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Is it possible to be sponsored on Twitch without a giant viewer base?
We live in a world where anyone who has the will to put in the work, and the ability to entertain for hours, can make money streaming video games on Twitch.
But it didn?t start out that way.
A few years ago, streamers on XFire or the early versions of Twitch didn?t have a means to make money streaming, other than donations. They streamed because they had fun doing it.
However, just as Twitch has grown over the past few years, the opportunities to make money on the platform have also grown just as huge.
From the ability to donate directly to streamers with Twitch Bits, the new Twitch game store, and Twitch?s subscription model, streamers have a plethora of ways to make a living streaming games.
But most importantly, brands have begun to catch on to the power that Twitch streamers have for promoting their products and services in the form of sponsorships.
Being sponsored by a brand is now commonplace for almost every one of the larger streamers on Twitch. But for streamers who are just considering the idea of making Twitch a possible revenue source, the process for getting sponsored is a bit hazy.
This may surprise you, but you can actually get sponsored without a goliath viewer base! All it takes is a bit of effort.
So in this post, we?re going to detail the steps you need to take in order to get sponsored on Twitch, without a huge viewer base.
Let?s jump right in:
1. Prepare your channel for sponsorships.
You?ve probably heard the phrase, ?Go clean your room!?, countless times before from a parent.
Usually, it was because someone was coming over and your parents wanted the house to look presentable for your guests.
Except, in our case, the guests that are going to be showing up are brand owners looking to sponsor you.
Now, I don?t want to act like your mom here, but it?s important that your channel looks presentable as you prepare to look for sponsorships.
In other words, I?m telling you to ?tidy your stream up!?
What do I mean exactly?
Well, most of the tidying up that you?ll need to be doing is in your info section. A lot of streamers just throw whatever they want to in their info section, with any sort of graphic that suits their needs.
Having sloppily thrown together graphics is not a good idea when trying to find sponsors.
Think of it this way: If a brand stumbles across your Twitch channel randomly, your goal when designing your info section should be to impress whoever is looking at it.
This may mean you have great graphic design leading viewers from one section to the next, or that you?ve clearly defined your stream?s brand.
A great example of an awesome branding job on Twitch is thebuddha3. You can see that he?s clearly defined a character he wants to portray, follows a nice color scheme, and more. Check him out here: twitch.tv/thebuddha3
This also means you have a proper means of connection showing in your info section. If a brand wanted to reach out to you then and there, do they have the means to do it?
A brand should have an incredibly easy time when trying to get in contact with you. This may mean leaving your DMs open on Twitter, or including a business email address in your info section.
Lastly, although it?s not too important, make sure that your stream overlay isn?t too crowded with information.
Why? Well, if a brand were wanting to show their logo on your stream, is there a clear space where they could see where they could put it? If your overlay is garbled and cluttered, it could turn off potential logo placement sponsorships.
Once you?ve tidied up your channel, it?s time to look for some brands.
2. Start searching for brands.
If you?re not using a tool like PowerSpike to help you with your brand discovery when looking to get sponsored, you?ll have to start searching for brands manually.
A great way to think of a few brands manually is to do a quick brainstorming session.
Look around you. What products do you use every day that you enjoy? It could be computer parts, your chair, or even your toothpaste. Almost any brand has some sort of relevance to gamers/streamers nowadays.
Furthermore, are there any products that you?ve seen or heard of recently that are great ideas you?d like to spread? These companies can also be great for sponsorships.
If you?re still stuck coming up with a list of companies to get sponsored by, my suggestion would be to head to Twitter.
Go to a brand?s profile page on Twitter that you enjoy, and click on their ?Following? list.
Usually, brands on Twitter will follow other brands that are similar or in the same niche as them. For instance, if I head to DUUL?s Twitter page, their ?Following? list has a ton of companies ranging from startups to multimillion dollar companies.
Go through these lists and click on any company that catches your eye. Then, examine a few things about the company:
1. Is the brand trustworthy?
2. Do you think their product/service is a good idea?
3. Would you, or do you use their product myself?
This step is especially important when discovering brands that you don?t have a connection with previously. You can even experiment a bit when scouting brands by participating in what a brand has to offer. Sign up for an account, or purchase a cheap product from a brand you?re interested in to see if you like what they do.
