Blog sponsorships are a great monetization method for your blog. In addition to compensation, your blog will gain credibility by working with brands. Find out how to add sponsored work to your blog's income stream.
There are several ways you can make money with your blog. One of these is blog sponsorships where a blogger and a brand work together. You may be wondering what's involved in a blog sponsorship. Read on for an overview of how bloggers can benefit from sponsors.
Blog sponsorships can take many forms—banner ads, conference or event sponsorship (including virtual events), etc., but we are going to focus on the type of sponsorship where you create content for a brand and receive some sort of compensation.
I'm defining a blog sponsorship as when a blogger and a brand work together to create content that aligns with the needs of both parties. The type of post you see may vary from sponsored posts where someone paid for the blog's time, to reviews where the blogger shares their thoughts about an experience they had with a product or service.
Working with potential sponsors that are relevant to your blog’s subject matter and your readers’ interest should be something you strive to do. You don't want to tarnish your great content by writing something that isn't relevant to your blog.
Regardless of the money, make sure the brand is a good fit for your blog's audience.
Types of Sponsored Content
Sponsored Blog Posts
Sometimes companies want to sponsor a blog post. They might pay you to write a post with a link or mention of their company and product. Or, they might send you an article that they wrote, and you just need to share it on your blog.
When companies pay for a sponsored blog post, they will usually want you to write about something specific. It’s a great way for brands to get their message out and build brand awareness with people who are interested in that topic or industry.
Some sponsored blog posts are a product review of a particular product. The company may send you the product to try so that you can share your experience with your audience.
The company could also just ask that you add text links to their product in an existing blog post.
Some companies may want you to weave their product into a related post. For example, CPR Wrap makes a tool that helps you perform CPR in an emergency. They approached me about promoting their product on my Cub Scout Ideas blog.
Instead of writing a review of the product, I wrote How to Make Easy Cub Scout First Aid Kits and talked about how the CPR Wrap would be a great addition to their kits.
That post continues to get traffic with about 70% of it coming from organic search. If you can write a post that's more evergreen while still highlighting the brand you're working with, it will be much more valuable in the long run.
Instead of a blog post, a prospective sponsor may want you to post a video on your YouTube channel.
Sponsored Social Media Posts
Sometimes, brands will want to sponsor a post on one or more of your social media channels. They may have a specific product or service they would like to highlight, and they may provide specific hashtags they would like for you to use.
Brands may want to sponsor your email newsletter. This could be that they want you to send an exclusive newsletter just about them, or they may just want you to include them in one you were already sending to your email subscribers.
The vast majority of the time, brands will want to do a combination of the three–sponsored blog posts, social media posts, and newsletter inclusion.
It's a good idea to give them several options. Here's an example:
- 1000 word blog post – $500
- 1000 word blog post with social media promotion including 1 Instagram post, 2 Pinterest pins, and 1 Facebook post – $800
- 1000 word blog post with 1 Instagram post, 1 Instagram story, 4 Pinterest pins, 1 Facebook post, and a 15 minute Facebook Live – $1500
The package options can be created to suit your needs and theirs. You might also want to offer discounts if they buy more than one option.
Always be sure to post a short statement that the post is being sponsored. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that blog sponsorships be disclosed, but it can also be beneficial to you because your readers will appreciate your openness.
How to Land Blog Sponsorships
You are probably wondering how to get blog sponsorships. There are several different ways. You will probably use a combination of these methods.
Blogger or Influencer Networks
These are networks that connect brands who want content about their products with bloggers or social media influencers.
Typically, bloggers or influencers will sign up with the network and fill out some basic information about their blogs including their niche.
When a company wants to hire bloggers for a campaign, they'll go to the network with their requirements and ask the network to find people that they can work with.
Let's say a company makes a product for dogs. They want bloggers to write about their product, but they are specifically looking for people who have a dog blog or who have a lifestyle blog and write a lot about their dog.
They may have other requirements as well. The blogs need to be active, they need to have a specific number of page views, they need to have a social media presence (sometimes with specific follower requirements), and their site needs to look professional.
The network will look at its database of influencers and will contact people who meet the requirements to ask if they are interested in the sponsored work.
Many blogger networks have portals where their campaigns will be listed. They may ask influencers to apply for the campaigns they're interested in working on.
The network typically handles all aspects of the campaign from start to finish.
Some of the networks that you might want to check out are:
Meet Brands at Conferences
I have a confession. I LOVE blogging conferences. Seeing friends, learning new things, meeting people, not having to hear “what's for dinner?” from my teen sons–it's all fabulous!
Brands who want to work with bloggers often send their employees or representatives to conferences, so it's a great place to make connections. In fact, conferences are one of the easiest ways to talk to brands about potential blog sponsorships.
