Sponsored Posts for Bloggers 101

Some of the questions I get the most have to do with sponsored posts. As much as I would like to respond to each of those questions individually, I decided it would be most time effective and, hopefully, helpful, if I wrote a post about everything you wanted to know about sponsored posts!

I’ve been involved with writing sponsored posts since very early on in my blogging career. I felt like it was a good way to make money, get involved with brands I love, and find ideas for new content. Sponsored posts aren’t for everyone, but for our blog, they’ve worked well. I work hard to ensure our sponsored content is written as organically as possible, and I have become rather picky about what content we put on our blog. I believe in being transparent and honest with my readers, and that means only promoting products, companies, and services I believe in! I also love that sponsored Sponsored Post posts will often help me come up with new ideas for posts.

With that said, here is a compilation of common questions I get regarding sponsored posts. Please let me know if I missed anything!

How do you get sponsored posts?
There are many ways to find companies that want you to write about them. The two most common ways are through sponsored post networks and working directly with a company.

Sponsored post companies work as the middle man between bloggers and large companies. You can read all about my favorite sponsored post companies in this post. Many of the opportunities they offer would be unattainable to many bloggers. This is a great place to start, because you can apply for different opps (or they will reach out to you when they have something that fits). You don’t have to worry about finding PR contacts, knowing how much to charge, how to pitch, etc. The rates they offer vary – companies like Social Fabric pay everyone in a certain campaign the same amount. However, with TapInfluence, IZEA, and Mom it Forward, you are paid depending on your influence and reach. I much prefer this, because it means as my blog grows, I can still work with these companies but be paid fairly.

Sponsored post companies do take a cut of the pay, and you never really know how much that is. I’ve seen different sponsored post companies work with the same large companies, yet one sponsored post company would offer a sum of money that was significantly higher than the other – which makes me feel a little uneasy. However, I’m sure there are a lot of factors that play into this!

Reaching out to companies can be intimidating, but it can be very satisfying. I think that this is the best way to work with the companies you want to most. Not everyone company will respond, but when they do, it’s a good feeling!

Have companies reach out to you – Obviously, you can’t control if a company reaches out to you. However, you should make it as easy as possible for them to do so! Make sure you have your contact information easy to find on your website. Some companies will request a media kit, so consider creating one of those.

In my opinion, working directly with a company is far more lucrative and satisfying in the end. The longer I blog, the more I realize how much more I enjoy working directly with companies. For one thing, their budgets tend to be a little bit larger. With sponsored post companies, the budget is spread out among quite a few different bloggers, and the company also takes a cut. When you work directly with a company, I find there is more room for negotiation – not just monetarily, but regarding the theme of the post, the types of social shares they want, etc.

Why am I not getting sponsored posts?
There are a lot of reasons for this. If you are working with a sponsored post company that sends out offers – as opposed to you, such as IZEA or TapInfluence – it might be because you haven’t filled out your profile well. I’ve found that if a company asks for you to fill out a profile for your site, the more complete it is, the better.

Sometimes there are just so many bloggers working with these companies; you might get overlooked, especially if you are just starting. The number one thing I would do is reach out to them, let them know you are interested in sponsored content and ask them what you could do to improve your chances. When I’ve done this in the past, I’ve always been successful.

Other reasons?

Your site has too many ads on it (or they might be too distracting)
Your pictures aren’t high enough quality
Your writing isn’t engaging enough
Sponsored content you have done in the past hasn’t done well
When can you start doing sponsored posts? Am I too small?
Many people wonder if they have a large enough blog for sponsored posts – when can you start doing posts?

The answer is this – it just depends. I know, not the best answer. But it does. There are so many factors that go into sponsored posts and who get picked. While numbers do matter, I think you are never really too small to start working with companies. There are tons of smaller companies out there that are more than willing to work with bloggers. Don’t be afraid to start reaching out as soon as you feel like you have a decent amount of content on your blog, and that you have a following.

I often tell people this – a blog that only has 10,000 monthly page views but they have tons of loyal followers is much better than a blog with a million page views, but no one trusts what they are saying. You just need to be able to sell yourself and show that you do have influence, even if you aren’t large!

Some companies (particularly the sponsored post companies) have a minimum threshold you must reach before they accept you into their network. This varies widely depending on the company, though I find that it’s typically around 20,000. Companies like Influence Central and Weave Media accept smaller blogs, as does IZEA. So be sure to look into those!

What to be wary of?
Almost as soon as I started blogging, I started getting emails from random companies asking me for my sponsored post rates or to put links on my site for them, as well as for random product reviews. I was so thrilled that people were even noticing my blog! However, I quickly realized that most of these companies weren’t working with. I probably get several of these a day still but resist the urge to work with them when you start getting them! Many companies that will reach out to you will be legitimate…but many won’t be. Here are a few things that I would look for in sketchy emails:

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