How to Get Sponsors for Your Blog | Theresa Christine | Skillshare
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7 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Introduction to Class

      2:47
    • 2. Preparing for Sponsorship

      4:03
    • 3. The One Tool You Need for Sponsorships

      5:16
    • 4. The Forms of Sponsorship (and $$$ talk)

      6:12
    • 5. Finding and Approaching Sponsors

      4:55
    • 6. Keeping Sponsors Happy (and Sponsoring)

      3:42
    • 7. Final Thoughts

      0:55
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About This Class

If you've ever wondered how you can monetize your blog with sponsors, then you have found the right course to get you on your way! Throughout the lessons, you'll learn:

  • the one thing you really need to properly pitch to companies, businesses, and entrepreneurs who would be interested in sponsoring you
  • how to find and approach these people
  • the many different forms that sponsorship can take (from guest posts to social media coverage to videos and more)
  • pricing and how much you should charge
  • how to keep your sponsors happy so that you can have a continued relationship with them

This course is perfect for people who have reached the point where they're interested in monetizing but don't know how to do it. It's also suitable for beginning bloggers who would like to pave the way for sponsors once they're a little more experienced.

I'm excited to have you in class! 

Meet Your Teacher

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Theresa Christine

Freelance Travel Writer + Blogger

Teacher

 

Growing up, I'd only ever written for my own personal enjoyment. Then, in 2013, I started a travel blog and it changed everything. Through my blog Tremendous Times I discovered a love, passion, and talent for writing that has transformed into a full-time, fulfilling career as a travel writer.

 

 

When I started focusing on travel writing, I put a pause on my blog for a while. I'm now in the process of revamping it (v exciting!), but I still kept up my bi-weekly(ish) email updates. My newsletter, Delve, continues to be the place where I have the most intimate and honest conversations with the people who follow me. It's the kind of stuff I can't pitch to a magazine, but I still want to share. 

 

