Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The Difference Between Free Product and Sponsored Content

As a small youtuber, I receive the occasional email from a company wanting to send me promotional product to try. If you are not used to receiving this sort of email, you may not know how to proceed. How you respond to these requests is personal but knowing the difference between free products and sponsored content can help you decide how to proceed.

Promotional/Free Products

Do you do your job for free? Would you do your job for free? As a teacher I think of all of the other things I do outside of interacting with and cultivating the minds of my students. I do loads of paperwork, get my customer service on when interacting with parents, keep detailed records, create lesson plans, create materials to use in the lesson plans, get evaluated (ugh), and the list goes on. I wouldn't do any of these "extras" for free.

It is with this mindset that I respond the way that I do to companies approaching me about sending a product. They want you to do a review of their product and share it on your social media and many of them don't mention pay--not with a channel of my size. I always respond that I am open to receipt of products but that getting the product does not guarantee a product review or promotion. I also let them know that their product may appear in another type of video like tips, a tutorial, empties but it will not likely be the focus.

Free products are nice but planning, filming, editing, uploading, and promoting is a lot of work to do for free.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored content opens the door to a few promises to the brand. These promises may include type of video, their product being the only mention in the video, time frame of video completion, specific title and/or description box information, their usage of the video on their platforms, etc. The only thing I can't promise is my opinion. That will always be whatever it is.

Being sponsored means getting paid for all of the work you are doing for that product or brand. This should not be something that you are ashamed of. In my response to free product requests, I also let companies know that I am open for sponsored content and I give a link to my FameBit profile.

It's Up To You

Ultimately, it's up to you how you choose to navigate receiving products and sponsorships. However, never allow yourself to be cheapened or taken advantage of and remember who you try these products for. Your audience should always be at the forefront of your mind in dealing with companies.

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