15 January 2014

7 tips for sponsoring blogs

I know that buying and selling ad space isn't for everyone. Some might think it's a waste of money, but I would have to respectfully disagree. I've already given you 5 reasons that I think blog sponsorship is important, as it can be very beneficial if you understand how it works.

But what I didn't cover in that post, where the things to consider before and while purchasing ad space somewhere. If you're going to spend money to advertise your blog/website/shop... etc. It's really important to help your advertiser, help you. I visit the blogs that advertise on my blog almost daily, not only to catch up on their lives, but also, I'm looking through their content to find ways I can share it with my readers. So here are a few suggestions I have for those that are looking to advertise with other bloggers. *This more applies to bloggers that buy ad space, as opposed to shops.

1) Keep your blog attractive.
I wrote a post called "8 Ways to Rock Your Blog", just giving some general advise on ways to keep your blog fresh and inviting. So a lot of those apply here. But the main takeaway from this, is to make sure that your layout is clean and welcoming. That way, when people land on your blog, they will want to stay a for a bit a look around. There's no point to purchase an ad spot in hopes that people will click on your banner, just to have them turn away because it's cluttered and disorganized.

Obviously, not everyone understands HTML & CSS and all the back end stuff. But blogger & wordpress both have a lot of really simple and clean templates to use if you can't do blog design yourself. Or, if you can spare the money-- hire someone to help you. There are a lot of reasonably priced designers out there that can create something awesome for your blog space.

2) Create pin-able images.
This isn't a MUST, but it definitely helps the person that's promoting for you. Most bloggers do some of their advertising via Pinterest because it's a fabulous way to gain exposure and traffic. So if you have a recipe, a DIY tutorial, or maybe a "favorite" list of some kind -- produce an image that can be pinned. Best way to do that is to take or create a photo that best represents your blog post, and add some text to it so that pinners know what they're looking at as they are scrolling through their feed. The catchier it is to the eye... the better. Your advertiser will love you for this, because it gives them an easy way to help you get your content out there for others to see using Pinterest.


Of course, I understand that not everyone has a DSLR and photoshop to edit their images. But, the important thing is to create a VERTICAL image, because they show up larger in the Pinterest feed. And also, put text somewhere on the image so that people immediately know what the image represents. And then, hopefully they pin it :)

3) Post frequently.
This seems obvious, but it isn't at the same time. Let's say you purchase a 30 day ad spot somewhere, but you only post once or twice a month, it doesn't give the person you're sponsoring much to work with. If they don't have anything to promote, they can't really help you. Obviously, life gets busy and you definitely shouldn't feel the pressure to post every day. But be sure that if you are advertising somewhere, that you are posting frequently enough to make it worth it.

4) Create interesting content.
This isn't always easy, but it's important to write organic content. When I go to one of my sponsors blogs, I will read through their posts until I find something that I think is interesting and original and that will appeal to MY audience. Because remember, when you buy ad space somewhere, that blogger is promoting your content to THEIR audience. So yes, while it's important to stay true to yourself and write what is relevant to you -- keep in mind who your advertisers are and create content that they will WANT to share. Whether it be a heartfelt story or experience, a fabulous DIY, a fashion post, or maybe just a cool compilation of photos -- keep it interesting & fresh. Write things that people will want to read. It will draw readers in and keep them around.

5) Create social media outlets.
This is big. The outlets I use to advertise for my sponsors are Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. If a blogger buys ad space from me, but doesn't have a twitter account... that's fine, except then when I tweet a post for them, I can't tag them. Which makes for less engagement. And engagement and networking is huge. So before you buy ad space, consider creating social media accounts in different outlets to better help your advertisers work for you. You'd be surprised how helpful it will be.

