• Creator Economy NYC
  • Posts
  • Meet Brendan — the OG YouTube brand deal guru going all in on LinkedIn (and how you can, too)

Meet Brendan — the OG YouTube brand deal guru going all in on LinkedIn (and how you can, too)


Hey! Welcome to the Creator Economy NYC newsletter — the premier place for all things creator economy in the Big Apple.

It’s been a busy past few weeks! I’ve just moved in with my girlfriend, Ally, to the UES (ish). 55th and Lex area. If you’re nearby or know the area, say hello! And let us know some of your favorite spots!

I’ve also started a new job in the creator space that I’m so excited to share more about with you. And I think you’ll be excited about it too.

Now, on to the fun stuff…

This week, I’m spotlighting a creator economy veteran who essentially pioneered the influencer marketing space — Brendan Gahan. Brendan has seen our industry grow and evolve and has a wealth of knowledge and insight to share with us, especially in one booming area.

Let’s get into it.

Other stops along the way:

  • Upcoming events

  • Community callouts

  • Community perks

  • News bits

  • Personal picks

Was this email forwarded to you?


A lot of us work remotely now.

While it has its benefits (e.g., midday naps, catching up on The Bachelor, doing laundry, etc.), it can certainly be a drag on team building.

But coming together as a team every so often in real life is incredibly beneficial — just not in the office, because, well, it’s boring…and stuffy.

However, what’s not boring is coming together for a team retreat somewhere new and fun. The only problem is that planning retreats can be a bit of a headache.

That’s where Offsite comes in — the AirBnB for team retreat venues. Save time, money, and stress when planning team retreats, offsites, or conferences.

Just for our community, when you mention Creator Economy NYC, you’ll get 10% off your first end-to-end offsite planning contract or $100 off your first booking from the site. Boom.


Meet Brendan — the OG YouTube brand deal guru going all in on LinkedIn (and how you can, too)

Few have navigated the creator economy’s twists and turns as adeptly as Brendan Gahan. A 2005 graduate of UCSC, Brendan’s journey into the creator world began with a summer internship at an advertising agency in SF, a time when social media was nascent and TheFacebook (dot com) was the booming platform.

It was here that Brendan discovered his passion for advertising — not the traditional billboards and TV spots, but the kind that leveraged social media and influencer partnerships to create buzz and engagement. Of course, “influencer” was not really a used term back then.

A pivotal moment came in 2006, when Brendan, inspired by the potential of social media, pitched and executed a collaboration between a mp3 player brand and Smosh (you know, the early YouTube sensations). The campaign's success was a lightbulb moment, setting him on a trajectory that would see him leaving traditional advertising paths to join Mekanism. Here, Brendan was at the forefront of branded content and viral video work, innovating influencer marketing strategies before it became a staple in advertising.

Among his standout projects was the 2008 campaign for EA's game "Spore," where celebrities and influencers competed to design characters and then invited their audiences to vote for their favorite one. The winner would be awarded money to donate to a charity of their choice. Philip DeFranco won by a landslide, beating a ton of celebs (Katy Perry, Elijah Wood, etc.), which revealed early on the powerful influence of digital creators over traditional celebrities.

This campaign, along with others — like generating a worldwide trending topic for a TV show, running a creator campaign for the 2008 Olympics, and integrating influencers into Super Bowl campaigns —cemented Brendan’s belief in the transformative power of influencers.

Fast forward to today, Brendan has embarked on a new venture as a co-founder of Creator Authority, the first dedicated LinkedIn Influencer marketing agency. After serving as a Partner and Chief Innovation Officer at Mekanism, Brendan is now focused on shaping the influencer marketing landscape on LinkedIn, supporting brands in developing their strategies and collaborating with creators to bring these campaigns to life.

Expert Q&A: unlocking LinkedIn's potential

In my interview with Brendan, we explored the booming role of LinkedIn in the creator economy, and he shared his expert perspective on why LinkedIn is becoming a pivotal platform for influencer marketing, backed by significant investments in creator tools and community growth.

1. With the founding of Creator Authority, why do you believe LinkedIn is now becoming a pivotal platform in the creator economy?

This year is going to be huge for LinkedIn influencer marketing. There’s a number of reasons why I believe this, but here’s the topline: 

  1. CREATORS: LinkedIn has invested heavily in creators since 2021. They launched creator mode, the creator grant program, and hired partner managers. That is now paying dividends. They’ve seen a 24% YOY growth in public content posted. 

  2. TOOLS: LinkedIn has even launched features to facilitate influencer marketing. They just updated Thought Leader Ads (ie their promoted post tool) to be available for influencer marketing. Also, last summer they launched a brand disclosure feature. 

  3. COMMUNITY: It’s a qualified audience. There’s over 1 billion users and on average they’re 1.36X more affluent than Facebook. Plus, LinkedIn is an incredibly brand safe environment - no Musk, no adpcolypse, etc.

