4.08.2012

Sponsor Talk 101

Ahhh, sweet sweet sponsorship.
The one topic that can bring much confusion, stomach ulcers, and of course, joy.
You may recall way back when I talked about what to look for when sponsoring other blogs.
Well, today we are turning the tables for a minute or two.
Or ten.

I've been asked on a couple of different occasions "How do I get sponsors for my blog?"
To which I reply: Pray and Beg.
No, but really.
There are a few simple guidelines and things I think one should know when it comes to accepting sponsors.
Because I am a huge "I like to write in numbered paragraphs" type of person, we are going to go at this post in that fashion.
Starting with number one.

1. "When can I start accepting sponsors on my blog?"
Hunny. Whenever you want to. I don't think there is a magic number that you must obtain before you can start advertising other peoples blogs/shops.
However, here is what I did.
Blog started in Feb 2011--gained some followers slowly but surely--swapped a few buttons with other similar sized blogs {for free}--and then once August rolled around I was somewhere around 300 followers or so. At that time I announced in one of my blog posts that I would be accepting paid sponsors ($5 for a sidebar ad only//$10 for a sidebar ad with guest post).
I didn't really think I would draw much interest, but thankfully a few made the investment.
I have not stopped accepting paid sponsors from that point on.
Moral of the story: Start small and cheap.
Second moral of the story: Don't expect sponsors to flock to you--ASK them to come to you.
If I would have never asked, I probably still would not have a paid sponsor on my blog.
While I am fortunate now to receive interest from potential sponsors without asking, I continue to ask on a monthly basis via my blog//Facebook//Twitter. I think this is so so important for attracting new and different sponsors on a monthly basis.

2. Realize that with sponsors comes Responsibility.
This is one thing that I didn't give too much thought to before I started accepting paid sponsorships.
It is so important that you realize somebody else just made an investment in you with hopes you will bring traffic their way.
Sponsors want to see results.
Be up front with your sponsors on what they are receiving.
Don't promise five social media mentions if you know you will be lucky to squeeze in one.
Along with this, when you have people paying to advertise on your blog--they are expecting you will publish a new post several times a week {unless you tell them otherwise}.
Don't take the responsibility lightly--work for those who paid you to do so.

One thing I do is track all of my sponsors followers from the beginning of the month through the end of the month. This helps me visually see what kind of difference I helped make in their readership base.
{thanks hubs for saving my life with this spreadsheet}

Ask your sponsors what they would like to see from you--or what you could do different.
They are smart cookies those ones are ;)

One thing with this--while you are expected to work for your sponsors, you can not force your readers to love their blog//shop. The blog owner still has a responsibility to draw readers in and keep them interested.
You get the readers to them--they handle the readers from there.
Kapeesh?

3. Sponsors Equals Time.
Great. Now you have extra responsibilities AND time spent on blogging.
I know I know.
But hey--you want to make money? You gotta work for it girlfriend.
Once you accept sponsors, you will spend time doing the following:
--Emailing
--Sending Paypal Invoices
--Receiving sponsors buttons//resizing them if needed//coding//uploading
--Working with sponsors on guest posts
--etc.
It can be stressful at times, not going to lie.
Some nights {especially the night before the 1st of the month...} you can find me pacing around my house pulling my hair out. No joke.
But, it is so so worth it :)

4. Trial And Error.
This is a big one for me.
My sponsor options//prices have changed several times since beginning this journey.
You may think you are worth $50 bucks a spot, however if nobody is contacting you about paying $50 for that spot--you probably need to drop your prices.
However, you may be charging $50 for that prime piece of real estate and you have several people wanting that one spot--increase your prices!
Be knowledgeable of what others in your "blog size" are offering.
You don't want to look like the whack job with prices higher than the Empire State building.

Along with this--you have to decide how many guest posts you want to offer on your blog in a months time. I struggle with this on a regular basis. I love having my blog all to myself. Ain't no shame in it. However, the greatest value to a sponsor is being able to have your blog all to themselves for a day.
Just be careful on how many spots you offer that receive these guest posts.
You don't want your blog to suddenly be guest post after guest post after giveaway.
Unless you want to lose readers, in which case that is a great way to do so ;)

For ideas on sizes//options//pricing click here.
4. Don't Blog Just For Sponsors.
I did not start this blog to make money, nor do I write this blog now to make money.
My joy comes from writing, reading your comments, emails, and interacting with my readers.
Yes, the additional money is wonderful and I am so blessed, however--blogging will never just be a way for me to make money.
Regardless if you get paid to write or not, remember why you started and stay true to that.

A few other items--
-I mentioned the term"blog size" in item number one. This does not just include how many GFC followers you have. There is much more too ones blog size. Page views being the most important. Somebody could have 4000 followers but of those followers only 500 are reading.
Know your page views and don't be afraid to give them out if an inquiring sponsor asks for them. Know your number of followers through other social media outlets {Facebook, Twitter, Bloglovin', Pinterest, etc} and advertise those numbers. Also, you may have 400 followers but your readers are loyal [proven in comments, emails, etc]. Put a price on that. A blog that has a loyal fan base is so valuable to potential sponsors.

