The 4 Things to Know When Negotiating Payment as an Influencer

Is there such thing as “happy equal pay day?” Mixed feelings because of the reality of the existing wage gap, but proud of women fighting every day to close it. But, what I can guarantee makes me happy is when I see other women in my industry win. Be it as an influencer or brand person, when one of us wins we all win.

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Negotiating pay in any industry is a really icky subject. According to a survey by Glassdoor, women are 16 percent less likely negotiate a salary. Fighting the gender gap starts with a battle in negotiating. Preparing for negotiating also means understanding how it all even works.

In spirit of today’s special day of conversation, I’d love to share some highlights on how to get paid more as an influencer:

  1. The Baseline & Then Some

    For many up-and-coming influencers, a barrier in starting to get paid is knowing where to start. A good quick formula for monetizing your feed is starting with the “penny per follower/subscriber/UVMrule. For example, if you have 20,000 followers you should at the very minimum charge $200 for one piece of content. That doesn’t include things like stories (Instagram), blog post, sharing same content on another platform, etc.

    Next, think about the type of content you’re being asked to produce and add a premium to that. For example, video content should be at least 50% more than your baseline because of the extra time it takes to produce. Then, check your engagement rate on the platform you’re in and be sure to add at least 10% more if yours is above average. Finally, be sure to add a premium based on your expertise level. A real photographer? Industry expert? Get a lot of inquiries? Add some cash flow to that.

  2. All the “Extra” Stuff You Need to Charge For

    Repeat after me: I will thoroughly read my contract. I will thoroughly read my contract. I will thoroughly read my contract. Brands are notorious for adding in everything they need inside a contract, beyond the content deliverables, without explicitly outlining it for you ahead of time. Two particular things that are 99% always in there are: exclusivity and image rights terms.

    Exclusivity means you are in contract to not work with another competitor for a certain period of time. 7 days is a pretty standard rule to offer at no additional cost, while 14 days is quite generous but still within normal means. Anything 30 days+ should come at an additional charge — I’ve seen many add a 50% from the baseline fee for every month of exclusivity. Think about it: if you’re exclusive that means you are missing out on a paycheck if work comes your way. You might be thinking that as an influencer you don’t want to confuse your audience and work with a ton of the same category of products anyway, but often times exclusivity locks you in from working with other companies that have little to do with the exact campaign or product you’re promoting. That’s an opportunity missed!

    Image terms are pretty standard things any creator would charge anyway, so don’t let yourself get taken advantage of if someone is using your content for marketing purposes. A standard fee is $100 for 1-5 images with full ownership. You decide what quantity is best for you, or your team if you work with a photographer or videographer. Note: Often times, I let brands keep social media reuse of my content, with credit, for free. It’s a great opportunity for earned exposure if they reshare your content on their social feeds (no using for their own social ads for free though).

  3. Consider the Trade-Offs in a Reduced Rate

    Putting my brand hat on, there are also times that we have a totally scrappy budget and a group of influencers we really love. If it’s a brand you really love or are interested in, think about some potential perks or bonuses outside of the cash form that would be beneficial to you if they’re asking you to reduce the rate. For example, a brand gift card to fill the dollar gaps, promotion via their newsletter, extra product to run a giveaway for your followers, guaranteed content reshares, and more.

    You want to be careful here not to dilute your rate too much, but if it’s someone on your wishlist I’d recommend working this in. At the end of the day, it’s about building relationships with brand people and this is a great way to be a good long-term partner! For nanoinfluencers (under 10K), you may be doing a lot of things in exchange for products or services only at first - which is ok to building up your portfolio and network - but be wary to only do things for free that equate to the value of your time.

  4. Know (!) Your (!) Worth (!)

    The most important piece of advice I can give you is to walk away when someone doesn’t know your worth. If someone really wants to work with you, they’ll work with you during the negotiation process. If they don’t value your work at the start, they won’t be good to you in the end either. And trust me, another valuable partner will always come after.

    To help prepare for the worth conversation, you should have a media kit ready to give marketers stats and more information to help them make the case for you. More on that topic to come, but at the very least understanding your back end data will help you be ready for these talks.

Have your own tips for negotiating as an influencer? Or, any other industry in spirit of today? I want to hear about them in the comments below! x

Bonus: Through the month of April 2019, I am offering influencers free negotiation coaching via e-mail. Got a deal? I’ll read through the offer and contract and help you get your highest possible rate. E-mail me at to learn more!

The Influencer Platforms Every Micro Influencer Should Sign-Up For

When I talk about influencer marketing to up-and-coming influencers, one of the most common questions they have is how to get paid. Of course, if you’re using the platform to build your personal brand you definitely want to find ways to monetize it. There are a ton of tactics to this (a full guide to come later!), but here’s one that’s an easy proactive step you can take toward starting to make a paycheck for creating beautiful and engaging content.

While my first brand deals came directly from a brand through a relationship or strategic way of pitching myself, one of the most streamlined ways to start getting paid deals is joining influencer marketing campaign platforms.

