When is the right time for a creator to get talent management?

your questions answered by the fifth talent team

By Esra Gurkan

Thursday, 15th of July 2021

It is important to ensure that you get talent management at the right time and that when you do, it’s the right talent manager for you. 

Talent managers provide strategic management to digital-first content creators and industry-lead talent. Here at The Fifth Talent, we have a roster of over 30 creators and look after everyone from artists, activists, journalists and podcasters to sports people, experts, musicians, comedians and more. 

The roster embody and drive the change we want to see in the industry, and the talent we manage are expert-led, often meaning they have found their social followings as a by-product of their careers and expertise. From day one, we’ve wanted to challenge the term ‘Influencer’ and take the meaning beyond the realms of social and cement it in more traditional settings and thereby open up a world of opportunity for our talent and their careers.

Talent managers specialise in the negotiation and securing of social-first brand deals. They can also offer talent press opportunities, event and panel bookings, the possibilities of ecommerce and book deals, as well as being able to widen their content offerings through content strategy support. 

One of the key missions of The Fifth Group is to champion inclusiveness. The Fifth Talent roster therefore is representative, diverse and is paving the way for an industry which doesn’t accept complacency with activism. In the case of many of our talent, we aim to provide them with the opportunities to amplify their voices online and work tirelessly to provide them with the chance to inspire real change.

Here, we’ve spoken to The Fifth Talent’s whole management team who have shared with us the ins and outs of talent management.

When do you know when the right time is to get management?

Talent Manager Summer Swerner says it’s the right time to seek management when “you are receiving interest by dream brands for partnership opportunities, but do not know how to proceed with the next steps. It’s when you’re struggling to balance the time you have to create content alongside negotiating incoming deals and outreaching to brands for opportunities, whilst also negotiating your fee for deliverables”. 

She continues: “It’s the right time when you need support and guidance on how to leverage your platform to the next level by making sure you are a good influence on your community. It’s when you are interested in branching into new areas of opportunity but do not have the contacts to do so and need some assistance in opening those doors. It’s also when you are looking for support on knowing which brands you should be associated with and more importantly, which ones you should steer clear from. Management does their due diligence prior to any agreements, and a lot of talent appreciate this safety net.

“And finally, it’s the right time to seek management when you’re sick of not being paid on time or dealing with endless legal or financial admin, and you’d love to hand this over in order to free up more time for the stuff that matters”.

What are the major benefits you think having management has to creators?

Talent Manager Olivia Francis says: “There are so many benefits to working with management. Having a manager allows the talent to spend valuable time creating and improving the content they are putting out there, which is by far one of the most important factors to keeping an audience engaged and ensuring growth. 

“By having us on-side we are able to handle all of the legal, financial and admin specifics of the job, all of which are extremely important and time consuming tasks that eat into time that can be spent on content creation and can inhibit talent expanding their creativity. Additionally, having a manager with a roster provides a detailed insight into the industry from the other side. Your team will have more knowledge of past and present campaigns, analysing fees from similar deals and other talent to ensure you are being properly compensated for your work”. 

What if talent want to change direction or rebrand their channel? Will having a manager inhibit a creators’ creative freedom? And will a manager ever prevent me from speaking out about certain topics? 

Talent Manager Keys Pownall explains: “Having a manager will in actual fact help you to find your creative freedom – especially if you have a manager that is passionate about the content that you create. As managers our job is to advise and guide you – not to dictate to you and be militant. A good manager will always let you decide what works for you but will be your right hand in advising and supporting you in your decision making and creative process”. 

Can having an additional person in the communications stunt creativity in campaign and brief negotiations?

Summer says:By content creators working alongside an agent, they have the ability to share their creative concepts and receive first hand feedback before this is shared with the client. This helps prevent the talent from re-shooting content and giving themselves additional work. From previous experience on launching successful campaigns, the talent manager can share feedback on how to receive the best engagement and interest once live,  giving the talent the best chance to work alongside their dream brands on long term partnerships”. 

