Hey friends! I’m taking a little break from food and fitness posts today to bring you some blogging tips. I periodically write about blogging, but not very often. It is something that I like to write about now and then since it’s fun!
The past couple years I have done pretty well with sponsored posts. My blog still isn’t huge, and I don’t make a ton of money, but I’ve done a fair share of sponsored posts over the past 5-1/2 years of blogging so I wanted to share some tips and ideas that work great for me.
I blog about fitness, health, and food, so I have a lot of avenues in my blog to create content, so that helps a lot throughout the year. Sometimes fitness work picks up in January, and sometimes food posts pick up during the holidays, so I can kinda stay busy throughout the year.
The exception to this is that sometimes quarter 1 at the beginning of the year a lot of companies are very conservative with their advertising budget so it’s often a slower time in general for sponsored posts and typically lower in RPMs for ad networks as well.
Create a media kit
Take some time to create a media kit that includes your social numbers, blog stats, past clients, a short bio with a photo with location. Some companies want to reach certain areas of the country in their campaigns so that’s an important one to include.
Media kits are great to have on hand so you can quickly respond to potential interest from companies and brands. I created my media kit on Canva, and then I go in and update it every month so it’s always up to date.
Sources of work
Blog networks have provided the bulk of the work I’ve done, but I have had great sponsored collaborations with companies directly and through PR agencies. “Cold calling” or pitching companies can work, but maybe not as well for sponsored posts. I’ve done a lot of this when I first started out connecting with companies for product-only reviews and contacting companies directly usually works better with smaller companies.
Working with companies directly can be nice since you can negotiate with them on deliverables and rates, but that can be a downside too if it takes a lot of time to negotiate and nothing ends up happening
I’ve had a ton of sponsored posts through blog networks, they are a great resource! Some good blog networks for sponsored posts include:
- SITS Girls/Massive Sway
- Cooperatize (haven’t gotten much on here)
- Linqia (I’m not personally a fan of the pay-per-click model)
- Blog Meets Brand
- IZEA (lots of social sharing options)
- Megan Media
- iConnect (lots of mommy opps)
- Activate by Bloglovin’ (formerly Sverve)
- PTPA Media (lots of Canadian opps)
- The Motherhood
- Pollinate Media
- Weave Made Media
If you aren’t in the US, find some networks that are specific to your area, and find out who other bloggers in your area are working with. You might also have better luck reaching out to businesses and PR companies directly.
How much do I charge?
This one gets tricky, if you charge too little you could end up doing too much work for not much pay, but if you charge too much and you might not get enough work. Finding that balance can be difficult, but it’s worth it.
You can decide rates based on what networks offer, what similar blogs charge, or based on a formula, like this one. TapInfluence also has a good formula for figuring out your rate for blog posts, videos, and sponsored social shares based on reach and engagement.
Even if you have small numbers and are just starting out your blog, you should still charge money to compensate for your time to create the content. It’s not all about just pageviews, but having engaged readers and the time you’re putting into your work!
Don’t be afraid to turn down sponsored opportunities
Not all sponsored posts are meant for you! Know your worth and if they want too much work for too little money, think about whether it can still benefit you or not. You might be able to negotiate, but sometimes it’s worth turning down something small for something a bit better down the road.
In the beginning, it’s okay to do some smaller jobs so you can create a portfolio of companies and brands you have worked with. I still do a few product-only posts if I really love the company and want to get involved with them long-term or if the product is of good value to me.
It’s also okay to turn down opportunities that don’t fit your voice or your blog vision. Even if you’re really looking hard for sponsored work, don’t give up your vision! I’ve seen some great paying opportunities for things like diet pills or diet soda, but neither of those fit my philosophies and I wouldn’t feel right promoting them to my readers if I myself don’t believe in using them. If those things fit your ideals, great! If not, don’t feel bad about passing them on.
Sometimes if I don’t want to do a full blog post with a company, I’ll offer to do sponsored social shares instead. Those are easy to do and the earnings can add up if you get plenty of them. IZEA is another great way to do sponsored social shares.
I also get tons of emails from PR companies sending PR updates and asking if I’m interested in getting samples of one thing or another. I never used to know how to respond to those emails (which are often mass-sent anyway). If it’s a product I’m interested in, I will reply with “what’s your budget” or “I’m interested in partnering on a sponsored post if you’re interested!”. 90% of the time I get nothing back, or “we don’t have a budget” and we move on.
Don’t worry about adding “PR friendly” to your social profiles or about page – if you have sponsored posts on your blog companies will know you are PR friendly.
Create useable content in sponsored posts
Once you get work, create useable and (if possible) evergreen content around the brand or product so your posts are still useful for readers. It’s a great idea to go above and beyond simple reviews and create something with it, like recipes, workouts, tutorials, and more.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with your sponsored content, companies love things that set sponsored content apart from everyone else. If you go above and beyond to create amazing content, many companies will come back to work with you again!
Try not to have more than 20% of your content be sponsored
I’ve actually struggled with this one myself where I started doing too much sponsored work and not very much of my own non-sponsored content. I read some articles about sponsored content and they recommended that not more than 20% of your blog content of sponsored content.
For those times when I felt like I was doing too many sponsored posts, I decided it was time to get pickier about the sponsored campaigns I was accepting. I also decided to raise my rates as well: less work for more money. There would be fewer opportunities, but I would be able to do less work for more money.
Got any questions? Feel free to ask in the comments or on social!
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist
4 thoughts on “Sponsored Posts 101: Tips to Make More Money on Your Blog”
I’m definitely struggling with going from writing reviews/sponsored posts for product compensation vs. product + money. As someone with celiac disease who has to eat a strict gluten free diet, I see products as money I don’t have to spend on the “medicine’ (AKA food) that I need.
If you can make that shift to getting paid money in addition to products, it’s worth it! One year I did quite a few product-only campaigns and once it came to tax time I had to pay taxes on all those products as if they were income. It definitely opened my eyes to see that those “free” products aren’t free since we have to pay income taxes on them, in addition to the work I did to write the posts. For a while I was happy to work for free product until I realized I couldn’t pay my bills with food and I still had to pay taxes for that “free” stuff.
The amount of paid sponsored work I do, vs the sponsored work that I turn down…. Ha! it’s like 20/80! Brands these days are SKIMPING and it’s driving me bananas. There are too many bloggers out there these days that are willing to do posts and reviews for just product……. Which shows brands, “oh we don’t have to pay them,” thus the rest of us… SCREWED! Ha!
Yes! Some companies definitely are skimping. I did really well last year (for me) with sponsored posts and I’m curious to see how this year shapes up. I’ve still done a few product-only projects, but only if I really like the company. I’m trying to have more guest bloggers on, too, that helps with variety for my readers.