The RIGHT Way to Pitch Sponsors for Your Content with Justin Moore
Most brands don’t care about your numbers! It’s true, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Justin Moore knows a thing about brand deals. He’s done 500 himself, and over 1,000 through his agency. Today he teaches creators how to get paid brand deals through his cohort-based course, Brand Deal Wizard. And in today’s episode, we cover a lot, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
- You need to be able to articulate why brands should pay you — and it’s not just about your numbers. Most brands want to pay me for access to your audience.
- There’s tremendous power for brands to be aligned with key voices in their industry.
- Don’t just put brands in a box that is your pre-defined offers. Get on a call (YES — get on a call), ask them what their goals are, and come up with offers that align with what they need.
- Justin on Twitter
- Creator Wizard on YouTube
- Brand Deal Wizard (Justin’s Cohort-based Course)
- Creator Wizard Newsletter
- Don’t be a Jealous Creator
- Join Creator Crew
Joe Casabona: Most brands don’t care about your numbers! It’s true, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Justin Moore knows a thing or two about brand deals. He’s done 500 himself, and over 1,000 through his agency. Today he teaches creators how to get paid brand deals through his cohort-based course, Brand Deal Wizard. And in today’s episode, we cover a lot, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Think about these things as you listen: how to articulate why brands should pay you and why it’s not just about your numbers, how much power brands gain by aligning themselves with key voices like yours. And instead of pre-defining offers, get on a call with them and see what their wins are.
So those are the things we’re going to talk about. But to be honest, the best piece of advice Justin gives—and I didn’t do this on purpose—it’s in the members-only episode. He talks about a mistake that I made with a recent brand deal, and how I should fix it.
So if you want to get the ad-free extended version of this, you can head over to joincreatorcrew.com. It’s just five bucks a month. It’s really less than five bucks a month because it’s 50 bucks a year to get the best piece of advice from Justin.
For all of the show notes, including how to join Justin’s cohort-based course, which as this episode comes out, the doors are opening, if not now, then very soon, you can head over to howibuilt.it/287. Thanks to this week’s sponsors: Nexcess and LearnDash. Now, let’s get on to the intro, and then the interview.
Intro: Hey everybody, and welcome to How I Built It, the podcast where you get free coaching calls from successful creators. Each week you get actionable advice on how you can build a better content business to increase revenue and establish yourself as an authority. I’m your host Joe Casabona. Now let’s get to it.
Joe Casabona: Justin, thanks so much for coming on the show.
Justin Moore: Of course, man. I’m really stoked to be here. I think we’re gonna have a great conversation today because I never get tired of talking about sponsorship. So I’m excited.
Joe Casabona: You always bring such great energy. I feel like I watch your YouTube videos and you’re always like up here. I have a lot of energy but my YouTube style is very like dad giving you a lecture, which I’m told is not great for the algorithm.
Justin Moore: You know what? There may be another algorithm change that favors dad giving you advice content. If you look at the stars, it might be in your favor later. You know, I don’t know why that is. See, my style is less dad giving you advice and more like… I feel like I’m a little more threatening than that.
Someone told me the other day that they think of me as their tough-love mentor, because I’m very much… I think part of it is that I see so much opportunity. When I interact with creators and I’m helping them work through complex negotiations or something like that or maybe it’s mindset-related blocks or obstacles that they’re trying to get past, is I just feel so… I feel for people because it’s like I see this amazing art, this amazing creativity, these amazing creations that they’re making on the internet. I see so much potential and I’m just like, “I want you to make a lot of money working with brands so that you can keep doing this amazing thing.”
So a lot of my tough love attitude comes from this just like if you can just get past some of these things, systematize your processes, like understand that you can have a strategy behind working with sponsors. It’s not unpredictable like a lot of people think it is, right?
So that’s where it comes from. It’s not like I’m mad at people. It’s more just like I want you to be like, “Listen to me. Do this. Stop, stop. It’s okay if the brand tells you no or ghosts you. It’s okay. It’s gonna be fine.” So a lot of it comes from that, I think.
Joe Casabona: And I think people need that, right? Because I hear it, too. I’ve been fortunate enough to have my podcast sponsored from day one-
Justin Moore: Wow.
Joe Casabona: …before I launched. Somebody just said, “Hey, can you backlink me?” And I’m like, “I can mention you on my upcoming podcast for $99.” And they’re like, “Okay.” And I was like, “What?”
Justin Moore: Dang that $1 discount, man.
Joe Casabona: I know.
Justin Moore: That was like the sale price. I love it.
Joe Casabona: I know, right? I like couldn’t believe they said yes. And then from there I just kind of… The biggest lesson was you got to ask for it, right?
Justin Moore: Oh, yeah.
Joe Casabona: And I think a lot of-
Justin Moore: Joe, I’m gonna turn the tables on you here, okay?
Joe Casabona: Great.
Justin Moore: Because I love talking about this very first inflection point that a lot of creators have, which is, I was doing a bunch of stuff for free before and now someone has actually offered to compensate me. Walk me through your emotions in that moment when someone agreed to pay you $99 to sponsor your podcast. What were you feeling?
Joe Casabona: It was like shock followed by an epiphany. Because it was glib, right? I get backlink requests all the time, and I usually just say no or ignore it. And this time around, I was like, “Well, this actually fits with my audience. I’m just gonna be like, whatever.” It was almost like a high school kid responding. Like, “Oh, for 99 bucks, I will.” I was like, “Yeah, okay.”
And I was like, “Okay, this $99 is worth the backlink for this guy.” And I thought, like, “Who else? How many people are leaving money on the table because they’re afraid to ask for it?”
I told another friend about this, she came on my podcast, and she was talking about this brand and she was like, “You should reach out to them and just see if they want to sponsor this episode.” And I was like, “Okay.” And from there, I like wrote scripts.
So it was very much like, “I can’t believe they said yes. How many other people are gonna say yes. Especially like the $99 price point for like a forever link, how many people are gonna say yes to that?”
Justin Moore: Right. Right. I think it’s this moment where you go from either getting a bunch of people asking stuff, backlinks, whatever it is, or maybe they’re offering you free stuff, or access to software tools, or like whatever. “You just have to link me or put me in the show notes or whatever.”
