How to Turn a Commission Campaign into a Paid Campaign

If you are creating content as an influencer, odds are that you have received a few campaign requests from brands. But in their requests, they are only are offering you commission off of sales for your hard work and content. So how do you turn a commission campaign into a paid campaign? It’s not as hard as you think!

Now it’s pretty easy to get people in your inbox asking to send you gifted or discounted products. And if you’re just starting out on building a portfolio, ten you may find my blog How to Respond to Gifted, Non-Paid, or Ambassadorship Campaign Requests helpful first.

how to turn a commission campaign request into a paid campaign
Humm Kombucha was one company that initially told me they didn’t have budget to work with me. But when they finally had a paid campaign, they contacted me and we finally worked together!

But do you want to know a trade secret? Lots of those brands that are pitching you gifted opportunities have marketing budgets! The reason the vast majority of them don’t start by offering your posting rate is because LOTS of creators will work for free. Many people, including myself, low ball themselves and the credibility of their content. And for a brand who wants to get the most bang for their buck, they are looking for the people that will work for the lowest amount possible. Which is why they will start by offering a gifted campaign.

Turn the Tables to Get Paid!

Time to turn their pitch to you into your pitch to them! This is a company that has literally made it known that they are ready to work with someone – specifically YOU. So instead of accepting their offer for a gifted or ambassadorship campaign, open the conversation to working on a paid campaign.

Here’s an example of how to possibly respond back when that Brand sends you non-paid request:

Hey Brand!

Thank you so much for reaching out. These products are incredible and I love that you thought of me to promote them! However, I am not accepting gifted/ambassadorships, but I would still like to work with you. I truly believe my X amount of followers would like to learn more about Brand. If you are open to working on a sponsored post together, I would be happy to discuss my posting rates and my creative ideas for this campaign.

Thank you and I look forward to possibly working with you, Donna

Short, simple and to the point. Sometimes the company has room in their marketing budget, and sometimes they don’t. If they say they don’t want to work on a sponsored post, then you can still see if the original offer for a gifted or ambassadorship stands. If they say they aren’t doing paid campaigns right now, then there’s hope! Ask them when would be a better time to check in with them on a paid campaign. I have even landed a few campaigns like this.

And if they say yes right away to paying your posting rate, well then you’re in! Sometimes the “yes” can take a little conversation and negotiation though. For example, my most recent campaign request that went from commission based to a paid campaign took a little convincing.

working with brands takes negotiation and conversation
Also suggest working with people in your life to help pitch authenticity in your negotiation.

If this happens to you, then you will need to be prepared to negotiate and give strong reasoning why working with you is a great idea. Using facts and analytics will also help you seal the deal. Plus offering a price sheet is a great way to start the negotiation.

In short, I was able to turn a commission-only campaign request in to a paid campaign! Not only did I make $400 to make 2 Tik Toks and a blog, but they also allowed me to still make commission on the deal! And that commission resulted in an additional $300.

Final Thoughts on How to Turn a Commission Campaign into a Paid Campaign

Looking back on when I first started getting these emails, I think of just how many opportunities I missed. I used to just not respond to the emails, or say that I am not interested in working with them. But by doing so, I left so much money on the table.

There are definitely options when it comes to receiving these kind of emails. Learning how to respond to non-paid campaign requests could open the door to more opportunities!

Read more influencer tips and advice on Donna Gail Blog.

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Pinterest Creator Rewards information

Pinterest Creator Rewards Insider Information

Looking for Pinterest Creator Rewards information? You will want to be on a part of the program after reading this, trust me! After having used Pinterest Creator Rewards these last few months, I have the best insider information for you. Read this blog carefully if you want to kickstart your content and ensure that you don’t make the same mistakes that I did.

1. Read the fine print!

You know that really long Terms and Conditions thing that exists? Yea, read that. This gives you all of the posting requirements not stated outright on the individual goals. Each Pinterest Creator Rewards goal has requirements and rules for content to be eligible. Well, Pinterest is smart and they want you to post without giving you the money. So they have put some extra rules in these terms. Read it to find out. Or continue reading this blog to find out what they are!

2. Pinterest operates on the UTC time zone.

The reason I mention this is because Pinterest will show you when your content published. If you happen to be in the PST timezone like I am and if you post at night, then your Pin could show as being posted a “day later”. For example, I posted at 9pm on April 23rd, but to Pinterest, I actually posted on the 24th. This could even be an issue if you post “too late” on the last day of these monthly rewards. If you post on April 30th at 9pm in PST, your content could very easily not be counted for April content.

