Monday, July 09, 2012

Everything you ever wanted to know about blog sponsorship, Oh my!

This week I was reading a blog post about the ins and outs of blogging.  (By the way isn't blogging about blogging weird?  It's like dreaming about dreaming or reading about reading.  TOTALLY WACK!)  In the post, the blogger said, "I have paid to sponsor... and I wouldn't recommend doing it again. I received a small handful of clicks and even less followers from her. As a modern-day consumer, you are trained to ignore ads. Unless you can guest post for them, I would never advise paying to sponsor someone's blog ever again."  I was surprised when I read this.  I have seen my own blog grow so much faster since I have started sponsoring other blogs, and I have generally had very positive experiences with it.  I guess that's why it shocked me that someone else, a blogger that I like and trust, seemed so against it.

Naturally, I figured I would share what I know about sponsorship, what I look for in a sponsor, and how I know if a sponsorship has been effective for me.  World, I know you are all in desperate want of my sponsorhip expertise, therefore, wait no longer, I shall give it to you!

What I look for in a blog I sponsor:
1. The style of the blog must match my blog style. I have tried sponsoring DIY blogs or recipe blogs and it is always completely ineffective.  Crafty people usually don't care too much about my ramblings about ungrateful teenagers and mediocre firework shows.  They want a craft blog.  So while they might click on my blog once, they're certainly not going to stay.  Find a blogger who is similar in style to you and you'll be more effective.

2.  People I sponsor need to be organized.  If I'm going to give you money, then HELLO, you need to respond to my emails. (Blog pet peeve:  not responding to emails in a timely manner, especially when I have asked a specific question.  I don't expect an hour response time, but within a few days, please!)  It is also very important to me that I know what day the sponsorship begins, when it ends, and when my guest post will go up.  Some of us like to plan our posts on our blog around the guest post on the blogs we sponsor, so I think it's the least someone can do to tell their sponsor when the post is going up.

3.  Don't sponsor with just a button. Although I use them, I am opposed to buttons.  To start with, I don't understand them.  How is that effective advertising?!?  Almost every single button has got a picture of her kissing her husband (mine included!) with some dumb caption like "Life's a beach!".  I have no idea based on that button if I am going to like the personality or writing style of that blogger.  Here's an idea!  How about buttons that are at least somewhat informative?  WHO ARE THE BLOGGER GODS THAT DECIDED WE ALL MUST USE BUTTONS?  Because of my dis-affinity for buttons, (made that word up myself, two points for Bon!) I never sponsor a blog if all that is included is showcasing my button.  I invariably pay the extra for an indiviual guest post.  In my experience this has gone far and beyond the ability of a button to attract viewers.  If a blogger won't let me post on her blog, forget it honey, you ain't getting my money.

4.  Give me a shout out, blogger!   I really couldn't care less if a sponsor mentions me on twitter.  How many people actually see the #FF mentions and go follow their twitters?  Zero to one.  What I do care about is that she gives me a good introduction on her blog. I have sponsored blogs that didn't say anything about my guest post- it was just up.  I have also sponsored blogs where they talk me up a bit, you know, upsell me.  The best blog I ever sponsored was Living in Yellow. (Complete bang for your buck- I received more followers, more hits that day, and more kind, genuine comments than I have from any other sponsorship.)  Erin introduced me with this:  "I think I now realize why I am happy. It’s gotta be because of this girl.  Yes, the one below. Bonnie is one of my beautiful sponsors for March and I am so excited to bless you with her presence. This guest post is hilarious. I would not lie my friends.  See for yourself."  Isn't that amazing?  The percentage of people who are going to read my post went up from 25% to 60% just because Erin gave me a little shout out before my post.

5. A sponsor should say thank you.  A lot.  Hey, we're giving you money aren't we?  Say thank you, damnit!

What I do when I sponsor a blog:

While I definitely want to have a good experience sponsoring a blog, I understand that only half of that comes from the owner of the blog.  The other half comes from me.  If I really want to attract traffic to my blog, I have to do more than slap a post on a bigger, more popular blog.  I have to make the readers WANT to visit my blog.  Here's a few tricks I've used that have worked well for me:

1.  I send my button/guest post/ info when the sponsor asks for it.  Most sponsors are going to give some kind of deadline.  I do everything possible to get all my stuff in my that deadline.  I understand that if I am not cooperative than I'm not going to get any kind of special treatment.  I'll probably get posted on a random holiday/Sunday when no one looks at blogs.  If you want a sponsor to treat you right and take care of you, you gotta play by their rules.