To go from that to like understanding how you can articulate to a brand, why they should compensate you in a more formalized capacity. That gulf I think feels very large for a lot of people. It’s like this chasm that is just like… I just don’t. Especially if you’ve done stuff for free for brands in the past, you feel like you’ve set this precedent where it’s like, How do I go back to them and say, “Hey, I know you’ve been giving me free access or whatever free stuff for like two years but now you got to pay me.” And so it’s just like, how do you have that dialogue?
I love talking about this particular point, because I feel like there’s so many people who have never really considered like, Wow, I actually have a very valuable asset on my hands that, you know, in reality, a lot of brands and companies might want to sponsor me to talk about them or to access my audience. So I don’t know. I love hearing your perspective on that because everyone’s, you know, feelings during that moment tend to be quite impactful and poignant.
Joe Casabona: I mean, we’re both based in the US, maybe I can’t speak for other cultures. But it’s probably the way that we look at work, right? Like we’ve been taught, like, Oh, people are going to pay me in exchange for goods and services.
I came from a web development background, and that’s what my podcast was initially about, and so people paid me to make websites for them. The fact that people might want to pay me for something I was already going to do was very the same realization I had in high school when somebody paid me for my first website. I was like, “You’re gonna pay me for something that I just kind of do on the weekends. Okay, fine. I’m not gonna turn down money.”
I think creating content is like very much that same thing. So maybe more people haven’t been paid for their hobby like I was in high school, but the switch in my mind happened pretty quickly. Because like you are offering a service when you create content, and you mentioned these brands. You’re not giving them goods or services, but you’re letting them leverage this trust that you’ve developed with your audience.
Justin Moore: Well, we’re getting into it real deep quickly, because this is the other major inflection point that I think, you know… Okay, let’s say you’ve gotten past that point. Let’s say you’ve shifted from convincing brands to actually pay you now, not just like free stuff. And then creators in that space still very much feel that the amount that they can charge a sponsor is directly correlated to the number of deliverables that they can provide to the brand, right?
So for podcasters, it’s like okay, “I am going to offer you a certain number of host read ads or mid-roll ads or links in the show notes or whatever. So the only way in which I can increase my prices is if I offer you more of those things. That is a very hard trap for a lot of podcasters to get out of in terms of realizing like there are lots of other things that you can provide to brands that have absolutely nothing to do with how many times we’re gonna talk about them on your podcast.
The best example I can give is that there’s a tremendous amount of power for key brands to be aligned with influential voices in their industry. So for them to be able to say on their website, or for them to be able to say on their social media channels that like, “We have a partnership with Joe,” that is oftentimes priceless. To go back to the MasterCard commercial, it’s priceless, right?
And so I think as creators, a lot of times we don’t really quite understand that component. And it’s very difficult to price that too. So it’s like, how is the brand actually going to measure success of this partnership if it’s not related to how many deliverables I’m giving them? This is a lot of the stuff I love talking about because these are the major unlocks that you can have as a creator where you can really start charging a lot more money.
Joe Casabona: I had this experience recently where like I put together a proposal and I put together a bunch of like deliverables. “At this price, you get this.” And they were like, “Well, we’re just gonna get our budget approved.” And so they took the proposal, they got some budget approved, and they were just like, “This number that you gave us mostly aligns with the budget that we’ve gotten approved.” Like they already have a number in mind that they can expand on you or on influencers in general. So you don’t know that number but like…
I guess my point is like, like you said, it’s really hard to figure out what that’s worth to the brand, probably without having some conversations. And you probably can provide a lot of insight on this.
Justin Moore: Well, one of the… Sorry, I got like a frog in my throat.
Joe Casabona: We’re just getting choked up here talking about brands giving us money.
Justin Moore: Actually, have a tear in my eye at the same time. So this is one of the most important pieces of advice that I can give creators, aspiring podcasters influencers and so on, is your top priority should be to get these brands or get this agency that is representing the brand on a call, on a Zoom. Because your goal should be, number one, establishing some baseline report, okay? Because the likelihood that they’re actually just reaching out to you is very low.
Okay, so once you have this assumption that, okay, they’re probably reaching out to 10, 20, 50 other people potentially, if it’s a larger campaign, to just kind of test the waters and figure out, “Okay, let’s get some baseline pricing from people. Let’s see who’s interested? Let’s see who’s available for the timeline that we’re looking for.” So a lot of times it’s just a lot of tire kicking.
Most creators do not offer to get on a call at this stage, because they’re just like, “Okay, how much are you gonna pay?” That’s the vast majority is like very transactional. But if you’re the creator who be like, “I would love to hop on a Zoom or hop on a call to learn a little bit more about your objectives for this campaign?” And if you say that to a brand, what does that signal, Joe? That signals, “Well, this creator actually seems interested in the outcome of the partnership.”
So you get on this call and you ask them very simple questions. You do a little bit of research in advance of the call, you look at their blog, what are they posting, you look at, let’s say, their Instagram where they’re talking about their marketing campaign, you know, some new product launches, whatever. You look at their job boards, Joe, and you see, Are they recruiting? Are they trying to find a social media coordinator, a digital marketing person? What kind of things are they trying to accomplish as a brand?
There’s so many bread crumbs that brands leave on social media that you can just get on the ground and start looking up. In the age of COVID, that’s not super sanitary. So I wouldn’t recommend that. But there’s so much information that you can glean from these things that brands are posting.
So when you get on these calls, you ask them very simple questions. Like, number one, “What is the goal of this campaign?” Very simple. Number two, “It seems like you were doing a big push for the holidays last year with this particular campaign, because I saw your post about it, are you going to be doing that again this year? “
A lot of creators think that brands reinvent the wheel every single year with their marketing campaigns. And that is absolutely false. They will literally take out the same playbook that they ran from last year, they’ll just kind of dust it off, and they’ll be like, “Okay, let’s do this again,” maybe with some slight modifications.
You could ask them, you know, “Tell me about some campaigns that you’ve ran in past with creators. Which ones went well? Which ones didn’t go so well? What did you learn from that? Tell me about the market right now, the industry. Are you facing stiff competition? Are there other products that you’re going to be launching that you think are going to be able to gain market share from some of these other? So there’s all these different questions that you can ask. And so you treat this initial call as a fact-finding mission.
