HOW MUCH TO CHARGE BRANDS AS A MICRO-INFLUENCER
The number one question I’ve always had when came to working with brands was how much should I charge? Money is still such a taboo topic and most avoid it all together in the spirit of “securing the bag” but how am I supposed to know how much is in the bag if you won’t share or be honest?!
I’ve done extensive Google research on this topic and what I’ve found were variations of a CPM formula that multiples $100 per every 10,000 followers, essentially one cent per follower you have. But in the era of the micro-influencer – those of us who have less than 100,000 followers – That doesn’t apply. So through trial and error last year I came up with this formula:
TIME + MATERIALS + VALUE = MY RATE
Lets get into this. First thing to consider when it comes to your rates are:
HOW MUCH DO I COST PER HOUR?
Ask yourself, how much time will it take to write that blog post, take and edit those pictures or record and edit a video or podcast? In order to answer that proficiently, you need to have a step by step process for everything you do. That means the next time you execute content, write out every single step you do from start to finish and then take it a step further and time yourself as if you’re on the clock at work.
For example, I know that for a maximum 2 minute video it takes me 1.5 hours to setup and film and 4 hours to edit. That’s a total of 5.5 hours of labor. In my real life I just made $330.55. Just that quickly it puts into perspective that time is money and that you shouldn't accept products as payment because conditioner and mascara don’t pay bills. Period.
To find the average rate for videographers, I pitched fake projects to videographers to see their proposal packages and the going rate on the east and west coast is between $75-$175 an hour. I choose to charge $75 per hour. Get creative and do research in your own niche to find out what the going rate is and take a look at this article from Later.
WHAT IS THE COST OF TOOLS + RESOURCES TO COMPLETE THE TASKS?
Who or what do you use to execute your content? Do you outsource a photographer or videographer? Did you invest hundreds of dollars into camera and lighting equipment? Do you need to travel into the city and pay for parking? Maybe you need to buy props like fresh flowers, food or clothes. These are all costs that you incur that need to be accounted for when building your fee.
My best practice for calculating this is a spreadsheet I created where I itemized and monetized all of my tools and props. Given the scope of the project I can either itemize objects used like for a blog or Instagram post or apply a flat rate studio fee for video. My spreadsheet looks like this:
WHAT VALUE DO YOU ADD TO THE BRAND?
This is when you need to take a good critical look at the content you create. Is it polished? Do you love it? Would you pay for it? Are people reacting to it? If the answer is no to any of those questions, you need to reevaluate your usefulness to the brand and campaign.
When you work with a brand your goal is to do one, some or all of these things: bring awareness, educate, or generate revenue with your content. The point of them, the brand, outsourcing you, mico-influencer, for a campaign is because their current content is not reaching a desired demographic or market and or it isn’t relatable. The biggest issue that brands have is not knowing how to communicate with or be relatable to all demographics and markets especially if it isn’t their base. As a micro-influencer your numbers are more authentic and there’s better engagement therefore you a have a direct pulse on what your target following wants, needs and desires.
Now to quantify that. It’s a little harder but bear with me. When you create unique, original and consistent content, you spark engagement with your followers. In return, that engagement yields data: likes, comments, shares, impressions, sales, link traffic etc. According to this Instagram report, engagement is the number one factor brands use to evaluate influencer usefulness followed by quality of followers and lower on the list is the number of followers. So, I’ll say it again because I know you breezed past the most important point…
Engagement is the #1 factor brands use to evaluate influencer usefulness.
That means you need to get real familiar with your engagement receipts. Later and Instagram do a good job showing you your stats and impressions (Don’t forget stories data!). Affiliate links are a great way to quantify traffic and sales. If you don’t have that history, create a bitly account which is a free link management site where you can take your link and create an invisible thread and on the bitly dashboard so you see all the traffic to that specific link and build your engagement story around that.
To be honest, I don’t know how to monetize a percentage of likes or follower quality but I do know when talking and negotiating with brands and you can confidently rattle off and show receipts of the engagement percentages of your last campaign or previous post, that’s good money. Now, what I can monetize and quantify are real numbers and for us that would be our followers. Referring back to the CPM model from the top of this post, we will assign the value of one cent per follower. For example, collectively across all social platforms including my blog newsletter, I have 10.5k followers which boils down to $105.
So if you’re following along at home, let’s put my formula to work and do some public school fuzzy math.
TIME + MATERIALS + VALUE = MY RATE
VIDEO: $412.50 + $200 + 105 = $717.50
The breakdown: $75 @ 5.5hr + studio flat rate + followers (10.5k x $0.01)
IG OUTFIT POST: $37.50 + (10+185+20) + 105 = $357.50
The breakdown: $75 @ 30min to shoot outfit + (outfit accessories + photographer + travel & location expenses) + followers
WRITTEN BLOG POST: $150 + 5 + 105 = $186.50
The breakdown: $75 @ 2hr (1.5hr to write/edit and .5hr to photograph) + lifestyle prop + followers
*this would be like a product based blog post where I take my own photos like this
Remember there is no “one size fits all rate” and consider the number that we just crunched as the lowest offer number you’ll accept. Also consider cost mark up and mark down based on brand. I’m not going to pitch Revlon $700 for a video, I’m going to shoot for the stars and land on a cloud but I know for fact that my video content value is worth $717.50. When it comes to indie and local brands, your base rate might be too high for their budgets and you need to decide if you’re willing to do the work for less or in exchange for product/service and in return you’ll give your absolute best quality and effort. From experience, as hard as it might be, I walk away if my rate isn’t met and I only negotiate if I really really want to work with the brand. Anything lower, you’re getting half ass work from me and it’s not worth it. Just being honest.