Hey there! Hope you’re having a great week. At the Online Performers Group, we spend a TON of time focusing on Sponsorships, as they’re one of the most reliable ways for a performer to make money.
Before we get into too much detail, let’s review our definition from our previous post.
“Sponsorship” is a general term that applies to any arrangement where a company pays some amount of money to support your stream in exchange for advertising or marketing work. This is typically a long-term strategy, where the sponsor is hoping that their support for a livestreamer’s channel will generate awareness and goodwill within their community. These payments usually take the form of cash or some sort of product (we often refer to this latter type as an “In-Kind Sponsorship.”) Sponsorships usually last for a set period of time, typically 3, 6, or 12 months and have recurring monthly payments and recurring monthly obligations.
When we’re looking at a healthy revenue portfolio for a streamer, we want to see a minimum of 25% of total revenue coming from long-term sponsorships, ideally more. There are a few reasons for this.
- Consistency: Subscribers and donations fluctuate seasonally, but sponsorships provide an “always-on” revenue stream. This means a streamer can sleep a little easier at night, knowing they’ve got the income to pay the rent.
- Ease of Use: A good sponsorship doesn’t require a ton of day-to-day effort to support. There’s definitely work to be done consistently, but a lot of the hardest stuff happens at the beginning while setting up.
- Non-Selloutiness: Sponsors are generally welcomed by communities, who view them as supporters of the stream, rather than opportunistic marketing moments.
- Synergy: A good sponsorship comes from a brand a streamer either uses or could recommend their audience use. When the streamer can speak passionately and honestly about the sponsor, it feels authentic and meaningful.
- Credibility: Once you are established with a few good sponsors, it becomes significantly easier to find additional sponsors and promotions.
Of course, no one is just giving you free money. Sponsors don’t do this out of the goodness of their hearts – they know that by associating with popular and highly credible livestreamers, their brands will benefit in both awareness and direct sales. Remember: this is business.
HERE ARE A FEW OF THE MOST COMMON THINGS SPONSORS ASK FOR:
An Exclusive Contract
Most sponsors require that their product is the only item of that type you use or endorse. For example, if you’re talking with Microsoft, they’re going to expect you to use Windows products and NOT use competitors, like Apple.
A few times a month (typically once a month or once a week), a sponsor may want your title to read something like: Fallout 4 Playthrough, Sponsored by OP Group.
Organic Brand Mentions
Covered in our “Terminology of Streaming” post, this basically means that you will talk about the brand whenever it is relevant.
Below Stream Banner Graphic
Down there where you’ve got your Twitter info, donations details and stream rules – every sponsor is going to want one of the most prominent boxes to feature their logo and some text related to their brand.
This is the most valuable real estate you have, because it’s the easiest place for a viewer to see it (think about how often you look at the info boxes below the stream… especially on mobile).
Social Media Mentions
A few times a month, a sponsor generally requests you retweet their announcements – or create a social media post that specifically talks about their brand.
When you get that first sponsorship email, it can feel super-exciting. We’ll dive into this more in the future, but it’s important that you don’t let that excitement cause you to make any bad decisions. You always want to make sure you understand what you’re agreeing to. You want to make sure it’s something you can actually do and doesn’t feel like an unreasonable amount of effort for the sponsorship fee. Most importantly, you want to make sure that the company and their product feels like something you and your community will be excited about.
Of course, a blog post can’t tell you whether a particular deal is a good one or not. So remember to ask questions, talk to your colleagues (unless you’ve signed an NDA agreeing not to talk about the sponsorship deal), and have a lawyer look at anything you’re thinking of signing before you commit!