So if they try and back you into a corner, and they’re like, “Okay, well, how much do you charge for like a mid-roll, you know, blah, blah?” No, you don’t say anything. On this initial call, you don’t say Jack. You say, “Thank you very much. This call was very, very helpful. I need to think about it and put some thoughts together, and I will get back to you.”
So this call, this initial call, number one, they will like you because you’ve established that rapport. They now have a face to put to a name, not just an email address, like all these other creators that they’re interacting with. And so when you do ultimately send your proposal, that will be probably 2, 3, 5 x the investment. As everyone else, they’re gonna say, “Well, you know, it is more. But you know what? I just feel like the campaign is going to go better with Joe.” And that’s how these things happen.
Joe Casabona: I love that. I can’t stress enough how important hopping on a call is. This is definitely problematic in the web development industry. There are people who will say, “I never get on it. I never get on a call. Why would I ever want to get on a call.”
You want to get on a call because you’re forming a connection. You’re not just an email now. Like you said, You are showing people that you give a crap. Especially for like $10,000, $15,000, $20,000. I wouldn’t spend that on somebody who won’t even spend a half hour on a call with me.
Justin Moore: Mm-hmm.
Joe Casabona: Right?
Justin Moore: You’re putting yourself in their shoes, right?
Joe Casabona: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And maybe part of it is people are thinking too small. Maybe they’re like, “Yeah, for 99 bucks I’m hopping on the call.” I mean, me neither, maybe, but hopping on a call could turn that 99 bucks into 999 bucks.
Justin Moore: 100%. That is the exact point is like, okay, yeah, that’s fine if you want to sell your podcast… I have some friends who I kind of joke around with, but it’s like they look at booking podcasts sponsorships or newsletter sponsorships, or whatever very much like, “Okay, visit this link, and just like book a slot.” That is the way in which they do it because in their mind it’s seamless, right? It’s like, “Oh, one click, like all this stuff I don’t have to deal with it, all the stuff.”
And I say, that is totally fine. If that’s what you want to do and you value that into the amount of money that you’re getting through those transactions, that is fine. But what if I told you that by removing that page and saying, “Hey, let’s hop on a call,” that that could 10 extra income from sponsorships? Just that simple act. And they say, “There’s no way.” I said, “Oh, really? You don’t think that by getting on a call and being able to design customized solutions for brands, they’re gonna pay you 10 times the amount of money? Because they are.
Anyone listening to this who is a creator or you’re trying to figure out how to systematize working with sponsors, systematizing your sponsorship strategy does not mean putting up a landing page where people can book your sponsorships. That is not what I mean.
Systematizing your sponsorship means that you have an internal set of systems where that you are able to track in a CRM, almost like a sales pipeline, where you’re able to track all of the conversations that you’re having with people. So once you actually execute those deals, you also have a system and a process behind how you actually fulfill the deal.
So there’s all of this types of stuff that… You know, I come from engineering background. So I very much come at it from a systems perspective. So if there’s anything that you take away from this portion of the conversation, it’s just that, you know, yes, I get that the seamless aspect of being able to book sponsors is attractive, but it could really, really have a profound financial impact on your business if you think a little bit outside the box.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, for sure. If you don’t think of it as like a com… Because that was a big thing just a few years ago, right? The productized service is so important. And that’s how you scale. And like for certain things, yeah, it’s great. Like if you’re always delivering the same exact thing the same exact way…
I’ll tell you, I have a sponsor on this podcast. I don’t think it’s this week looking at my system. But I brought them back from the brink. Like they were telling me I have one of the highest CPMs and one of the lowest conversion rates for them. And I was like, “Let’s fix that. I think probably like a two minute ad-read is too long, I lose people, so let’s shorten that. Let’s do these things. And I will also give you a YouTube video where I show people how I use it.” And they’re like, “Yeah, the YouTube videos actually generally worked for us.” We did that, we reevaluated and they just re-upped again. Because they were like, “The changes you made…”
And I have my prices on… If you go to howibuilt.it/sponsor my prices are there, but there’s no order form. People have to fill out the form and then I go, “What makes this a win for you? What if I told you on top of just the episodes I can give you Instagram posts or YouTube, or whatever?”
Justin Moore: So I didn’t know I was inadvertently dragging you through the mud with my little diatribe around that.
Joe Casabona: No, no, no, no, no, my prices are there but people can’t just buy spots, right?
Justin Moore: Gotcha.
Joe Casabona: And I know a podcaster should you do that. Like, they have a Gumroad page or page or a woo commerce page, and just like… It’s like from a cart.
Justin Moore: So, Joe, take your prices off your page, bro. I’m giving you some cold, hard advice here. Because how do you know whether they weren’t willing to pay you 10x that?
Joe Casabona: Right. Right.
Justin Moore: Again, going back to like, you know, you find the right brand, you find the right startup, you find the right company who is just like, “Wow, we need to hire Joe. We need to be associated with this guy. And whatever it takes, we’re going to make it happen.” So there is always 100% going to be…
Because basically what you’re telling them, Joe, is that you say, Here is a box of how you can work with me. And I’m going to shove you in it. You have no other option for me other than doing this what I’m telling you. A lot of people think like, “Oh, you’re having packages that like that helps brands who don’t know what they’re doing? And guess I’m not saying not to package? I absolutely am saying packages are very helpful. But what I’m saying is that you…
It’s like a doctor. If you went in and he took out his prescription pad and before you ever told him any of your symptoms he hands you a prescription. And you’re like, “Well, okay, I never think I’m going to see this doctor again.”
That is the analogy that I think is so important when it comes to working with brands is that until you hear them talk about what they are trying to accomplish, right? Because they have allocated a marketing budget to accomplish something. It’s not to hire random people, random creators.
That’s not what they’re spending money on. They’re spending on money on maybe brand awareness. They’re spending money on conversions. Like you’re saying, there’s trial signups to their software, whatever, they’re spending money to try to get content maybe from you that they can use as ads or put on their landing page on their website or whatever. There’s these objectives that brands have.