-I personally run all of my sponsor spots on a monthly basis. I think this is important for keeping your sidebar fresh with new buttons. This also avoids the awkward conversation of
"I think it is time to remove your button from my blog..."
My sponsors go up on the 1st of the month and come down on the last day of the month!
Easy as that.

There is SO much more I could have covered, but unfortunately--this post has to end somewhere.
With that being said, please leave more questions in the comments below or email me at livinginyellow@gmail.com.
I would be more than happy to answer them for you, or heck--write a follow up post to this one.

Thank YOU readers for being so loyal and loving at all times.

You rock my world.

Erin Out.

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30 comments:

  1. That was really helpful! Good to hear from a vet. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us!

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  2. this is so great, Erin. so very helpful for all of us newbies. uh, i mean, i've been doing this forever. :)

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  3. Yaaaay I am SO glad you posted this because I've been thinking about trying to get sponsors! Thaaankkkk you! :]

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  4. You should really try passionfruit ads. It makes it so easy to keep track... they basically do everything for you. Sweet deal. I have ads for really cheap hint hint wink wink... haha just kidding. But you did say to ask.

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  5. What a great post, Erin! I've certainly seen a few blogs that want sponsors, but haven't caught onto the responsibility side of things yet.

    It's nice to hear both sides of the sponsorship money exchange :)

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  6. I've said it before. I'll say it again. Reading blog posts about blogging is SO HELPFUL! Love that you put this stuff out there for us newbies!!! Thanks for being so gracious!

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  7. And here's a question for you...how do you decide when to "monetize" your blog with google?

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  8. And a follow-up question...how do I become cool like you?

    ha!

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  9. So much great information. I'm might be writing a follow up post about this, about free button swaps.

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  10. agreed, very, very helpful. thanks! i am stilll in that awkward spot if trying out sponsorships!

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  11. Oh my goodness, these tips are so so helpful. I've just started the button swapping, and I love reading advice like this. Thank you so much!

    Allyson
    http://cupcakescandycanes.blogspot.com

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  12. MUCH NEEDED post. I really appreciate it Erin!!! Thank you for putting all of these lovely tidbits together :)

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  13. Thanks for all the tips! I am looking into starting up sponerships soon!

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  14. Thank you so much for a wonderful, informative and very easy to read post. Your advice is so greatly appreciated! I only have just over 200 followers and the thought of sponsorship had always intimidated me a little. I always feel as though I don't have enough followers however those who do read are very loyal. You've given me something to think about. Thanks Erin!

    Megan @ Storybook Love Affair

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  15. This is gold.
    You are wonderful!
    And you answered all of my questions :)

    Thank you, doll!
    xo

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  16. I was just asking another blogger these questions on saturday...thank you for this post.

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  17. This is awesome, you are awesome and I now think you should publish a book on Blogging. I would trust every word in it!

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  18. As always, so helpful and fun :) Thanks for this!!

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  19. Great insights! Thanks for the post!

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  20. Thanks so much for this post!

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  21. I loved sponsoring you towards the beginning of your sponsorship days!!! I will definitely do it again, especially since you are one of my top 3 fave blogs to read. It's definitely a pick-me-up read :)

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  22. Thanks for sharing this post! There's some good wisdom in here, I really appreciated it. I'm new to your blog and love reading!

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  23. You're a genius.
    But of course, we already knew that.

    Really though, I admire your work ethic and how hard you work on your blog and how smart you are at it. You totally are an inspiration to me- in a non cheesy.creepy way, of course!

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  24. great post!!! Loved hearing your advice. I just barely started doing paid sponsor spots and I get really nervous about it. So this really helps, thank you!

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  25. This is all wonderful advice that I wish I had when I first started my sponsor spots. And keeping track of your sponsor's followers from beginning to end of sponsorship -- absolutely genius Erin!

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  26. Hi, I'm new to your blog, someone pinned this post and I just had to check it out. I am trying to find sponsors/advertisers and to be honest it is just so confusing and frustrating. This post has been helpful, though I am still very confused and not quite sure where to start. I'm just not sure, where to look, who to ask, how to approach someone about it, if I charge $5.00 for a sidebar only should I just accept one size? I don't have a .com yet, but I'm not looking for big companies, I'm mostly looking for independant smaller businesses so I don't know that I necessarily need one to sell advertising. I just don't know how to go about approaching people. I could definitely use some help with this.

    Thank you:)

    Sarah
    http://skylarinc.blogspot.com/

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  27. This is really helpful! Thanks!

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  28. I'm a new blogger and new follower of yours. Your tips are really helpful and I've enjoyed your blogging 101 posts. One question I have is concerning taxes. Do you make enough money from your sponsorships to need to claim that income? If so, how exactly does that work? This is a rather broad question with probably more than one right answer, but it's something I'm genuinely curious about.

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I read and appreciate every one of your comments. Thanks for stopping by my space and sharing a piece of yourself on this huge ole internet. I meant that in the least creepy way possible. I'm just good at making everything awkward. Anyhow, thank you for your comments. They make me smile :)