Five Insights From Open Sauce on Mastering Brand Outreach

Open Sauce Panel with Evan and Katelyn
Open Sauce evanandkatelyn/Instagram Open Sauce Mst/Adobe Stock

Earning a living as a creator isn’t easy. From dealing with fluctuating ad revenue to balancing a functioning Patreon, much needs to be handled. One of the most lucrative, but arguably difficult, ways to make money is through brand deals. Partnering with a company to promote its latest product to your fans can earn thousands of dollars for seconds of ad time.

But figuring out where to start or how to get into contact with brands isn’t easy work. But at the industry day of Open Sauce 2024 — a tech YouTuber convention — DIY creators Evan and Katelyn spoke candidly to a group of about two dozen sharing their secrets on working with some of the biggest brands like Google and SquareSpace on their 1.48 million subscriber channel. Here are five of their top insights on how to deal with brands.  

Strategies for Brand Outreach 

Evan and Katelyn started out making content in 2017 as a way to grow closer as a couple. They knew they had something special and started reaching out to brands almost immediately. How did they do it? The pair would find the contact information for a company’s PR or marketing teams and “just cold email them,” Katelyn said. Once they got the contact info, they’d make sure to approach the brand with a concrete idea, including a fleshed-out video that would promote the brand. 

“When you are a smaller channel approaching brands, do their work for them and they’ll love you,” Evan said. 

They also recommend going to conventions targeting your niche. In a pre-COVID world, they attended as many maker events as they could, getting all the business contacts they could then reach out to later. 

Landing Your First Deal

Getting your first brand deal is a daunting task. But getting that initial deal is so important to getting future deals since it allows you to prove to other brands you have a proof of concept and are worth paying money for. Even if that first deal isn’t going to pay your rent for the month, it’s worth getting something. Think of it as a stepping stone. 

The deal doesn’t even have to just be a lump sum of cash for a shoutout. In other words, you can work with brands in other ways. Getting an affiliate link, not only allows you to make a percentage of a sale made by anyone who clicks but also allows you to build up a relationship with the brand that you can then use to get bigger deals. 

Create a Media Kit

When reaching out, it’s better to give brands an idea of what your channel is. Cold calling without a way for the brand to easily know who you are makes it more likely you’ll just get ignored or pushed to spam. Having a media kit that’s just a single page long and has all the information in one place will make it easier to pitch to your contact and their bosses.

“This Is who we are, this is what our channel is, this is our audience demographics, these are brands we’ve worked with,” Katelyn said about the kit. 

You should also include the age, gender, and geography demographics of viewers as part of your kit. The pair have no agent, multi-channel network, or middleman working to get them sponsorship deals, so it’s important for them to be able to pitch themselves. As such, the pair takes turns answering brand emails and filling in a spreadsheet of contacts potential contacts. 

Expanding Brand Partnerships

But as you get larger and move out of a niche, you can approach brands looking to reach more of a general audience. Evan and Katelyn’s videos continuously get millions of views, allowing them to work with more traditional brands like Google and Square Space.

The pair have 24 Square Space sponsorships planned this year with the website manufacturer. They worked out a deal smaller than what they normally ask a sponsor just to get a bulk deal so they could focus on creating content. 

“When we have more freedom we make better ads,” Evan said. “Sometimes we get emails back on the ad reads that ‘it’s a bit unhinged but we like it!’ And those are the brands we work with. As much as brands have power over who we work with, we have power too and we talk.” 

Vet Your Sponsors

Once you’ve got the sponsorship ball rolling, brands of all types will try to reach out and have you shill their products. But according to Evan and Katelyn, it’s important to “do your research” when it comes to working with companies. The duo prioritizes working with brands “where you buy it and get a thing,” Evan said. And generally stay away from “health and finance companies because they can be a bit touchy.”

In other words, don’t forget that ultimately, it’s your brand on the line.

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