Sandbox Strategies’ Influencer Relations Manager Clara Sia (@SeriouslyClara) on how gaming influencers can best optimize paid opportunity partnerships

I’ve worked with a lot of influencer agencies and managers on sponsorships and paid campaigns and I’ve seen my share of ups and downs when it comes to how each influencer is managed in those deals. The scary thing is many of them have no idea what exactly goes on on their behalf, including how many deals they’re losing out on and why.

I tweeted a thread about this topic recently, but the subject bears repeating. More and more content creators are becoming verifiable, profitable influencers these days, but how many of them have real business sense to sustain their growth and stay profitable in this highly competitive market?

That’s where managers and agencies come in for many – hired help who can handle the intimidating wild world of business management, communication, and negotiations for them. The problem is that even this step requires some business sense and not enough influencers are doing their research or auditing their agents over time to make sure they’re getting their money’s worth (or netting out in the negative in some cases).

I’ve dealt with the full gamut of agency experiences, ranging from highly effective and responsive to a total lack of professionalism and absenteeism.

Here are a few reasons you may be losing paid opportunities as an influencer:

  • Extremely slow responses or total absenteeism. There are usually quite a number of candidates for campaigns and if I don’t hear from your manager for days at a time, you can kiss that deal goodbye.
  • Lack of professionalism. I love business casual relationships, but if that includes dealing with frequent mistakes that cost time to fix or address, you’ll likely miss out on future opportunities. One of the easiest preventative measures is simply making sure they fully read and understand contracts before passing it on to you. Be especially wary if they’re signing on your behalf.
  • Poor communication. Imagine spending days or weeks lining up a sponsored campaign only to get last-minute surprises because your manager did not communicate timing, deliverable specifics, messaging, etc. to you. How does that look to the publisher or company that sponsored you?
  • Rates are way too high due to agency costs. If your agency needs to have five or more people on every email, how much are they taking from your pay and pricing you out of deals you would otherwise get without such an inflated fee?
  • Shady practices. Without going into specifics, just be aware that not every influencer agency is out for each of their influencers’ best interests equally. Audit often and stay informed.
  • Being extremely high maintenance. Attention to detail is one thing, but nitpicking at every single possibility of misunderstanding wastes time and is a quick (read: slow and painful) way to get on an “avoid” list. And since you’re probably not on these extensive email chains, you’ll probably never know it.
  • Withholding information. How awkward is it to hear from an agency that an influencer can’t accept a sponsored opportunity because the price isn’t right only to get hit directly by the influencer themselves, asking for nothing but a free game code without knowing an offer was even attached? Or imagine getting told to stop playing a game you like suddenly because they made a side deal on your behalf that prevents you from further covering the game until more negotiation. Make sure you’re auditing your agency-shared emails from time-to-time to check if you’re missing out on an awesome partnership. Exercise your voice when needed. You know yourself, your content, and your audience better than anyone. Remember that you always get final say.
  • Not actually having a clear understanding of the influencer’s interests. The people accepting and declining opportunities for you should know exactly what you’re into and not into. Your representatives should be an extension of your brand and business. Don’t be suckered into a sponsorship for a title you care nothing about – that is a poor look for everyone involved and will guarantee that a publisher will never work with you again. Plus, your audience can smell inauthenticity a mile away. Conversely, make sure your agent isn’t waving off deals that you would be perfectly suited for.

I’m going to finish this with a direct quote from my thread: On a personal level, I am always looking out for influencers in my job. You are my priority. Your title is in my job title. We won’t always meet on business terms due to budget, KPIs, etc. (business after all), but I work for my clients and for you.

Can I always get you paid? No. Can I always give you review codes? No. But y’all know I have a big mouth, I came from your world, and I’m in your corner too.

Good luck out there and stay vigilant!