2.  I like to make my guest posts a little weird.  Just a little.  Maybe weird isn't the best word.... Different?  There are millions and millions of blogs out there and I figured there has to be something a little bit quirky or eccentric about mine to get people to read it.  Something that stands out just a little bit from the run of the mill blogs.  I can't tell you how many blog introductions that I've read that go like this, "I'm Bonnie, a twenty something year old who loves her husband, loves to blog, and loves everything DIY."  Nobody is going to click on that because there is absolutely nothing unique about that blogger.  Don't be afraid to be "too different."  I would rather have someone strongly dislike my blog than feel completely apathetic toward it.

3.  Start simple.  I don't usually pay more than $10-20 for a sponsorship.  I'm still small and I haven't made a ton of money off of my blog so paying $50-100 for sponsorship just feels risky to me.  Once I paid $35 for a guest post and it was totally ineffective.  That's the last time I blow that much money on a guest post for awhile.   As far as numbers go, I usually try to sponsor a blog that has around 1000 followers to make sure it is worth the hassle of me writing a guest post.  I have, however, sponsored smaller blogs and had just as much success as the blogs with 1000+ followers

4.  Don't always pay to sponsor.  One of my favorite things to do is find a blog similar in style and size and ask the owner to swap guest post with me.  If the owner doesn't want to, it's no big deal, but there's absolutely nothing to lose.  Sometimes guest post swaps have even more effective for me than a paid sponsorship.  It's win/win- both bloggers get more traffic and the readers of both blogs get exposed to other blogs that they are apt to enjoy.

So what do you think?  Have you sponsored blogs before?  Would you ever or are you strongly opposed to it?  What is your spending limit when sponsoring?  Also, I have been struggling finding blogs to sponsor, so hook me up and tell me which ones you have sponsored and loved.  (You might even want to warn me of those you have you sponsored and unloved... but be gentle with your criticism!)

44 comments:

  1. Urgh I thought that post was a little over the top - its mean to single out a blog like that!

    Swaps are such a good way to go, and no disappointment if it doesn't generate much traffic!

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  2. Great tips! Thank you! I've sponsored Living in Yellow before and was satisfied with my results! I plan to start sponsoring blogs again when I graduate and have more time to put towards my blog.

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  3. We are sponsoring you this month:) Thanks Bon!

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  4. Great post! I had a horrible paid ad experience a few months ago. The blog was recommended to me by another blogger I trusted and it turned out to be a nightmare and cost me $40! I chalk it up to a rookie mistake and now only advertise on blogs I really know.

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  5. I have paid to sponsor and guest post on a VERY popular blog that falls in line with my style of blog. I got a lot of clicks from her and a quite a few followers but when it came time to do the guest post I just couldn't do it. I kinda like getting my followers organically and I felt like paying for a guest post would seem desperate or not genuine. Having said that, I feel try certain that I could have gotten a lot more followers if I had gone through with it. I am no help am I? Anyway I was just trying to give a different view of sponsorship. I do think it works, though. Just not for everyone:)

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  6. Ahhhhhaha I LOVE that my post caused you to write this post!!

    I agree very much with your comments in my post. I found your blog from Erin's Living in Yellow. I found Erin's blog from The Daybook. But I only found out about them because you guys guest posted! Unless somebody's button catches my eye, and basically someone has to be naked or something for me to notice it these days, I never just click over. I was a little disappointed with my sponsorship for Busybeelauren....but then again I only paid $15 for access to her 4,500+ followers, so I can't really complain. I think the only time I would ever pay to sponsor another blog is if they allowed me to write a guest post for them.

    It completely blows my mind that Daybook can charge $300 for a large ad. I realize she has about 10,000 more followers than BBL, but there is no way that people received that many clicks or followers from her if it's anything like BBL did for me.

    PS I liked your first comment. I disagree that it's mean to single out a blog. BBL is in my top favorite blogs. It is what it is.

    Overall, excellent post! I will be linking to this in the future! You are awesome.

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  7. I am so 50/50 regarding paid sponsors. I have had some wonderful experiences with paid sponsors and I have had some awful experiences. I really wish they would specify better what you're paying for (this is where I've learned my lesson big time). I had a blog once that had a 3 month sponsorship deal with guest posts, but they ended up only doing 1 month of guest post..so I'm wondering why I paid for 3 months.

    But..that's where you learn your lesson in blogging. I've honestly started to stop the paid sponsor and really focus on the joy of networking and meeting sincere bloggers who are there because they genuinely want to get to know other bloggers (especially ones that will pay for some space)!