The Fifth Talent Director Katie Wallwork continues: “In a lot of cases we actively encourage our talent to have briefing meetings and creative sessions with the clients. This is definitely with larger more complex brand partnerships or monthly retained campaigns, but we really enjoy hosting brainstorms with the clients and talent to ensure the brief is thoroughly understood and the talent feel galvanised and excited by the partnership”.

A question of transparency – do you relinquish control over brand contacts and comms by having a manager?

Katie says this isn’t the case, explaining:There should be no question. We assist in supporting and nurturing our talents’ relationships with brands or organisations across the industry. All our talent have direct access and involvement in comms where they’d like it, there’s no benefit to preventing this”.

What boundaries should you put in place as a creator?

create a better working environment

By Esra Gurkan

Monday, 12th of July 2021

A lot of full-time social-first content creators don’t stick to a 9-5 schedule. 

Working for yourself allows you to have the freedom to work the hours that you want, and so it’s not unusual for those hours to be a little different to others in full-time employment. 

It can sometimes mean that people think they can approach or contact you at all times of the day via public comments and direct messages. With a job that relies predominantly on social media, people believe you’re readily available at all times to entertain, communicate and educate. 

This is just one example of the ways in which the lines between creator and follower can be blurred, and so it’s important that boundaries are put in place to ensure that you give yourself time off, and your relationship with your followers remains authentic but professional.

Here, we break down ways in which to incorporate a better working environment online:

AD breaks

Content creator, author and podcaster Nicole Ocran incorporates ‘AD Breaks’ into her Instagram Stories. 

It allows her to make it clear to her followers how and when she is working with brands. 

Speaking about her AD disclosures, Nicole says “I will always disclose whether I have been paid or gifted an item, which means a brand has some kind of control over the post, whether that’s hashtags/handles to include or money exchanged. 

“As I live in the UK, we work under the guidance of the ASA and CMA. ASA requires you to use ‘AD’ where there is any commercial interest “before the fold”, which is why I place it at the beginning”. 

These AD breaks mean that followers of Nicole can differentiate between her content, and this openness from her means followers are clued up on when Nicole is using her platform to voice personal opinions, and earn a living. 

This authenticity is refreshing, and allows creators like Nicole to make clear when she is and isn’t working.

Communication cut off

It can be easy to fall into the trap of having a constant, open dialogue with your followers. 

What’s wrong with a quick reply to a comment late at night as you’re getting into bed, or a reply to a question on your latest post as you’re eating your lunch? 

For some people, it might be fine but sometimes it’s good to set boundaries and ensure you have time to simply scroll for yourself and not have to have work mode switched on all of the time. 

Being a social-first content creator might be your full-time job and your main source of income, but you deserve time to yourself too. 

Give yourself time to breathe, both online and offline. 

Don’t say yes to everything 

When you’re first starting out or have just gone full-time as a creator, it can feel as though you should be saying yes, yes, yes to everything you’re offered. 

From campaign collaborations to panel appearances and event invites, it can be easy to agree to it all. 

It’s important, however, to set boundaries and make sure that you are putting yourself and your mental health first so that you don’t burnout. 

You don’t need to take part in every campaign you’re offered, or work with brands you don’t particularly believe in and agree to speak at events you don’t know much about. 

Your followers will recognise if you aren’t being true to yourself and your content isn’t authentic, and so it’s always best to prioritise what is important to you – whether that’s making time for what you really want, or saying no to something even if it might be an easy cash injection. 

What boundaries will do for you

Setting boundaries in your line of work will enable you to spend more time on what matters, and help to keep you in a healthy working mindset. 

Despite what some tabloids might imply, being a social-first content creator can be hard work and boundaries should be put in place to ensure you are able to create the best content possible at a rate and in an environment that works for you. 

Set boundaries, find a way of working that suits you and let’s continue to professionalise the influencer space.

The Fifth Form Workshop: Knowing Your Worth

what we learnt from our first workshop

By Esra Gurkan

January 2020

We hosted the first of our creator workshops designed to help educate and empower creators in the perplexing world of influencer marketing on 16th December 2019.