3. For the goals or bonuses that have a time requirement (ex. post at least 7 days apart), take this VERY seriously.

Pinterest Creator Rewards information of reward requirements

When they say “7 days a part”, they mean 7 days a part! Sometimes they will word this as “once a week”. You need to ensure that you give these pins a full 7 days. For example, if you post on a Friday at 9am, then you need to make sure that your next post goes live the next Friday at earliest 9:01am. Give it the full 7 days. There is an unseen ticking countdown clock that Pinterest has to ensure that you respect this rule.

4. Goals update 4 days after being published.

Pinterest Creator Rewards information about your reward goal progress.

Pinterest updated their system to actually tell you when your progress changed statuses. Use the picture as an example of what this notification looks like. The norm is that every time you post, you can expect that an update and estimated earnings will appear for approved content 4 days after you post.

5. Pinterest does not tell you when things are not approved. They only tell you when they are approved.

If after those 4 days there is no update on your feed, then the Pin is not approved. You also will not receive a reason as to why things are not approved. Be sure to watch your notification feed closely for these updates. If for some reason your content is not approved, then you need to have extra content planned to post to make the most of the month’s rewards.

6. Passion Projects require you to put “My Pinterest Project” in the details of the Pin.

Pinterest Creator Rewards micro-grant passion project information

You remember those fine print rules that I talked about? This is one of them! This one is strictly for the Passion Projects. The reward goals will label themselves has passion projects in the reward details (see picture). This requirement is not specifically listed in the individual rules for submitting a Pin to this type of campaign, but it is still a requirement. It says to put “My Pinterest project” in the details of your Idea Pin. I have no idea what qualifies as the “details” – is that on-screen text on the Idea Pin? Is it the title of the Idea Pin? Is it leaving it in the Notes of the Idea Pin? I really don’t know, so I put it in all three spots to really make sure that I am maximizing my time making this content.

Pinterest Creator Rewards information

7. Using affiliated links will make your Pin ineligible to receive the reward amount.

Pinterest will not reward users if they are getting paid in any way for their content. That being said, if a brand pays you for an Idea Pin and you label it an ad, it won’t be counted for Creator Rewards. Also using affiliate links like LTK or ShopStyle will also count as sponsored. Keep it un-affiliated for max rewards! But by all means, if you have a strong following of affiliate link shoppers, maybe putting links in your post will make you more money!

What You Can Earn with this Pinterest Creator Reward Information

Keeping these things in mind, I have been able to make $1,400 in February, $2,100 in March, and gearing up for $4,500 in April with Pinterest Creator Rewards! Considering that I have 17,600 followers on Instagram and only make about $100 per month with their creator bonuses, this is one hell of a pay raise. Needless to say, Pinterest is where the money is at if you are a creator. Using these best practices for Pinterest Creator Rewards, you are doing the most for yourself to make that money! And don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for examples of how I am making my Creator Rewards content!

Want to learn more? Check out for more influencer tips!

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How to respond to gifted and ambassadorship campaign requests blog post for influencers and content creators

How to Respond to Gifted, Non-Paid, or Ambassadorship Campaign Requests

If you are reading this, odds are you are getting a lot of requests for non-paid, gifted campaigns and you are wondering how to respond. Maybe they even look a lot like this: respond to non-paid campaign requests

Hey babe!

We saw your Instagram and we LOVE what we are seeing. We would love to send you some products for you to try out. You’ll also receive 10% commission on all the sales made with your unique code! All you have to do is post about the product regularly on your feed. Please let us know what your shipping address is and we will send your free product out ASAP!”

Thanks, Brand

If this sounds like what you’re receiving, then it’s time to make a change! Here’s how to respond to gifted campaign requests and the reasons behind why.

Rooftop Cinema Club in San Diego
Rooftop Cinema Club was one of those brands that offered to work with me but only on a hosted opportunity. No payment but I still took it!

Reasons to Say Yes to Non-Paid Campaigns

If you are just starting out or if you truly love the brand that reached out, by all means say “yes”! Responding positively to gifted, non-paid requests isn’t always a bad thing if you truly resonate with the brand and want to work with them. Just like in one of my previous blogs, When to Stop Accepting Gifted or Non-Paid Campaigns, I do have a list of companies that if they contacted me and were only offering a gifted opportunity, I would still take it. Some brands hold value for me even just in gifted product!

