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how to get paid sponsorship on instagram


5+ Effortless Ways You Can Turn Gifted Offers into Paid Collaborations on Instagram

One of my most asked questions about brand collaborations on Instagram is how to turn gifted offers into paid collaborations. No matter the size and experience, content creators and influencers alike seem to share the same dilemma: how to get paid sponsorships on Instagram, and how to get past the “we’d love to send you a gift in exchange for a post” or “I’m sorry, we have no budget at this time”. Although there’s so much that comes into play when it comes to negotiating and locking paid collaborations on Instagram, there are some simple responses to get you started that can, hopefully, give you practice and build your confidence.

When I got started as an influencer in 2012, I absolutely had no idea how to work with brands or even how to ask to be paid as a microinfluencer. At the same time, the career as an influencer was still very new and paid collaborations on Instagram were close to non-existent. I thought you can only get paid with your YouTube channel. I also thought that I needed to have at least 50,000 followers to even start thinking about monetizing. I was always under the impression that I had to earn my badges and that small influencers don’t get paid to work with brands.


I got my first paid offer in 2015, and at the time, I didn’t even know I could get paid that much money for an Instagram post. At the same time, I wasn’t sure where to begin asking for compensation. I felt like I had mastered the art of pitching to, networking with and building relationships with brands, but I didn’t have the confidence to turn those gifted offers into paid sponsored posts.

how to get paid sponsorship on instagram

With getting discouraged, I decided to take a step back from the influencer role for two years, but coming back in 2018, I was fully determined to conquer the world of negotiation and locking paid collaborations. It took me an entire year to build the confidence to ask me what I’m worth, but if there’s some advice I can give you, it’s these:

  • You’ll go through A LOT more No’s before you get a Yes. It’s frustrating to hear “We don’t have a budget” over and over, but it’s the nature of the industry. Marry the work, divorce the results, and your first paid collaboration will be that much sweeter.
  • You’ll never know unless you ask. So many influencers are passive about brand collaborations and wait until the brand reaches out. And although inbound offers have the most budget, brands and PR agencies won’t know who you are unless you put your foot through the door.
  • Brands will respect you EVEN more if you know your worth. Yup. It sounds counterintuitive, but the more brands know you value your work, the more brands will know you value the relationship and that you will deliver professional assets.

My hope with this post is for you to get a general overview of the verbiage and my responses, so you can stop working for free. Let’s dive into examples.

Ways You Can Turn Gifted Offers into Paid Collaborations on Instagram

Example 1: A Brand emails you for the first time and wants to collaborate.

The Brand may have mentioned they want to gift you some free product to try in exchange for a post, or even give you a discount code to use for your followers.

“Thank you for reaching out and thinking of me! May I ask if there is a budget for this campaign?”

You can even be a little more direct with your response and tell them you only accept paid sponsorships.

“Thank you so much for considering me for this program! At this time, I am only able to commit to paid collaborations. Are you interested in a collaboration like this?”

paid collaborations on Instagram

Example 2: Say you are a small content creator and a Brand wants to offer you a gifted partnership.

You’re new to influencer marketing, but you want to build the relationship with the Brand, and it’s a Brand that you would LOVE to work with. You could also be a little more experienced with content creation and it’s a local small business you want to support.

“Aside from promotion of your products, I’d love the opportunity to create some high-quality creative assets for your use. Do you have a budget for something like this?”

Offering content creation for their socials or website could be a great way to create branded content, especially if you don’t really have a big following yet. And if the Brand likes your work, they could easily come back for more, or even contract you for a longer partnership. You can also build the relationship with the Brand this way by accepting the gifted partnership, but asking for what’s coming up on their campaign calendar.

“I am so excited to receive some gifted items, thank you! Aside from your gifted program, do you have any active paid campaigns going on for this quarter that I can participate in?”

Some brands may be stingy with this information, but there will be brands who are happy to share, especially if they deem you as a professional.

Example 3: A Brand reaches out to you offering a paid partnership for 1 IG Post, 3 IG Stories, and 1 Blog post.

Although the offer is paid, it seems low for the amount of work you have to do. Maybe you have the swipe up option for your stories. Maybe your engagement rate is higher than influencers your size.

“I’m so excited to hear that [Brand] wants to work together. I love [Brand], so this is a perfect fit for me! All looks good, but is there room in the budget to negotiate? Typically, my rate for 1 IG Post, 3 IG Stories, and 1 blog post is $X.”

instagram paid collaborations

Example 4: A Brand sends you a DM asking for permission to repost your content to their social media.

You ask them to send you an email so that you can send them the file for the requested content, but obviously you want to get compensation for your work.

“I typically charge a rate to grant usage rights for my content, depending on what the content will be used for. I am happy to share the high-quality file of the content you requested, as well as other B-roll footage that you can choose from. If [Brand] is interested in using my photo for social media usage only, I can give you a 1-year social license for $X. Full usage rights is $X for 1 year. Excited to hear your thoughts!”

Create a slideshow of the requested content with the B-roll footage you have so you can let the Brand choose. You never know, maybe they’ll ask for more assets.

Example 5: You are cold pitching to a Brand.

You’ve pitched to a lot of Brands, but you keep getting responses offering a gifted Instagram collaboration. You’re frustrated and you are looking for the Brand who has a budget.

“If you find that a partnership with me is the right fit, I’d love to hop on a call to brainstorm more ideas with [Brand]! I’d be happy to share my rates and put together some package options that works for your budget for the quarter.”

Sometimes, it’s better to be direct and cut to the chase to save the time negotiating and getting nowhere. It also gets the Brand to see you more as a professional than just another influencer trying to work with a Brand. Because at the end of the day, you are offering your services to them.

paid collaborations on Instagram

If you want to learn more on how to get paid collaborations on Instagram, check out my Influencer Starter Kit!

It has the exact tools and strategies that I use that landed me $35,000 in brand collaborations in 2019, and $50,000 in 2020 at 30,000 followers. You get:

  • My in-depth “The Ultimate Guide to Landing Your First Collaboration” eBook
  • My “10+ Hacks to take Your IG to the Next Level” BONUS eBook
  • (3) Email Pitch templates to reach out to brands and (6) negotiation response examples
  • An easy-to-use 1-Page Media Kit Template, and
  • (5) Lightroom Mobile presets, specifically designed for BIPOC skintones

If it’s your dream to land 4-figure paid collaborations on Instagram, this is your sign! Grab it here!

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