How-to Monetize as a Live Content Creator
Going from creating for fun to monetizing your content can be a challenge, especially in the live content ecosystem. How do you pitch yourself? How do you find the right brands? Who should be reaching out to who? These questions are some of the most frequent we hear from live content creators at all levels. Today we are going to be breaking down the when & how to monetize, along with helping you craft your "why".
There is not a follower count, monthly reach or even time as creator that answers the question of "when should I monetize". Each creator will have a different ideal time to monetize, so first and foremost don't compare yourself to other creators. Just because one creator monetized at 1k subscribers doesn't mean that's best for you! Instead, you'll want to answer a few questions to help guide your decision.
First off, do you feel that you know your audience? What content they engage with, why they follow you, and what value you provide in their lives are examples of questions you should have answers to. You want to make sure that you are able to position yourself and your audience to the right brands, so it's important you understand them!
Next, do you have the time to put into partnerships? Creating or co-creating content with a brand is not as simple as "create, upload, post." Oftentimes, you will have to meet brand guidelines, execute under specific timelines, and gain approval from the brand prior to posting. There are also legal contracts, including usage rights and payment agreements, that you will need to review and approve before hand. As a creator, you want to build strong relationships with the brands you work with. Making sure you have the time to dedicate to the additional work that comes along with monetization is crucial.
Lastly, are you consistent? We don't just mean consistently posting, but consistently getting engagement. When working with brands, they are going to need to have an estimate of of how your stream will perform. We call this "baseline engagement" at commix. While the algorithm gods might have blessed you over the last month, those are not videos that speak to how your videos do on average, and therefore shouldn't be the metrics you use when pitching or negotiating with brands. Instead, you want to calculate the average engagement and views you have received over the last 30 days. You can do this by dividing the total views by the number of streams. This is the number you will want to use as "baseline views."
Once you feel you have a consistent audience that you understand, and the time to dedicate to partnerships, you are likely ready to monetize!
When you first start to gain traction as a creator, it is likely that brands will begin reaching out to you. We call this "inbound." However, when you are a smaller creator, brands are typically offering free product or a small payment in exchange for a piece of content. While it can be so exciting to receive your first inbound partnerships, you need to think strategically about which deals to accept. As a monetizing creator, you need to protect your credibility with your audience. This is why knowing your audience is crucial! When a deal comes through, ask yourself "is this something I would buy with my own money?" and "would my audience be interested in this product." If the answer is no to either of those questions, the deal is not worth it. As you grow, it is likely the amount and scope of brand partnerships coming through inbound will increase. These deals often involve negotiation and legal contracts, so make sure you have a network to support you with these tasks.
As a creator, you can also reach out to the brands you want to work with. We call this "outbound." To execute an outbound strategy, you first need to identify which brands you want to reach out to! The best way to do this is by looking at the brands and products you are already purchasing from. Next, you need to find a point of content, which can happen in variety of ways. One tip: you can search for "influencer marketing" or "social marketing" managers at XYZ company on LinkedIn and messaging them. If you have creator friends who have done a partnership with a brand you love, you could also ask them to make a connection.
Remember that not all brands have a robust live content partnerships strategy, which gives you an opportunity to make it your own! As a creator, you are the captain of your ship, so make sure to tell the brand how you envision working with them. An example of this could be offering up "partnership slots" at the beginning, middle and end of your stream where you shout out brand you are working with - similar to a podcast ad read or a YouTube mid-roll ad. Another option is offering to stream across both your social account and the brand social account, which you can do using commix, without the brand needing to give up their login credentials. When reaching out to brands, you want to be clear with why you want to work with them, and why they should want to work with you. This is why step one is so important! Brands appreciate creators who come to the table prepared, so taking this approach can help you stand out from the pack!
If you are a live interested in learning more about monetization, including connecting directly with brands, our Discord community is the perfect place for you! We wish you all the best on your path to monetization - you got this!