Negotiating

Why Brands Don’t Hold All The Cards

The importance of remembering what YOU bring to the table.

3 Minute Read

Happy August!

I've had such an incredible response from these random musings about working with brands that I think I'm gonna start a regular "Mindset Monday" series.  What do you think?! 🤪

Feeling Lucky?

Today, I wanna talk about something I hear from creators all the time: they feel “lucky” when brands approach them.

So lucky, in fact, that they’ll gladly bend over backwards to please said brands.

What does this usually lead to?

Accepting free products instead of getting paid your worth.

After all…

“If I ask for too much (or money at all), they'll just ghost me and work with another creator!”

But I need you to hear me: you’re selling yourself short.

It’s time for a mindset shift.

So let’s talk about why you hold the cards when a brand contacts you.

Don't Let Brands Do This...

Let me ask you something:

Do you think it’s an accident that a brand dropped into your inbox?

It’s not.

Your audience represents thousands of potential new customers for them.

The brand knows this. That’s why they reached out.

So when you allow brands to avoid paying you, you’re actually devaluing the relationship you’ve built up with your audience over time.

It’s up to YOU to set the price of admission.

And let me tell you, a free bag of beef jerky is NOT a fair price.

Beef jerky is not gonna pay your rent or mortgage, y’all!

Facebook Doesn't Accept Beef Jerky

Think of it like this.

If you want to boost a post on Facebook or Instagram to reach more customers… it costs money.

Facebook doesn’t give you a free trial.

It doesn’t allow you a month of discounted posts to "see how things go."

And it definitely doesn’t accept a free bag of beef jerky (no matter how delicious it is).

If you want Facebook to boost your reach, you have to pay for it.

So when a brand is asking you to boost their reach by promoting them to your audience, they should have to pay for it too.

Here’s a little visualization I like to use:

The Bridge

Imagine two cliffs.

On one cliff is a brand. On the other, their ideal customer.

And every single day, the brand’s biggest challenge is:

“How do we reach our ideal customer?”

Luckily, there’s a bridge that takes them right across.

For the brand, that’s one heck of a valuable bridge.

Well guess what?

You built that bridge.

What’s more, it probably took you a really long time to build that bridge.

For risk of losing the metaphor here (lol), that bridge represents:

  • Years spent growing an audience.
  • Years spent developing trust with that audience.
  • Years spent learning the platform.
  • Years spent creating compelling content.

You built that thing from scratch.

So are you gonna let any random brand cross that bridge?

No!

And you’re definitely not going to let them cross for free.

You decide who gets to cross and at what price.

It sure seems to me that YOU hold all the cards.

Remember:

You’re not lucky to have brands reaching out to you.

It’s about illustrating to that brand the opportunity that’s in front of them.

Never forget what you bring to the table.

Things can improve for all of us if we collectively choose to educate ourselves and stop believing that brands hold all the cards.

So if a brand tells you to "go fish..."

Show them the ace up your sleeve 🂡 ✌️

Thanks to George Blackman for contributing to this piece.