So until you find out what their objectives are, how can you possibly give them a compelling proposal that they will say, “Oh, okay, I get why I have to pay $15,000 for this.”
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Joe Casabona: So I’m going to ask you about pitch decks in a minute because this is something that I go through all my coaching clients with. But I’ll say this, right? I mentioned CPM before. That stands for cost per mille, for those who don’t know. And it’s basically like a set dollar amount per 1000 views, downloads, listens, whatever.
These prices are basically for like the Joe Rogan’s of the world, The Stuff You Should Knows is of the world where they’re getting millions of downloads per episode. So people just want to pay to be in front of their audience, right?
Justin Moore: Yeah.
Joe Casabona: For independent creators like us, like those of you who are listening, there’s an opportunity for us to add more value even if we don’t have… I have 6,000 downloads in the first 30 days, something like that. Like 5,000 downloads. That’s very high for a lot of podcasts. And that’s still pretty low. But even if you have like 1,000 downloads in the first 30 days, you can still get this kind of money because it’s not always about the number of ears that are listening.
Justin Moore: Right. The other really important thing that I think we should talk about about this topic of metrics is that a lot of times as creators, the way in which we are measuring success for ourselves is our own content. We’re saying “Okay, this episode, you know, had less downloads than this one or this, you know, the trend line is going down.”
So we’re like constantly in this bubble of analyzing our own performance based on what we think is success. Or maybe it’s relative to our peers, right? We’re saying, “Oh, this person’s getting this many views or downloads on their podcasts or whatever.” So it’s very much this kind of comparison game or being really hard on ourselves, you know, kind of reflecting, right?
Joe Casabona: Yeah.
Justin Moore: At this point, I have done over 500 sponsorships personally for my wife and I and I’ve done over 1,000 through my agency. So I’ve done a lot of sponsorships. And I can tell you with 100% certainty, I’m not saying 99.9%, Joe, I’m saying 100% certainty that many, many brands do not give a crap about the metrics. It’s not about that. It’s about aligning with you. Yes, obviously, if it’s a conversion focus campaign, like signups and all that-
Joe Casabona: Right.
Justin Moore: If that’s the goal of the campaign, of course, they care about that. But there’s so many other situations where they do not care. So going back to that situation you were talking about, it’s so brilliant what you did, Joe, because you go back and you say, “Hey, let’s fix that. You’re telling me, you know, I am amongst the most expensive with the least results. Let’s figure out why that is.”
The vast majority of creators are not willing to do that because let’s say a sponsor comes to their podcasts and they run it once or however many times and then they don’t renew. And the creator thinks, “Oh, I suck. I guess I didn’t perform well.” But they literally never reached back out to the brand. They just assumed that the reason that that sponsor didn’t re-up is because they didn’t perform well.
So you need to have the hubris as a creator, as a professional, as a business owner to be able to go back to them and know that regardless of what the brand tells you, whether the campaign went well or it didn’t go so well, you are going to learn something, right? You are going to learn, “Okay, well, if it did go well, you better believe I’m gonna pitch you on our next sponsorship, or our next partnership.”
And if it didn’t go well, like in your situation, you can say, “Oh, that’s so interesting. Let’s double click on that. Let’s see why that is. Let’s see if we can make some modifications to the next round or the next iteration of content and see, you know, if we can get some more data. Let’s get a larger sample size here.” You literally will never lose if you have this approach of like you’re very low ego about it and it’s just about learning.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, absolutely. And low ego is really important. It all goes back to understanding the goals. You had a great newsletter, I guess it was a couple of weeks ago at this point, that was like, Three reasons that a brand might approach you for a brand deal or for a content sponsorship deal. And like, yeah, conversions is one of them.
Especially like YouTube, you know how many views videos are getting. They’ll know that. But if it’s like brand awareness or just aligning with you… Lots of people in the WordPress space hire me just to align with me, because I’m an educator. I’m a well-known commodity in that space.
I made a video for a brand recently and to be honest I thought it was just okay and they thought it was great. Like they were so excited. And they’re like, “We’re rolling out new features soon. You’re at the top of our list.” I gotta follow up with them actually.
Like you said, I’m comparing what I think is good or what I think is successful to probably like the best work I’ve ever done, knowing how many hours I put into it and how much time I spent on it. And they are looking at it going, “Joe uses one of our competitors for his product. He did this video and he just talked so highly about it. This campaign is a huge one for us.”
Justin Moore: For independent creators, I think that we really minimize or discount the expertise that we have developed in our particular industry or niche or on the particular platform that’s primary for us. So a good example of this is you look at your number of downloads on your podcast, you look at your number of subscribers on your YouTube channel, and you’re just like, “Man, I only have 5,000. I suck.” Because it’s like relative to all these other people with hundreds of thousands of followers that you’re measuring yourself, right?
But if you, for example, find a very, you know, hyper niche business, maybe it’s a business in your local community, Joe, and you go to them and you’d be like, “Hey, I really love what your business is all about, your brick and mortar shop selling something. I would love to help you get more foot traffic into your location. I think I can help you do this. Here’s my portfolio.” And you send them your platform and that small business is, “Wow, this person has 5,000 followers. That’s amazing.”
It’s all about the frame of reference and not really penalizing yourself for things that the brands are not actually telling you. I think that that’s such an important takeaway from this whole conversation.
Joe Casabona: That’s so important. I like how you said it. Penalizing yourself for things that brands aren’t telling you. This is very like in high school I was always really… Up until I met my wife, basically, I was bad with the opposite sex.
Justin Moore: Is this turning into love’s [inaudible 00:30:44] right now?
Joe Casabona: Yeah, I’m really putting it all out there right now. But I would always develop a crush on a girl and then I would never talk to her. And I’d be like, “Well, she’s talking to this other guy. That means she doesn’t like me. Maybe she’s his neighbor or whatever. I just made assumptions based on what they weren’t telling me, right?
Justin Moore: Yeah.
Joe Casabona: And not to equate a brand with a romance or whatever. But it is a relationship that you have and you need to be communicative in relationships.
Justin Moore: You don’t realize how apropos that analogy is because I also did a… it was either YouTube video or newsletter a couple months ago about—it was a YouTube video—about getting jealous when other creators get partnerships. Because this oftentimes happens.
