Now that blogging has taken the web by storm, making money off your blog isn’t as easy as putting a few banner ads up.
Readers hate intrusive advertising, which is why sponsored content is now a preferred advertising method.
Sponsored content is a win-win-win advertising method:
Readers enjoy genuine, quality content without being frustrated by intrusive advertising
Bloggers get compensated for their efforts
Brands are endorsed by popular bloggers and reach their target audience
Many brands are willing to pay top dollar to be sponsored by popular bloggers with the audience.
But knowing how to get started is hard. Who are these brands? How do you connect with them? How do you get paid for blogging about them?
If you’re interested in making money with sponsored posts, it’s not difficult. Here’s your step-by-step guide to land your first sponsored post and make money off your blog.
Step 1: Clean Up Your Blog
Before you even start thinking about pitching a brand, you need to make sure your website is up to snuff. When you begin to venture into sponsorships, your blog graduates from hobby to business.
If your blog is unprofessional, messy, or confusing to navigate, brands won’t want to be associated with it.
You need a blog that any brand would be proud to be mentioned on. That means you should consider investing in a professional, quality theme for your blog, and clean up your site and remove distractions (like excessive sidebar widgets).
If you have the budget, you might consider hiring a branding specialist, a designer to design a logo, or even hire a developer to create a custom theme for you.
Step 2: Build Your Audience
In order for brands to decide partner with you, they need to know you’ve got an audience – and not just any audience, but the right audience.
Brands know exactly what kind of person they’re targeting with their products. They have a picture in mind of their typical customers, including their gender, age, interests, location, and more.
You should, too!
If you’re a blogger who’s interested in partnering with brands, you need to target a specific audience with your blog posts – that means finding the right niche for your blog.
Next, before you’re ready to partner with brands, you’ll need to get the data about exactly who your audience is, and whether they match up to the target audience of your sponsors.
You can use analytic services like Google Analytics or Clicky to get data on your monthly site traffic, as well as the demographics of your audience. If you’re using Google Analytics, you can look up the gender, age, and country of your visitors.
You should also compile information on your social media platforms, and number and engagement of your followers. You can use site-specific tools like Facebook Page Insights and Twitter Analytics, or a tool like Klout.
Step 4: Set Your Prices
One of the hardest aspects of sponsored posts is figuring out how to price them.
How much should you charge for a sponsored post?
While it might be tempting to come up with your price by calculating your desired hourly rate for creating a blog post, this isn’t the best way to go about it. That method completely ignores the unique value of what you’re offering.
Realize that as a blogger, you’re offering something of great value to brands: the chance to directly connect with their exact target audience, and get endorsed by a figure they trust (that’s you!). This has tremendous value for them, and is a much more valuable and effective form of advertising than banner ads or TV commercials. Also, a blog post will be on your site for good – unlike an ad which is only for a moment.
At the very minimum, influencers charge $50-100 per sponsored post, even with traffic on the low side. Some bloggers make thousands of dollars for a single sponsored post.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth! Your rates are ultimately up to you.
A good rule to follow is: If a brand accepts your offer immediately, it’s time to raise your rates for the next one. If they really want to work with you and your prices are too high for their budget, they’ll let you know and you can work something out if you want to.
A good place to start is by researching other blogs in your niche. What are they charging? How does their audience compare to yours?
You may want to start on the low side ($50-$75) to build up a small portfolio. But don’t be afraid to increase your prices once you’ve got a few posts under your belt! Don’t leave money on the table by undercharging.
Step 5: Advertise Your Availability
Now that your site is ready, your data is compiled, and your pricing is set, you’ll want to let brands know that you’re available for sponsorships.
There are several ways to do this, including:
Creating a media kit
Creating an advertiser page on your website
Joining a sponsorship site
Option 1 – Media Kits
A media kit is usually a PDF document, designed nicely with graphics, that shows an overview of your platform and what you can offer brands.
Media kits often include:
Your name and photo
Your blog URL and summary of what it’s about
Your blog and social media audience demographics and statistics
What you can offer (sponsored posts, sponsored emails, giveaways, etc.), and pricing
You can also just create an “Advertise Here” page on your website with the same information as your media kit.
It’s a good idea to include a contact form, or even a “buy now” button, at the bottom of the page so interested brands can quickly get started.
Option 3 – Join a Sponsorship Site
Sites like FameBit or Socialix are platforms to connect bloggers with brands. These are usually easy to use and connect, but there are a few downsides.
For one, these sites usually will take a fee for their services (sometimes around 10-20%).
Also, keep in mind that you’re relinquishing control of your brand relationships to these platforms.
It’s better in the long run if you have a one-on-one relationship with your sponsored brands, instead of having to deal with an intermediary.
Step 6: ASK
Would your favorite brand partner with you for a blog sponsorship? You don’t know until you ask!
Instead of a cold email out of the blue, it’s better to start by building a relationship. If you already have a relationship with a brand – maybe you’ve used their product for years, or recently had a conversation on social media – that’s even better.
You can then send an email to your contact, or to their general support email.
Keep your email brief and to the point. Here’s a sample you can customize:
Thanks for following me on Twitter! I’ve been a big fan of [Product Name] for years, and always recommend it to my friends.
I’m an influencer in [Industry Niche], and the founder of [Blog Name]. I wanted to ask you about possible opportunities for partnering with your brand to promote [Product] on my blog.
If you’re interested, may I send over a media kit?
(Your media kit should make it clear what kind of compensation you expect.)
Once you’ve laid the groundwork by preparing your site and creating a media kit, sponsored posts are an ideal way to earn an income from your blog.
Article by KeriLynn Engel
KeriLynn Engel is a copywriter & content marketing strategist. She loves working with B2B & B2C businesses to plan and create high-quality content that attracts and converts their target audience. When not writing, you can find her reading speculative fiction, watching Star Trek, or playing Telemann flute fantasias at a local open mic.