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Transcripts

1. Introduction to Class: Hi. My name is Theresa Christine, and I am a freelance writer and a blogger. I would like to welcome you to the class, How to Get Sponsors for Your Blog. I have been blogging on Tremendous Times since 2013, and I've actually been blogging long before then as well. Pretty quickly after you start your blog, you realize that no one's actually going to pay you just to blog. It's not like you have an employer who is like, "Oh, you posted something today, great. Here's your paycheck." It doesn't really work like that. You have to actually find ways to monetize your blog, and that is what this course is going to be about, specifically about sponsors. So, I'm going to be discussing with you how you can prepare your blog for getting sponsorship. The one big tool that you really need if you want to land sponsors on your site. Where in the world you can even find these people to begin with? These entrepreneurs, and businesses, and companies who will hopefully want to partner with you. I'm going to go over how you can find these people and also the different forms that sponsorship can take because there are a few different ways that you can go about sponsorship, and you need to figure out what's best for you and for your blog. It is possible to make money blogging. It's just not necessarily the way that you might have originally thought when you started your blog. So that's what I want to try and teach you, is a way that you can actually make money from your blog. If you're a newbie blogger, then this is a really great course for you to just pave the way and get things set up for sponsorship in the future. If you were like right on the cusp and really feeling like you are ready for sponsorship, this course is for you. It is really going to help you figure things out and get ready so that you can land those sponsors, and increase your paycheck, and get paid for the amazing work that you're doing. Your project for this course is going to be using these resources to figure out your game plan, and what it is that you need to do for your site, what you can change now, and what you should be looking for in the future so that when you're ready to pitch to your first sponsor, you will feel confident and 100 percent ready to go. So, welcome to class. I'm really excited to have you in here. If you have any questions throughout any of these lessons, please post them below. Otherwise, welcome to class and when you're ready go ahead and move on to the next lesson. 2. Preparing for Sponsorship: Hello and welcome back to how to get sponsors for your blog. In this session, I'm going to talk about what you need to do before you seriously start considering getting sponsors. Obviously, it's really nice to think about making money off of your blog but you do have to ask yourself, what is the worth here for my sponsor? Will I offer them increased sales, a wider fan base? Will I get them email sign-ups? Whatever it is, remember that sponsors aren't just going to partner with you simply because they like you, although of course this certainly does help, sponsors partner with you essentially because of what you can offer them. When sponsors reach out to you, they might be interested in the social media reach that you have or the number of newsletter subscribers that you have. Very often, potential sponsors want to know the number of page views that you get on your site. The more people visiting your blog, the more chances of them getting seen. If you are just starting out as a blogger, you may not feel like you have a lot to offer in this department and that is wholly understandable. Know that everybody starts somewhere and also understand that page views aren't everything, engagement is much more important in the long run. Honestly, sometimes even the most visited sites will struggle to get sponsors. The reason is because they don't have any worthwhile content. You can have a lot of people visiting your blog. But if in your blogging feature you want to approach companies or businesses or entrepreneurs about sponsorship, you need to make sure that your content is not just there, that it's actually giving your readers value and engaging them. The best way to do this is by providing regular blog posts that are well-written and encourage engagement from your audience. You'll be surprised how quickly people will start to notice you and your blog once you're putting out regular awesome posts. In fact, you might have already reached that point. You might have some companies reaching out to you about sponsorship and that's the whole reason you're taking this course. You're feeling confused and you just don't know what the next step is. Well, before you get all caught up about the payment situation, which I will go into in a couple of the lessons later on down the road, the first thing that you need to think about is, is this a good fit? The most important thing is to make sure that you choose sponsors that you would actually want to partner with. This company is a reflection of you and your blog. So you need to make sure that their values and interests align with yours and with your readers. As a travel blogger geared towards mid 20 travelers, I would probably turn down a sponsor for a product that is geared towards the 40 plus crowd. It would really just confuse my readers and it wouldn't get much interest from them and that would mean that my sponsor wouldn't get much attention, if any, and they would wonder why they put money towards me in the first place. So it's a lose-lose situation. For this lesson, you are going to do a few things. First, you should go ahead and gather your numbers. Take a note of how many social media followers and email subscribers you have and check your Google Analytics to determine your daily and monthly page views. Additionally, your ongoing homework for this lesson is to continue to write awesome content. You are never going to get sponsors for your blog if you are writing mediocre posts. Make sure that you really up the ante and make them the best that you possibly can. If you do need help with that, you can check out my other classes. I do have some classes on writing great blog content and that might help you craft up some good posts to get your readers excited and look good to potential sponsors. Once you've done that, it's time to move on to the next video. 