Our first workshop was aimed at creators from Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority backgrounds. 

Following industry-wide concern surrounding diversity and equality in the influencer industry, we felt it was important to address the implicit bias by educating creators on best practise and understanding your worth. 

The event, which took place at The News Building in London Bridge, was free to attend and featured a panel discussion with creators Munya Chawawa and Estare, Mariam Bashorun from Black British Bloggers, Talent Manager Chloë Downes and Global Marketing Director at L’Oréal, Daisy Boateng, and was hosted by The Fifth’s Content and Strategy Director Jess Markwood. 

From starting out to brand building and why authenticity is important, here we break down what the panel spoke about and their tips for new and emerging creators.

STARTING OUT

When starting out, it really is about knowing and recognising your worth. 

Fashion, travel and lifestyle creator Estare says: “You have influence and you have value and I wish I’d known that I had both when I was starting out”. 

If you’ve reached just one person, then you’ve reached somebody and that means you have both an audience and influence, so own it and use it. 

MYTH BUSTING

A lot of people still believe that follower size is what’s most important. Instead, it’s quite the opposite. 

The Knowing Your Worth panel agreed that the biggest myth in influencer marketing is that you can’t work with brands unless you have a million followers.

Global Marketing Director at L’Oréal, Daisy Boateng, says that somebody with under 25,000 followers might have at least a seven per cent engagement rate. If you have more followers, it might be at around three per cent engagement. 

Ultimately, a brand should want people who have engaged followers who comment and trust their content, rather than those that simply have a lot of followers but who don’t engage with what they do. 

BRAND BUILDING

Creator and satirist Munya Chawawa says there’s a misconception about when people achieve success. 

To the outside world, it might look like a creator has achieved overnight success after their content goes viral online. Instead, they are unaware of the years of work that has gone on behind the scenes. 

It was only when Munya was writing for TV presenters and seeing them go out and perform his jokes to a receptive audience that he realised he could do that too. 

When he later performed a comedy sketch and it did well, people didn’t know that he’d been working away for years writing content. 

Munya admits he’s grown quickly, “but it’s taken me so many years of trial and error to get there. What I would say to you is, don’t be disheartened because seven years is a long time. It’s a big portion of my life but I just had to keep trying things until it worked out. 

“By the time you get to that point where you really start to thrive, you’re so good at what you’re doing, people will latch on to it quickly”. 

On the other hand, if one of the first pieces of content you create is successful right away, people will flock to your channel and the next content will let them down and they’ll leave. 

Munya says you have to be at the top of your game and be ready when people arrive. He admits that there was a lot of persistence and consistency across time that made him feel like he was ready for when his time came – and he doesn’t even believe his time has come yet. He feels like he’s just getting warmed up, and is grateful for the grafting for seven years behind the scenes. 

THE JOURNEY

Often, when somebody with a large following comments on a creators’ post, reposts it or they follow you, brands become interested. 

Munya admits that didn’t matter to him because he simply wanted to create content that brands would be proud of. They might not have approached him immediately, but when they did, they’d know that he was somebody they could trust their brand name with. 

The comedic creator says that the most powerful way in which to become an influencer is to show people a journey. Brands often look for good engagement and people are more likely to invest in you if they understand the journey you’ve been on to build up to that moment. 

Munya says: “A lot of my comments come from people who have been following me for years – and if I post something, they probably will buy that thing or follow that account because they trust me enough to say we followed him when he had 300 followers, so we know that by this point, he knows what he likes and what he dislikes and we can trust him”. 

If the main goal is simply to become an influencer, it means a lot of the time you won’t have a brand or identity that you’ve built up around a particular theme or subject. Instead, the most powerful way in which to influence someone is to have a unique sense of self that you’ve developed over time and that people have learnt to trust. 

AUTHENTICITY 

Influencer Marketer Chloë Downes says being authentic is incredibly important. And she says followers will know when you’re not being true to yourself. 

