Working with Sponsors | Mixer Streamer Academy

Why do you want to be sponsored?

Straight cash, homie.

But seriously, why do you want to be sponsored?

Maybe there is a brand you absolutely love and would be honored to work with. Perhaps you’re looking to bring an elevated look of professionalism to your channel.

One of the biggest challenges streamers face is the lack of a predictable income.  Sponsors can help increase your revenue streams in exchange for marketing their brand. Examples of this include:

  • Product Showcasing. A sponsor may ask you to use their product(s) on-air or make mentions of their product(s) in a variety of ways. Sponsors are also known to send free product(s) to streamers for these activities as well!
  • Product Endorsement. You may be asked to submit written or recorded reviews of the sponsor's product(s) and include links to and from your social media accounts.
  • Special Events. Although rare, there may be times where you'll be asked to participate in a sponsor's event or help create awareness of their brand while you are attending an industry convention.

Beyond the money, there is also the opportunity with the right brand partners for enhanced exposure and growth. There are many ways in which sponsors could help expand your audience and get involved with other industry activities, such as paying the cost of your travel to a convention in exchange for working at their booth. Do your best to maintain good relationships with everyone you meet in the industry. Hit your deadlines on time, and always keep the flow of communication open. Success can be just a handshake away!

LuckyShots on Mixer


Common types of sponsorship

There are many types of sponsorships, and every contract is unique. Here are three of the most common examples:

  • Full Sponsorship. This includes a contract, often lasting one year or more. The company pays you a monthly paycheck in exchange for certain endorsements and deliverables, like showcasing their products on stream, a certain number of social media posts a month, and more.
  • Partnership. This can mean anything from a one-time product gift from the company, to an appearance for a company at an event. As soon as you successfully deliver at one event, you can use it as a springboard case study to pitch yourself to more brands.
  • Affiliate programs. These typically do not include an upfront stipend but can include free products and commission from sales you drive for the company.

All three can be valuable for streamers at different points in their journeys. The expectations and type of compensation you receive vary depending on the company's needs and your ability to deliver in terms of views, impressions, sales, or overall hype. Once you have your foot in the door and can prove yourself valuable to sponsors, it will be easier to score more lucrative sponsorship as you expand your influence.


Identifying potential sponsors

When choosing a brand to partner with, there are important factors to consider:

  • Does this sponsor's brand jive with my personal online brand or identity?
    Authenticity is key! If you don't love the product or company, it won't be long until your audience will pick up on this.
  • Don't shoot for the biggest company first.
    Look for small or mid-size companies in the beginning, and don't be afraid to think outside the box. Some streamers are sponsored by local coffee roasters, fitness gear and supplement companies, pet accessories, etc. If there's a product you love and use, there might be a future partnership there! Need LASIK eye surgery? It's not unheard of for a streamer to find ways to strike up a deal with companies even outside the gaming/tech industry.
  • Consider leveraging existing relationships.
    Are there any companies where you already have a connection? Yes, we're talking about your college roommate who now owns a screen-printing shop or microbrewery. Maybe you can produce your merch through them, or host a meetup at their brewery.

Start small and build a successful track record of delivering on your commitments to small companies, then you can turn those into case studies to demonstrate value to bigger companies.


How to reach out to sponsors

If your goal is to earn sponsorships, you'll need to meet representatives from companies who may be interested in you. For this, there are typically three venues which include in-person and different kinds of online connections.

Through an influencer marketing company

Finding opportunities through influencer marketing companies has long been an industry norm on YouTube and Instagram. While it can be more difficult to break into these opportunities as a streamer, you can become eligible for opportunities by carefully curating and growing your fanbase on social media.

Once you have a solid following on Instagram, check out influencer marketing companies like AspireIQ, Grapevine, and others.

