The Ultimate Sponsored Content Guide for YouTubers

an example of sponsored content on youtube: a fitness influencer showing a pair of bright orange shoes
  • Alex Lefkowitz
    (Author)

    Alex Lefkowitz is the founder and CEO of Tasty Edits. He holds a BA in Entrepreneurship and is an experienced video editor, having edited hundreds of videos for dozens of creators before starting his own video editing company. Since launching Tasty Edits, he has directly managed thousands of video and thumbnail orders. Now, he draws on his experience working with professional creators to write about video editing, the creator economy, and video marketing. You can also read his work on Hackernoon and Medium. Plus, he's contributed several expert opinions in interviews and articles as a guest on platforms like Jotform.

    View all posts
  • Esteban Ramos
    (Author)

    Esteban Ramos is a full-time YouTube Channel Manager at Tasty Edits. He has worked with dozens of high-profile and up-and-coming content creators and businesses to grow their channels with strategic YouTube SEO and personalized recommendations. He is a seasoned pro at finding video ideas, boosting YouTube audience engagement, and diving deep into YouTube channel analytics. Videography and cinema are also his personal passions: In his free time, he hosts a Spanish-language movie podcast.

    View all posts
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Sponsored content is an amazing way for YouTubers to diversify their income streams and take their creative business to the next level. 

Even major creators work with sponsors. Dude Perfect, for instance, went on a trip to Alaska that included dog sledging, salmon fishing, white water rafting, and ice climbing – a trip sponsored by Bass Pro Shop. 

Dude Perfect’s sponsored Alaska trip – with plenty of equipment on display.

But how can aspiring creators find their first sponsorships? What different kinds of sponsored content is there on YouTube? And what rules do you need to follow? 

Here’s everything you need to know. 

Quick Facts

  • Sponsorship ranges from affiliate links and product placement to sponsored content creation and brand ambassadorship.
  • Sponsors pay from a few $100 per video to $20K+, depending on the niche, brand, channel size, and type of promo.
  • To find sponsors, you can do outreach yourself, hire someone to do it, or join influencer marketplaces.
  • You must disclose any paid promotion.

Keep reading for the full scoop!

Contents

megaphone and dollar coin icon

What is Sponsored Content on YouTube?

To start with, what exactly is sponsored content on YouTube? 

Very basically, sponsored content is any video, Short, or YouTube community post you produce in exchange for payment, goods, or services from a brand. 

You get a gift box of electronics that you review? That’s sponsored content. 

A cosmetics brand pays you to use their line of concealer in your makeup tutorials? Sponsored content. 

A streaming service offers you a commission every time someone subscribes using a link in your video description? You guessed it: Sponsored content. 

As you can see, sponsored content comes in a variety of shapes. Let’s take a closer look at the different kinds there are.

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What Different Kinds of Sponsored Content Are There?

There are different definitions of what exactly counts as sponsored content. Here, we go with a broad overview of all the different ways you can get sponsorships from brands.

Affiliate Marketing

First, there’s affiliate marketing, a low-effort type of sponsorship (often not even called that). This is the classic link to products you put in your video description. Every time someone clicks on that link and makes a purchase, you get paid a commission

This is a fast and easy way of generating additional income and recommending products that you trust to your audience. If you’re a Yoga YouTuber, you can link to all your favorite mats and blocks. If you run a cooking channel, recommend your favorite non-stick pans and cast-iron casseroles. 

Plus, the entry threshold for affiliate programs is fairly low. As soon as your channel reaches a certain size, you can typically sign up without having to negotiate an individual sponsorship contract. YouTube even offers its own affiliate program

Product Placements

Next up, there are product placements. Here, you get paid to use certain products or services in your videos.

If you’re a fashion YouTuber, you may come to an agreement with a brand to do a try-on video of their new summer collection. Or if you run a tech channel, you may get sent the newest gadgets and get to keep them in exchange for an unboxing and a review.

In any case, you showcase the products or services of a brand on-screen.

Custom-produced Videos

Next, we have sponsored content in the more narrow sense, which often overlaps with product placements. 

Here, you create content to the parameters the brand gives you, rather than just showing off their products in videos that you might have made anyways. 

Dude Perfect’s Alaska adventure falls into this category. They headed up there specifically because they made that deal their sponsors. 

Channel Sponsorship

Another flavor of sponsorship is channel sponsorship

Instead of sponsoring individual videos, a brand chooses to sponsor an entire channel. This means that sponsors pay for content on a regular basis going forward. In return, they get shout-outs, custom content, more subtle placements, and other forms of promotion. Often, creators even integrate sponsorship notices into their channel descriptions. 