She told the audience: “If you’re authentically enjoying whatever it is you’re doing, that’s when the benefits will come. There are a lot of people creating content online right now and it’s about finding your niche”.

Find that niche and capitalise on it. 

BRAND WORK

It is important to get to know and understand the industry in which you are navigating. 

It’s also good to know what a brand is getting from you in order to know what to charge. Is it a campaign for exposure? Do they want downloads of an app or for the consumer to buy something? Ask questions, network and speak to other creators. 

Munya says the one thing he would never do when working with a brand is compromise his character, saying: “If a brand comes to me and wants me to be one of my characters, it has to fit within my narrative. It’s about maintaining authenticity and I think followers appreciate that”. 

When working with brands, you should both hold each other to the same standards. 

Munya says: “Brands should match your level of professionalism. When they’ve done research into you, when they come to you with deliverables, their willingness to talk about money. You should demand the same professionalism as they expect of you”. 

NEGOTIATING

When you have collaborated with a brand in the past but your follower size and engagement rate has changed, it can be difficult to know how to re-negotiate. 

Influencer marketer Chloë says to be honest: “If you’ve got that ongoing relationship with a brand where they are constantly gifting you, you can go back to them and be honest with them. Let them know your audience has grown. Ask if they have budget. Pitch yourself to them”. 

It’s important to be professional so show the brand what content you’ve already created for them, tell them what you could do going forward and even set up a meeting. Understand where people are getting paid and where they’re simply being gifted and work out what it is you’re looking for. Brands appreciate when you go to them, rather than simply waiting for them to approach you. 

Mariam agrees, saying: “Different brands and opportunities will come to you as you progress in your career. There are so many brands that are out there that are willing to pay. Don’t be afraid to shed off previous brand relationships – you can’t be expected to always work with the same people as you grow”. 

THE FUTURE OF THE TERM ‘INFLUENCE’

Over the next twelve months, the panel all agreed that the industry will be moving away from the term ‘influencer’ and away from the perception that influencers simply pose with products and take selfies – instead seeing them as producers, editors and creatives. The term ‘content creator’ or ‘talent’ will take precedence. 

In terms of working with brands, Chloë says “we’re not going to be looking at followers and vanity metrics and instead at true reach; looking at how many people they’re truly reaching. And this comes from how authentic they are”. 

Brands and agencies are going to be looking at people with real talent and who have a real passion for what they do. 

PREDICTIONS FOR THIS SPACE IN 2020

L’Oréal’s Daisy thinks influencers are going to be your next door neighbours. In terms of content, captions are going to be longer and more real.

The panel also agreed that creators won’t be able to hide behind photos anymore and that everything will be video-based. They also predict that TikTok will take over as the most used platform. 

Mariam Bashorun from Black British Bloggers thinks long form content and blogs will be making a big comeback due to its value. 

2020 will be the year of substance and depth on social media and there’ll be more professionalism in the space – with everybody in the industry crying out for it. 

It will also be the year that we’re real with what we’re posting, and the numbers in which we’re generating. 

Though the future looks positive for influencer marketing, Daisy admits it isn’t plain sailing and that from a brand point of view, Black and Ethnic Minority creators still have to work twice as hard as everybody else. 

She says: “Don’t be under any illusion that just because we’ve been so positive here tonight, that it’s easy yet. We have to work together and we have to work twice as hard. We will get there”. 

INCLUSION

Inclusion is important in all areas of life and especially in influencer marketing. Work with diverse creators, include everybody in your campaigns and hold brands to account that aren’t representative. 

On the panel, Mariam explains that the person putting forward Black people to brands isn’t always being listened to in a meeting but teams need to listen. She says: “Push brands to repost us and celebrate talent of colour”. 

Brands are changing, but it’s a slow process. Chloe says though that “by being part of this event, you are a part of the change”. 

REFER PEOPLE

At the end of the Knowing Your Worth event, an audience member asked the question:  What can we do as creators to help facilitate change? 

One thing that everybody can do is to refer people. Every time you are invited to an event, every time you get a trip, every time you get a brand opportunity, refer people. 