So you’ve got the creators, tools, and affluent community - and it’s all in this incredibly brand-safe environment. It’s creating a tipping point.

2. What are some of the emerging trends you foresee in B2B influencer marketing? How should influencers and marketers adjust their strategies today to stay ahead of the curve?

Influencer marketing within the B2B space is still a relatively novel idea for most.

That said, the consumer trends are probably a leading indicator of what we’ll be seeing on the B2B side. There’s a few things that come to mind:

  1. VIDEO: LinkedIn is launching a full screen, short form video feed (a la TikTok). The move makes a ton of sense. The majority of social media usage is video consumption (about 60%). Additionally, the TikTok style vertical video format has become ubiquitous. Partnering with savvy video creators will give brands a leg up.

  2. INTEGRATED PARTNERSHIPS: Ongoing partnerships are generally best. The results can compound this way. Additionally, brands can get economies of scale, the process is streamlined, trust is built internally (between brand and creator) as well as amongst audiences.

  3. CREATOR BRANDS: Just like creators are launching their own consumer brands (ie Feastables, Happy Dad, Prime, etc), I bet B2B creators will launch tools and SAAS companies. This is already happening to a certain degree, but I see it accelerating and growing.

3. How do pricing strategies for LinkedIn creators compare with those on other social media platforms?

There’s more variability in pricing on LinkedIn than other platforms.

You’re generally looking at smaller, but more desirable and engaged audiences.

Pricing is going to vary based on factors like: your location, your topic/area of expertise, engagement, audience size, growth rates, whether or not you’re known beyond LinkedIn, etc.

For example, with SAAS products, you’re focused on a narrow audience of decision-makers. Trying to break things out by a general cost per view, follower, impressions basis doesn’t really translate. If you’ve got the right audience that’s worth a premium.

4. What content formats on LinkedIn (e.g., posts, articles, videos) have you found to be most effective for building influence and engagement? How should creators and brands tailor their content strategy to leverage these formats?

If we’re speaking in generalities, text is best. Great writing is critical.

Even if you’re going to post a video or image, you’ll want to provide a solid write-up to accompany it (400+ characters). If you want to post a link, you’re probably better off putting it in the comments. That tends to do better than putting a link in the post itself.

LinkedIn live events (video and audio) are underutilized. They’re great for collaboration/cross-promotion of audiences.

LinkedIn is investing heavily in video; they just started testing a TikTok-style video feed. As a result, I’d bet there’s going to be growth in that arena. It’s still very early, though.

5. For those aiming to carve out their niche on LinkedIn — be it creators, founders, or professionals — what foundational advice would you offer to them?

In 2023 LinkedIn made adjustments to their content feed. They don’t want ‘viral’ content and growth hacking, instead they prioritize posts from your community and filter for content that provides 'knowledge and advice'.

Essentially LinkedIn is going for depth of breadth and relevance over reach.

There’s a nice interview about those updates here. 

So, my foundational advice would be to post consistently, stick to your area of expertise and do your best to provide knowledge and advice.

The Big Apple’s influence

While Brendan hails from the sunny shores of Ventura, CA, it's NYC that has shaped the latest chapter of his illustrious career.

The Big Apple became Brendan’s new home base in 2015 following the sale of his first influencer marketing agency, given he was already spending a ton of time here. This official move perfectly aligned with his forward-thinking approach to marketing and content creation, especially at a time when it began to take off.

Some places Brendan frequents in the city include Cozy Royale and Diner in Williamsburg and Fish Market in South Street Seaport. He enjoys jogs on the West Side Highway, pier 17 for rooftop shows…and, anywhere with a Guinness (this I can get behind).

Connect with Brendan

If you’re a creator on LinkedIn looking for brand deals, reach out to Creator Authority. If you’re a brand looking for help… also reach out to Creator Authority!

Finally, be sure to connect with Brendan on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.


We’re organizing a special night for our community, where we’ll sit down with a leading NYC content creator for a LIVE city spotlight interview, similar to what we do in this newsletter.

In addition to the interview, enjoy an evening of mixing and connecting with fellow creators, marketers, brands, managers, and founders who are shaping the creator economy here in NYC.

We’ll have light bites and beverages thanks to our sponsor Whalar — a global, independent, creative powerhouse on a mission to liberate the creative voice.

Space is limited, so RSVP to secure your spot!

Subscribe to the events calendar here.



  • Newsletter: Enjoy 20% off your first 3 months on any beehiiv paid plan. This comes after a complimentary 30-day free trial, exclusively for our community members! Snag it here.

  • Conference: Connect with fellow influencer marketers, creators, and brands at the Influencer Marketing Show, which will take place here in NYC June 3-4. Save $50 with the promo code CENYC50.

  • Link in Bio: Get 3 months FREE on the Linktree PRO plan using the code creatoreconomynyc.




Thanks so much for reading! Let me know what you thought of it by replying back to this email.

See you next week,


Join the conversation

or to participate.