Brand Ambassadorships

Finally, going somewhat beyond simple sponsorship are brand ambassadorships. Here, a creator agrees to represent a brand as an ambassador. This can include appearances at events and consistent posting across their social media presence. 

Usually, creators only opt for this version of sponsorship if the brand’s values align well with their own message and their channel goals. 

megaphone surrounded by eight dollar coins

How much does a YouTube sponsor pay?

How much YouTube sponsorship agreements pay varies wildly. It depends on the niche you’re in, the brand you partner with, and on how large and engaged your audience is. 

In terms of channel sizes, marketers tend to roughly differentiate between: 

  • Nano-influencers, with 1K–10K followers
  • Micro-influencers, with 10K–100K followers
  • Macro-influencers, with 100K–1M followers and 
  • Mega-/celebrity influencers, with 1M+ followers

Evidently, creators with a smaller audience will be paid less than mega-influencers – in the realm of a few hundred dollars per video. However, it is still possible to monetize your channel at this stage, even if it is still new and your audience small. You just need to pinpoint a brand that is interested in reaching your exact target audience

The bigger your channel, the more sponsors are willing to pay to reach your audience. With 1 million followers, for instance, you can expect to be paid between $5,000 and over $20,000 per video. 

That said, it’s important to keep in mind that channel size isn’t everything. Engagement also matters. When you negotiate with potential sponsors, having a smaller but highly engaged audience is more useful – and an argument for higher rates – than having a larger but unengaged following. 

Finally, the niche you’re in and the brands you work with also matter when it comes to how much YouTube sponsorships pay. Some niches, such as personal finance, tech, and fitness are more competitive and brands are willing to pay more than in others. (Check out our guide to the most profitable YouTube niches!) 

a page and a pen

How to Prepare Your YouTube Channel for Sponsored Content

Now that we’ve got the basics down, how do you actually get sponsorship for your YouTube channel?  As a first step, you need to prepare your channel before reaching out to potential sponsors. 

To start with, you need to make sure that your branding looks professional – especially your header, icon, and your thumbnails. Reflect carefully which fonts and colors you want to associate with your personal brand, and make sure they’re implemented coherently across your channel – and other social media. 

In your channel description, note that you’re open to business collaborations and provide a way to contact you. If possible, get a professional email address that has your channel name in it, rather than listing your personal one. That way, you can separate sponsorship inquiries (and the inevitable spam) from your regular email. 

Think about organizing your channel to provide maximum appeal to first-time visitors – such as marketing managers taking a first look. This includes having a well-edited channel trailer, and organizing your content into playlists.  

And, of course, you need to produce high-quality content on a regular basis – and maximize your audience engagement. (Not sure how? Check out our detailed guide!) 

handshake and money inside a magnifying glass icon

How to find Sponsors for YouTubers

Once you’re happy with how your channel looks, and with how big and engaged your audience is, you can start to actively look for sponsors.

Generally, there are three major ways to go about this: Influencer marketing platforms, DIY outreach, and hiring a specialist.

Influencer Marketing Platforms

On these marketplaces, you can create a profile to let brands know you’re on the market for sponsorships. You link your social profiles, briefly describe what you do, and give details on your audience stats. Then, you wait for brands to reach out to you

The upside of this approach is that it’s fairly low-effort. Plus, you usually have a guarantee to get paid – it works much like gig work platform. Some social platforms have these built-in, like TikTok’s Creator Marketplace.

The downsides? It can take a while for a sponsor to reach out to you, since you’re not making an active effort. And when they do, the influencer marketing platform may take a cut of your commission. Alternatively, you may have to pay subscription fees for creating your account, or for promoting yourself on the platform.

Doing Sponsor Outreach

Strategy number two is to do outreach yourself.

Here, you put together a media kit: a concise portfolio outlining your content, your channel metrics, and audience demographics. 

Then, you look for brands who may be interested in reaching your audience. Send them a message saying that you’re currently looking for sponsors and outline how your audience would be a great target for them. 

Make sure to target smaller, local, and more niche brands as well. While they may have less experience with influencer marketing, they may be more open to a collaboration if your pitch is good.  

This approach takes more effort. Usually, it takes time to find the right person at a company to contact. And you’ll probably have to reach out to a few dozen companies before bagging a sponsorship. However, you can cut out the middleman and negotiate your sponsorship agreement yourself.

Outsourced Outreach

Finally, the third option is to hire someone to do the outreach for you. 

