Closing the Gap

The Influencer Pay Gap.

Let’s talk about what it is, and what Sailboat Marketing is doing to change it.

What is the Influencer Pay Gap?

Today, brands have increased their total budget for marketing, and specifically influencer marketing. Some businesses, have upped their marketing budgets to greater than 25% of their revenue.

However, that increase in budget, often does not mean an increase in compensation to partnered creators.


The influencer pay gap is the disparity creators face due to a variety of factors, such as following, appearance, engagement, and even race. As influencer marketing emerged, many did not know the value that entailed. Even still, that value has yet to be standardly set or recognized. This is an age old problem active in the modern world. Individual’s believe it to be rude to ask or share financial transparency. Without this transparency, creators often make deals, they may come to regret after learning they could have negotiated for more compensation.

On one hand, creators do not want to come off as inauthentic and bragging when talking about campaigns they’ve partnered with. On the other, the silence of rate conversations between creators is deafening.

In this blog post we will talk about three specific ways, that both brands and creators can improve on influencer marketing campaigns. We wil 

Where can creators improve?

Creators, influencers, bloggers, etc… Whichever realm you’d categorize yourself in, listen up.

Brands are not strictly the only party at fault for creator pay disparity. Far too often, a brand will reach out offering a partnership in exchange for free products. The biggest factor contributing to the influencer pay gap starts right here. Lack of transparency also leads to misdiagnosing rates and worth.

1. ASK.

Who do you ask? In short, everyone. 

The minute a brands reaches out for collaboration, your first reaction should be to pause. Give yourself some space to think about the offer they have just presented. Begin researching past collaborations the brand has done with other creators. Don’t be afraid to inquire with those other creators if it was a paid or gifted. It does not hurt to ask.

Ask YOURSELF is this partnership going to be worth it for me and my personal brand. If it is a campaign or product that you or your audience does not believe in, the answer is probably not. Your audience knows when you genuinely love a product, accepting a partnership, for the sake of it being a partnership may not always be beneficial.

Ask OTHERS with more experience what they would do in your situation. If they have partnered with the brand before, did they negotiate a rate or take the offered gift? Getting insight on similar creators, helps you to understand how to price collaborations in the future.

Ask the BRAND if there is a budget for the specific campaign. Your audience has value and they know this, that’s why they reached out! Now is when you get to practice our next step of knowing your worth. If they can’t afford to compensate you fairly, that says more about them as a brand than you as a creator. 

2. Know your worth.

It can be hard to understand value for an intangible product or service. For influencers who are new to working with brands to creators sponsored content, they can have a hard time sticking to a firm rate. If they want to play a part in the influencer pay gap closing, they need to stand firm on what they charge for the service they provide, and yes content creation is a service. 

Negotiating is not a bad thing. It is just a way to communicate the value you bring to a brand or business. You might be scared that a brand may walk away entirely from a collab due to negotiation, and if that is the case, most likely it isn’t a brand you want to work with.

3. Say NO!

Setting boundaries with your partnerships is important. This may even include turning down a partnership because you are not being compensated fairly. It is better to working with quality brands who can pay for you and the value you bring to them than a brands who mass-contact creators in exchange for free product. 

Partnerships, especially paid ones will come your way. It might require some patience on your end, but they will. Until then, keep building your community, raising your value, and ask questions to educate yourself further.

Where can brands improve?

Brands… There are a few things you might be guilty of, but when you do influencer marketing correctly and fair, you not only build trust with the creator but also their audience. Let’s unpack a few ways you can improve.

1. Know your budget.

This seems to be where many brands get it wrong, they have a budget but do not see value in providing compensation for a “social media influencer.” It’s the modern way to reach people, dated marketing strategies are dying out, learn to adapt to best reach your audience.

2. Pay them what they’re worth.

Creators can have a hard time learning what they are worth with brands telling them they should be grateful for a free product. If a creator attempts to negotiate, be open to hearing why they are doing this. It’s because they know the value they have and what they can do for you. You can negotiate back whatever works with your budget, but never just make a gifted offer without compensation.

3. Build relationships.

So, you’ve just scored your first influencer to work with. What now? Follow up! Did the campaign go well? Was their audience supportive? Enter the blank question… Build relationships with the creator to have the opportunity to work with them again in the future. If it wasn’t perfect, keep searching for the right creator and try again!

How can Sailboat Marketing help you?

Sailboat Marketing also specializes in talent management. Our goal in this is to work with both BRANDS and CREATORS to pair them up for successful partnerships while also ensuring fair and equal compensation. We negotiate rates and services on behalf of both parties and provide financial transparency to creators to help understand their value. This is how we are closing the influencer pay gap.

If you are a creator looking for a talent management agency, we would love to connect with you through the Influencer Information page by clicking the button below. If you are a brand looking to work with influencers for paid partnerships, we have a plethora of creators eager to represent your brand!

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