Getting sponsored or working with brands as a streamer can be super intimidating, especially when you’re just starting out. I feel like the answer to “how to get sponsored as a streamer” should be really obvious. However, I know for a fact that it’s not! Sponsorships or sponsored streams were something that took me a long time to get comfortable with. I’m still working on ways to improve my relationship with sponsorships, but hopefully I can help you get started.
How to get sponsored to play a game
First, we’re going to talk about getting sponsored to play a game on your stream. As your channel grows, you will start receiving emails from companies offering to work with you. Sometimes they’ll mention upfront that it’s a paid opportunity, sometimes they won’t. I’ll deal with the first kind now, and we’ll talk more about the second kind a little later.
When a company reaches out with a paid opportunity, they’ll usually ask you for your rate. If you need help setting your rate, I have an upcoming post on how to set your rate for sponsored streams. I’ll update here with a link to it when it’s published, or you can go to the Working With Brands tag for similar posts. It’s rare, in my experience, for companies to offer a specific budget, at least in the first email, so come prepared.
But what if you’re a smaller channel and haven’t received any offers yet? You can proactively reach out to a company and ask for a paid opportunity. It does feel a little more awkward, but it has worked for me in the past.
How to reach out to a company directly
If you’ve decided to reach out to a company directly for a sponsored opportunity, how do you know who to contact? This one is a little trickier, as each brand is different. Go to the company’s website and look for press contacts. Alternatively, search for the company’s name and “influencer” or “influencer manager”, or “community manager”. Try to find their social media accounts and see if they have their DMs open, or an email address listed. While it wasn’t for a sponsored opportunity, I reached out to the Publishing manager of Hello Games to request a key to stream their puzzle game The Last Campfire. I found the contact by going to the dev’s website and looking on their contact page for their press contact.
In your DM or email, introduce yourself and your content, and ask if they have any opportunities to work together on a particular game title. Include your media kit as an attachment (if you don’t have a media kit, we need to talk) and maybe even a rates card. It’s scary, but the worst they can do is say no or not reply. You’re not burning any bridges by politely asking!
If you can’t find a direct contact, you can always try tagging them on social media to ask who to email.
What if the company just offered a free key?
I receive offers of free keys in my inbox pretty frequently. While I’m a variety streamer, I have started trying to be more consistent with my content. This means I don’t feel comfortable jumping into a random game just because a key has been offered, unless it was something I was already explicitly interested in. In this case, I have started asking whether there’s a budget for paid opportunities. This is simply because I’m busy and genuinely don’t have time to fit in every game. There is nothing wrong with accepting a free key to stream a game if you’d like to and have the bandwidth!
The way I do this is I explain the situation, first and foremost. I let the person emailing me know that, unfortunately, my schedule is quite busy at the moment. While I’d love to play their game, I currently have to prioritise paid opportunities and games my community has requested. I then ask them to let me know if there is a budget for this opportunity, and if so I’ll share my rate. Shoutout to one of my friends for encouraging me to do this!
There is always a chance they’ll say no. In that case, I thank them for the offer all the same, and ask them to keep me in mind for future opportunities. Again, you’re not burning any bridges as long as you’re polite and kind!
What about product sponsorships?
This one is a little trickier. I’m going to be very open and transparent about this: I have contacted many companies, some multiple times, to work with them on a particular product. Each time it’s been a company I genuinely want to work with, or a product I really like already. Many of those emails have gone unanswered. Some I’ve received a very generic rejection. Don’t be discouraged if the companies you want to work with don’t say yes the first time.
Approaching a product sponsorship is much the same as a game sponsorship. First, check if the company has a partnerships or sponsorships application process. If not, locate the person in charge of partnerships or influencers, in your region if applicable, and contact them directly. Again, introduce yourself and your content, and explain what you’re looking for. Be specific, and present why working with you would be good for them. For example, do you have a particularly niche community? Maybe your community is from a very specific demographic (eg you have a lot of viewers from your region, your viewers are the type of people who use this product such as people working in the tech industry in need of desks or chairs or peripherals). Demonstrate how you would promote the product. You don’t have to write an essay — in fact, it’s best if you don’t — keep it concise and offer to discuss further.
Always include your media kit with analytics. And, if you can manage it, don’t be surprised or disheartened if you don’t hear back or get rejected.
A final word on sponsorships
This one is going to be tough to hear, but be realistic. Numbers are absolutely not everything, and your engagement and impact cannot be easily measured. However, companies want to have a return on their investment, so unfortunately they’re not always willing to take a chance. Find unique ways that you can promote the game or product and you’ll have a much higher chance of receiving an offer. And keep cracking on at it!
My first ever sponsored stream was an absolute disaster. They offered me a lot of money considering my channel size, to stream a game for two hours. I accepted because I was so shocked and excited to have been noticed. The game was not one I would consider streaming nowadays, and did not suit my channel at all. My viewership was much lower than normal, and the company paid me and never contacted me again. It was explicitly in our contract that if it went well, they’d come back for another stream. They did not come back. And I am not surprised.
Be more discerning than I was. Now, I think over every offer I receive and decide whether it fits my content and community. And the best piece of advice I can give?
Know your worth! Your time is valuable, don’t undersell yourself.