Instead of assembling your portfolio, pinpointing companies, and writing dozens of emails, you can have a professional do it for you – typically an outreach specialist or a YouTube channel manager

This can save you a lot of time, and ensures that your materials look professional. The downside is that you have to find, vet, and pay the pros. Overall, this is a strategy more adapted for established channels that already have a steady income.

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Negotiating Your Contract for Sponsored Content on YouTube

Once you’ve got a positive reply from a sponsor, you need to negotiate your sponsorship – how much exactly you’ll get paid, what the deadlines are, and what parameters your sponsored content needs to follow. 

You need to be very clear about the details, otherwise you could get into hot water later. Sponsors that aren’t satisfied with the content you’ve produced may well try to refuse to pay you. 

Ideally, you should write all the specifics down in a sponsorship agreement and have your sponsors sign it. That way, you and your sponsor will both be on the same page on what the expectations are. Plus, it helps you appear professional and like a trustworthy business partner. 

Not sure how to go about it? Check out our full brand deal guide!  

video player with dollar coin and text lines underneath

Disclosing Your YouTube Sponsorship

Finally, it’s crucial to disclose any sponsorship in your videos. YouTube has made it a requirement for creators to be open about what content they get paid for, so that their audience doesn’t feel blindsided.

According to YouTube’s guidelines, creators need to disclose any paid product placements, sponsorships, and endorsements. These are defined as follows:

  • “pieces of content that are created for a third party in exchange for compensation. This content is also where the third party’s brand, message, or product is integrated directly into the content”
  • “content created for an advertiser (or for a creator’s own brands if the relationship between creator/brand is not clear) with a message that users are likely to believe reflects the opinions of the content creator” and
  • “pieces of content that have been financed in whole or in part by a third party”

To disclose sponsorship, you need to toggle the box “My video contains paid promotion like a product placement, sponsorship, or endorsement” when you upload your content.

Additionally, you should put a notice in your video description. Disclosing paid promotion isn’t just part of YouTube’s rules – it’s a legal requirement in most places.

The Bottom Line

Various kinds of sponsorships are an amazing way for YouTubers to generate additional income streams and monetize their channels. Sponsorships are open to you no matter whether you have a few thousand or a few million subscribers – as long as your audience is engaged and their demographics match the target of a brand. 

Finding your first sponsorship can be a bit of a challenge, but by following the guidelines above, you’ll be able to pinpoint the sponsor that best fits your channel goals. And before long, you’ll be hitting your sponsorship stride. Plus, as your channel grows, sponsors will soon be reaching out to you. 

FAQs

The easiest way to find sponsors for YouTubers is to put together a portfolio outlining your channel’s content, your audience size and demographics, and then to reach out to brands who might be interested. 

How much a sponsor pays for YouTube content depends on your audience size, engagement, and your YouTube niche. Payments can vary from a few hundred dollars for micro-influencers, to over $20,000 for creators with a million subs.

There are several different ways of finding a YouTube sponsor. You can either sign up for an influencer marketing platform, or you can reach out to brands yourself to present your channel and your audience size and demographics. 

There are different types of sponsorships. The most common definition is sponsored content, meaning a sponsor pays you to create a piece of content according to particular parameters. 

Major brands like Amazon, Target, and Movavi all sponsor YouTubers. However, many smaller and even local companies are also happy to negotiate sponsorship agreements with creators. When you’re looking for sponsors, you shouldn’t limit yourself to big brands only. 

Authors

  • Alex Lefkowitz

    Alex Lefkowitz is the founder and CEO of Tasty Edits. He holds a BA in Entrepreneurship and is an experienced video editor, having edited hundreds of videos for dozens of creators before starting his own video editing company. Since launching Tasty Edits, he has directly managed thousands of video and thumbnail orders. Now, he draws on his experience working with professional creators to write about video editing, the creator economy, and video marketing. You can also read his work on Hackernoon and Medium. Plus, he's contributed several expert opinions in interviews and articles as a guest on platforms like Jotform.

    View all posts
  • Esteban Ramos

    Esteban Ramos is a full-time YouTube Channel Manager at Tasty Edits. He has worked with dozens of high-profile and up-and-coming content creators and businesses to grow their channels with strategic YouTube SEO and personalized recommendations. He is a seasoned pro at finding video ideas, boosting YouTube audience engagement, and diving deep into YouTube channel analytics. Videography and cinema are also his personal passions: In his free time, he hosts a Spanish-language movie podcast.

    View all posts