Are There Really “Low” Seasons For Sponsorships?
I got this question in my private Facebook group recently and wanted to share my thoughts.
I’ve been doing sponsorships with brands for over a decade and the real answer to this question is…
First, without a doubt, every single year there is a solid 3-week chunk where basically nothing happens.
Brands aren’t responding. Agencies aren’t reaching out. Deals are not getting signed.
What time of year do you think that is?
…You guessed it.
The holidays! (specifically December 20 - January 10).
Mostly everyone has checked out.
Any pitches or proposals that you send during this time period are gonna just…sit there for a while.
They really are just out of office.
Plus, once they DO start trickling back in, they’re still getting their bearings and trying to figure out what the overall marketing strategy is going to be for that year.
So when you pitch them this giant collaboration proposal on January 11, they're just not going to be in a position to greenlight much of anything.
Second, the main reason why it probably feels like you’re in a “lull,” is because you don’t have any type of strategy when it comes to working with brands.
In my experience, most creators are very reactive - meaning they kinda sit on their hands and wait for opportunities to fall into their lap.
So when those opportunities stop coming as frequently, they start getting really nervous.
Well, I’m going to dispense a hard truth here.
I don't care what stage of your creator journey you’re at.
You always need to be supplementing your inbound opportunities with outbound pitching to smooth out your income lumpiness.
And sliding into a brand’s DMs a few times a week saying "love your brand, let's collab" doesn't count LOL.
No, what you need is a Sponsorship Pipeline.
But…what the heck is that?!
Well, when I first started doing sponsorship coaching for creators, I quickly realized that the issues they were experiencing with revenue unpredictability are pretty common across other industries too.
In fact, there’s a very simple concept that helps combat this called a Sales Pipeline.
“The stages of a sales pipeline can help you and your team visualize your sales process. This visual representation portrays where in the sales funnel your deals are, where deals are stalling and which sales activities are contributing to reps closing deals and bringing in the most revenue.”
So how does this apply to creators?
Well, let’s quickly talk about how long it takes for money to hit your bank account when you partner with a brand.
First, it might take you a couple of weeks or months to actually ROPE a brand in and get them interested in partnering with you.
Then, you often have to submit concepts for the brand to review and approve, which might take another couple of weeks.
Then, you start production and create the content, which can take another week or two or three.
Then, you submit the content to the brand for their feedback, which might take another couple of weeks.
And guess what?
They might come back to you asking for revisions! Maybe a new voiceover. Reshoot a few things.
Then you have to resubmit the *revised* content, which will then have to go through another final approval round.
And then when you finally get the green light to post…
They ask you to hold off for another week or two to make sure that it aligns with other marketing initiatives they're working on.
Then you finally post it…woohoo!
But wait, you gotta send an invoice and vendor paperwork to the brand or else they’re not going to pay you.
So now you have to wait another 30, 60, or 90 days before you get paid.
If we sum up all that time, you can very easily see how it can sometimes take multiple months from start to finish to successfully execute a brand partnership.
Well, it CAN be if you don't have an organizational system in place to keep track of all the different deals you’re working on at any given time…
AND have insights into where various deals are stalled so that you can know when to intervene.
So by shifting from a short-term “Why aren’t brands contacting me?” mindset to “How can I ensure that I’m forging relationships with brands and tracking their progress all year long…”
Those “low” seasons will magically disappear.