Let me start off by saying, that if any tool thinks of me as valuable enough to be a brand partner. Thank you.
Despite making content for a decade plus now off and on, and consistently for the last 7 years. I am still relatively new to the idea of brand partnerships or sponsorships.
I've worked with many companies to some degree. Either for a single project, or something on going. Given my deep SEO in content repurposing and knowledge management. There have been MANY many companies reaching out to me. At the very least for a review, if not full blown working together.
My experience (the good and bad)
Now I don't want to trash talk any particular company, as I've had good experiences with any of them.
I've worked with companies such as Recast.studio and Repurpose.io, for simple one offs. One of the first companies I worked with however, was Riverside.fm. A tool to record my Polycasts, and for a time it was the BEST one.
It was the only local video recorder on the market for a time. I was contacted by the founders in 2020, had a great conversation. In early 2021 I was given access in exchange for being a brand partner. Although I don't think either side realized that was the word for it at the time.
I was so grateful for the partnership that last year or so I made an ad for riverside for my podcast, with the help of a staff member from the riverside team. However besides that amazing person, I have not had contact with anyone on the team for a very very long time. Not for a lack of trying. I've reached out at least half a dozen times, to the founders, creator partnerships person, and more.
Since I haven't been told about new features ahead of time I can't really make content around them, and something else...
I've been having a TON of technical issues one after the other with the magic editor or recording. However after I have a useless conversation with support, I'd then see via social a new feature come out that would have been helpful to my tech problems. For example I had a guest's audio rather crap out on me due to the recording not fully doing the job. Had I have dual speaker audio editing in the riverside editor, then I could fix it. Support had given me no indication of something coming, despite me giving feedback we needed more than one audio channel to edit (there being 2 speakers after all). Now I saw they have multi-channel audio editing...
This all stims from a lack of communication, and from what I can tell a lack of seeing me as a brand partner.
Alternatively a good experience
While I've had short bursts with really great people at companies, such as I mentioned Recast. I didn't always use the tool/website that much.
Over the last Summer I came across Opus Clip, which made the process a lot more streamlined in my experience. I started finally getting to my backlog of 130+ long form interviews, and made over 1500+ clips in the last half of the year. In doing so I caught the attention of the Opus team for being a power user, and with my content repurposing newsletter.
They asked me to be a brand partner, in which case I said yes.
Soon after I actually won a social media contest from Riverside to go to Podcast movement. A great opportunity. I'm grateful for them to have that conference in my life. However I was like how do I get there, and where do I stay? Being a different state after all.
Well I managed to find a way to get an airbnb in time (it was only a week away), and graciously Opus decided to sponsor my airfare. I was already going to talk about the tool a lot anyways, but this was a good deal as a brand partner. I mean I just started with them, and they wanted to put their faith in me.
When I got back I started working with them more and more, and now even working part time for the company because of the synergy involved (just wanted to mention for full disclosure purposes).
While I still have my content newsletter, and will be fully transparent and fair for any tool I review. I still choose Opus as my tool of choice because of what they have done already (and where they are going). As a brand partner they have been there for me, and I realized what a partnership is actually supposed to be like.
Creator Partnerships are a path to success
Now I am making this post because I want other content creators (bigger or smaller than me), to be able to understand the experience of being a partner. What to look out for, and what to not tolerate.
Not only do I feel strung alone with Riverside, but the performance of the tool has been subpar. Support just giving me copy pasted responses from their help articles, when I am a power user of the tool/platform. I know all of those articles already.
Conversely, I've had honestly MORE issues with Opus' performance, as it is a much newer tool. However this is because the company is putting out new features, and updates practically every week.
However unlike Riverside, they communicate that to their partners. Also whenever I've had any issues, as a user before or a brand partner. The support and tech teams were always quick to respond, and even quicker to fixing the issues.
As a brand partner I know that I'll be getting more beta features, which means more bugs, and that is fine. In fact it shows they value my opinion.
Now with these tools I've grown a lot more as a creator. It saddens me but I have to drop Riverside.fm as a partner. Yes they gave me access to the tool, but I feel used and discarded.
Whereas with Opus Clip I feel valued, and they want me to succeed. Compared to the other brand partners I'm a LOT smaller when it comes to follower metrics. Although in skill I've been at this a long time, and Opus sees that. The other partners see that, and they too have been utterly fantastic.
In fact being around them sparks my creative juices, and I even made a Content Creator interview series so that I can talk to them and other creators MORE.