Thanks for joining Anne and I again for Blogging Basics! Today we’re discussing sponsoring blogs.
I wrote a post earlier this year on what I think makes a good blog sponsor program, and after starting my sponsorship program in April, I still agree with those sentiments. I admit to not being perfect: real life happens and I miss some posts. I had an issue with Bloglovin’ last week and missed new posts from a few of my sponsors. I tried to make up for it (and they will get a hefty discount code) but these things happen. I’m a smidge more forgiving now.
Anne mentioned in a comment last week that she forgot she was sponsoring a blog until she received a notification email stating the ad was almost over. It shouldn’t be that way and I think we’ve all had bad experiences. But sponsoring others has been the greatest thing I ever did for my blog.
I wish I could tell you there was a simple formula and that if you buy an ad from a blog with a huge following, your pageviews will increase overnight. That has not been the reality for me. I have purchased expensive ads from “big blogs” and while I might see an uptick in views on a day I do a guest/interview post or join a giveaway, it didn’t necessarily translate to continued exposure. I may have gained a few followers, but nothing more. For me, the best formula for success is to sponsor bloggers who will promote you throughout the ad time (usually 30 days). I love sponsoring blogs who put time and effort into promoting me, even if they don’t have millions of followers, because I gain the most loyal readers. They’re not there for a giveaway. They get to know me during the month and genuinely enjoy coming to my space. They like me for ME, I guess.
Before working with another blogger and buying an ad, here are some things to consider:
What is the blogger offering? I tend to look at this more than page views. If the blogger claims they’ll promote all of my posts and is creative, I’m more likely to buy an ad. I struggle promoting my own posts so this is always a huge incentive for me. To be honest, I don’t click on many sidebar ads. Do you? I do click on lots of promoted Tweets! Promotion holds more weight for me.
Are you familiar with the blogger? When I first started buying ads, I went with bloggers I’d followed. I became familiar with how often they posted, if they shared posts on social media, and how they interacted with their readers. I’ve purchased a few ads from bloggers I didn’t know, and more times than not, I was disappointed in the results. I’m typically not going to sponsor a blogger who posts sporadically or who doesn’t engage with others.
Do you share similar content? this works both ways. I’ll admit I’ve had a difficult time with a couple of sponsors I’ve taken because I wasn’t sure how to promote their posts. That’s not to say the content wasn’t good (it was), it just wasn’t in line with my topics of conversation. I’ve also written about controversial topics and make it a habit to let both my sponsors and the blogs I’m sponsoring know ahead of time. Not everyone is comfortable being associated with delicate subjects.
Cost? I’ve had the most success when I choose a budget for the month and spread that to a few blogs instead of settling on one. If your monthly blogging budget is $100, I find it’s better to split it over several blogs instead of on just one. Bonus if the blogs you choose offer giveaway options!
Does the blogger offer ad sales? I scoop these up a lot and appreciate those of you who do offer promotions. I’m a bad budgeter but can never pass up a good sale! 😉 I also go back to sponsors who offer discounts for returning customers. I think it’s a common courtesy. Shameless plug: I offer at least 50% off for returning sponsors!
As for you:
Don’t bite off more than you can chew: sometimes I sponsor too many blogs at once. It can get overwhelming if each ad comes with an interview or guest post, and you can definitely wear out your readers with giveaways (I accidentally do this all the time). Plan ahead.
Speak up if it’s not working: there are times I wish I’d have asked for my money back. Offering a sponsorship program is like running a freelance social media business- you need to keep your clients happy! If the blogger isn’t keeping promises, you need to make it known. It’s not right to take the money and run. I have worked with some bloggers who don’t even bother commenting on my blog the entire month. I won’t waste my money anymore.
And, in the spirit of this post, I’ve revamped my sponsorship program and am offering a 25% discount on all ads with promo code “Blogging Basics.” I’m pretty certain Anne is offering a promo code, too! 😉
Anne and I would love to continue this series: what would you like to see discussed? We’re open to suggestions!