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Here We Go: Blog Sponsors

I’ve been asked numerous times to blog about sponsorships but I’ve always avoided it. Earlier this year, I started accepting ads and sponsorships but after only three months…I said NO MORE! I think I’ve avoided this post because I feel like I am a bit biased but I’d love to share everything that I can!  A lot of my tips will come from my experiences (and the things that I forgot to do before making the jump!) This will be short and concise so I hope you all add your own suggestions and experiences in the comment section!

What to do before you start accepting sponsors:

Before you do anything, you need to evaluate your goals and where you stand on certain issues. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Assess your readership, engagement, and stats. Will your sponsor spots benefit potential sponsors?
  • Based on your readership, how much will you charge for your sponsor spots?
  • How will your sponsors purchase a spot? Will you coordinate it manually? Will you use a service like Passionfruit Ads?
  • How will you handle controversial inquires or assess potential sponsors? Where will you “draw the line?”
  • Will you offer multiple sizes or packages? Perhaps larger spots that also come with a sponsored post?
  • How will you introduce your sponsors every month?
  • Will you offer swaps? If so, you should have a blog graphic/badge designed.

How to find sponsors:

Now that you’ve looked closely at some of the details…you need those spots filled! I found that posting about it within a blog post, tweeting, and posting the announcement on Facebook worked well! I also reached out to past clients and let them know that they could purchase a discounted spot because of their longtime support. Placing a page or a link on your blog (to stay consistently) might also work well for you.

Creating your media kit:

When I accepted sponsors, my media kit was really simple. Months later, I’ve realized some other key components that I had forgotten. It’s essentially a file (PDF probably works best) that you sent to interested bloggers or organizations with information about you and your blog! You can either have it as a download on your blog or send it to them after you’ve received an inquiry. I would include:

  • Information about yourself
  • Contact information
  • Blog statistics (monthly unique views, pageviews, pageviews per visit)
  • Social media stats
  • Rates & sizes
  • Brands you’ve worked with

I’ve created a standard template for you to download! It’s an Adobe Illustrator file so feel free to tweak, insert photos, alter colors, or change fonts!

Maintaining a sponsored blog:

Congrats! Now your blog is sponsored! After about three months…this part was the least enjoyable. I was dealing with ads (this could have been fixed by using services like Passionfruit), following up with payments, scheduling sponsored posts, and making sure that I posted consistently/daily. To me, the pressures of blogging daily and maintaining a positive attitude wasn’t worth it. I wouldn’t say that I complain on my blog but I felt bad posting something that one of my sponsors might not agree with/appreciate. I also was approached by a few companies that I didn’t support and wasn’t sure how to handle the rejection part.

Obviously, many bloggers make this work and really love it! I would encourage everyone to give it a try. It’s amazing that so many bloggers can make an income from what they love to do! Thankfully, I make my income from designing and so I love using this blog as a place to just show and tell (hence, the name). I also know the value of blogging when it comes to my business. It keeps me in peoples’ network, minds and many clients end up hearing my own, personal voice because of it! So while I don’t make money directly from this blog, I do reap the benefits constantly.

What has your experience been with blog sponsors/ads? Do you currently do this? How has it been? If not, what is stopping you? 

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15 Comments

  • Reply MixedMolly

    I have been thinking about this lately, and I decided not to accept sponsors either. I just want to use my blog to showcase my work and share details about me and my life. I also read an article recently about the ineffectiveness of online sidebar ads. It concluded that people are basically either ignoring them or not even seeing them. Kudos to the bloggers that make it work!

    August 29, 2012 at 9:20 AM
    • Reply Allison

      I have also been hearing a lot about the sidebar being overlooked. Someone on Twitter suggested that perhaps sponsorships need to be integrated into more post content and video content. It probably needs to be less “hey look this person paid me a small fee to sit on my sidebar” and more “I really love this brand and this is how it fits into my life.”