Send over a list of people to brands and let them know that these are creators that they should be working with. Tell them to put them on their list because they create great content. 

Put people forward and be confident with it. Everyone can operate from a place of abundance rather than scarcity and, to quote the audience member, “we will all get a piece of the pie”. 

How to turn your side hustle into a full-time job

is there really a right time to do it?

By Esra Gurkan

Monday, 14th of June 2021

When is it the right time to leave your job and become a full-time social-first content creator? 

You’ve seen your favourite social stars leave traditional employment behind over the years and adapt seemingly perfectly into working for themselves and creating a life you’ve often dreamed of (though we know it’s never as easy as it looks). 

No more answering to ‘the man’. No more sitting in an office and having to be at work on the dot of 9AM. No more commuting long hours and doing a job that is okay, but that doesn’t fulfil you in the same way content creation does. 

Going full-time as a content creator is undoubtedly appealing and we can see why. It is, however, important that you do your research beforehand and that it’s the right step to take – at the right time. 

Many people don’t have a trust fund to fall back on if it doesn’t work out, and a lot of people have bills to pay and mouths to feed (whether it’s simply their own or entire families).

We know that it can be incredibly scary leaving a company that offers sick pay, holiday pay, benefits and more to work for yourself – but it can be incredibly rewarding too. 

Here, we share with you a few tips on how to turn your side-hustle into a full-time job and become a professional content creator:

Consistency is key

It’s important to make sure there is consistency with your content. Keep a schedule, organise and plan content in advance. Equally, you should ensure that you can react to things quickly and adapt if something changes. 

If you know that you post a certain type of content on Monday and Tuesday, but a new TikTok dance goes viral over the weekend and you want to get involved and jump on the trend, then it might be more important to leave the content calendar behind and film something new. 

Your followers will come to know what they expect from you and a loyal fanbase will know the time you post, when you’re posting what, and when to come to you for expert knowledge on a particular subject. 

If you’re wanting to become a full-time creator then you know that with it comes an expectation to plan, be able to consistently come up with new ideas and have the ability and enthusiasm to create regularly. 

What you set your mind to will become a reality with the right attitude. ⁣

Go to events and network

Whether it’s virtually or in person, going to events and networking is key to creating new contacts. 

Having a network of creators, agency, brand and PR contacts will help you get more opportunities⁣. 

Though you may be highly skilled in creating compelling content, there are people with other skills and areas of expertise that will be able to help open up other doors elsewhere. 

A Talent Manager will help ease your workload by focusing on administration and brand deals, and will free up your time to spend longer on idea creation and content, whilst other creators you meet at events might help spark new ideas and provide collaborative opportunities.  

Always evaluate whether there’s a space for you online

Building an online audience will be key to any business success, so how can you drive real value and not replicate others in what could be an already crowded space? ⁣

Social media is saturated with influencers. There are an endless amount of fashion creators, lifestyle bloggers and cooking enthusiasts. 

What makes a content creator successful is that they offer something different to everybody else out there. 

When weighing up whether to go full-time, ensure that you are creating something that nobody else can and already does. 

It doesn’t have to be overly out-there and over-the-top, it just needs to be authentic and innovative. 

Knowing the right time

It can be easy to jump the gun and want to quit your job and go full-time early on but it’s important that you do it when you’re really ready. That’s something only you will know. 

There might never be a completely right time and if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we sometimes can’t plan for the future and that we never know what’s really around the corner. 

Chef and creator @at_dads_table says: “My advice is it’s never the perfect time to do it, but if it’s your passion, you’ve done your research and there’s a market for you, just go for it or someone else will!”

Disclaimer

Until your side hustle can confidently replace your employment income, don’t quit the day job.

Clothing, art and homeware creator @laurieleestudio says: “The disclaimer is so important! I see so many people offering up ‘screw it just do it advice’ on here and it’s a bit naive. 

“Success doesn’t arrive overnight. And bills don’t wait for your success to arrive.”