Reasons to Say No to Gifted Campaigns

If your inbox is regularly full with paid requests, then taking on a gifted campaign might not be the best for you. Even if you make commission off the sales, it still might not be worth your while. Simply put, you are never guaranteed a paycheck.

Even with some of the ambassadorships I have done, I had to make so much content to even get close to what my normal posting rate would have been for a single post. Meanwhile the brand received consistent and permanent media coverage. The only way I would get paid was if someone used my exact affiliate link to maybe make a purchase. And online purchases don’t always happen. It’s possible that they purchased in-store or on another browser. When that happens, you can’t receive the credit or commission. You would never know if they didn’t use that exact tracking link.

Remember, your social media’s worth is not measured solely based on the total number of sales that you make. It is also measured by:

  • the amount of eyes on your post
  • the number of interactions it gets
  • and also your personal reputation for recommending great products that your followers are trusting you with.

Brands know this. That’s why it is cheaper for them to offer commission ambassadorships than it is to pay the influencer’s posting rate.

Turn the Tables to Get Paid!

You can also turn these gifted or non-paid email requests into a paid campaign. Read my next blog “How to Turn a Commission Campaign into a Paid Campaign” to learn more!

Final Thoughts

Looking back on when I first started getting these emails, I think of just how many opportunities I missed. I used to just not respond to the emails, or say that I am not interested in working with them. But by doing so, I left so much money on the table.

There are definitely options when it comes to receiving these kind of emails! Learning how to respond to gifted campaign requests could open the door to more opportunities to get paid.

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Having fun in front of the SunBum concept store in Encinitas on a sunny day. You can see the SunBum logo on the buidling on the left, and the SunBum truck is on the right of the picture.

Why You Should Consistently Talk About Brands on Your Social Media

If you are a content creator or influencer and you are NOT consistently talking about brands and products you love, you are doing yourself a disservice. Here is why you definitely should talk about brands and products that you love shamelessly!

What You Are Probably Thinking Now

I used to think that if I talked about a brands that I liked, then I would be selling myself short. To me, I thought if I gave them free advertisement then there would be no reason or incentive for them to want to work with me. If I already gave them a shoutout to my audience, why would they pay me?

But this is kind of backwards!

By talking about a brand and what you love about them, you have officially put yourself organically on their radar! Brands love when they can work with a true fan of their brand. Then they know that the influencer that they are working with is someone who loves them and is going to give them the best, most authentic content.

How It Helps You to Talk About Brands

Not to mention, by giving them a little unprompted love on your feed, you can provide them numbers on how well they did on your page! Especially on your Insta Story because you can see just how many times they sticker tapped their tagged name or swiped up on your Story to a product that you might have linked. This sort of information can provide them with valuable insight in to just how beneficial a partnership with you can be.

So all around, giving brands some love and tagging them in your content that may feature them or give them a very specific shoutout could potentially get you a collaboration with them in the future when you pitch yourself to them!

Now let’s talk about why you should NOT be giving these shoutouts with the disclosure that what you are saying is not a paid sponsorship.

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When to Stop Accepting Gifted or Non-Paid Campaigns

Congratulations! You did it! You have successfully made it through the 5 steps in becoming a content creator and you are now starting to monetize your posts! Because you have started building a portfolio of either great pictures or actual sponsored posts, you have gotten to the point in your creating that you are asking yourself “should I still be accepting unpaid work?”.

Let’s dive in to this topic!

Who is this blog for?

This post will be for anyone who has started working with companies on a gifted or hosted basis, looking for more information on this topic, or is wondering when you should start cutting the cord from even accepting free items for content purposes.

And the truth of this topic is simple – there is no one right answer for when to stop accepting gifted or non-paid campaigns. So overall, my hope from this post is to at least give you some guidance and to get you to think about what’s the best course of action for you.

For me personally, my page originally started as the social media account for my small shop, but after sharing more of my personal life and style, the page naturally transformed in to something else entirely. So after some thought, I changed the name, I changed the direction, and I started making all of my content as “lifestyle blogger” content. And even though I have had the account for over six years now, I really didn’t start doing influencer stuff until about late 2019! So currently, even with over 18,000 followers, I still will sometimes accept gifted opportunities.

