Romper (under $10!), shoes, and bracelets ℅ Sears; Urban Outfitter's hat, old (option); Forever 21 sunglasses.
I've been blogging for a little over three years now, and one of the biggest questions I for myself had at the beginning was, "When do I start with sponsorships?" I've written about Making Money Through Blogging and How To Grow Your Blog before, but today I wanted to go over how to open up YOUR OWN sponsorship program and make some money! Not all blogger's are in it for the money, some of us do it for the pure pleasure of it (I am like that sometimes!), but if you want to branch out and make a little cash through sponsorship, here is how you do it.
1) The first thing you have to do is determine if you are ready. This was so hard for me, as there is no concrete number of readers and page views that say "Start now!", but you DO have to have an archive of solid content to start. I also think you should have some loyal readers on your blog and on social media who like and read your blog on a daily basis. The point of having a sponsorship program is to share your readership base with those that sponsor you, as well as to drive traffic over. If you can't do that, then you probably should't be taking money from someone and saying that you can!
For myself, I didn't start my sponsorship program until I had close to 1000 followers via GFC. It is a lot of responsibility to feel that folks are spending their heard earned cash on YOU, and I wanted to be able to deliver. That meant I had solid content on my blog, I had a considerable reach on social media, and I felt comfortable that I could give what I said I could deliver.
2) Figure out what you have liked and felt worked well while sponsoring other blogs, and adapt that to your own sponsorship program. For myself, I am comfortable offering a Group Giveaway option, because I know that it was always a home run when I participated on one, and I knew it would work for my readers. It benefits everybody! This option does take a lot of time to put together and run, so I tend to like to do only that when working with other blogger's, and save my other sponsored posts and such for companies that reach out to me via email.
Other bloggers offer Feature ads, Social media shootouts, Sidebar ads only, Consultations, Product Features, etc. These can all be successful and worth it, but you have to determine how much time you want to give when running all of these together, as well as the pressure to deliver on what you promise.
3) Something I found difficult to determine was what to price everything so that it wasn't too cheap, but didn't drive folks away, either. For my group giveaway, I had always liked that it was a relatively low buy in (with an additional amount thrown in for a group gift card), and that it was accessible to a lot of folks. One of the easiest ways to see if you priced things right is to see if it sells out quick, or if it sits unused. The first six months of my giveaway option sold out each time, so that told me I could raise the price slightly, because it was a popular option. If it didn't sell out, I would have lowered the price or offered promos. I have tried other options that have not been as popular and found that I either didn't like offering them and took them away, or I tweaked what I had until they worked. You can look at blogs that have a similar readership size to you and see what they charge, this can give you an idea of where to start.
You can also run pricing deals on your Facebook or Twitter pages for your readers to raise awareness, or give discounts to returning customers. (Like this: For a 20% off promo code for my group giveaway option, you can like my Facebook page to get it, and get in line for August's giveaway. No really, this is true! Book now;)
4) Don't be afraid to get yourself out there! I run my ads and sponsorship program through Passionfruit, which makes it really easy to set up my ads on my blog and sell them there as well. It takes the thought out of installing ads, and just makes things easy for me and my sponsors. Once I had created my ad shop and installed it on my sponsor page, I wrote a post about it and asked some blogger friends to share the news. You have to market yourself and be a little pushy about getting it out there (Twitter and Facebook are great for this!), because if you don't do it, no one will. Sponsorship spots don't sell themselves at first, it will take an effort from you to get your name and options out there.
5) Lastly, rely on feedback to let you know what is working and what isn't. I keep stats on how each of my sponsors are doing in the month they follow me, so I know exactly how much they grew while sponsoring me. This gives me a concrete idea of how well I did for them and what worked the best. I find most of my sponsors come back month after month to re-sponosr me as well, which means they liked the results, too! In the past, I've also found that certain options weren't working as well as I wanted, so I either eliminated them or made them better. If my sponsors aren't happy with results, than neither am I. You have to be willing to work hard for those that spend their money on you, and give the results that you promise.
Tell me, do you have a sponsorship option for you blog, or are you thinking of it? What can I help YOU with?
I also wrote an ebook on all things blogging, HERE!
Lastly, How I Edit My Photos.