July 22, 2014

The Skinny of Blog Sponsorships (Part I)

Growing your blog is hard work and serious business. There are hundreds of posts out there exploring different angles on the most effective way to generate page views and interaction with your content. While I'm no expert, I have seen a huge traffic increase over the last six months and I want to share one of my secrets to that success: sponsorships.

Every blogger approaches sponsorships differently. Here are some tips to making the most out of your blog sponsorships:


Size matters.
I find them most beneficial to sponsor blogs with similar content and a similar or slightly larger-sized reader base. Why? I've sponsored some larger blogs and my personal feeling is that overall, I paid more for the sponsorship than it was worth. If the blog is too small, I don't think I get the reach necessary to generate any new traffic. Finding that happy medium is important.

Be realistic.
Let's be honest, a button on someone's sidebar isn't going to generate a ton of hits. Even sponsorships that include guest posts and social media shout outs will only generate minimal traffic. Don't expect your page views to double overnight, or you'll be extremely disappointed. What you are doing is getting your name out there. People are noticing you and you're building brand recognition. Remember building an audience is a jog not a sprint.

Know what your looking for. 
When I sponsor a blog I have a certain formula I like to follow. I evaluate the blog for the following criteria (listed in order of importance):
  • Blog Content - Will this particular blog appeal to my readers? Will I appeal to to their readers?
  • Blog Size - That happy medium I mentioned earlier.
  • Price - What's the ROI?
Money. Money. Money. Money. (I'm signing the theme song to the Apprentice)
When it comes to blogging you have to spend money to make money. But for me, blogging is truly a hobby; a way to connect with other women, a place for me to put my words out there and hope that someone can relate. The rest is just bonus. So I'm not trying to spend hundreds of dollars each month because I'm also not making hundreds. Typically I'll spend between $4-$15 for a sponsorship. Sure I might splurge and spend a little more but that's not the norm. Here are some additional quick tips for purchasing ad space:
  • Don't pay full price if you don't have to. Most blogs are willing to offer some sort of sponsorship discount - look on twitter, Facebook and through recent blog posts for promo codes. 
  • Check out the handle @PassionfruitLuv for flash sales
  • Button Swaps are the jam but don't swap for a 100x100 space - it's way too tiny for anyone to notice. Make sure it's an even exchange. Guest Post exchanges are really the bee's knees - take advantage. 
Have a Plan.
Don't go wild one month and be completely dormant the next. Keep a consistent presence in the blogosphere. Building an audience takes time plan out some sponsorship options 2-3 months in advance and track your progress and growth so you know if a blog is a good fit for the future. 

Speak Up. 
Blog sponsors aren't mind readers, don't be afraid to reach out and ask for what you need. You're paying for a service so make sure you get what you're expecting (remember to be realistic with your expectations). If you want more images Pinned or more tweets directing to a post you wrote 3 months ago, just say something. 

Followers Don't Equal Readers.
Giveaways are great. I mean who doesn't love a J. Crew gift card, free ad space and Etsy goodies? I'll raise my hand for all three and when opportunities present themselves to cohost one of these giveaways I can usually be counted on to contribute something here and there. But I know that the spike in traffic during giveaway time does not lend itself to faithful readers. Oftentimes people sign up for their chance to win and you never hear from them again. If you do participate in giveaways don't expect a lot of engagement from those new page views and don't expect the spike to last. Flank giveaways with great content to try and inspire new readers to engage and connect.

Show off.
The true purpose of a blog sponsorship is to give readers a flavor of who you are and encourage them to visit your blog. Button and giveaways won't do that for you. I encourage you to select sponsorships that include a guest post. While guest posts can be scary, they give new readers a true sense of your writing style and personality. Readers that you gain from guest posts might be scarce but they are typically very loyal and repeat readers. Q&As and write ups are also good secondary choices but for me Guest Posting is the business!

Find the Right Fit.
This can be tough and it's oftentimes a game of chance, a brief description of a blog sponsorship is all you really have to go by when determining if the blogger will truly live up to their promises. You can find blogs to sponsor a variety of ways. I've found some via twitter, others came about because I'm already a loyal follower and some even started when I found them in the Passionfruit Marketplace. But the best way to find blogs to sponsor is by asking other bloggers, that you know and trust, who they'd sponsor again. And you might be thinking, "Brittany, who would you recommend sponsoring?" Well, it's funny you should ask because I have a list of five of my favorite blogs to sponsor and that's what I'll be talking about in Part II tomorrow, so stay tuned.

So to recap:


And now for a shameless plug: if you're interested in growing your blog, I'd love to help. You can check out all my sponsorship options here. Plus us promo code THIRTY to save 30% off an ad of your choice.


Be Blessed,
Brittany
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5 comments:

  1. Great post! Perfect for people who are new to sponsorships.

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  2. Thanks so much! I think you'll really like Part II :)

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  3. I loved this! I'm just getting started with my blog. This was very helpful! Thank you!

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