    I loved this post...there really is a lot to think of when blogging that I didn't have any idea about when I started.

    Krista

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  8. I flat out cannot afford to buy sponsorship, but I recently won ads on two different blogs (Truly Lovely & Framed Frosting, holla!) so I put their buttons on my blog. I'm thinking about doing more swaps next month, but I feel like I'm still a little in over my head.

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  9. I have yet to try sponsorship, but I've been wondering the ins and outs for a while now! I've never really known where to go to get into, so I'm really glad you posted this to help clueless bloggers such as myself!

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  10. I am just now learning the world of sponsering/having sponser and this blog (and it's comments) are invaluable!

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  11. Given twelve extra hours in my day I would probably do sponsorships, but my main hurdle (beyond LACK OF TIME!) is the technical stuff....like what is this button business? And how do you get paid??

    I really feel like my grandmother with all this computer stuff...well, maybe someone else's grandmother b/c mine is totally cool (she claims to have invented the phrase "the bomb.")

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  12. Hmm good thoughts, I have certainly considered sponsoring other blogs and in the future I probably will.
    Right now I have swapped with other blogs and I enjoy that, and it's fun to feature the bloggers I swap with on my blog as well.
    I think every one has to find what works for them.

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  13. This is a great post.

    As someone else farther up said, I'd prefer to grow my readership organically. My blog doesn't appeal to everyone and that's fine. I've never sponsored a blog and I don't think I ever will, nor do I think I would ever have sponsors myself.

    That said, the few blogs I read that have sponsors, I rarely click on the links because of exactly what you said with the introduction to the guest post. Different is GOOD.

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  14. I haven't done any sort of sponsorship, paid or swapped. I would really like to start though! Thanks for all of your insight!

    Emily
    jeweltonedlife.blogspot.com

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  15. This post is fantastic! I love your honestly. I am a black and white person. Its either right or its wrong. This post spells it out nicely! Do it right or dont do it ;) loved it! Thanks for the info!

    Oliviamone.blogspot.com

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  16. SPOT ON BON! That should be your nickname, "spot on Bon." Couldn't agree more with everything you said!

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  17. I love this post. I am super new to blogging {a few months} and am still a very small blog in terms of followers. I was considering sponsoring some blogs, but totally agree with you that it shouldn't empty my bank account! Also, I love your description of yourself. I'm not gonna lie... I got super excited because it sounded a lot like me! Also, loved your post about your visit to the gyno in your top ten. Ok, done rambling. You're great!

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  18. by the way, my blog is raspberrybeige.com. just in case you want to take pity on me and check it out.

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  19. this post is very helpful because I just jumped into the idea of sponsoring and such after blogging for a very long while! I am always looking to guest post somewhere, too, as I think that's the best way to meet new bloggers! :)

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  20. LOVE this post. You pretty much read my thoughts on sponsoring.
    When I started blogging I did sponsor swaps. After several months it just didn't feel right to me, and it was a little stressful organizing it, and to be frank, I didn't really feel comfortable promoting some of the blogs that wanted to swap.

    I've gotten the most hits from guest posting for people. I haven't done sponsoring, but my blog is still growing a decent rate, and that's enough for me.
    I've been thinking about paying to sponsor a big blog, but I haven't done it yet. I agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY with you about buttons. I almost never click buttons because I have no idea what the blog is like. I love what you said about paying for sponsorship that lets you guest post. Brilliant.

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  21. i love these tips they are great my problem with sponsorship is that my blog is so different from everyone else no one really wants to take the chance. but it cool i write for me most time anyways

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  22. I like this post. My issue is I have no problem writing on my own blog.. but when it comes to guest posts.. 1. I've never done one. For some reason that makes me feel shy and I'm not sure what to write about. (Hint,hint help with guest post tips...) ;)
    I've only paid to sponsor 1 blog so far and am pretty bummed that's what I put my $ to. I really, really liked her blog but since I'm new to blogging I didn't really think about the fact that she does no sponsor shout outs or options to guest post or giveaway. I sponsored because I liked that she was a young, hippy, stay at home mama and her sponsor page says $ goes to her fam. So while I like her blog.. I should have been a little more careful with my hard earned cash!!! LOL
    Thanks for the tips though.