      August 29, 2012 at 11:55 AM
  • Reply Janae @ Bring-Joy

    I’ve held off on working with sponsors (for the most part). It’s important to me to be authentic & so if & when I decide to work with a particular company, it’s because it’s a good fit. I suppose it’s not the best way to make money, but I don’t want to cheapen my blog by putting in ads that are unappealing &/or not a good fit for my blog.

    You are so generous for sharing your media kit file as well as helpful tips. Thank you!

    August 29, 2012 at 11:20 AM
    • Reply Allison

      My pleasure, Janae! Yes I can understand your hesitation. It definitely was a huge learning process for me and I’m glad I went through it! Now I like to work with brands that I actually use and show my readers WHY inside post content. Next month I’ll be showcasing some products from Tiny Prints paired with my love for writing letters!

      August 29, 2012 at 11:56 AM
  • Reply Becky Bedbug

    I’m considering offering sponsorships soon and this has been such a helpful post. Thank you so much for this helpful information!

    Becky
    xx

    August 29, 2012 at 11:49 AM
    • Reply Allison

      I’m so glad it was helpful, Becky!!

      August 29, 2012 at 11:57 AM
  • Reply mandie

    It took me about 6 weeks to decide that I didn’t want to do this after all. You know, after I had them. ;)

    So, I’m waiting for one last as to expire and then I’ll be back to my usual, ad-free space. I already share (often) my favorite things in life, whether they’re someone else’s words or a great product, and I don’t want to worry about whether I’ve posted enough or too much in general, not to mention, about my sponsors. I just want to be free to be me! ;)

    August 29, 2012 at 12:49 PM
    • Reply Allison

      Looks like we had pretty similar experiences :) I remember that last month and waiting anxiously until I had my sidebar back!

      August 29, 2012 at 7:32 PM
  • Reply Rachael

    I love the idea of a blog strengthening a business in other ways outside of advertising. Your design business obviously benefits from people being exposed to your work on a daily basis. I think of Elephantine, (http://www.elephantineblog.com/) who runs a jewelry design business. I love her blog, and feel a personal connection to her business because of it. And of course, the ultimate: when a blogger writes a book. The power of all those readers, who feel like they are friends with the writer, going out and buying a book! amazing.

    great post.

    August 29, 2012 at 1:12 PM
    • Reply Allison

      Thanks for pointing me towards Elephantine! I agree, it’s an amazing tool for small business owners. Not sure if I’ll ever publish a book but when I am involved in projects, I do feel that extra support because of this space. Thanks for the comment, Rachael!

      August 29, 2012 at 7:33 PM
  • Reply Chrissy

    Back when I was in grad school and blogging on a pretty regular basis, I decided that I never wanted to have “ads” on my page which was when Google AdWords or whatever it was called was just becoming popular. I’ve pretty much carried that over to not wanting sponsors either. My blog for me is such a personal thing, I talk about my life and my illness, as well as showing people what I do and helping them to do it for themselves. When I visit sponsored blogs I often feel like it’s super cluttered. But I guess for some it works, but not for me.

    August 29, 2012 at 3:34 PM
    • Reply Allison

      It can definitely become messy and cluttered if you don’t draw the line somewhere. I see a few blogs that do it well and have a small, concise group of sponsors. Good for you for doing what is best for your blog!

      August 29, 2012 at 7:34 PM
  • Reply Carrie R

    Thanks so much for posting this, Allie! :)

    Can the media kit file only be opened if you have Adobe Illustrator?

    Thanks so much!

    August 31, 2012 at 9:30 PM
    • Reply Allison

      Glad you liked it! Yes unfortunately it can only be opened in Illustrator. Sorry about that! For the future, what would be a better (and more accessible) program?

      September 1, 2012 at 10:38 AM
  • Reply Carrie R

    I really loved your tips in this post & included it as part of my A Little Sunday Potluck today… :)
    http://www.thefrugalfoodiemama.com/2012/09/a-little-sunday-potluck-9212.html
    Thanks so much for sharing your insight on sponsorship.

    And, I am not sure what is a more accessible program? Is there something similar that can be downloaded for free?

    September 2, 2012 at 9:18 AM
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