This post shares exactly how I set my rates as a Content Creator and the goal of sharing this is to help Content Creators supercharge their earnings through high quality production of content. These rules of thumb can also be applied to most contractor roles.
First, Let’s Keep it Real
For context, I am a micro influencer (with 30,000 followers in total across all channels) and I have been blogging since 2015. I have accepted rates as low as $400 in the earlier days and have completed longer term campaigns in the upwards of $20,000+. Larger influencers have secured 6 to even 7 figure campaigns.
While I want to be transparent about numbers, please know that every influencer is different in an industry that is still young. Don’t compare yourself to others and instead use other’s experiences as a guide.
Before I go into the breakdown of how I logically, mathmatically, of how I set my rates I feel important to share my philosophy behind setting a rate or cost for the work you provide. This philosophy can apply generally to most of the gig economy or any 1099 role.
1.Know your worth
Your worth comes in the form of confidence in the quality of work provided but also in the research you’ve done in your market and vertical. Competitive research is critical in knowing what you can and can’t charge. Your worth should also tie back to the values and mission you’ve set for yourself as a small business or content creator.
Wait, what? I don’t have core values or a mission?!…
I would have to ask this question, are you a business or a hobby? Every single business starts with solidifying the core values and mission of the business. Think of Core Values and Mission as your pillar content for your business and build around that.
Everyone should have what I call a “get out of bed” number…What’s the minimum you’d get out of bed for a get to work? (this is sarcasm, I have kids, I never get to stay in bed).
2. Produce content you are proud of and high quality work
You will have a hard time standing by your rates if you produce poor content. I just have to call a spade a spade. When you fully do your best on every single piece of content you create for a brand it shows.
Some of this can be leaned on your experience. Personally, I’ve had years of visual merchandising and styling experience as an ex retail exec that contributes to my ability to be able to style a photo. I’ve taken numerous food and product styling and photography courses to up my game.
Content creation isn’t a Major, yet, but if you’ve treated it as so with your own education and learning, this shines through your quality of work. I most likely charge more than many micro influencers and this is because the level of photography and content provided is high level, that skillset is not dependent on follower size.
3. Expert communication is imperative to the relationship and to your rates.
This should even need to be a differentiator but it is. Timely, dependable communication can make all the difference when working in partnership with a brand or agency on a campaign.
Everyone has a job to do on a campaign. The agency or brand team can’t do theirs efficiently without proper communication from you. This includes what type of insight recaps or campaign recaps you provide even when it’s not requested.
Here are the 4 categories I set my rates on as a Content Creator
- Cost to Create the Content
- Distribution Fee
- Administrative Cost
Let’s dive in to each! Read on for exactly how I set my rates as a Content Creator.
Cost to Create the Content
This is the amount of money it costs to create the content. It should include expenses and costs such as:
- cost of props, product or wardrobe
- cost of photographer or videographer
- cost of venue rental
- your dollar per hour rate that is set based on your expertise for creating the content
- estimated number of hours it will take to prep for the content, shoot the content and edit the content
This is the amount charged for you to distribute the content on your channels. The following should be kept in mind when determining this cost:
- Follower count of the desired posting channels
- how many different channels are in the ask – i.e. does the brand only want Instagram or do they want Instagram, TikTok, facebook, Twitter ect.
- Engagement rate of your channels – how engaged in your audience?
- Does the brand want a full length blog post?
- Your niche – if you’re in an exclusive niche your distribution fee should be higher than niches that are more saturated.
Exclusivity is when an influencer or content creator only posts about a specific brand within an agreed upon timeline. Simply put, if you’re posting about Coca Cola then Coca Cola doesn’t want you also posting about Pepsi during the same time frame. Exclusivity can quickly double a contract depending on what is desired.
A 30 day exclusivity period is pretty standard for a contract but more and more brands and creators are working towards long term and even annual contracts. Exclusivity for an extended period of time is a portion of how I set my rates as a Content Creator. I do my best to work with the brand, keeping in mind that I only work with brands I organically love, to find an agreement that’s favorable on both sides.
Failing to properly negotiate exclusivity can cost you. Let’s say your excitement for working with Coca Cola caused you to overlook that they wanted a long term period. Pepsi comes along, they were going to pay you twice the amount Coca Cola did…but you’re already in a contract. See where I’m going here? Don’t leave dollars on the table.
Another consideration is how popular the category is within your niche. Can you really sign to only work with ONE brand within that category? If so what does that cost?
**none of the above is intended to be legal advice, I strongly suggest you hire counsel to review your contracts BEFORE you sign them. If you need a rec, send me a DM!
While some administrative work in partnerships is expected, carefully review the approval period and deliverables. If the contract includes all brand and multiple approvals, mood boards or concept pitches or anything that will take several hours of back and fourth, ensure you’re compensated for your time and it’s included in your rate.
When I send rates, I do not break down the above and I also do not include my rates in my media kit. How I set my rates as a content creator is broken down similar for how it should be to any other contract or 1099 role.
Each pitch or ask is accompanied by it’s own scope of work based on the deliverables asked and custom rates based on the above and the brand’s budget. Above all, if you’re excited to work with a brand and they value your work, you can work together to create a win-win.
As this is still a new industry, I’d love to hear your best practices, wins, questions and challenges below!
You should include your cost to create the content, cost for the brand to access your audience and cost to post on Instagram.
Influencer rates should be based on the quality of content, deliverables and following size. Read through for 4 ways to break down your rates.
Influencers are paid on their content creation skills and distribution to their audience. Influencers can earn a few hundred to six figures for each sponsored post.
Costs can vary widely for content creation. Expect hourly rates from $15-$150 per hour.
Yes. Instagram pays creators for both badges and bonuses. You must be accepted and provided these features in order to earn through instagram.