Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

3 Tips on How to Build Brand Partnerships

Here's how to sell your content without selling out.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Want to know the secret to getting paid to work with brands? Think in terms of ongoing partnerships and creating real, relatable rather than one-off advertisements.

and are changing, as brands need to be more personal and genuine in their messaging rather than being straight up salesy. Yet a lot of the content coming from brands still sounds very corporate, which is why they can benefit from partnering with you -- and paying you -- to create content.

1. Content matters more than reach

Even if you don't have a large following, you can still get deals. Whether you have 1,000 social media followers or 1 million, everyone has some level of influence. The size of a sponsorship may depend on reach, but if you can make an impact within your circles, many companies will still work with you. Or, if you can create compelling content that brands can share on their own channels, that can also be valuable to them and worthy of a sponsorship.

It's all about having the right energy, enthusiasm and style that brands are looking for. Brands can pay for reach via social media , but they can't necessarily create content the way you can. Whether you're great at coming up with storylines, or you're a natural in front of the camera, or you're an expert at subtle yet effective , show brands how your skills can make an impact.

2. Create content that you believe in

Your ability to create engaging, relevant content lies at the heart of getting brands to sponsor to you. Think about what you like to create and how you can leverage that in a way that's on point for brands, without being too sales-focused.

For example, lifestyle content -- especially travel -- is a hot topic on social media, and for the past several years, I've been documenting my travels on . So, when I speak with a company like , who I now have a with, it's easy for me to explain how I'm already creating content related to their brand, and how I can help them by incorporating their rental vehicles into my travel videos. My audience still gets the value I provide through my vlogs, and Hertz gains the content that shows viewers some of their offerings without sounding like an ad.

In contrast, it wouldn't be a good fit for me to form a partnership with a company that I don't believe in or that doesn't relate to who I am and what I do. Remember, marketing today means keeping it real. So if I took a sponsorship from a brand I don't vibe with, my audience would see through that and it wouldn't be successful, which would soon end the deal and hurt my chances of gaining others in the future.

3. Be patient and build partnerships

If you're just starting out as a brand ambassador, or if you're trying to land a big client, don't get discouraged if you can't always land a paying deal right away. When you're new, brands might offer to trade you their products or services for your work, and that can be of value to both parties.

You should think in terms of how you and the brand can mutually benefit one another. If you wouldn't benefit from a trade, then maybe it's not the right partnership for you. Yet if you do find a brand where you'd be a customer and a fan anyway, and therefore find value in a trade, then you can start from there and prove your own value over time to progress to paid sponsorships.

Building ongoing partnerships also often benefits both you and the brand more than the one-off deals you often see with influencer marketing. From a brand's perspective, one-off deals with an influencer may get them reach, but they may not have as much control over the messaging or the creative, and they can't tweak those over time to find what works best. Moreover, audiences can often see through sponsorships that are basically just ads compared to partnerships that may be paid but have a genuineness behind them.

Plus, with ongoing partnerships, you don't have to constantly be looking for the next sponsorship, and you can expand your work with the same companies to become more effective with your content creation and eventually earn more income.

At the end of the day, if you want to work with brands, you have to be true to yourself and true to the brand. Find companies that you truly connect with and can bring value to, and you'll start to earn partnerships that you, the brand and your audience all benefit from.

Watch more videos from Carlos Gil on his YouTube channel here. Follow Carlos Gil on Instagram @CarlosGil8


How to Unlock Your Company's Value in the 'Circular Economy'

Michael Smith of Regeneration.VC shares how the circular economy works and why it's good for business and our planet.

BBQ Icon Rodney Scott on Blazing Your Own Path in the Restaurant Business

Interview with famed pitmaster and food entrepreneur Rodney Scott of Rodney Scott's BBQ about every day being a good day, the truth behind "overnight" celebrity, and how cooking with soul is vital to sustained success.

3 Easy Ways To Be More Motivated

Want to tackle your to-do list in just two weeks? In this video, Ben Angel tells you how.

The Founder of Mindvalley Wants to Transform and Reinvent Education. Here's Why.

The founder of Mindvalley shares why he started his platform and discusses his new book, "The 6 Phase Meditation Method."

This Teacher-Turned-Entrepreneur Started Tutoring Kids in Parks and Churches. Today, She Runs an Education Company with Nearly One Million Followers

The CEO and founder of Big City Readers talk about why she's on a mission to make reading fun for kids and their parents. Plus, what to do if you're afraid to take a leap in your career.

Melissa Villanueva of Brewpoint Coffee on Creating Avenues for Café Owners of Color

Interview with Brewpoint Coffee CEO and Founder Melissa Villanueva about balancing community and larger ambitions, creating opportunities for people of color, and equity and inclusion in business.

4 Easy Ways to Make More Money By Training Your Brain

Mental rehearsal is a powerful psychological technique that's used by athletes, billionaires, and entrepreneurs to achieve their goals.

5 Tips to Help You Go from Camera-Shy to Camera-Ready

Media trainer Jessica Abo reveals her go-to production tips so you can feel more confident for your next on-air appearance, pitch, or presentation.

Shone Tran of Chicken Meets Rice on Stepping into Food Entrepreneurship

Interview with Chicken Meets Rice co-founder Shone Tran about pulling inspiration from tragedy, taking small steps, and thriving in business with your best friend.

Try This 15-Minute Million Dollar Morning Routine To Energize Your Day

Here are six steps you can take to amplify your energy and grow your income.

This Is Why Being a Podcast Guest Can Transform Your Personal Brand

The Founder and CEO of Scout's Agency shares why a "podcast tour" is the new PR strategy for thought-leaders.

Samantha Trottier and Hernan Regiardo of Mate Society on Creating Content People Like

Interview with Mate Society founders about authentic online connections, making money in the creator economy, and choosing the right brand deals.

9 Ways To Make 'Superhuman Focus' Work For You

In this video, Ben Angel shows you how to improve your focus and do more with your time.

Julian Cervantes of Super Taco Mexican Restaurants on Owning a Family Business

Interview with Super Taco Mexican Restaurants Founder Julian Cervantes about starting a business with little knowledge, having a Plan B, and balancing family and work.

Discover Entrepreneur Series

Whether you need advice on how to get your business off the ground or you’re just looking for inspiration, our video series have something for everyone. Browse our library below to find a series that speaks to you and your interests.