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  23. These tips are perfect! Every blogger should read them, just sayin :)

    xo Shane

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  24. ps. Wanna swap? ;)

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  25. Hey! I found you through you following my blog sexyselfconfidentwoman.blogspot.com. Thank you! I'm so exited you clicked my link because not only do I now have a super cool follower...I love reading your blog! :-)

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  26. I read both your post and Jennie's post and have grabbed some really helpful tips- thanks :-) I think I need to reconsider how I want to do my sponsorships- I have so far only paid for one sponsorship with disappointing results so far *sigh*. It's so scary to get into all this paid sponsorship stuff- a little part of me doesn't want to pay for followers, but another par of me says its just paying for exposure. So many decisions- thanks though, super helpful :-)

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  27. Thanks for your comment and for following my blog! I'm honored. :) Perhaps I was a little hard on Jef for purely superficial reasons, but hey, that's part of the show right? I will definitely say that now that Sean is gone, I am 100% team Jef. I don't trust Arie at all. He seems like the kind of guy I would tell my girlfriends to stay away from. We shall see!!

    amanda- raspberrybeige.com

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  28. There's SO much to know about blogging! It's absolutely overwhelming. And as much as I love pinterest, I haven't figured out how to post stuff from my blog on there. Help? Thanks for this info, too!

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  29. These are such great tips! I am just dipping my toes into the sponsorship water, and I definitely need all the help I can get!

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  30. I love your blogging tips, and I find you quite funny :)

    Pretty Living

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  31. One thing to consider though is that a lot of people actually just skip over the sponsor intro posts in their readers. I know I do. If you're depending on those to get you noticed… there are a lot more efficient ways to advertise.

    I agree that guest posting is definitely a great option and usually gets a lot of attention and views. I try to do some of those every month, but honestly I'm glad not all my sponsors have this option because that'd be entirely too much work.

    Also, a well-designed button will totally make me click. Just saying. Don't underestimate the power of visual advertising.

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  32. wow. this was an eye opener into another world of blogging. Great info, but I wish you would have started with some basics for us pathetically uninformed bloggers. Like, what's a sponsor?
    Leslie (aka gwen moss)

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  33. This is a great insightful post. I'm still on the fence about sponsoring. More on the side of no then yes. I have two buttons on my blogs but those were swaps that people asked me to do. It feels weird to be paying money to post or have a button on a blog and even weirder to collect money for people to be on mine. I just can't wrap my head around it yet. Doing something like that is sort of like seeing my blog as a business and I don't view it that way. Even all of these giveaways seem to be getting out of hand. Oh, I enter all right and I even won one but I've only hosted 2 on my blog. Maybe this is why I don't have a lot of followers? And I'm okay with that.

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  34. I totally agree that weird guest posts are the way to go! You have to intrigue the other blog's audience somehow!

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  35. Such a great post! I love what you said about buttons and guest posting. I am super new to this - and actually had never thought about it like that. I can't wait to follow your blog - you are a super encouragement!

    Ginny
    www.moderncommonplacebook.com

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  36. I just found you via the link up at Kisses & Croissants and am so happy I did! I've been curious about sponsoring and whether or not it's right for me and your post has answered a lot of questions for me, thank you! :)

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  37. Excellent tips! Really enlightened me :D

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  38. So thankful to read this! It's really uplifting to hear that everyone has to start somewhere because I can loose sight of that quickly! I just started my blog and now I know where to go from here :) Thanks girl!

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  39. I disagree with #1. I am a DIY blogger and I almost never read, follow, comment on or bother with other DIY blogs. Instead, I read yours religiously along w/all of the people you tell me to follow. I am a good payer-attentioner that way. I think it's more about personalities meshing (if you don't curse and I don't curse or if I say things like eleventy billion and so do you) than our 'styles' being in line that matters to the reader. Plus, if you pick the right DIYer (read: me) you aren't just getting a How To tutorial. You're getting all the crap that went on in my head while I was painting that trash pile find - which is pretty much right in line w/the nonsense that streams your mental cavity whilst manning that white board marker all day long right? :) Right.

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  40. Posts like this are SO helpful to newish bloggers...so THANKYOU times a million! It makes it so much wasier to not have to approach bloggers and ask what the heck "sponsoring" a blog means. Thanks again, Bon!

    Erica
    ericaligenza.wordpress.com

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  41. Thank you Goodness for this post. :D I'm actually saving my lunch money to pay for sponsor ahahaha Thank you Miss Bon :)

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  43. So helpful! I have been doing so much investigative research on blogging/sponsoring and this post was a good read for someone still trying to gain their blogging sea legs like me.

    Thanks for the tips!

    xoxo Kelsey

    hemyselfandpie.blogspot.com

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  44. Do you have any tips for being weird without being too weird? I feel like I'm naturally a kind of awkward/weirdish person, and it works for me in real life.. but sometimes on the blog I it just falls flat.

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