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Influencer Marketing

How to win long-term brand deals as an influencer

  • Last Updated: December 13, 2023

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​Are you looking to go beyond one-time sponsored posts and into long-term brand deals? Here’s how you can get a step ahead of the competition.

If you’re an influencer, you know how competitive the space is: everyday there are content creators, publishers and influencers that are vying for the same brand sponsorships as you.

And while it’s rewarding to win that one-time deal with new brand partners, turning that one sponsored Instagram post or YouTube review into a longer agreement can feel like a huge chasm to cross.

But if you’re looking to stretch your income opportunities this year, long-term influencer deals might be your best option.

So what’s the best way to position yourself as a viable long-term brand partner? And most importantly: how do you get a step ahead of your competitors?

Here’s my advice on how to turn one-time posts into long-term sponsorship deals.

Treat your subject line as your initial pitch

If you’re doing cold outreach via email, subject lines can be the life or death of a potential deal. No matter how carefully you craft your message, a poorly written subject line could shut the door before you even get your foot in.

With your subject lines, it’s critical to be:

  1. Concise with your words
  2. Personal in your approach i.e. not written likemarketing copy
  3. Valuable in what you’re offering, or at least hinting the potential of something useful
  4. Sincerely interested in their business
  5. Unique, because people can sniff out a copy & pasted words a mile away

Here are a few examples of good (and not-as-good) email subject lines:

❌ Question for you✅ Question about {brand/product}’s goals
❌ I want to work with you✅ Hoping to help with {brand/product}
❌ Let’s be partners✅ My content drove {competitor} x more customers

If your email is lucky enough to get an open, be sure that your message is as quick and fast-paced. An inbox is rarely (if ever) empty and people scan quickly so that they can get on with their work day.

For the brand that’s reading your outreach message, that means they’re deciding as fast as possible whether to click “Reply” or “Trash.”

One way to keep your outreach out of the trash: Don’t bury your lead. Structure your emails like an inverted pyramid: after your headline (in this case, your subject line) put the highest priority information at the top of an email – never at the bottom.

Inverted pyramid

Like a news article, put the most important information at the top of your email, prioritizing the reasons why they should reply to your outreach message. (

Prove that you’re worth it

People usually don’t buy into hype, but they will buy into facts. Highlight your biggest wins as a long-term influencer partner of other brands, and explain where you’ve driven measurable bottom-line impact.

This can be through your past performance with affiliate links, where you can boast how many new customers or new purchases you’ve delivered with your content. Because affiliate models typically operate on a performance basis (where brands pay only for results), it will be clear to potential brand partners your ability to drive tangible value.

Don’t have these achievements on hand yet? There’s other ways to prove your worth as a long-term partner. For instance:

Have you experimented with your content and found strategies that work?

Demonstrate your skills in analytics and optimization. If a brand signs an ongoing sponsorship agreement with you, it helps to have a track record of building marketing success over time.

Do you share similarities with the brand’s current influencer partners?

Those similarities might extend to your respective audiences, too. You can position yourself as an extension of their current influencer campaigns, where you pitch yourself as a source for “lookalike audiences“: new potential customers that are similar to the brand’s existing customers.

Top tip: avoid positioning yourself as a carbon-copy of other influencer – highlight your own key differentiators. You might bring something unique to the table that goes beyond the brand’s expectations.

lookalike audiences
If a brand’s partnering with an influencer that’s similar to you, might be able to position yourself as a channel to reach “lookalike audiences.” (

If a brand’s partnering with an influencer that’s similar to you, you could position yourself as a channel to reach “lookalike audiences.” (

Be flexible to get your foot in the door

Just like you, brands need to make informed decisions with their funds. If they’re not sure that your content will drive new customers, propose a cost-per-action (CPA) model as an initial trial, where they’ll pay you a commission based on the results you drive.

It might not be exactly what you asked for, but it can certainly be a win-win: you’ll help your brand partners mitigate their risk while opening the door for them to take a chance on you.

A CPA model also benefits you as a content creator:

  1. Alleviates the pressure of achieving perfect results on your first try
    You’ll have the time and space to figure out what type of content and strategies work best
  2. Provides long-term earning potential
    Once you figure out that sweet spot, there’s no reason to turn off the faucet: if your brand partner’s happy with the new customers you drive, your CPA income could have greater long-term income than a flat-fee rate
  3. Strengthens your portfolio for future sponsorships
    If your influencer portfolio is still relatively modest, affiliate partnerships allow you to prove your ability to drive measurable results
There can be a lot of pressure to be successful with your content the first time. A CPA model can alleviate the pressure for you and brands that are being careful with their spend.

There can be a lot of pressure to be successful with your content the first time. A CPA model can alleviate the pressure for you and brands that are being careful with their spend.

Putting it all together

Winning that long-term influencer deal is all about making it as easy as possible for a brand to say “yes” to you:

  1. Cut to the chase – Be as concise as possible
  2. Proof is in the pudding – Focus on results or prove you can optimize for success
  3. Get your foot in the door – Be flexible. Prepare alternative options that could get a soft “yes” if you think you’re headed for a hard “no”

If you’re looking to access long-term partnerships in a more direct way, consider signing up for an affiliate network. They have a diverse network of programs that influencers like you can easily apply for.

And if you’re looking to maximize your income opportunities, commissions can be much higher for affiliate programs that promote checking accounts, savings accounts, and financial apps.

Learn more about how our network of 80+ leading brands can help you earn more as an influencer.

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