These types of platforms work with brands to manage influencer campaigns through the people who are signed up on their network. Translation: you - the content creator - signs up and waits to be a “fit” for a campaign and then works with the platform to create, deliver, publish and report on a partnership. Many of them are also super easy processes from being briefed (told what you need to do) through payment in a jiffy! These are best fit for influencers with under 200,000 followers, as many times after that size you can work with an agent to get you high-paying gigs at the same speed.

There are many brands that I love from both using as an influencer and using as a brand person, but I’ve rounded up a few favorites based on what I consider their specialty.

Lifestyle Voices: Collectively

If your specialty is in the general lifestyle space - from shopping to apps and home tips - then this one is for you. Collectively wins for me in their recruitment through reporting process. You get opt-in surveys to share more information when you’re flagged as a potential fit for a campaign. Later, if you are selected, you get all the information you need clear and upfront. Their brands have mid to large-sized budgets, so it’s always fair compensation. And if something came in under your rate, you can negotiate with a ~real person~ on the other side of the screen. Finally, once you’re actually working with them they send very in-depth briefs that inspire you to create high-performing content for your partners.

The Nano: Obviously Social

This platform basically invented the nano influencer - check out this New York Times article about them - which is a content creator that sits in the 1,000 to 10,000 follower range. They have a wide range of major, major brands (I have worked with Google multiple times) that are looking to tap smaller influencers mostly in exchange for product and their reward system: virtual corgis! The more of these you collect, you have opportunities to earn gifts and cash from the platform. They have a super clear briefing process and a dedicated project manager to help you along the way. As of late, they’ve been paying influencers cash based on program and audience size as well as giving opportunities to earn money selling your image rights for a brand to reuse.

Fashionista, and Some: InfluenceHER Collective

Ever read Her Campus? This is their Gen Z influencer platform. Now, Gen Y (me!) is also always welcome, though some campaigns may require you to share audience insights to see if you have a Gen Z following if the campaign requires it. Many of the brands sit in the fashion & lifestyle space, though there are also some really cool campaigns with major conferences and lifestyle brands — there was a New York Times collaboration recently! They also have one of the best communities for influencers to connect with other creators and learn tools to growing their influence and digital presence. Seriously, it’s like an influencer encyclopedia. They also pay very, very fair for the deliverables asked.

Rising Industry Expert: Fohr

If you have yet to watch A Drink with James on YouTube, you’re seriously missing out! Each week, James Nord, founder and CEO of, shares his industry insight by answering up to 3 user-generated questions. Beyond that, this platform was one of the first to launch a “verified following” system called Fohr Card so that you can prove to brands and fans that you had an authentic following (no bots, etc.). While the card itself was eliminated due to Instagram API changes, they have other systems to show demographics and give you that sought after badge. Many major brands - have seen mostly fashion and beauty as of late - are using Fohr because of their public industry expertise. They are also notorious for paying at your rate, no questions asked, so if you’re a bigger influencer that still wants to take advantage of these platforms then this one is great for you. Even if you’re not getting brand deals through them, it would be wise to follow along to sharpen your influencer marketing knowledge.

Latina Jefa: #WeAllGrow

Formerly Latina Bloggers Connect, this is a network made for and by Latinas to connect with other creators, brands, and find resources to grow. Beyond straightforward brand deals, this platform also provides opportunities for influencers to attend and sit on panels, join conferences and build a community that inspires. When a brand deal comes your way, they’re also streamlined in how you work with them as they have a dedicated team for these types of partnerships. If you’re latinx and want to grow your influence, this is a place to go.

Others you don’t want to miss:

  • Hashtag Paid: One of the best user experiences during a campaign

  • Takumi: Via an app, really intuitive and great brands available

  • Activate: Formerly Bloglovin’ and now with a really neat platform to search brand deals

  • Wellness Amplified: Really niche for health, wellness, fitness and nutrition, major brands love using

  • Octoly: Product sampling heavy, really great for beauty enthusiasts who like to try and review products

  • Reward Style: For style bloggers, you have to be on this one! Not just liketkit, but their influencer network for brand deals

  • Village Marketing: They are notorious for their SoHo studio where influencers in NYC can visit to create beautiful home content

  • Whalar: One of the first influencer marketing agencies, now great for bigger lifestyle bloggers

  • Ahalogy: If you love to shop, this one specializes in retailer-forward campaigns

  • Clever: An easy-to-use platform, works with major brands including Facebook

  • Influenster: The OG product sampling platform. Great if you just want to try new products in the beauty and wellness space in exchange for a review!

Don’t be discouraged if it takes some time for you to get your first brand deal through one of these platforms. Many times brands set specific guidelines that rule out otherwise great people so it’s not you, it’s us. Others also may have higher requirements for approval (follower count, category, engagement rates, etc.), so revisit them at a later time if you’re not quite there, yet.

A great way to always stay on their radar for campaigns is to make sure you connect with them on social, engage and be a great partner when you’re signed for a campaign!

Let me know in the comments if there are any other platforms you also liked working with!

x, LC