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How to Land Paid Creator Deals Without a Huge Following

August 22, 2022

Are you a creator who would like to land paid content deals, but are concerned about the size of your audience? You’re in the right spot! By the end of this article you’ll have the clarity and confidence to start charging for your work.

We’ll start by making an important distinction between content creators and influencers.

Creator vs. Influencer

Content creators focus on producing content that engages their audience. They know their audience wants to consume content such as how-to guides, "day in the life" series, tips and tutorials, and beautiful photography.

Influencers are simply sharing how they live their lives, promoting the products and services they use along the way. They have a large number of followers and use their influence to persuade them to do or buy something.

Influencers need to be a marketing channel and they get paid in proportion to their audience size. However, that’s not the case with content creators; you just need to produce content that engages a specific audience. So, the key to your success is finding brands that align with the same audience and need content to continue engaging them.

But, as you may have guessed, it’s not that easy. So what’s the secret to getting a “yes”? Create nanolearning content. 

What is Nanolearning?

Nanolearning is a condensed way of delivering information in an engaging format. For example, a TikTok video that quickly explains three ways to save on vacation travel. Fortunately, this style of education doesn’t just capture an audience’s attention, it actually works! According to a study conducted by the Dresden University of Technology, short content drives over 20% more information retention than long-form content.

Here’s a quick example. 

  • Lume cube makes powerful lights for photo and video devices, I use mine whenever I lead an online speaking engagement.
  • I reached out and asked if they’d be interested in me making Reels around how entrepreneurs can land online speaking gigs.
  • They said yes.

Tons of Norby users are utilizing the power of nanolearning content, including:

That’s pretty much all you have to do and I’m going to walk you through that process now. ‍

STEP 1: Determine what information you can share with a specific audience

To make nanolearning content you must educate your audience. So, what should you teach them? 

Here are a few prompts to get you started:

  • What questions do people constantly ask you about in comments or your DMs? 
  • What topics do you love explaining to people in your audience?
  • What are some common mistakes you can help people avoid?

Or, better yet, what existing content can you repurpose? I created a reel that was based on a previous text-based post. The reel got 8,000 views and twice as many likes as the original post.

STEP 2: Create sample content for potential partners

People buy based on outcomes, not promises. So if you want to land paid deals you’ll need to create examples of what potential partners can expect from you. Start by writing a very brief script for your video. Keep in mind that the average person speaks about 150 words per minute and Instagram Reels have a one mine max. So, quick math will tell you it shouldn’t exceed 150 words if your video will only be one minute long. 

What should you say? Well, that all depends on your topic but I was able to get more actionable advice from a pro. Almeera Jiwa Pratt is a content expert who leads the Nanolearning program at LinkedIn Learning. Her recommended structure involves answering two questions about your topic. 

  • Why is it important?
  • What should you do?

So, that TikTok video about saving money on vacation travel could start out like this. 

“Do you want to take a vacation, but you’re concerned about the cost? Here are three tips to help you save on vacation travel.”

That's 24 words, you only need another 126 and you’re good to go. In this example the creator would walk through the three steps then end with a call to action such as “Have any questions? Let me know in the comments”.

And, although this is a relatively short video, some of you may be concerned about remembering all your lines. Fortunately, you don’t have to! In this Reel about content creation tips I’m initially on camera before you see stock video appear on screen. While the stock video is playing I’m literally reading my lines off a piece of paper. 

I got the royalty-free videos from, the videos are free of charge and available in both landscape and vertical format. I then quickly edited the video in Descript, which is an all-in-one tool for audio transcription, podcasting, screen recording, audio and video editing. 

The entire process only took 15 minutes.

STEP 3: Identify partners who align with the same audience

Next, it’s time to identify partners you can create content for. Again, it’s important to make sure you both serve the same audience and they have a need for your content. 

To get started, make a list of the tools, products and services you already use. It will make it much easier for you to create content for their audience since, well, you are their audience. Again, the creator with travel tips may focus on companies that provide travel gear or even hotels looking to book travelers. 

Then, review their website and social media channels to identify areas of opportunity. What content do they need that you can provide? Perhaps it's something their competitors already have or you intuitively know would benefit their audience. 

Make a list of these brands and the appropriate contact person for partnerships. You may be able to find them by doing a LInkedIn search. Or, consider just sending them a message on social media. ‍

STEP 4: DeterminE your rates

How much should you charge? As you may have guessed, this question is challenging to answer. For help I turned to Nina Zadeh, Co-Founder and Director of Partnerships of Sidewalker Daily, a team of Influencer Marketing Experts and Social Strategists who work on both sides of the Influencer industry. She shared “It's hard to give a certain number because there are many factors that affect rates and pricing, such as production value, impressions, usage rights, exclusivity and lots more! Our goal at Sidewalker Daily is to help Creators think critically about how they price themselves, and share that there is no one size fits all solution.” If you’re looking for more input, consider attending one of their free monthly live trainings where they go much deeper on the topic. 

I also found a great resource from Dani the Explorer that provides ideas on how much to charge for content based on your specific use case.

Here’s something else to consider; instead of a monetary payment you can also ask for free products or experiences. In the case of products you could either keep them for yourself or give them to your audience as part of a contest. This would help increase your email list or social media followers. 

Beyond that, you’ll be able to get a case study from the partnership which can help you land more deals with the same brand or similar brands down the line!

STEP 5: Pitch your content

Now it's time to actually pitch your services. Fortunately, you’ve already frontloaded yourself for success by completing the previous steps. To further build your confidence I’m sharing tips provided by another pro at Sidewalker Daily, Kingsley Maduri, their Director of Social Media. In this Instagram Reel she shares three valuable tips when it comes to pitching, especially if you have a relatively small following. 

  1. Remember that there is a human on the other side of the brand, build a relationship before pitching. This includes commenting on their posts, sharing their content, and chatting with them through direct messages.
  2. Create content that can be used as an example in your pitch. (You’ve already done that)
  3. Don’t forget to nurture your audience! Being able to showcase positive sentiment from your followers can also help you land deals. Screenshot and share positive feedback. 

When pitching, be specific. So, instead of saying “I’d love to create content for you!” lead with something along the lines of “With the summer travel season approaching I know many people would love to hit the road but they’re concerned about the cost. I’d love to chat about how I can create a series of videos on your behalf highlighting how people can take a vacation without spending a lot of money. Here’s an example of video I created based on the same topic.”

Yes, it takes more time to create a specific pitch, but you’ll be much more likely to get a response. 

PRO TIP: Play the long game

You might get a yes relatively quickly or it could take months. Fortunately you’re building a brand and business that will continue rewarding you for years to come. And keep in mind that it’s a numbers game, the more you pitch the more responses you’ll get. As you continue building your own content you have even more great examples to share and more followers who are happy to support you. 

Just keep creating great content and stay on the radar of brands who need your help!

Bonus: Once you create your first video, please tag bynorby on Instagram! We’d love to see what you come up with and will share a few of our favorites. 

Ready to get started on your own paid creator deals? With Norby's platform, you can! Get started today.

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