Five ways successful content creators make money

September 15, 2023

ou create great content and have built an audience (even if it’s a modest one), and every time you open up Instagram or TikTok, you see another creator posting sponsored content with a brand, making who-knows-how-much for a couple posts. You might make better content than them, and you may even have more followers…yet they’re getting paid, and your inbox is empty of brand deal offers.

22 million accounts on social media have at least 1,000 followers, yet 99% of creators haven’t figured out how to monetize. Between the information overload and strategy gatekeeping, who could blame you?

The truth is, there are a couple common strategies that the most successful creators use to monetize their accounts through brand deals. Once you read them, they may sound like common sense, but it’s the creators who put these strategies into practice every day who end up generating consistent four to five figure monthly incomes through brand sponsorships.

Without further ado, let’s get to it.

Strategy 1: Create content with products you already know, love, and own, and post it on social (while tagging the brand) as unsponsored content

With so many creators vying for brands’ attention, you need to break through the noise. You’re going to do that by flirting with them…virtually, without being creepy, through content. Go through your closet, kitchen, and home to find products you already love. Then go to the brand’s social media and see what kind of content they post. Colorful or monochromatic? Perfectly edited or real and raw? Go create content with those products that looks like it would belong in the brand’s social feed, then post it and tag that brand. If you don’t hear back, DM the post to the brand with a short and concise message asking to chat about a potential partnership.

Pick ten brands, create three pieces of content for each, and share that content on your socials over the next couple months. You’ll be amazed at the relationships you’ll start.

Once brands start to take notice, it helps to make sure they can easily find your contact information, other social media channels, and other important information like who else you’re working with or previous brand partnership posts. By using as your bio link you can keep all of these things on one elegant page that’s instantly accessible from all your social profiles.

By using as your bio link you can keep all your most important links and more on one elegant page that’s instantly accessible from all your social profiles.

Strategy 2: Join opt-in platforms, also called brand deal marketplaces, and apply to active campaigns daily

Opt-in platforms, or brand deal marketplaces, are websites and apps where brands post their active campaigns, including the product being promoted, the type of creator they’re looking for, and the pay structure (gifted, affiliate, paid, or a combination). As a creator, you can join all these marketplaces and apply to campaigns on them for free! This is the best-kept secret in the creator economy, and many creators either don’t know about them or aren’t taking full advantage of them. There are thousands of campaigns across the marketplaces for big and small creators, UGC and sponsored post programs, and everything in-between.

Collabstr, Upfluence, Aspire

There are hundreds of marketplaces – some great, some not-so-much. Do your research, join some that work for you, and consistently apply to 5+ campaigns a day.

Strategy 3: Proactively reach out to the “dream brands” you’d love to work with

Many creators feel helpless and frustrated waiting for brands to respond on the marketplaces or in DMs, so proactive email outreach lets you target your favorite brands, negotiate higher rates, and form stronger relationships. You’ll need to follow a process:

  • Start by writing down your 10-20 “dream brands” – products you already use and love, and would be able to authentically speak passionately about.
  • Go to LinkedIn, find the brand, and search for employees with “influencer,” “social media,” or “public relations” in their title.
  • Use or to identify their email address
  • Craft a custom outreach email to each brand, sharing what you love about the brand, past content performance that would impress them, and ask to chat with the right person about a campaign.

This will take time, but is the best path to long-term high-income brand deals.

Strategy 4: Join the affiliate programs for your favorite retail brands

What are your favorite brands in your closet right now? How about furniture, kitchen appliances, and technology around the house? Most of these brands sell online, and almost all e-commerce brands have affiliate programs where they pay you commission for the product you sell for them through social posts. Follow these steps:

  • Make your list of 10 top e-commerce brands you’d like to be an affiliate for
  • Search for “BRAND affiliate program” and follow the links (most retailers encourage affiliate applications somewhere on their site)
  • Post consistently and authentically about the brand, making sure followers know what you’re selling, how it will benefit them, and where and why they should buy right now

As you accumulate affiliate links for different companies sharing them in one unified location that’s easily accessible for your audience is the best way to ensure you’re never missing a conversion. With you can list not only affiliate links, but copyable discount codes, highlight reels of your previous partnership content, and much more. This also keeps your older content relevant longer. Imagine someone comes across one of your old posts mentioning a product that sparks their interest and at the end of the post you say “Click the link in my bio for more information.” Your followers can click your bio link and use the instant Link Search feature on to find exactly what they’re looking for.

If you're interested in promoting, make sure to sign up for our Affiliate Program to earn 20% recurring commission on any paid signups you refer to the platform.

Strategy 5: Create content for brands to use, otherwise known as UGC deals

Brands often need a lot of content for their website, social channels, and ads. Many brands have started looking to creators for this exact need. With UGC – User Generated Content – deals, you create content for brands but aren’t required to post it on your channels, so your follower count doesn’t matter. In fact, brands prefer to work with nano or micro creators for UGC content because larger ones typically charge too much (when, again, follower count doesn’t matter).

On Canva, build out a UGC Portfolio – basically a visual sampling of great content you’ve created that will impress brands. Then follow the similar steps in Strategy 3 to proactively target brands. For landing UGC deals, DMs on social media are also a viable strategy, since you’re usually getting directly connected to the brand’s social media manager.

With UGC – User Generated Content – deals, you create content for brands but aren’t required to post it on your channels, so your follower count doesn’t matter

Long story short, you don’t need a massive audience to make money as a creator. Plenty of people with less than a thousand followers are making $5-10K+ per month through UGC deals alone. They key is consistently, and if you apply the strategies above on a daily basis, there will be no limit to your creator income.

If you want help making all this happen, CreatorSource has built an entire platform with all of these tools and strategies, implementing the exact blueprint the top creators use to monetize with brand deals. Most creators are making $2-5K per month using their system, and with code SOLO45 you can access their platform for only $45/month (a 35% discount). Their team provides strategy calls, live trainings, and constant support to make sure you’re successful.


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