Kelly Moser May 17th, 2024

Brand Deals: The Art of Sustainable Creator Economy Collaborations

A recent report reveals that the creator economy is worth more than $100 billion dollars.

In the last eight years, its global market size has increased by more than 20 times and is expected to reach $500 billion in the next three years.

And it’s not hard to see why. 

67% of B2B marketers see more impact with influencer marketing than brand-only campaigns.

What’s more, out of social media users ages 18–54, 21% have made a purchase after an influencer’s recommendation. And 32% of Gen Zers have bought something after a creator recommended it.

With high engagement and conversions, consider dedicating a chunk of your marketing budget to influencer campaigns.

To see the most impact, focus on building sustainable, long-term partnerships when working with aligned creators. 

When you build trust and mutual respect, there’s no limit to the potential success you can reach together. 

Let’s take a closer look at the creator economy, how to work with creators to reach more audiences, and how to find aligned partners for the long haul.

Examples of strong, sustainable partnerships

Thought leader, author, and entrepreneur Marie Forleo has built several businesses and specializes in helping others do the same. 

Time Genius program home page with Marie Forleo.

For years, she’s leveraged strong partnerships with other big names in the industry, such as Jenna Kutcher, Kris Carr, and Danielle LaPorte.

Using both influencer and affiliate marketing strategies, Marie Forleo has worked with creators to drum up awareness, qualified leads, and user-generated content for her programs, B-School and Time Genius. 

Influencer marketing campaign example.

Marie has launched “seasons” and preps for them by investing in massive influencer campaigns with the partners she trusts most. She leverages their reach every year — typically during Q4 and Q1 to fill course seats. 

Together, they produce social media videos, Instagram Stories, ads, and email marketing content featuring her programs. 

With over a million and a half niche followers (on Instagram alone) between Jenna, Kris, and Danielle, Marie has ample opportunities to grab aligned leads.

Influencer marketer, Jenna Kutcher’s profile on Instragram.

In the B2B space …

Thought leaders and entrepreneurs Massimo Chieruzzi, Shane Barker, and Adam Enfroy make affiliate marketing income reviewing B2B sales books, marketing books, tools, and services — mostly about SaaS and Tech. 

Massimo Chieruzzi’s About page.

Their authoritative content and high-traffic websites give SaaS and Tech brands a secure channel for attracting qualified leads and conversions. 

They trust Massimo, Shane, and Adam with ongoing content marketing campaigns, including explainer videos, blog posts, and in-depth guides. 

Example of B2B affiliate review.

These help generate quality backlinks to the brands’ sites and help them reach more audiences, build authority, and boost sales.

A pro when working with affiliate marketers? It can be easier to gauge their return on investment (ROI). You’ll have auto-generated commission tracking to see exactly how much profit you’ve earned with each campaign. 

Many affiliate marketers also don’t charge upfront fees. 

Instead, they only make commissions when they sell your product or service. 

Collaborating with and building relationships with professionals in your niche 

Networking with creators and successful professionals in your industry is an invaluable way to create a long-term mutual value exchange.

Here are some best practices to keep in mind when collaborating with and building relationships with like-minded professionals:

B2C influencer marketing 

If you’re in the B2C space, find other professionals in your niche who aren’t direct competitors. 

Build relationships with vendors that have aligned values and share each other’s content and promos:

  • Across social media platforms
  • In email marketing campaigns 
  • In ad campaigns

Consider linking up to collaborate on short-form videos, styled photo shoots, and user-generated content (UGC) campaigns. 

For instance, if you own a professional wedding photography company, consider building relationships with dress and tailored men's suit brands, custom picture frame vendors, and florists. Set up ongoing styled shoots and cross-market the images on your social media profiles and in email campaigns:

Example of a brand collaboration.

You can also collaborate on lead magnet campaigns to build your email lists. Consider using generous coupons and helpful guides (like best picture frame materials for wedding photos) to nudge website visitors and campaign viewers to hand over their email addresses:

Lead magnet example.

Take this tip up a notch by partnering with industry vendors with impressive endorsements. 

For instance, VRAI, a jewelry store specializing in lab-grown diamond rings, has a notable endorsement from actor Leonardo DiCaprio, featured on its website:

Endorsement example.

The brand also showcased actor Robert Downey Jr. wearing its VRAI diamond cufflinks at an award ceremony to its Instagram followers:

Endorsement example.

These humbling recognitions help VRAI build trust with its audience — as well as promising relationships with relevant vendors and creators in the wedding industry:

Brand collaboration example.

B2B influencer marketing

If you’re in the B2B space, build relationships with subject-matter experts, thought leaders, and content marketers. 

Look for ones with niche expertise in your industry and websites with high DA scores (ideally 80+). 

You’ll also want to make sure their content style and brand values match yours. Consider testing a few campaigns before committing to longer agreements.

When you’re ready for long-term impact, create a content marketing schedule with pre-defined workflows. For instance, plan campaigns a quarter or even a year in advance. 