SIDE: It?s important to note here: multimillion dollar brands aren?t the only companies that you should be looking at.
There are countless startups in the game right now that are producing fantastic and interesting ideas that haven?t yet hit the mainstream market. That?s completely fine! Don?t be afraid to reach out to a company just because they aren?t known by everyone In the community.
Once you have a list of brands that you?re interested in, it?s time to get noticed by someone at the company.
3. Get noticed and form a relationship.
To solidify your chances of getting sponsored, you need to get noticed and form a relationship with a decision maker at the company you?ve been scouting.
When I talk about forming a relationship, I really mean to simply get on someone?s radar. Make them notice you, and have interactions with them.
One of the best ways to do this is through social media.
We live in a time where almost everyone, disregarding status, has a social media account that they regularly post to. Whether it be Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, there is a great chance that the person who you need to talk to in a brand has a social media account.
?How do I find these people??
In order to find individuals who have the authority to make a decision on your sponsorship, you?re going to have to use some of the many tools available to you. My favorite tool to use is LinkedIn. With Linkedin, you can simply search the name of the company you?ve been scouting and see a list of their employees.
Once you?ve searched a company?s employees on LinkedIn, it?s time to find a decision maker within the company.
People who have the authority over sponsorships might have the title of talent seeker, marketing manager, or something similar.
After you think you?ve found an individual you?d like to connect with, give them a quick search on social media to see if they have an account. If they do, great! Toss them a follow, or include them in a list of influential individuals.
You now have the ability to directly interact with someone from that company, and in turn, put yourself on the radar.
Side: Now, this doesn?t mean you should spam or stalk the person you?re trying to form a relationship with.
In fact, the most important thing you must keep in mind when interacting with anyone is that you MUST PROVIDE VALUE TO THEM. You must have genuine interaction, not just self-promotion or endless spamming. Talk to them like you?d talk to someone in every day life! If they have a new book coming out, buy it and send them a picture after you?re done reading it. Do they have a new article? Read the full thing carefully and leave a thoughtful comment or tweet directed at them. Things like this will get you on the radar much quicker, simply because no one else is doing it well.
The process of getting yourself on the radar of an individual may not come quickly. In fact, this could take weeks. It?s important to be patient and genuine in this step, or you?ll come off as pushy or simply in need of something from the person you?re interacting with.
You might be thinking,
?Why can?t I just send an email through the company?s contact form and be done with it??
There are a couple reasons for this:
1. The person in charge of the contact form usually does not have the authority to grant you a sponsorship.
2. You are more likely to get a response from someone you know and have a relationship with.
3. You have the ability to target specific decision makers within a company to lessen the friction of passing your query down the chain of command.
When trying to get on the radar of a brand, you can also take the creative route!
One of my favorite examples of a streamer that creatively achieved a sponsorship is Dr. Disrespect.
One day, Dr. Disrespect felt that a sponsorship by Old Spice would perfectly fit his on-stream character and earn him some extra side cash. However, he did not take the traditional route I talked about earlier.
Instead, he promoted the brand on stream in a way his viewers would think is hilarious, before he was even sponsored. Dr. Disrespect would always take short breaks to spray himself with Old Spice cologne and promote the brand, and this was entertaining to viewers!
By doing this, he got onto the radar of Old Spice, and is now sponsored by them.
Now, I?m not telling you to start giving a brand free promotion. I?m just saying that it?s worth thinking outside of the box.
4. Find a way to connect.
Once you feel like you have gotten on the radar of someone at the brand you?ve been interacting with, it?s time to find a way to connect individually.
Now, depending on the brand, sometimes they will have a section on their website detailing an email you can send if you want to get sponsored.
Side: This is NOT the same thing as a traditional contact form. This is an email form specifically dedicated and managed by someone who has the authority to make decisions or pass on recommendations to someone who can.
If they don?t, you can always use a tool like hunter.io to find the email addresses of important people in a company. However, be clear where you got their email from in your introduction message! You don?t want to come off as creepy.