People get into this kind of scarcity mindset around like, oh, they see this other creator or podcast or YouTube or whatever partnering with their dream brand or something, and they think, like, “That other creator doesn’t even use that product. I’ve never seen them talking about that brand. I, on the other hand, had been using it for three years. How come the brand didn’t reach out to me?”
It’s like this internal dialogue that’s going on in your brain when you see things like this happening. I did a whole video talking about how that could not be further from the truth. Number one, you absolutely have to have an abundance mindset with this stuff because there’s literally $15 billion that are going to be poured into this space, into the influencer space by the end of this year 2022. So that’s number one. So rising tides are going to float all boats trust me.
But the second thing is think about it from the brand’s perspective. If they just executed a successful partnership with one creator, what is the next thing that they’re thinking? They’re thinking, I want to find 20 other people just like this creator. Because it’s like, it was so successful. It drove signups, it drove awareness, it drove whatever, right? Going back to their objectives, they just want to duplicate what they just did.
And so this is your opportunity to go reach out to their brand and be like, “Hey, I just saw you partnering with this other creator. I would love to help you amplify the campaign as well, yadda yadda yadda.”
So there’s just all these psychological things, like you mentioned a lot of mindset block is related to partnering with these types of organizations that are just not necessary.
Joe Casabona: It’s not a zero-sum game. I tell people the same thing about like, oh, well, there’s already a podcast like this. NPR launched a podcast called How I Built This three months after I launched my podcast.
Justin Moore: Oh my god, are you serious?
Joe Casabona: Yeah, I’m dead serious. So people were like, “What are you gonna do? Is there like brand confusion?” And I was like, “So what if there is? What if people are looking for that and then find mine.” It’s not like I’m taking away from NPR or vice versa. People can listen to both. And I did notice like a bump in the beginning but I never saw those downloads go down. So even if people were finding me, they were like, “Oh, yeah, this is also good,” and they stuck around.
Justin Moore: I mean, you’re cool with the sloppy seconds is basically what you’re saying.
Joe Casabona: Totally. Absolutely. Absolutely.
Justin Moore: You’re like, “I will take the halo effect of the incorrect searches. Send it my way.”
Joe Casabona: As an aside, Guy Raz just started another podcast called Creator something.
Justin Moore: Oh, did he?
Joe Casabona: And I changed my tagline, I kid you not, three months ago to like successful coaching calls with creators. I’m like, “Are you kidding me, Guy Raz?”
Justin Moore: I think Guy Raz is like your secret fanboy and he’s like stealing everything that you do.
Joe Casabona: “What’s this guy doing? I’m gonna do it bigger. I’m going to interview Zooey Deschanel.
Justin Moore: Yeah. But you’re interviewing Justin Moore. So I think you-
Joe Casabona: That’s exactly right.
Justin Moore: …kind of have a leg up.
Joe Casabona: I always position it as like Guy Raz is interviewing like the idea of people and I’m interviewing the doers. Like these are the people who are doing the work.
Justin Moore: You hear that, Guy Raz, come at me?
Joe Casabona: Yeah, yeah, exactly. This has been Joe’s therapy corner. So there’s two more things I want to ask you about before we wrap up here.
Justin Moore: Yeah. Yeah.
Joe Casabona: So I’m gonna ask about pitch decks and then I want to ask about approaching sponsors, because you also have a great newsletter where you just tell people, “Hey, these brands are looking for creators.” But the pitch deck… I just did an episode of this on my other podcast called Make Money Podcasting about the importance of having a pitch deck.
And I make the argument that like it shows people that you have it together, you’re not just like some fly by night, like, “Hey, give me money.” Right? You’re like, “I put together information that I thought would be helpful for you.” I guess, first of all, am I completely off the mark, do you think? Or is there some other opinion that you have about pitch decks?
Justin Moore: So clarify to me, is the pitch deck… Is it a fully-fledged proposal deck or is this a boilerplate document that has just a bunch of background info on you and the ways in which people can work with you?
Joe Casabona: It’s that. It’s the second. It’s got like who am I, what is my show about, former like the trust logos and the sponsors. And then I usually update it every year, every six months to talk about like, “Here’s gonna be the focus of the show for the next 12 months.”
Justin Moore: Gotcha. I believe that having a pitch kit or a media kit as it’s oftentimes called can be very helpful. However, you cannot use it as a crutch. Because I think this is what a lot of creators do is they will pitch a brand and they will say, “Hey, I love your brand. I would love to work with you. See my media kit attached. Let me know how you think we can collaborate.” Which is absolutely terrible pitch. Sorry.
For anyone who’s done that, don’t worry because I used to do that, too. Like I’m not immune to that. I get that. That’s like a very common thing that a lot of creators do. But think about it from the brand’s perspective. They receive a pitch like that, number one, they have no idea who you are.
Actually, first of all, number one, their corporate email firewall is probably rejecting unknown senders with attachments. So that email might not even be getting through to that person. So do not be sending a PDF attachment on a very first email. That’s the very first thing. Okay?
Joe Casabona: Yeah.
Justin Moore: The second thing is that if they receive an email from you, Joe, and they have no idea who you are and they don’t know your show, they don’t listen to you, what are they going to do? They’re going to delete the email or they’re not gonna respond. And it’s not because they hate you, Joe, it’s because they just don’t know what to do with this email.
So the contrast to this is a framework that I teach in my course called the ROPE method. “R” stands for your pitch has to be relevant to either a campaign that they are working on or a campaign that they have run in the past. Kind of like what we were talking about earlier about kind of doing research, understanding what they’re posting, what they posted last year. So that’s R.
“O” is that you can tie your pitch back to a piece of organic content that you have posted to show that you’re credible, to show that you’re not just saying like, “Oh, I love your brand, I think it would be great.” Where you’re actually sending them a post and saying, “Hey, like, my audience is actually craving information like this or is craving a product like yours? Here check it out.”
The “P” in the rope method is proof. So that you can actually show them how you’ve helped other brands achieve results.
And “E” is easy to execute when they say yes. So you can’t just say, “Oh, I would love to collaborate. What do you think?” What are you doing in that situation? You are putting the ball in their court. You’re saying, “Hey, you think up a way for us to work together.”
