could do an unboxing video where they show their subscribers the package they received and what your product looks like at first glance.
This is a great way to build curiosity and excitement for a new product in the market.
The next kind of video is a review video where the YouTuber uses your product or service for a while and gives his or her viewers an unbiased review of what is good and/or lacking in it.
It is always good for them to give an honest review as this shows that the YouTuber is genuine and has no intention of tricking his or her followers by making false claims about your product.
For example, Zoma Sleep uses the strategy of sending a free product (in this case, their sports mattress) to popular YouTubers in their niche to review. In fact, I reached out to one of their sleep experts, who detailed their process of finding Youtubers to help their brand:
“On YouTube, we’ve designed our outreach strategy to focus on individuals who are experts in the sleep and mattress industry. They’re generally more receptive to reviewing our mattress since they’re able to understand the unique design and technology we incorporate into our products. While a creative pitch might pique their interest, they’re ultimately more excited in the granular product differentiators since they know that’s what their audience is looking for too. Plus, we look to build longer-lasting relationships with them and regularly offer the inside scoop on new product launches. This has been really effective in getting us exposure to consumers who wouldn’t have heard about our brand otherwise.”
In this video, Slumber Yard (a YouTube channel that reviews mattresses), was sent the sports mattress in exchange for a detailed review.
How-To Videos and Tutorials
YouTubers also can use your products in a tutorial video. For example, if you own a baking utensil company, they can use your baking utensils and other products in a tutorial video on how to make a chocolate truffle pastry.
Contests and Giveaways
Another way YouTubers can promote your products is by hosting contests or giveaways where they ask viewers to share your business’ social media posts along with their posts for a chance to win your products for free.
Step 11: Optimize For SEO
Lastly, every YouTube video should be optimized for SEO. This will help people find the video when they search for the target keywords on Google.
For instance, in the example of Zoma Mattress, they use hashtags and other keywords in the description box such as ‘sports bed’, ‘mattress for athletes’, ‘sports mattress’, etc. to make the video SEO optimized.
Tags are also an extremely important factor to the ranking, so make sure the video description includes some of the tags you list.
Maybe the most important key is the description box. It’s vital match the title keywords, tags, and wording in the description to get the most eyes on a video.
Reaching out to YouTube influencers to promote your products or business is a great idea since they are all the rage these days. Video influencers are capable of driving buying decisions.
To find and reach out to the most suitable YouTubers for your brand, you need to set goals and fix a budget. Then once you have identified your target customer, you need to look for YouTubers with a similar target audience.
Build a relationship with the YouTuber if possible, and then reach out to them strategically. Let them know your expectations right from the start. Find the best ways in which you can make this collaboration successful. Once the video is created, remember to optimize for SEO so that the video can be easily found by people interested in your product.