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Sponsor Talk 101

April 8, 2012


Erin Schrader

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.

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:
–Sending Paypal Invoices
–Receiving sponsors buttons//resizing them if needed//coding//uploading
–Working with sponsors on guest posts
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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