Again, put yourself in the shoes for the brand for a second. They are busy. If it’s a marketing director, they’re not just working with creators all day long. They’re doing all sorts of other campaigns, they are dealing with all their different internal departments. They’re busy. They don’t have time to think up a way to work together. The onus is on you to pitch them something.
So contrast that type of pitch, right? You say, Hey… Let’s do this, Joe. Give me a brand that you want to pitch. Let’s do a real ROPE pitch.
Joe Casabona: I will give you a brand I just pitched actually. And I know at least one mistake I’ve made here. BetterHelp.
Justin Moore: Okay
Joe Casabona: BetterHelp. I just pitched them.
Justin Moore: Give me like a synopsis of what you pitch them or what you said to them.
Joe Casabona: I said, “Hi, my name is Joe Casabona. I have this podcast. I was wondering if you were going to continue sponsoring podcasts in 2023.” So first, I know they’re already sponsoring podcasts. Then I tell them on how much BetterHelp has helped me personally, and how my podcast is about creators and I’m always worried about creator burnout, and how I think BetterHelp can help business owners, creators going through burnout.
What I didn’t do was the organic part because I do talk about how BetterHelp helped me in one of my episodes, and I should have found that and sent that to them.
Justin Moore: So it’s not a terrible pitch, first of all. I’m not gonna shred you.
Joe Casabona: I’m very fragile.
Justin Moore: I could tell. Definitely not. Here’s what we’re gonna do. I just opened the Instagram handle at BetterHelp and I scrolled back… This took me about literally 15 seconds. I scrolled back to what they were posting on Instagram last November. Because if you’re pitching them now, right now it’s late September, depending on when you’re listening to this. Maybe it’s early October.
But November 3rd—I’m looking at a post right here—they posted something that says, “Today is Stress Awareness Day.” Okay. And so your pitch to them, Joe, is, “Hey, I saw that you were promoting Stress Awareness Day last November. I was wondering if you’re gonna promote that again this year. This particular subject resonates with me because of XYZ.” Just those things you just said, right?
Joe Casabona: Yeah.
Justin Moore: “You know, this is affecting me. In fact, this is something that I’ve actually already talked about and my audience really resonates with as well.” The missing piece, I think, from your initial pitch, Joe, is that, yes, the brand cares that their brand resonates with you personally, but what they really care about is that this resonates with your audience because your audience are their prospective customers.
Joe Casabona: Right.
Justin Moore: Because you are the conduit to help them access your audience. So it’s much more important for you to draw the line between their product and your audience versus drawing the line between you and them, you and the brand. Right? That’s just a given. If you’re reaching out to them, of course, you have affinity for their brand, right?
Joe Casabona: Yeah.
Justin Moore: Then you say, “Hey, I would love to do a podcast episode. I would love to do this. Here’s how I’ve helped this other brand XYZ achieve results. Are you free on Thursday at 10 to talk about this?” So number one, look at how different of a pitch that is. Right?
Joe Casabona: Right.
Justin Moore: So your subject line in that email is going to be like “Stress Awareness Day in 2022.” Perhaps?
Joe Casabona: Right. Not just generic podcasts opportunity, right?
Justin Moore: Yeah. They’re gonna open this email because they’re gonna be like, “Oh, yeah, we ran something about Stress Awareness Day last year. Let me open this. What is this?” Better yet, if it’s like a campaign hashtag that they use often. Like hashtag stress awareness BetterHelp, BH or something. Right?
Joe Casabona: Yeah.
Justin Moore: Of course, they’re gonna open. Like, “Whoa, what’s this about?” This pitch becomes them-focused. It’s not about you. It’s not about like, “Oh, I’m Joe, I have this podcast. I blah, blah, blah, blah.” The brand doesn’t give a crap.” Sorry.
Joe Casabona: No, you’re right.
Justin Moore: I’m coming to tough love mentor here. They don’t care. They don’t know who you are. They don’t care about your web series. They don’t care about your podcast. For the most part, like they’re just in their own world to try to accomplish their business objectives. The onus is on you to actually educate them about why you and your platforms are the solution to their problems, the solution to their objectives that they’re trying to reach.
Joe Casabona: Which, again, any business, if you’re building a product or a service, the customer doesn’t care about you. They care about the problem that you can solve. This is, I think, going back to what we talked about earlier. It’s a hard mind shift. It’s a hard shift to make but it’s really very similar to probably what you’re already doing.
If you’re offering products and services to people, this is just a different product or service. I knew as I sent this email that I said “I” in it too many times. And then I like the “are you free to meet?” I always end with like, “I’m happy to send more information.” So I don’t like come out the gate with a pitch deck. “I’d be happy to send more information. If you have any questions, please let me know.” So-
Justin Moore: Now, what I… Go ahead, please.
Joe Casabona: When I invariably follow up, I will include something from Stress Awareness Day or something like that.
Justin Moore: Right. Right. Right. Real quickly let’s split hairs back on the original question around pitch decks or media kits and so on. So, again, I do believe it’s very helpful. It can be very helpful to have a media kit that you can use. Basically have it kind of as an ace up your sleeve to use as a strategic point during the conversation with the brand. It’s not that you’re leading with it.
It’s like, Okay, here, I’d love to work with you. Look at my deck, let me know what you think. Let me know how we can work together. Here’s more work for you.”
The difference that I would make here is that, and this is something I teach my course, Brand Deal Wizard, is that in addition to your media kit, you also need to have a proposal deck, which is very different than your media kit. Your proposal deck does not have really any information about you, because it’s not about you, right? It’s about how you can help the brand achieve results.
So it’s a very different set of slides. It’s a very different set of things that you talk about in your proposal deck. So this is the kind of one two punch that I think is very, very important as a creator to be able to have.
By the way, this is a very common thing that creators do is that they have pricing in their media kits. So if you’re listening to this, and you either have your pricing on your website, or you have your pricing in your media kit, remove it immediately. Because again, going back to this whole idea, you are shoving a brand in a box that they don’t want to be in. Give them the opportunity to tell you what they want.
