Partnering up with awesome companies I LOVE has been one of my favorite parts of blogging, and today, pro blogger Rachel from Joyful Derivatives is here to share some solid tips for obtaining blog sponsorships and other collab opportunities! Enjoy!
“Hey Pete, are blog sponsorships a good way to monetize my blog?”
“But are they really? Some seem totes spammy.”
“But honestly–I don’t have a ton of traffic. Can I still work with cool companies?”
Of course you…
“but I don’t know how to even approach…”
Well let’s learn how, shall we?
Listen to my episode with Rachel from Joyful Derivatives
Let’s dive into some show notes and takeaways 🙂
First, why are sponsorships awesome?
Partnering with brands actually brings a TON of opportunities–not just money-in-exchange-for-blog-post.
- Gives you authority and social proof
- Potentially free products (my own experience!)
- Potentially special deals for your audience
- The X-Factor
The “partnerships X-factor” = When you build relationships with companiess/brands/influencers in your niche, you’re opening the door to great future opportunities you can’t even identify yet.
- Maybe a company comes back and wants to work with you again.
- Maybe they offer you a job (I know a blogger this happened to)
- Maybe the relationship opens up an even bigger relationship
Ya never know, but as my dude Nick True would probably say…
Relationships are the most under-utilized marketing for bloggers.
Before we go any further, there are 2 important “rules”
Repeat after me:
“I shall not accept inbound sponsorship requests for products MY AUDIENCE DOESN’T CARE ABOUT or get value out of.”
“I shall ONLY work with and promote brands and products that I fully believe in.”
You screw either one of those up, and you’ll be selling your readers’ trust.
Stick to companies you love, products you’ve used, etc–and promote them heavily.
blog sponsorship tips:
1 – Your blog isn’t “small,” it’s “growing”
No traffic? No problem (sorta).
Whenever you are pitching anybody for anything–it’s important to highlight your prettiest features, not your stinky feet.
So if you don’t have 10k Pinterest followers or a 40k email list or 500k views/mo–perhaps you have some growth to report!
This looks good.
2 – Have a (well-designed) media kit!
Simply put, a media kit is a 1-2 page PDF that gives a broad overview of
- your blog brand
- your audience
- your size
FAQ: Where should you literally put your media kit?
On your blog about page? Somewhere else?
Rachel’s vote is to treat your media kit like a resume–and tailor it slightly for each pitch!
This requires that you NOT keep it public on your about page.
What else should go on a media kit?
- your photo–my vote is to make these personal and show that YOU are an influencer. People don’t buy stuff from your blog, they buy it from you.
- traffic stats
- email list stats (open rates and CTR too!)
- audience demographics
- social proof–in the form of other companies you’ve worked with! BONUS points if you can show results from those campaigns.
- anything else relevant that’ll show the company you can provide them value.
Brand awareness, traffic via social shares, paid referrals, anything.
3 – How you view $1 and how large companies view $1 is totally different
Let’s say you’re pitching The Home Depot for a blog sponsorship.
I dunno about you, but $3,000 sounds like a lot to me.
However, The Home Depot spends over a million dollars A DAY on marketing. $3,000 is nothing.
It’s important to realize that even small and medium-sized businesses simply look at money in a different way than us broke bloggers!
4 – Make a dream partnership hitlist
If you’re seriously looking to start working with companies in connection to your blog–lemme just warn you: this process is work, and will need to be treated as such.
This is NOT slapping some Amazon affiliate links in your Tuesday blog post.
Working with your favorite brands requires a structured approach to outreach, pitching, negotiation, and collaboration.
And that starts with making a hitlist.
- Click over to your fave spreadsheet provider
- Brainstorm all the products you use on a weekly basis
- Jot down additional companies you’d love to be a part of
Bonus Hustler Step: Make additional columns to rank the companies based on their willingness to work with you, their top social channels you could use to get an “in” as far as outreach, a “date I pitched them” column, and a “date I’ll follow up with them” column.
Once you have a structured list–it’s time to start the real work.
5 – You’ll have to pitch. A lot 🙂
Repeat after me:
“I, [your-name], will not attach my self-worth as a blogger to any FAILED outreach.”
Rachel has made pitching brands a CORE part of her business model, and she pitches 5 a week.
You’re going to get rejected. Probably a lot. Count on it.
6 – Employ empathy!
What’s in it for the brand?
What do they get out of this deal? Is it seriously going to bring them anything? If not–find a way to add value.
This applies to ALL marketing, but especially outreach and pitching! Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to figure out what will make saying “yes” a no-brainer.
How small blogs can still land paid sponsorships
Note: this goes for podcasts too!
If you dive back into some of my old income reports, you’ll note I made sponsorship income in month 1.
With less than 1k traffic.
Boom. Made back my initial investment in my domain and hosting.
The “secret” to collaborating as a new blogger = utilizing every referral weapon in your influencer arsenal.
Here’s one of my old pitches (note that I tried to find every angle possible to drive traffic and awareness.)
The question is–where can you add value?
- banner on site
- blog post mentions
- wear their t-shirt
- change your last name to match their brand name (like Jason)
Furthermore–there was one last thing that helped me land early sponsorships (and have also gotten me access to lots of free blogging tools)…
Or at least convincing brands that I would hustle for them–in fact, I’d literally say something like “I will work my BUTT off to drive more relevant leads to you. I won’t stop until you’re satisfied and feel you’ve gotten your money’s worth.”
Find a unique way to add value to their cause–and show them how you’ll do it.
THAT’S how you make pitching, selling, negotiating, etc, 10x easier.
Drop me a comment below–What do you think of sponsored posts?
Both from a blogger perspective AND reader perspective.
Is this something you want to try?