Furthermore, if you?ve been talking to a higher figure at a company over social media, you can always find their email address on social profiles, or even just message and ask for it directly. This is by far the best means on getting in contact with someone who is more likely to respond to you, so I recommend it the most.
5. Send your intro/proposal.
Once you have your means of connection, it?s time to send a proposal.
A proposal is usually an email that is your first introduction to a brand as a streamer who is looking to promote their products or services.
Before writing your proposal, it?s important to ensure that the person you?ve established a relationship with has the authority to accept or decline your proposal email. If you?re not sure, ask the individual in an email if they are the right person to talk to for this business, along with a short introduction of yourself.
When writing your proposal email, it?s important to be confident in your messages, yet humble and honest at the same time. There are a few mistakes that people make when reaching out to brands, make sure to avoid these:
1. Telling the brand what it would mean to you if you got sponsored.
2. Lying to a brand and telling them you?ve been using their products if you haven?t (they might respond with questions you can?t answer).
3. Being too professional in the email. You don?t want to come off as a robot. If anything, brands are going to be on the lookout for those with the best personalities.
Now that we?ve got the mistakes out of the way, here are some things that you definitely need to include in your proposal:
1. Make it clear that you?re looking to be sponsored by the company.
2. Identify the proper marketing objectives the brand may have. Are they trying to reach a gamer audience? A millennial audience? Do they want to increase sales of a new product? Are they looking to get more social media followers? Do research on the company to figure these things out.
3. Detail the value that your stream can provide for a sponsor. This is perhaps the most important part of the proposal. Think for a second; what is it that makes your stream great? Is it your strong community bond? Your high day-to-day average concurrent viewership? Detail this to the brand, and how you think they can use it to their advantage.
4. Give a brief description of your audience type.
5. Reinforce the value that your stream can provide to the brand, and give specific examples of how you plan to promote the brand, and how your stream?s key advantages will help to promote the product. (I know, I?ve all ready said this. But it?s just too important.)
Side: It?s a smart idea to write your actual proposal inside of a word document, and attach it to a brief email explaining why you?re getting in contact with the brand. Reason being? These things can get long.
Once you send out your proposal, it?s only a matter of waiting for a response.
6. Work out the terms of the sponsorship.
If you didn?t manage to get a response from a brand, or if they declined your offer, no worries, Move on to another brand, and be sure to keep in contact with the brand from before.
However, if you did get a confirmation that they would like to move forward with your sponsorship, that?s great! It?s time to negotiate the terms.
The terms of your sponsorship include a few simple things: How much you?re going to get paid, how often the sponsorship is going to occur, when your payment is going to come in (will it be monthly, or a one-time deal, etc).
It?s hard for me to say exactly what will go down in this step of the sponsorship process. It really is different for everyone. Sometimes this conversation can take a while if you?re not satisfied with the initial offers of a company, and sometimes you agree quickly and get the ball rolling.
My number one piece of advice for anyone who is in this position: know how to value your stream correctly.
If you sell yourself short, you?re going to regret it later. However, if you sell yourself too high, you can drive off the opportunity.
Once you?ve agreed to a set of terms over your sponsorship, you?re ready to sign the contract.
7. Sign Your Contract
Usually, the last step before actually going and completing your sponsorship is to sign a contract with the brand after negotiating your terms.
It?s really important that you read this contract thoroughly.
You want to make 100% sure that the brand has not snuck in any sneaky details, or changed any of the information that you?ve agreed upon in the last step.
You may be asking,
?Why do I need to sign a contract in the first place??
Well, you can never know if a brand is actually going to compensate you for your hard work.
Some people in this world are a bit scummy. And without a contract, you have no legal obligation to get a payment once you?ve completed your end of the deal.
Most importantly, make sure you do not give up any of your channel rights!
Your Twitch channel and your content are yours and yours only. Don?t give up any of the rights that you have as a streamer.
Once you?ve signed your contract, you?re ready to start!
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Congratulations, you did it. That?s really all there is to it! I hope you all can use this post to your advantage when attempting to get sponsored on Twitch.
From tidying up your stream, all the way to sending your proposal to a brand, all it takes is a bit of hard work and dedication to get sponsored.
Just remember: it is possible to get sponsored even when you don?t have a giant viewer base.
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