How a Comedian Used TikTok to Land Her First Branded Content Deal – Business Insider
Pooja Tripathi was working in digital marketing at Dior when she decided she’d had enough of corporate America. It had been four years since she’d graduated college, and she wanted to try her hand at something she’d been thinking about for a while: acting.
When one of her friends reached out to her about writing and starring in a web series, Tripathi couldn’t say no. The 29-year-old quit her New York City based-fashion job in May 2018 to film the series, and the experience convinced her to pursue acting full time.
She hired a management agency to help her find work, and her manager suggested she create a TikTok account to gain more visibility and practice her public speaking skills. Tripathi didn’t know much about the social media platform, but once she started posting, she saw that people loved the humorous sketches she created about life in New York City.
Now, Tripathi has 33,500 followers on TikTok, where she posts videos like “going out in Manhattan,” “tourists on the subway,” and “NYC finance bros.”
Since she started posting in March 2021, Tripathi has earned $25,300 through paid partnerships, according to documentation verified by Insider. Even though her content primarily focuses on the Big Apple, she’s recently branched out to videos about American tourists abroad and life in Los Angeles.
“Sometimes I feel like my sense of humor is too specific, but it hasn’t been a problem because you can still make a lot of money,” Tripathi told Insider.
When Tripathi first started posting, her content ranged from videos of her playing the violin to ones in which she commented on the news. She also tried her hand at sketch comedy, posting a video in which she played a passenger on the New York City subway. It went viral with almost 330,000 views.
“I started to notice that having a wacky sense of humor really appeals to some people,” she said. “The skits that I wrote had been jokes I’d been telling at other dinner parties for years.”
Tripathi decided to build on the momentum of that video by acting out different scenarios in and around the city, all from the comfort of her living room.
In July 2021, four months after Tripathi made her first video, BioLink, a link-in-bio provider, reached out to her about a collaboration: The company wanted her to make a video for $500.
“I was surprised, because you hear about people getting partnerships, and I thought it only happened when you have a lot more followers,” she said. “I really wasn’t expecting anybody to reach out.”
Tripathi’s manager handled the rate negotiations and the contract, but Tripathi worked closely with the brand on what the end product would look like. The video features her pretending to be Brooklyn DJ, sharing her new mix via her BioLink.
More deals followed, and now Tripathi charges a minimum of $1,000 per TikTok post. The final amount depends on a number of factors, including how much time she will spend writing and acting in the video, the creative control she has when posting, and the reach of the brand, itself.
Tripathi has worked with seven brands to create content: BioLink, Facebook, Target, TaskRabbit, Vocal Media, Hulu, and Cleo. She said that as her following has grown, so has the income she’s made. Her earnings for 2021 were $9,800 but she’s already hit $15,500 this year, with at least two more deals in the works over the next four months. So far, Tripathi hasn’t had to do any outreach — all of the brands seek her out and ask to collaborate.
“Based on the comments, most of my followers live in New York or visit a lot,” she said. “I think a lot of brands have realized that if they work with me, they’ll reach an audience of people who are based here.”