The key to selling and creating good sponsored content is aligning with brands your audience will love, and integrating them into your content in a way that makes your audience care.
There are tons of tools that can help you land sponsored posts gigs, and we will be covering many of them this week. Today we are discussing how to sell sponsored content directly to advertisers.
1. Set income goals for your blog
Once you decide that sponsored posts are a viable revenue stream, you should create a plan for managing sponsored posts. I have see too many blogs become inundated with sponsored posts, and I have seen bloggers struggle to control their income. During busy seasons (holiday) you may receive a ton of sponsored post opportunities, but when brands are actively promoting products you lose control of your revenue. Creating a plan allows you to pace your sponsored content, and create a consistent revenue stream.
- Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to start creating a plan:
- How often do you post on your blog?
- What percentage of your blog content do you want to be sponsored?
- How many sponsored posts per month can you offer advertisers?
- How much yearly revenue do you want to come from sponsored posts?
- What do you charge per sponsored post?
- How many different programs/clients do you want to manage?
Yearly income goals:
Monthly income goals:
2. Create a list of opportunities you can sell to sponsors
Once you have a clear vision of how you want to work with brands you can create packages that make sense for your site. Make a list of the different opportunities you want to find sponsors for, and map out a plan of what you will be pitching each month. You can break your sponsorships into two categories:
- Seasonal: Brands often host holiday and season specific programs, so begin by identifying the different seasonal partnership opportunities you can sell to brands. (Examples: holiday gift guide, spring cleaning series, 30 days of summer)
- Regular series: Create a list of the regular content series you feature on your site. (Examples: Giveaways, weekly features, video series)
Here are some examples of what other bloggers have done:
- Sponsored giveaway: A brand compensates you to host a giveaway of their product on your site. Example: http://www.annehogan.net/2014/03/kohls-winkofpink-giveaway/
- Sponsored series: Launch a series of posts your audience will love, and integrate relevant brands and products in your content. Example:
- Sponsored experience: Partner with a brand to create an experience you want to share on your blog. Example: Intel sends Maggie mason to Greece: http://mightygirl.com/2009/09/08/greece-the-teaser/
- Sponsored story: Partner with brands that are relevant to the stories you are organically sharing on your blog. Example: http://www.velveteenmind.com/velveteenmind/tide-loads-of-hope/page/2/
3. Create a pitching schedule
Estimate how long it takes to close each sale. Typically, it can take 4-8 to secure a new sponsors and process the payment. This means you should always be pitching opportunities 2 months in advance. Some brands have a longer planning period, so you will need to pitch them deals 4-6 months in advance. If you give yourself an 8-week window, you can plan the sponsorships ahead of time and know what revenue goals you will hit.
Create a pitching schedule for your seasonal programs, and fill in the gaps with the regular series’s you host on your blog.
4. Write the pitch
The best way to pitch new sponsors is to create a general pitch that you can use for multi-purposes. This allows you to send pitches out on a regular basis without creating entirely new materials for every pitch.
Here is a sample pitch you can use to create your own:
I am the founder of leading (YOUR NICHE) blog, (SITE NAME) and thought there might be a way for us to work together.
(Include 2-3 sentences describing the opportunity)
We are a huge fan of (BRAND NAME), and would love to have you participate. Our sponsorship opportunities allow you to be integrated into our content and engage our readers in a meaningful way.
Let me know if this sounds like something you might be interested in.
5. Identify potential sponsors & start pitching
Make a list of the potential brands that would be interested in sponsoring. Make sure to include brands you have current relationships with, companies you love and brands that would be a good fit.
Find contact information for the brands you are interested in, and start pitching!
Additional Resources and Tools:
- 5 ways to shine at sponsored posts: http://www.blogclarity.com/5-ways-to-shine-at-sponsored-posts/
- How to sell sponsored posts without selling your soul: http://www.sarahwilson.com/2012/11/soul-selling-my-position-on-sponsored-posts-advertising/
- How to create an amazing media kit: http://bloggingitforward.com/2013/02/alt-summit-recap-media-kits-101/
- The money equation for sponsored post: http://woodenspoonskitchen.com/2013/08/15/blogging-the-money-equation-for-sponsored-post/
- How much bloggers charge for sponsored content: http://www.marketingprofs.com/charts/2013/11069/how-much-bloggers-charge-for-sponsored-content