6) Don't get your hopes up too high.
This is a sticky one, but it's important to bring up. Just because you are paying someone to promote for you, doesn't mean you will see a dramatic increase in page views, followers, more sales...etc. One bloggers reach only goes so far. It's important to understand that growing your blog takes time, and sponsoring & buying ad space is just another stepping stone. But I promise you, that if you do the things I've listed here... your ad will have much stronger impact, because your advertiser was given great content to share. And people will in turn, take notice. Slow & steady wins the race. Or something like that. lol

7) Reach out.
Don't be afraid to reach out. Clicking the "buy" button shouldn't be the last interaction you have with the blogger you just paid to promote for you. If they don't contact you within a day or two, don't be afraid to e-mail them to get the ball rolling. And throughout your advertising period, if you have something specific you want help promoting, don't be afraid to ask. What's the worst that could happen? They say no? And... that might happen from time to time. If it's something that they don't feel will go over well with their audience, or something they simply don't have time to do, they might say no. But... it's worth a shot. But I think you'll find that most times, they will be more than willing to share your content in at least one of their channels.

Hope this helps!! I can speak from experience, that sponsorship does work. And it's not just about the numbers, it's about the community. If you buy an ad from a blog that genuinely cares about you, you will notice a huge sense of support, not just from them, but from their other sponsors as well. And my last piece of advise... do your research! Make sure that you find someone that is willing to work for you, and get to know you. It will make a world of difference :)


Karly Gomez said...

Great tips Mandy! Sponsoring a blog can be so rewarding, and you're pretty much tops on the list!

Fran said...

Great tips Mandy! I'm still really new to this whole sponsoring blogs thing so it's nice to have some tips, I have to say though, it's always so hard to be all "hey, can you promote this?!" haha

Gracie Lathrop said...

This is great! I obviously love working with you and your blog but these tips and my experience with you have helped me find other blogs to advertise with too. Thanks friend!

melissa rohr said...

Haha, so this post totally inspired me to go back and pinterest-ify my main review picture on my post today :) Ps, I hate my new camera and am dying on the inside :( It takes the WORST low light photos but I guess I have hopes for outside pics still...

Jasmine Maria said...

Thanks for the tips. I've been trying to regrow my blog since I deleted my old one that had over 400+ followers so now I'm starting from scratch!!

Jess Beer said...

Thank you for this, especially the Pinterest one! Will be going back to older posts and making them more pinnable!!!

Rebecca said...

great advice! You have been THE BEST blog that I have ever sponsored. It is very evident that you genuinely take interest in your sponsors. You have done such an excellent job with giving shout outs for my blog! I can't thank you enough for the way you interact and for the way you diligently get my blog "out there!" I will probably sponsor your blog for the rest of my life. xoxoxo

Tara said...

your not so eye catching and eye catching photo... IS AMAZING. I love the comarison! And it is so true! I am a photographer, however I feel my internet space is lacking! Personally and professionally! This gives me a kick in the rear to make my internet space much more of attention and what it should be! Watch out- I will be advertising with you! once I get everything the way it should! :)

Erica @ So Much Sunshine said...

Great post girl! I agree about making things look pretty. It is a huge helper.

--ami said...

I just came across your blog tonight! I LOVE this post! I also started my blog out as a way to keep connected with family and friends- but now i'm ready to really dive in and take it more seriously. Thanks for all the tips! :)

Anonymous said...

Great tips as I am just starting to get into sponsoring! Trying out my first one this month! Your posts have helped clear up a bit of confusion for someone just stepping onto the sponsoring path.


Sarah [NurseLovesFarmer.com] said...

You and Chelsea are the best sponsees (is that a word?) I've ever had. You take the time to read and promote my stuff without even having to ask. One of the best pieces of advice I can give as a blogger is to go back on old posts and make them more pin-able! I've gotten such an increase in traffic doing just that! Great post!

Anonymous said...

Great post, Mandy! Lots of good advice.

Hayley! said...

Great tips! Numbers 4 and 7 especially! I always find it so frustrating when someone sponsors my blog, but doesn't actively post or pursue blogging at all. I hate not being able to give them my all as a host!!

Meagan R. said...

Thanks so much for sharing! I am completely new to blogging so the whole sponsoring and advertising thing is so confusing to me, but this helped clear things up a lot! Hopefully I will be able to join in on sponsoring one day!