What is a sponsored post on a blog?
A “sponsored post” is simple when a company pays a blogger to publish a very specific piece of content, which usually promotes or reviews the company’s product.
Getting a sponsor for your blog (or selling an advertising spot directly without relying upon an ad network like AdSense) is a great thing for numerous reasons not the least of which is that you cut out the middleman and don’t have to share the revenue with a company like Google!
It’s not always easy to land a sponsor but it’s a skill that bloggers wanting to make money from their blogs should learn even in the early days.
Note: You need to think carefully about whether to take on a sponsor because you might not want to agree to the requirements, such as the following:
Prominent placement or exclusivity: A sponsor is different from the usual ad on your website because sponsors like a prominent placement on your blog possibly including the exclusive right to advertise on your blog.
Acknowledgment: A sponsor might ask you to use the phrase “This blog sponsored by…” or some variation of it to let your readers know that a specific company is funding your blog. You may also want to thank your sponsor occasionally to generate extra goodwill.
Time commitment: Sponsorships often run for a set length of time, usually much longer than a standard ad runs. Sponsorships of several months to a year aren’t unheard of.
Getting sponsors interested in your blog is probably the hardest advertising strategy, though it’s also the most lucrative. To find a sponsor, you need to “sell” your blog, from the design to the content. Make the sponsor want to post its advertisements on your site not someone else’s. When you’re seeking sponsors, keep your blog dynamic, on topic, and well written.
One of the best things sponsors do for your blog is legitimize your work. Many bloggers might be viewed by the public as “just another blogger” within the static of the Internet. But, if you have sponsors that believe in what you’re doing, you can attract other professional relationships, such as speaking engagements or press interviews. If you’re regarded as an authority, you can build a stronger brand.
6 Key Blog sponsorship tips:
1. Your blog isn’t “small,” it’s “growing…”
No traffic? No problem (sorta).
Whenever you are pitching anybody for anything–it’s important to highlight your prettiest features, not your stinky feet.
So if you don’t have 10k Pinterest followers or a 40k email list or 500k views/mo–perhaps you have some growth to report!
2. Have a (well-designed) media kit!
Simply put, a media kit is a 1-2 page PDF that gives a broad overview of
- your blog brand
- your audience
- your size
3. How you view $1 and how large companies view $1 is totally different
Let’s say you’re pitching The Home Depot for a blog sponsorship.
I dunno about you, but $3,000 sounds like a lot to me.
However, The Home Depot spends over a million dollars A DAY on marketing. $3,000 is nothing.
It’s important to realize that even small and medium-sized businesses simply look at money in a different way than us broke bloggers!
4. Make a dream partnership hitlist
If you’re seriously looking to start working with companies in connection to your blog–lemme just warn you: this process is work, and will need to be treated as such.
This is NOT slapping some Amazon affiliate links in your Tuesday blog post.
Working with your favorite brands requires a structured approach to outreach, pitching, negotiation, and collaboration.
And that starts with making a hitlist.
- Click over to your fave spreadsheet provider
- Brainstorm all the products you use on a weekly basis
- Jot down additional companies you’d love to be a part of
Bonus Hustler Step: Make additional columns to rank the companies based on their willingness to work with you, their top social channels you could use to get an “in” as far as outreach, a “date I pitched them” column, and a “date I’ll follow up with them” column.
Once you have a structured list–it’s time to start the real work.
5. You’ll have to pitch. A lot
Repeat after me:
“I, [your-name], will not attach my self-worth as a blogger to any FAILED outreach.”
Rachel has made pitching brands a CORE part of her business model, and she pitches 5 a week.
You’re going to get rejected. Probably a lot. Count on it.
6. Employ empathy!
What’s in it for the brand?
What do they get out of this deal? Is it seriously going to bring them anything? If not–find a way to add value.
This applies to ALL marketing, but especially outreach and pitching! Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to figure out what will make saying “yes” a no-brainer.
How small blogs can still land paid sponsorships
With less than 1k traffic.
The “secret” to collaborating as a new blogger = utilizing every referral weapon in your influencer arsenal.
Here’s one of my old pitches (note that I tried to find every angle possible to drive traffic and awareness.)
The question is, where can you add value?
- banner on site
- blog post mentions
- wear their t-shirt
- change your last name to match their brand name (like Jason)
Furthermore there was one last thing that helped me land early sponsorships (and have also gotten me access to lots of free blogging tools)…
Or at least convincing brands that I would hustle for them in fact, I’d literally say something like “I will work my BUTT off to drive more relevant leads to you. I won’t stop until you’re satisfied and feel you’ve gotten your money’s worth.”
Find a unique way to add value to their cause and show them how you’ll do it.
THAT’S how you make pitching, selling, negotiating, etc, 10x easier.
Remember: Don’t jump at every offer that comes in the door. You may find this advice difficult to follow when you’re seeking your first sponsor, but you need to maintain a high level of professionalism not just for yourself but also for your audience.
In the same way that you protect your audience from nasty comments and spam, you need to be sure that you give them an appropriate experience with your sponsors and advertisers. Protect the integrity of your blog and avoid sponsors that demand more time, editorial control, or space on your blog than you’re willing to give.