Did you know that influencer marketing content delivers an ROI eleven times higher than traditional digital marketing tactics? It’s no wonder that 71% of marketers believe the most effective form of advertising is ongoing ambassadorships. Like all marketing tactics, influencer campaigns can only be successful if brands take specific factors into consideration and then execute effectively. One key component is identifying true brand advocates.

Pete Czerwinski is a competitive eater and the creator of the popular YouTube channel, Furious Pete. His channel started to garner attention in 2007 after he began to post videos of himself attempting (and crushing) seemingly impossible eating contests and challenges. Fast forward ten years to today, Pete has multiple Guinness World Records in eating, is a highly regarded fitness coach, and has grown his audience to almost four million subscribers on YouTube alone. In Pete’s own words, “I like to work-out, but the thing that really gets peoples’ attention and views is whenever I do crazy eating challenges.”

With a vast portfolio of sponsored content from Old Spice to Wounded Warrior, it’s obvious Pete knows a thing or two about successfully working with brands. We sat down with him to get his angle on what it takes to be an effective brand ambassador, and how ongoing relationships between brands and influencers can be managed and sustained in ways that benefit both parties.

One brand experience that Pete reminisces about is working with Old Spice to film him completing a Tough Mudder endurance challenge. The video shows him crushing each of the course’s obstacles, from crawling under barbed wire to running through a muddy ditch. Not only did he enjoy filming the video, but as he notes, “It just worked really well with my brand,” which is an important factor to consider when choosing who he wants to work with.

Even before influencers start working with brands, Pete argues that you must know your brand and your audience. Who are the people watching your content and what content do they enjoy? For Pete, he knows that his audience is “a younger generation, mostly males, focusing on fitness and food.” Pete is a sponsored athlete who frequently posts about his workouts, so filming a Tough Mudder was nothing out of the ordinary for his audience to see on his channels.

Pete mentions that he greatly appreciated the fact that Old Spice gave him full creative control of the content. As he was crushing each obstacle, he was given the ability to direct each scene to his liking. “You have to make sure that you do get final creative control,” he says, “That is the number one thing.” No matter how big your audience is, they are loyal to you because of your content and work and that means possibly putting your foot down when talking to brands.

At the end of the day having that control “is going to benefit the brand in the long run because if you don’t make the content the way you would normally make the content [the brand’s] not going to get any traffic direction.” Your audience knows when brands greatly influence the direction and not only will they call you out on it, they won’t click on any branded links and the performance of the campaign will suffer.

So, take it from someone who is well versed in creating successful branded content, knowing your audience and creating content for them is vital. Make sure you are working with brands that you are passionate about, that not only fit your personal brand, but also give you the creative freedom to integrate their brand seamlessly.

brad-dais-headshotBrad Davis serves as the Director of Digital Campaigns at Branded Entertainment Network (BEN), a Bill Gates Company. A valuable member of Plaid Social Labs, which was acquired by Branded Entertainment Network in May of 2015 to expand reach into the digital influencer community, he has a portfolio of hundreds of social media influencer campaigns that have reached over 1B individuals across YouTube, Twitch, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Brad has been a key player in the influencer space working with thousands of content creators to produce excellent branded content for leading brands. Brad currently resides in Provo, UT.

cameron-partridge-headshotCameron Partridge serves as the Director of Digital Business Development at Branded Entertainment Network (BEN) where he oversees the development of new brand and influencer relationships. With over seven years of digital media and marketing experience, Cameron has helped companies strategically grow, engage, and maintain their audiences across a variety of platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and CRM databases. He has worked with multiple global brands such as Ubisoft, Visit Las Vegas, Boeing, Orabrush, AT&T and Western Digital.

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