The first session I attended at Alt Summit on Thursday was “Collaborating with Sponsors” — basically, how bloggers can partner with big name brands to expand their readership, get valuable press, and sometimes most importantly, earn some revenue. Here are some of the best tips I learned from this session:
How to get a major sponsor
When looking for a sponsor, look for brands that match your style. Anthropologie works great for some bloggers whereas for others, Kate Spade might be better. Don’t be afraid to approach brands — create a list of ideas that you have for working with the brand.
What if you don’t have that much traffic? Traffic doesn’t matter as much as community does. You can show community through comments on your posts, clickthroughs on your links, social media shares, as well as something as simple as a survey — show that “95%” of your audience would be interested in products featured on your blog.
Keep in mind that working with sponsors is a lot of work and takes a lot of mental energy.
Another tip is to work with an ad-network, which can be very tough to get into, but they’ll do the brand pitching for you and often work with larger companies with large budgets.
Working with a sponsor
When it comes to working with a sponsor, original content is best — creative videos, a room makeover, or something else that would make great content as well as showcasing that brand. If it makes the sponsor happy, they’ll promote you! Make your content bold, beautiful, and big.
Another great tip is to make it easy for the sponsor — give them a list of deliverables, specs for ads, as well as giving a report on how well the collaboration went after the sponsorship ends.
If an initial sponsorship goes well, it often leads to bigger and better things, such as being invited on the sponsors site to be a guest judge, like Minted does, or a continued brand ambassadorship.
Types of sponsorship posts
You can work with a sponsor a number of different ways:
- Independent unrelated content post — where the sponsor is mentioned in the post but isn’t featured in the content. Should be special, unusual posts.
- Integrated creative content — sponsor is the focus of the post. You’re shilling, so make sure your prices are higher for this type of post. Must be disclosed.
- Contributor written commercial — literally a commercial for the sponsor written by the sponsor. You might feel dirty about these, but your readers should understand you need to make pay the bills too! Make sure to negotiate the number of images and length of text.
- Giveaways — people recognize these as ads. Make sure to enrich with personalized input.
- Roundups — don’t overshare that you were paid for this content, simply say, “I was invited by…”. Agree to number of products, usually 10-15.
- Social media mentions — can be a part of a package or on its own.
Only have, at most, two sponsored posts per week.
In a nutshell
Be open about your sponsorship, keep your content real and human, negotiate the price for your posts, create original and compelling content (win-win for your readers and your sponsor), and think beyond the one-time deal!
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