Bringing the right creator and the right brand together for a campaign is no easy feat, but this is exactly what the Twitter-owned service Niche aims to do. But how does it work, and what are the benefits for creators big and small? TenEighty spoke to Jo Burford – EMEA Niche Community Manager – to find out more, as well as Joe Tasker and Tom Harlock to learn about their experiences with the platform…
When it comes to making a living from being an online creator, it’s long been understood that YouTube ad revenue is not the only source of income – let alone reliable or secure. Because of this, creators look for other opportunities to support themselves, and brand deals have become a key part of this.
Acquired by Twitter last year, Niche is for creators who want to work with brands to create social media campaigns across their platforms, producing anything from videos and live streams to Instagram posts and blogs.
Currently 45,000+ creators across the world with online followings big and small are with the Niche community. Jo Burford, EMEA Niche Community Manager, explains that brands are not just after big YouTube names. “Clients choose creators based on the quality of their content and not just their reach,” she says.
“Profiling correctly is incredibly important to us. We’ll select a creator that has the right brand fit over the one who can hit the biggest numbers.”
Because of this, Jo believes Niche is a great tool that can help creators grow. “When handles are whitelisted and have brand promotion behind them, the creators’ content will be seen outside of their current audience,” she says. “We’ve known creators to double their social following after working on a campaign with us.”
A common complaint found in YouTube comments on sponsored videos is that the audience feel the video is inauthentic. Jo reassures us that Niche do their best to avoid this. “We are #CreatorFirst in everything we do and we pass this ideology onto our brand clients,” she says. “We listen to their goals and offer consultation to help brands understand what will and won’t work for the creator.”
This is all well and good, but what is it actually like from the point of view of creators? We brought the question of authenticity and sponsored content to Tom Harlock and Joe Tasker, who have both used Niche.
Tom says he’s had almost absolute creative freedom in the campaigns he’s worked on. “I work closely with the Niche team at every stage from content to delivery. If I do not feel comfortable with a particular brief, due to our good relationship, I can easily contact whoever is managing the campaign and stress my concerns and offer solutions.”
It’s clear that Joe’s experience echoes this as he outlines the creative process behind each sponsorship: “I pitch several ideas once a brief has come through, then we narrow it down to the one we all get the good feels about!” he says. “Then I start adding in all the details and we take it from there.”
It appears that audiences respond well to this type of content too: creators are able to produce bigger and better content while maintaining their voice. “They always react as they would react to a ‘normal’ video,” says Joe.
“I like to keep things as natural as possible and not change my style of video,” he continues. “I think most importantly is that my audience get me, so if there’s a brand being worked into a video, there is no change in how the video is filmed/edited and they still get the comedy they love!”
Likewise Tom’s audience have received all of his branded content positively, which he puts down to the quality of the campaigns. “Niche approach me with offers that suit my brand,” he states.
Niche seems to be a win-win for brands and creators – companies are able to reach millennial audiences and creators are able to work with big names, receive payment, and join a community of fellow online influencers.
But working with Niche is more than just bringing the right people together. Niche also offer help with other elements such as creative planning, briefing documents, legal forms, and much more. They also put on networking events and masterclasses at Twitter.
“The community part of Niche is a big differentiator in the market,” says Jo. “We support our Niche creators outside of their brand deals by supporting their digital lives as creators.”
Joe feels that Niche has made a difference to his content, as it allows him to create better content in places he may not have been able to film before, such as his video with McDonald’s. “Popping on some McDonald’s gear and filming behind the counter in an open London restaurant at lunchtime makes the overall product look more professional and legitimate,” he says. “Much better than a ‘We are open’ sign stuck to my bedroom wall with some ketchup around my chops!”
Get to McDonald's, blipp the tray and brace yourself for Christmas overload! #hellogoodtimes #ad 🎅🏼
Posted by Joe Tasker on Monday, December 5, 2016
Tom points out that the types of brand deals he now gets are of a higher quality. “If you’re asking whether brand deals generally happen without Niche, I’d say ‘yes’, but they’re usually a lot less impressive.”
Despite being fairly well established before, Tom recognises how Niche has allowed him to be bolder and more secure about his future as a creator. “[When] I was starting online there was a lot of uncertainty, especially on my part, with regards to the longevity of the industry,” he says. “Niche helped me to realise that, as the profession is fairly new, it’s almost unknown and I can take this as far as I’m willing to push it.
“Every time I tweet, or post a YouTube video, I am manipulating my brand and changing my audience and their perception of me,” Tom continues. “As an influencer, my brand and my audience is something I should be hyper-aware of, and working with Niche has fine-tuned this.”
While Niche works alongside networks and talent managers, this is not essential. If a creator doesn’t have management, Niche will take more time to take them through each step. Want to find out more? Jo says Niche welcome questions. “Come into Twitter for a chat!” she affirms. “I love meeting creators in person and the Twitter door is always open.
“Signing up to Niche takes around one minute and is free. You can sign up on desktop or mobile, and at its very basic offering, we give creators one place to connect all their social channels and see their collective reach,” Jo continues. “The best scenario is a creator signs up and we have an exciting opportunity for them straight away – but if you don’t sign up, you’ll never know!”
Want to find out more about Niche?
Take a closer look at some of the campaigns made possible with Niche, or learn about their upcoming event for International #CreatorDay for which TenEighty is the official media partner. Sign up at niche.co.
Alternatively, check out some of the following features by TenEighty:
- TenEighty Yearbook 2016
- Is YouTube Leaving Creators Behind?
- 2016 on TenEighty in Review
- Facebook Video: The New Champion?