When looking to hire an influencer, you are hiring a contractor who runs a small business to produce a project for you. In most cases, what influencers provide are photos, videos, maybe recipes or project instructions, and reviews of products.
Often when I explain to friends how I make money blogging, they are in disbelief of what I am paid for “only 1 recipe and some photos.”
The truth is, there is a lot of work and plenty of associated costs that go into the service an influencer provides.
Cost of Supplies
When influencers take on a project, they need to purchase items. For a DIY blogger, it could be art supplies. For a food blogger, it’s recipe ingredients. It’s important to keep in mind that although yes, a food blogger will be eating the food, it is still a project expense. Oftentimes food bloggers will use speciality ingredients, buy extra garnishes or items to use as props they wouldn’t normally use, and sometime waste ingredients when a recipe fails.
In addition, bloggers stage photos using dishes, linens, and cooking tools. Sometimes influencers will have these items already from past projects, but often they will need to buy at least 1 new prop to create the mood or scene they are going for.
Cost of Equipment
In addition to the items in the photos, influencers need a lot of technical equipment to make magic happen!
Influencers use professional cameras, lenses, and photography equipment, like tripods, studio lights and reflectors.
A computer and often a smart phone is a part of an influencer’s business expenses. And although most influencers work out of their homes, they often have to allocate special spaces or buy additional furniture to set up a work station. Many influencers purchase costly photography backgrounds to achieve the most polished results.
Social media is free, but there are costs associated with running a blog, including hosting, technical support, graphic design, and sometimes advertising.
Most influencers who begin working on campaigns have reached a level where they are also using premium software to create the most professional results they can. This includes photography software, video editing software, and oftentimes paid subscriptions to online learning centers to continue improving their craft.
Bloggers and online influencers are incredible multi taskers. In a traditional media company, there are individuals who specialize in photography, videography, graphic design, and social media. These specialists also have support from an IT department. With a small to mid-size blog, the blogger herself has learned to juggle all these tasks, and has done so with enough success to warrant the attention she receives. Occasionally, an influencer will also pay outside contractors to assist with issues as they arise.
Size of Audience
An influencer’s audience includes website traffic, as well as followers on a range of social medias.
The size of an influencer’s audience is often the first factor considered, but isn’t the end-all most think it is.
An influencer’s reach is important. Typically, the longer and harder an influencer has worked providing free information, the larger the reach will be.
More important than a total followers count is an engagement rate. An influencer who has a large following but a low engagement rate typically won’t be as successful in promoting a product as an influencer with lower numbers, but higher engagement.
Engaging with social media followers, in addition to producing content, is very time consuming, so a high engagement rate is something that influencers have to work very hard at to be successful.
An Introduction to a Niche Market
Typically, the more niche an influencer’s audience is, the higher fee they will command for products that fit directly into that niche. This is because they specialize in providing information that is directly relevant to your market.
For example, a blogger who only posts blender recipes, tips, and tricks, will be paid more by a company who sells blenders than say, a general recipe blogger. This is because that audience is primed and ready to purchase blenders, and is following the influencer because of an interest in blender recipes.