An Influencer Introduction With The Modest Man
The Modest Man shares their favorite tools, how they grow their audience, how they find sponsors, and more.
1 of 12What question are you asked the most when you tell someone you're a blogger/content creator?
If they’re under 40, “Cool...is that full-time?” If they’re over 40, “So you make money with that? How?”
How do you respond to people confused on how you make money?
I basically make money from advertising, which these days includes sponsored content. I also make some money from something called affiliate marketing. Most people aren't aware that content creators like me often get commissions from products they recommend and link to. So, for example, if you're reading an article about the best DSLR camera, and the article links to a camera on Amazon, that website probably makes a small commission if you buy the camera after clicking their link. That's called affiliate marketing, and it's one of my revenue streams
2 of 12How do brands find you?
Mostly through Google-ing things like “blogs for men” or similar terms, I think. I get at least 5-10 emails per day from brands and PR companies, and I think they usually find me via organic search.
3 of 12Is there anything that you believe a brand should know before they begin reaching out to influencers?
Most influencer make a living, at least in part, from paid partnerships. I think that most full time “influencers” or content creators are somewhat insulted when brands assume they’ll get free coverage. I always want to ask, “Do you give your products away for free? Because that’s what you’re asking me to do.”
I’m half kidding. It’s always flattering when a brand reaches out and offers to send samples or wants to work together. I just think many brands vastly under-value our reach and how much effort goes into a piece of content, especially video.
4 of 12What one tool for your content or your business can you not live without?
I use Canva all the time, mostly for YouTube thumbnails. I also use Final Cut Pro X a lot, as well as Adobe Audition. But if I had to pick one thing, it would be WordPress.
5 of 12How do you decide how much to charge a brand?
I try to imagine what I think my content is worth, then I double it! Haha, just kidding (kind of). I think many influencers, especially those of us who don’t have massive followings (e.g., millions of IG followers), don’t value their work highly enough. So I try to price myself accordingly.
It’s also tough because many brands are thinking relatively short-term. They want to know how many views a video will get in the first 30 days. But videos and articles don’t last 30 days - they last forever. To me, that’s worth a lot of money. It’s direct sales, marketing, branding, audience building, all wrapped into one.
If you get new customers from our partnership, what’s the lifetime value of those customers? What’s that worth to you? With that in mind, I try to find a price that’s fair, but maybe a little more than most influencers are charging.
6 of 12What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome when starting out?
Getting traffic. It’s hard when you start from scratch, and things are always changing (YouTube algorithm, SEO, IG, etc.). There are many different ways to do it, but you have to master at least one of them.
7 of 12How do you personally keep your content true to your voice while also delivering value to a brand?
I say no to 95% of partnership opportunities. To promote a brand or product as a sponsor, it’s got to be something I would actually buy, or at least something I would tell a close friend to spend their hard-earned money on.
If I really love something, it’s easy to promote it in an authentic way. The hardest thing is trying to stick to a script that a brand is really attached to. I think brands should let influencers talk to their audiences in their own way whenever possible.
8 of 12What is the biggest challenge you face now that you have an established audience?
Growing it and increasing revenue, without “selling out” by taking every brand deal that comes along. It’s also hard to keep up with the content creation grind. I think of my business as a digital media company. So it has to be bigger than just me, eventually, and every new piece of content can’t depend on my time and effort. That means outsourcing, hiring, etc. That’s what I’m thinking a lot about at this point.
9 of 12What helps you maintain your motivation to continue creating content?
It’s a creative outlet. It’s competitive (increasingly). It’s fun to reach new people and milestones (100k subs on YouTube, for example, or a certain amount of revenue in a given month). I love making my own schedule and not having a big or being part of a big organization. And I want to build something substantial that really helps people and that provides for my family.
10 of 12What's the one piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out in content creation?
Find a niche. You can compete in a few different ways: quality, quantity, etc. Or you can set yourself apart by niching down. For example, I started out writing about fashion for shorter men, not just general men’s fashion. Find your niche by combining two of your passions (e.g., style and fitness) or figuring out what makes you unique (your age, ethnicity, body type, etc.).
11 of 12What is your most defining piece of content in your opinion? Why?
I’m really proud of this fall lookbook video for a few reasons: first, it’s sponsored in a totally organic way that no one would be upset about. The sponsor is one of my favorite brands, and honestly,the video wouldn’t change much if you removed the sponsorship.
Second, the product quality is pretty high for an independent YouTube channel - nice music and lighting, cool editing, etc. I had fun making this video, and I think it’s genuinely helpful for a lot of guys. It didn’t get a crazy amount of views or anything, but I’m really proud of it. It kind of set the bar for my channel (in my head, at least).
12 of 12What brands would you most like to work with?
Seiko, Hamilton, Warby Parker, Allen Edmonds, Canon, J. Crew, Apple, Delta. These are brands I buy and wear regularly. I’m an affiliate for some of them, but it would be awesome to work together more closely!