Personal online introduction

Sometimes you're not able to meet a target sponsor at an event. Whether you've met a sponsor in-person or not, here are best practices for email contact:

  • DO your research online. DON'T email a random person at the company.
    Use internet sleuthing to find the person directly in charge of partnerships or someone who supports them that can help guide the conversation. If you cannot locate a specific person, consider reaching out to their marketing department as a first step. Avoid emailing random members of the company, especially VPs and CEOs. First impressions are important, and you don't want to be labeled a nuisance.
  • DO be polite and enthusiastic. DON'T be rude or presumptuous.
    This should go without saying, but always showcase your best self and be kind to representatives from potential sponsors. Remember that even if it's a no today, it could be a yes later down the line. If you have a disagreement or complaint with a contact, do your best to state the problem as objectively as possible and ask for their assistance in making it right. While negotiations may not always go the way you'd like, people are always more inclined to help you if it's a reasonable ask rather than an outright demand.
  • DO prepare a onesheet. DON'T exaggerate your stats.
    A onesheet is a visual presentation (usually in the form of a PowerPoint, saved as a PDF) that includes stream stats, social media impressions/interaction, and other important information that showcases your value as a potential sponsor asset. Be sure to keep it honest! It's great to say, "I average 100-150 viewers, and frequently peak at 200." Even if you peak at 200 every day, don't claim it as your average. If they pop by your stream unannounced, you don't want them to see below the amount expected. (For more tips on developing a successful pitch, check out this article).
  • DO prepare individual emails for each sponsor. DON'T recycle the exact same email.
    Before hitting that "send" button for the first time, ask a friend to review your email for tone and clarity. Be sure it is clear what you're asking for, whether that's a sponsorship or a product for you to unbox on-stream. While it's fine to use a general template, be sure to customize the emails for each brand representative. Each company has different needs, so do your research and prepare your proposal or request accordingly. Finally, don't promise more than you can deliver. You'll find more success that way in the end.

Industry events

These are often the best way to make an initial connection with potential sponsors. Representatives from major brands are always in attendance at PAX or Gamescom and ready to meet community members. After all, it's part of what they're there for! While preparing for events, we recommend the following tips:

  • Business cards. Create business cards and get ready to give them to company representatives. Be sure to only give them to people you really connect with. Representatives might not take you seriously if you're passing them out to everyone on the convention floor.
  • Social media. Before and during the event, many attendees opt to add “[StreamerName] at PAX West” (or whatever the event’s name is) to their Twitter display name – but be careful not to change your username/URL. And when you post photos, be sure to use the event’s hashtag to help make your presence known. Twitter is also a great place to connect once you've met representatives in-person.
  • Dress for success. Do you have an iconic look? Are you as recognizable in-person as you are online? Consider these factors when meeting industry folks. Also prepare for a long day. Conventions can get warm so stay hydrated, and it should go without saying, but be sure to shower and use deodorant daily. This may sound like a joke, but body odor can be such a problem in the convention hall that some years companies have handed out deodorant as “party favors”!

Exellion on Mixer


What's in a contract? And how do I know if it's fair?

We can't give legal advice, so if you need assistance, we recommend consulting an attorney.

Here are some general tips you may want to consider:

  • Read the contract. Be sure you have read and understand the entire contract before signing.
  • Ask questions. Don't be afraid to question anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or is unclear. Sponsors should be willing to answer your questions.
  • Perform online research. There are plenty of discussion boards and other forms of social media where streamers discuss matters related to sponsorship. While it will not be an adequate substitute for personalized legal advice, it might give you a place to start before consulting an attorney or asking questions of a prospective sponsor.


Best practices from industry insiders

Below we've included tips from people who work at notable companies in the industry:

  • "The more companies work in the space, the more they'll learn that fit is more important than size. On a recent activation, the person with the highest audience engagement (number of clicks through to the product page) had 1/5 the audience of the biggest person on the campaign." - Jennifer Dariani
  • "Never compare yourself. Especially in the context of, 'I have x many more viewers than this person you currently work with, or x many followers.' You don't know how long that company has been working with said person or their relationship. Don't do it." -Melissa Mok
  • "Build relationships with people you like, not just with people you think can do things for you. Someone you bump into at PAX East could have a job in partnerships by PAX West. The best way in can be through a personal recommendation or existing relationships." - Nick Bourne
  • "When someone asks for [product to review], I expect to hear some selling points and confidence. When their main pitch is simply because I should 'support the little guys,' I'm pretty much like, NEXT! I'm not saying you have to be a huge content creator to put yourself out there, but have a little pride in what you do. Tell me what you can offer, not what you think you're entitled to because you're looking for a break." - Clara Sia


Don’t forget

Out of all the recommendations in this article, there is one that we want to highlight.

Start small and build a successful track record of delivering on your commitments to small companies, then you can turn those into case studies to demonstrate value to bigger companies.

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