And here’s the thing, you can still have your packages, you can still have your pricing, but it’s on your own internal napkin. Maybe what you send one brand is gonna be very similar to what you send to another brand. And that’s fine. But you don’t want it to seem to the brand that like, “Hey, this is how I work with every single brand. You are not special in any way.” That never feels good to anyone.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, yeah. This is really interesting, too, because I did. I included this for a long… I still do. It’s still in my pitch deck. Like different opportunities. But I very rarely actually execute on any of those. Like very rarely someone’s been like, “Yes, I want four episodes at the price you’ve listed on your website.”
I always say like, “Since you’re a first-time sponsor, I’m happy to come up with this custom thing for you blah, blah, blah. Or since you’re a returning sponsor, let’s rework what we did a little bit and do this. So I have the prices, they don’t even really serve me that well externally.
Someone will be like, “What’s the least amount of money I need to spend?” Right? And I’m like, “Okay.” But most people are just like, “Yeah, what do you got for me?” Or like, “This sounds okay to me.” But you’re right. I don’t know how many people I’ve attracted or deterred by having prices on the page.
Justin Moore: Oh, my gosh, Joe. This is another thing we haven’t even talked about, which is that there is… You know, brands are analyzing your platforms, your website, your presence before they ever reach out to you. So how do you know… It’s an unknowable quantity of brands or partners that never reached out to you because they looked at your website, they look to your pricing page, and they look to your packages, and they’re like, “I don’t know, none of this really kind of fits what we’re looking for. So we’ll just move on.” That is not a good feeling. That is not a good feeling to have.
In my view, there’s so much that you can do to optimize your attractiveness to brand so that if you are attracting tire kickers…. This is the other thing. Your media kit should be public. Everyone’s media kit should be public because there’s no proprietary or secret information in there. You want to be able to have a brand go on your website and download your media kit.
Because what are they doing? They are taking your headshot, they’re taking your bio, and they’re putting it into their own pitch deck that they’re going to sell through to their boss or to their client, if it’s an agency. They’re saying, “Hey, we want to work with these WordPress influencers, or these podcasts influencers or whatever. Here’s like 20 people that we think might be good. We think Joe’s, of these 20, would be good.” And then the brand says, “Hey, Joe and these five other people look great. Go reach out to them now.”
So there’s all of this soft bedding that happens before they literally ever reach out to you. So it’s your job to give them as much information as possible to help them make an informed decision and put your best foot forward before they have reached out to you.
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Joe Casabona: So you mentioned the media kit bio, headshot, whatever. Do you include demographics? I know we talked about kind of like numbers don’t matter, but like demographics totally do, right?
Justin Moore: For sure. 100%.
Joe Casabona: Manscaped reached out to me and I was like, “I’m not really a good fit for you. I would love-
Justin Moore: You can maybe be like a model in the-
Joe Casabona: I totally agree.
Justin Moore: Doing like a shirtless model, you know, to be featured on their Instagram. Here’s the thing. In your media kit… This is what I teach, I actually have some templates that I’ve created around this topic is that page one of your media kit is not your demographics. That’s what everyone does.
It’s like, “Oh, my bio, my headshot, here’s about my podcast. Here’s my demos.” The brand… That’s not what they care about. What they care about is case studies and testimonials. That is page one. And by the way, you are sending different versions of your media kit with the strategic case study page one that will most resonate with that brand that just reach out.
So if it’s a brand in this particular space. You know, if it’s a fashion brand, you’re not going to send them a food case study, for example, right?
Joe Casabona: Right.
Justin Moore: So you’re making these very simple tweaks, and you’re just kind of pulling in and out pages of your media kit and sending it to them so that it’s relevant. So case studies and testimonials and then, yeah, you can include your demographics and all that basic information about yourself as the… It’s in the appendix. It’s on page one.
I’ve seen some media kits that are like 20 pages long, and I’m like, Are you kidding me? The brand is gonna look at like two pages. Three pages, maybe. It’s like a resume. You have 15 seconds to jump off the page. They’re not gonna like… You know, I know, You’ve spent hours making it pixel perfect and stuff but the reality is much cooler.
Joe Casabona: I mean, that’s absolutely true. That’s really good point. I want to wrap up here. I want to talk about Brand Deal Wizard, because as this episode comes out, the doors are opening.
Justin Moore: Yes.
Joe Casabona: But what if somebody doesn’t have a case study? What if they don’t have a sponsor? What do I do?
Justin Moore: Create a case study for an organic piece of content that you actually thought went particularly well. Perhaps, maybe you… Most folks I would say have some sort of affiliate strategy. So maybe it’s Amazon associates or you affiliates for other types of partners. Perhaps you may have access to some type of statistics around how you have helped other brands achieve results. Maybe it wasn’t a direct paid partnership, but hey, you drove, you know, $10,000 worth of this podcast equipment, or camera equipment, or whatever it is in your niche. That is a case study.
You say, “Hey, I did these posts and over the last 30, 90 days, or whatever, I’ve driven this amount of sales, you can absolutely devise a case study around stuff like that. Or even if you don’t have any affiliate stuff, you can say, “Here is a representative piece of content that drove this many views, it drove this much engagement. I got these amazing comments. And this is what I can do for your brand.” That is a case study as well.
So you literally have no excuse not to make case studies for yourself because that is the best way to illustrate to a brand that if they were to hire you, they have this kind of warm and fuzzy feeling that it’ll go well.
Joe Casabona: I love that. I love that. You’ve given us a lot. But your cohort-based course, first of all, growing in popularity. Congrats on that. Again, we’ve been connected for like six months now and I think it’s like grown a ton in that time.
Justin Moore: It has, yeah. Thank you. I appreciate it.
Joe Casabona: It’s awesome. So if people want to learn more, and they want to learn from the master… I mean, this will probably be in the… I haven’t recorded the cold open yet, but I want to tell people how you got like a free vacation for one of your brand deals.
Justin Moore: And I got paid. It wasn’t just free.
Joe Casabona: Yeah, and you got paid.
Justin Moore: I got paid $20,000 million for that. That’s an important point here.
Joe Casabona: Yeah. Really important. You have a self-paced course out now, basically about that. How don’t just get free stuff right, get paid as well. I happen to get both. I did a sponsor spot with this FlexiSpot desk.
Justin Moore: Oh, yes.