My Rules for Accepting Gifted Campaigns

That being said, I have rules for myself when I do accept gifted campaigns. The reason I have these rules is because I have started valuing how much time and effort goes in to all of my posts and I cannot just be accepting things just because its free. However, there is value in some of the campaigns that I receive that cannot compensate by paying me. So the three reasons I will accept a gifted campaign are:

  1. It’s a product I was going to buy anyway AND the deliverables are not excessive. If I really wanted that product but they are asking for three Instagram posts, a Tik Tok, and a YouTube review, well then I’m passing. One post and an Instagram Story with a swipe-up link is perfectly fine.
  2. It’s a product that I can link via RewardStyle and make some commissionable sales off of it. In this way, I can actually make money off of a free product by talking about it on my social media and hopefully getting some small compensation for it.
  3. It’s a company that I really wanted to work with. I have my own list of companies that if they came knocking, I would 100% answer the door as quickly as possible!

How to Go Forward with Your Content

Now to answer this question for yourself, you first need to ask yourself “how much is my time worth?”. For me, I started setting these rules for gifted opportunities only last month because, for all of 2020, most every single sponsored post I did, I was only getting paid about $25 per post (which is NOTHING!). So after reevaluating my page and refocusing the direction, I decided that it was time for me to start standing up for my posting rate, which is currently around $100 per single Instagram post. So maybe if you value your time or page a little bit less, accepting something for free could possibly be as good as getting actual payment for it!

However, let’s say you are constantly getting DMs or emails for opportunities, your schedule is booked with all these fun campaigns, and you may be getting to the point of not having enough time to mix in your own non-sponsored posts. This would be a definite sign that you need to stop accepting those non-paid gigs and start giving them your posting rates.

Free is always fun, but if opportunities are always knocking on your door, then obviously you are doing something right and people are noticing! By responding to these campaigns with your enthusiasm and your ideas for how to showcase their products, but ending it with “however, I do not accept products as payment. If you liked the ideas I had for promoting your product and feel like I am a good fit for your brand, I would be happy to discuss my posting rates with you!” could get you that CHA-CHING! But keep in mind, companies will say no – there is always going to be someone who will do it for free. But you don’t have to be one of them.

This doesn’t have to mean the end of gifted opportunities though. Remember, I still have my own rules for receiving product as payment. So let’s say that you respond to that email saying that you would happily discuss your rate and the company responds with “Thank you for your interest, however at this time we are only doing gifted products for content.” Well, you can just as easily think it over and respond with “After thinking it over, I really feel like my audience would appreciate seeing your brand, and I would be happy to do product in exchange for content.” Or you can even say “Thank you for thinking of me for this campaign, please keep me in mind for your next paid opportunity!”

If you really just want to work for free, no one is stopping you! But with the influencer market becoming so large, there will ALWAYS be someone willing to work for free if you won’t.

Why You SHOULD Stop Accepting Gifted Campaigns

Which leads me to another interesting tid-bit of information. One of the big reasons that I am an advocate for moving from gifted work to paid work is because the market is so saturated. Influencers left and right want to work and they are willing to do it for free. Now again, this is fine to build a portfolio or to get your foot in the door with a brand you really like, but the reason influencers are getting a lot of DMs and emails for non-paid work is because other influencers continue to ACCEPT those campaigns. So those companies know that they can get away with offering gifted campaigns because people are willing to work for only that.

Can you imagine the impact we would all have on the influencer market if we started working together to stand up for our time and energy in to these posts? Companies everywhere are turning to influencers because it is SO MUCH CHEAPER to use hundreds of influencers to promote them than it is to spend a whole lot more money on doing fancy photoshoots where they hire the photographer, the wardrobe department, the lighting, setting the scene, and the editing team. I assure you that they have room in their marketing budget to pay influencers a decent rate. But they won’t if they know someone will work for free.

And you don’t need X amount of followers to do paid work! You should not be selling yourself short just because you don’t think you have a big enough following to get a company’s attention. If you have an engaged audience and you are getting brands wanting to work with you, keep up the good work up! I have seen so many people get paid deals with as little as 2,000 followers. Don’t sell yourself short if you think it’s time that you started getting paid for your awesome posts!

Overall, just take this with a grain of salt – there is no one right answer to this big question of “when you should stop accepting non-paid work”. It will forever be a moving target! You just need to decide for yourself when your time and your work needs to start making you money in return.

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