This gives your partnership time to grow and deepen so you can improve each campaign. 

Some B2B leaders charge retainer fees, while others work for affiliate marketing commissions. Test both options to see which agreements foster the best ROI.

When creating your affiliate marketing program, be fair. While you want to earn a profit, you also need to sweeten the deal for your B2B creators.

In other words, ensure your affiliates feel valued and have real income potential by partnering with your brand. 

Get inspired by one of the leading AI voice generation software companies, LOVO. Its affiliate marketing program offers creators 20% recurring commissions for 24 months when they acquire new customers:

Affiliate marketing program by LOVO.

Its affiliates can also track results, receive monthly payments, and get access to training resources to improve sales. The generous commission amount and holistic support options help affiliates feel excited about — and committed to — endorsing LOVO. 

When creating B2B campaigns with your partners, focus on educational and informative content that generates leads and website traffic. 

Be sure to create an SEO strategy based on search intent to encourage higher rankings. Focus on high-volume, low-competition keywords.

Some effective SEO content assets for B2B influencer campaigns include:

  • Lead magnet campaigns, i.e., B2B ebooks or in-depth guides
  • YouTube explainer videos
  • Knowledge Base content
  • Comparison guides
  • Product reviews
  • White papers
  • Case studies 
  • Guest posts 
  • Blog posts
  • Tutorials

The power of implementing user-generated content and social proof at scale 

One of the most important benefits of working with long-term influencers and affiliates is the ability to drum up UGC. 

When you link arms with aligned creators over the long haul, there are endless opportunities for people to shout your praises. This can generate viral results when partners dedicate more time to focus on UGC campaigns. 

As Roy Mayer, Social Media Lead at Artlist, says …

“Partnering with creators has allowed us to create more content and deliver a bigger impact. We see this both in ’soft’ metrics, such as our channel growth and brand sentiment, as well as in hard data. 

UGC was one of our main traffic sources this year from organic social media activity. It also allowed us to respond quickly to marketing needs, creating an organic content envelope to assist with more performance-oriented efforts. 

We’ve experienced higher-impact marketing campaigns on all fronts and acquired more traffic and sales.”

If you’re on a budget, consider partnering with micro-influencers and nano-influencers in your niche to boost UGC. 

They’re cost-effective and have a knack for building genuine connections and loyal followers. 

With UGC campaigns, you can collect social proof in bulk and integrate it across marketing campaigns and throughout your website.

For instance, you can add social proof:

  • On your pricing and plans pages
  • Near CTAs on your website
  • On your testimonials pages 
  • In social media campaigns 
  • In email marketing content
  • On product labels 
  • On landing pages
  • To ad campaigns
  • On sales pages

Collaborating with UGC creators can also boost your content production so you’re not spinning your wheels creating everything in-house. 

How to find aligned partnerships 

To secure content creators you align with, start by creating partner personas. 

When building these, consider your potential partner’s ideal:

  • Follower counts on social media platforms
  • Subject-matter expertise
  • Previous experience 
  • Engagement rates 
  • Industry and niche
  • Content specialty 
  • Target audience 
  • Share of Voice
  • Style and tone 
  • Reach

Then, use influencer marketing platforms to search for potential partners that line up with your personas. 

You can even find platforms that function like “influencer marketing hubs,” like Grin. 

With these tools, you can find, track, manage, and pay your creators in one place.

How to nurture aligned partnerships 

Build genuine connections when forming creator partnerships. 

Remember to link up with people and brands with similar values and focus on creating a win-win/mutual value exchange.

After testing a few campaigns, nurture partnerships with creators that:

  • Help you achieve the best results
  • Mirror your style and tone
  • You enjoy working with
  • Align with your mission

You’ll also need to create clear and fair contracts.

Make sure your partners feel valued and are happy with the financial terms and their creative roles. Check in with each other throughout campaign periods to give and receive feedback — and maintain positive communication. 

Continue looking for more ways to establish growth together. Track metrics and key performance indicators and refine campaigns as you learn what works best. 

Wrap up 

Building and nurturing long-term relationships with content creators helps your brand create more authentic and impactful content. 

These relationships foster a deeper understanding of your brand’s values and messaging, resulting in content that truly resonates with your target audience. 

Working with the same creators over time also creates a consistent brand voice and aesthetic — increasing brand recognition. 

Plus, with the right partners, your campaigns can see higher ROIs than with traditional marketing methods. 

The bottom line? Investing in promising relationships can amplify your brand’s reach, engagement, and effectiveness.

For more helpful marketing guides like this one, head to our blog

To your success!

Featured image by Slidebean on Unsplash

Kelly Moser

Kelly Moser is the co-founder and editor at Home & Jet, a digital magazine for the modern era. She's also the content manager at Login Lockdown, covering the latest trends in tech, business and security. Kelly is an expert in freelance writing and content marketing for SaaS, Fintech, and ecommerce startups.

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