Joe Casabona: They wanted to pay me and I was like, “I really need to try the desk.” And they’re like, “All right, we’ll send you a standing desk.” I’m like, “Yes. Got both.” So you’ve obviously illustrated your bona fides here. Tell us a little bit about Brand Deal Wizard.
Justin Moore: Of course, man. Brand Deal Wizard is a four-week very intensive course. It’s taught live over Zoom. You will be amongst a cohort of a maximum of 50 creators. I’m actually capping it this cohort. It is just like absolute masterclass in creating a sustainable sponsorship strategy.
Going back to the thing I was mentioning earlier is that a lot of creators do not believe that sponsorships are sustainable or predictable. It’s nice when you can get them but you know, it’s hard to know what’s going to be in your inbox in a month or whatever, which is 100% false.
So a lot of what I go into is like devising the systems, the processes. I have this framework that I’ve developed called the sponsorship wheel. It’s an eight-step framework of like all of the different steps and processes that you’re going to go through when you partner with a brand and how that carries through, you know, not just past the contract execution phase, but also the actual implementation, the fulfillment of the partnership.
So week one is all about pitching. A lot of what we talked about on this podcast around like how do you actually craft a compelling pitch? How do you know who to reach out to? Understanding different titles, how to use LinkedIn strategically.
Week two is all-around pricing. Everyone wants to know, how much do I charge? How do I sell my pricing? How much package is package strategy? I absolutely nerd out over negotiation psychology. This is one of my favorite things to talk about. And so it’s a week devoted to this subject.
Week three is all around the execution of the deal. This is something that very few people talk about. But it’s like once you’ve actually signed on the dotted line, and it’s go time and you have to actually create the content, do the ad-reads, whatever it is, this is the point during the partnership, where the brand will decide whether they want to hire you again or not.
It’s not all that other stuff. It’s about how do you respond to adversity. Because adversity always happens during partnerships. It’s just reality. So I talk to all these different ways in which you can professionalize yourself and set up systems for yourself so that you are eliminating busy work, not doing revisions that are unnecessary. A lot of creators are familiar with this. All feedback from the brand’s like, annoying, right? And so it’s like, how do you prevent a lot of that stuff?
And then the final week is all around nurturing brands. So once you’ve done the partnership, how do you actually turn this into a long-term partnership that is recurring revenue for you where you’re continuing to provide valuable content and deliverables to a brand, but you’re also continuing to provide yourself some income certainty?
So it really is just a nuts and bolts program. And man, like you said, it’s grown beyond my wildest expectations, man. We had 58 creators last cohort. My first beta have three.
Joe Casabona: Wow.
Justin Moore: So things have like… This is just in 18 months. The word of mouth has been spreading really quickly. So yeah, if anyone’s interested in finding out more about it, I teach it three times a year. My next cohort is in the fall. It starts mid-October. So it’s just branddealwizard.com. But don’t go there. Click the show notes because you want to click Joe’s affiliate link.
Joe Casabona: Yes. There’ll be a link in the description, which is in your podcast player. You can get all the show notes, everything we talked about over at howibuilt.it/287. I’m really excited about this because you people… I’m really excited for you, listeners, to find out about Justin because I talked about sponsorship. I feel like I’m a blue belt maybe. Justin’s like a black belt. He’s all the way up there. He’s been through it. And so there’s a lot to learn. I definitely need to do the nurture part better.
I have some longtime sponsors. I’ve had sponsors with me for a long time that have sponsored for the whole year for this show. I know for me I need to be a little bit more communicative, especially for those long-term ones. Signing in January, and then don’t check in until September is not a good approach.
It’s like checking out the quarter, like, “Hey, how’s it going? Maybe we need to reword the ad. Let’s experiment. What campaigns are you working on now?” That’s the sort of stuff, as a creator, I should be proactive about.
Justin Moore: 100%, dude. The fact that you are thinking about this stuff means that you’re a student of the process and you are the type of person who is going to succeed in the long run. Because if you are a creator who’s just sitting on your laurels and you’re thinking, “Okay, well, when’s the next deal gonna come? it’s gonna be really difficult to turn this into a sustainable business. So all of this stuff you’re saying is 100% right, man.
If I could just make one more mention, I would really, really love to connect with each and every one of you who are listening by joining my free newsletter because, like Joe mentioned, I literally send out a newsletter twice a week where I send you paid sponsorship opportunities. It’s a free newsletter. And mindset stuff too. So I have mindset Mondays, Joe.
So I’m talking about a lot of this stuff that we talked about on the podcast around just like confidence. How do you get the confidence to just hit “send” on the email at the very beginning? That part. So it’s just so, so important.
And just thanks for having me, man. This was such a blast. I’m @creatorwizard pretty much everywhere on social media. I truly want to see everyone win. So let me know how I can be a resource to either you Joe or you, dear creator, who is listening.
Joe Casabona: Thank you so much. It’s my pleasure having you on. Justin’s newsletter is one of the only ones I like legitimately read every time it hits my feed bin.
Justin Moore: Dang, thank you.
Joe Casabona: I can’t say inbox, right? I have feed bin set up. It’s my RSS reader. Very much part of my morning. I go for a walk, I smoke my morning cigar, and then I sit down with my iPad and I read a bunch of newsletters. And Justin’s is always one of them. I always find at least one sponsor to reach out to from those Wednesday emails. And I will say I’ve referred enough people to get the super, secret ones.
Justin Moore: Yes, yes. Thank you, man.
Joe Casabona: So I can’t recommend it enough. Again, everything will be in the show notes over at howibuilt.it/287. Now, if you want to hear… I already forgot the other thing I was going to write down that I wanted to ask you about. But for sure we’re going to talk about Justin was in a screamo band. Justin and I are about the same age and so-
Justin Moore: Oh, dude.
Joe Casabona: So this really resonates with me. So we’re gonna talk about that. And probably a couple of other things in Build Something More. Again, you can become a member for 50 bucks a year over at howibuilt.it/287.
Justin, thanks so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it.
Justin Moore: Absolutely. Thanks for having me, man.
Joe Casabona: And thank you so much for listening. Thanks to this week’s sponsors. And until next time, get out there and build something.