Even if your blog niche is not a fit for a particular brand, talk to the representative anyway. At one conference, I talked to the PR firm that had a booth set up for Hallmark cards. It turns out that they represented another brand that was a perfect fit for my Cub Scout blog, and I did a couple of campaigns for them.
Another time, I talked to a brand about an idea I had for content related to one of their products. Although it wasn't a sponsored post, I was able to negotiate a much higher commission rate for my affiliate links.
A Brand Approaches You
Sometimes a brand (or their public relations firm) will contact you directly to see if you can work together.
Always get back with them even if it’s not a good fit. They may have another opportunity that would work perfectly for your niche. Plus it's just rude not to reply.
Reach Out To Potential Sponsors Directly
Contact brands and ask if they would be interested in sponsoring one of your posts.
But don't just say “I want to work with you.” Have an idea in mind for how you can work together. Can you think of a unique way to use their product? Pitch brands a post idea about that.
Reach out to them via their social media accounts or via email with a brief introduction, your blog post idea, and a few details then ask for a time to chat.
Note: I've heard quite a few brands and PR reps speak at conferences, and two pieces of advice they shared have stuck with me.
- Always, always, always have your contact information easily available on your blog. While you may think you shouldn't put your email on your site because of the spam risk or because you have a contact form, consider adding it anyway.
Some reps are compiling a list of bloggers to approach about blog sponsorships. They may be setting up a database or spreadsheet and need to add your email to the list. If your email isn't available, they likely will just close out of your blog and go to the next one.
- Don't send your media kit as an attachment in your first email to a brand. Some companies have spam filters that will kick out an email with an attachment unless someone from the company has interacted with that email address already. It's better to make that first contact then send the media kit after you've heard back from them.
What to Charge for Blog Sponsorships
Many bloggers find trying to set rates for sponsored work very challenging, and whether you're a beginner blogger or an experienced pro, the process can cause more than just a little anxiety.
Determining a set rate for your work can be intimidating. There's a balance between selling yourself short by not charging enough and pricing so high that your rate is out of the advertisers' budgets.
You probably aren't even sure where to begin to price your work. Here are some tips for how to determine your rates.
You Make the Decision
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your rates are ultimately your decision. While consultation with other bloggers can narrow things down a bit, you want to charge an amount that you feel good about.
Offering or accepting an amount that you don’t feel good about can have two potential negative consequences. First, you may feel like you're being taken advantage of which could cause you to not do your best work. That's not good for you or the brand.
Second, agreeing to a sum that's less than you want could cause you to decide that sponsored work isn't the right monetization method for you. While this could be true, it's just as likely that you could be cutting yourself off from a lucrative income stream.
If you're working with a network, the price that the brand will pay is often set. While you typically can't negotiate in this situation (although it doesn't hurt to ask!), you can decide that the offer is too low for you. If it is, just decline it. But tell the network to keep you in mind for other offers in the future.
Explain the Benefit of Working with You
People don't buy things–they buy what the things can do for them. A brand doesn't want a blog post–they want to grow their brand recognition or launch a new product or sell more of a product.
Start by asking the brand what its goals are. Some brands have what they call KPIs – Key Performance Indicators.
When you know what those are, you can start to craft your offer in a way that will help the company achieve those KPIs.
For example, if the brand wants to gain new Instagram followers, you may recommend a giveaway where one of the requirements for entry is to follow the brand's account.
Explain to them how what you're proposing will help them achieve their KPIs. Don't forget that your search engine optimization skills can help with that too.
Negotiate Your Blog Sponsorships
While some brands may have a set price that they are willing/able to pay for a campaign, most have some flexibility.
Personally, I'm not a fan of publishing a generic rate list for everyone. You have little room to negotiate if you have already stated what rates you're willing to accept.
Ask the brand representative what their budget is for the campaign. Some may be willing to tell you, while others want you to give them a quote first. It doesn't hurt to ask for their budget.
Offering different packages will help with your negotiations too. It's a good thing to have an expensive package, a medium-priced package, and a low-cost package.
Ask for more than you think you'll be able to get. Every single time I've done this, the brand has accepted it without even questioning my rate.
Some of my friends who work in the industry have told me that whatever you're thinking about asking for, you should triple it. We often underestimate our worth and what brands are willing to pay.
When You've Reached an Agreement
Regardless of how big or small your blog sponsorship is, make sure you put it in writing. This is important even for a newer blog or a small business. A formal contract is the best thing to have because it will include all of the details.
The brand may have a contract that they use already. If so, make sure that you read all of the details carefully and ask questions if something doesn't make sense.
Don't be afraid to ask them to modify the contract if there's something that you don't want to agree to.
If the brand doesn't have a contract, you should provide one. You can purchase a template from Businessese. Even if you'll only occasionally do sponsored work, the investment is worth it to protect your hard work and sponsorship revenue.
This overview of blog sponsorships will help start this lucrative income stream for your blog. What is the first thing you'll do to get started?