3. The One Tool You Need for Sponsorships: Hello and welcome back to how to get blog sponsorships. This lesson is dedicated to the media kit. If you are serious about landings sponsorship anytime soon, you are going to need one of these babies. A media kit gathers all of the vital information about your blog in one place so that potential partners can look through it and determine if you seem like a good fit for their company to sponsor or work with. Instead of just writing out a long e-mail, letting a company know how many social media followers you have and what the mission of your blog is, a media kit makes it much more visually appealing and much easier to get through. The way that I like to think of it is that you are showing instead of telling. It's tricky because media kits are all different depending on the type of blog you have, how long your blog has been established, and what kind of sponsorships you're looking for. Generally though, they should include your blog name and contact information, this is very important, information about your blogs mission, your ideal readers information like their age and geographic location, the number of monthly visitors, and unique views that you have, the number of social media followers or e-mail subscribers that you have or both, testimonials, and or a portfolio of previous work, a biography of you and a picture as well, and your blogs logo. If you'd like, you can also add in an FAQ section, rates, previous clients that you've had, or an image of your blogs homepage. I've included many examples in the notes of media kits so you can see how this gets put into action. You will notice that every single one is a little bit different. To make your media kit, you have a few options. First of all, the easiest option is to hire someone. This is a great way to go if you know someone who is talented and is up for the job and you have the money to spend, you can get everything to look super professional and branded, and it's great because if you don't have the time or desire to do it yourself that's a non-issue. You might also find that you have the skills to make one yourself if you have any design experience with InDesign or other specific design software, you can create your own. You can also go the DIY route, which is often the most appealing to new bloggers who have a limited budget and who also have no design experience. I know that Canva gets a really awesome reputation and I love Canva, but I do not recommend trying to make something from absolute scratch unless you are super confident in your eye for design, and have a lot of extra time on your hands. A happy medium is to find a media kit template online. There are some bloggers I know who actually have something like this for free, it's like an opt-in freebie that they offer. Otherwise, you can check places like Etsy, which is where I found mine, and I will leave a link for it. That is a great place to start because I was able to purchase it for an affordable rate and customize it to be my own. The bottom line when it comes to a media kit is that, if you're going to reach up to sponsors, you need to have one. Figure out which one of these options works best for you right now, and if that means that you have to DIY it, don't worry that's an awesome option and it can still look amazing. If you are just starting out, and you don't have a lot of information for your blog yet, maybe you don't have a ton of social media followers and no previous work with sponsors at all, don't sweat it. The bottom line with media kits is that if you're reaching out to potential sponsors, you need to have one. It looks so much more professional to have a media kit, even if it's just one page, then to e-mail someone and train, write out all the information they need to know in the e-mail. Go ahead and figure out which one of these options works best for you right now. Even if it's just a page and only features the basics like your blog name, mission, and services you offer, it is such a step above not having one at all. Now for this lesson, I really want you to take some time and look through the media kits that I listed in the notes and also check and see if any of your favorite blogs have their media kits available for download. If you go onto their site, it might be under a press or a Work With Me tab. Check them out, see what you do and don't like, and get some ideas for your own. Also, again, think about what option you'd be most interested in going with for creating your own media kit. Now once you have done this, you are ready to move on to the next video. 4. The Forms of Sponsorship (and $$$ talk): Hello, and welcome back to how to get blog sponsorships. Now, at this point, you are probably a little curious to know what kind of sponsorships you can even offer and what you should charge. Now, there is no magic answer here, I'm sad to say, but I do have some advice that will help you. First, when it comes to the type of sponsorship that you can offer, ad space is one of the most common ones. This is where sponsors pay you to place an ad for their product or service on your site. Sponsors then hope that visitors will click and buy, and they'll be more inclined to renew sponsorship the more that that happens. Another common option with sponsorship is a sponsored post, and that is where you write an actual blog post about the product or service, or it might not even be directly related. I have seen some blogs where a post test sponsored by a certain company and they're just trying to get their name out there. Now, these are both great options and they are tried and true, but you can go well beyond that. You will especially need to do this if you feel like you don't really have a lot of page views or a big social media following to keep sponsors happy, the last thing that you want to do is sell ad space and only have three people click on it. It's time to get creative. Think outside the box and consider what skills that you can offer. Here's some ideas. Offer a social media takeover on one or more of their platforms. Offer social media mentions or coverage on your own channels. Offer to do a video about them, or their product, or their service, or included in one of your videos. Mention them on your podcast. Consult with them on something that you're very good at. Line up speaking engagements. Offer product or service reviews or even testimonials for them. Do guest posts on their blog, or do management for their blog or their website. Once you've got an idea of what services you can offer for sponsorship, the big question then becomes how much do you charge? This is definitely tricky. You don't want to charge too much and then not have anyone interested in working with you, and you don't want to charge too little, and get booked up so far in advance with a rate that doesn't actually reflect your worth. I will say as a side note, this is why I choose not to include my rates in my media kit and I instead work with each sponsor individually, to determine a rate that works for me and for their budget. Back to pricing, quite honestly, the only tangible guesstimate I have ever seen is for ad space and I have to say I think it's pretty fair. For every view, you get one-tenth of a cent, so 0.001. If you have 30,000 views in a month, then ad space for that month would be $30. It might take a little bit of trial and error to figure out what to charge for each service and it will definitely depend on what you plan to offer. For example, if you can offer some video service to them, that is incredibly lucrative because video is more specialized, it's not something that everybody can do, and it is a very popular, constantly growing medium. You may however, decide to give a break for an ad that will also let you use an affiliate link rather than just use you for advertising space. This means that you might be even more inclined to push that advertisement and get some more affiliate money. Most importantly, consider your time investment and do not charge under an hourly rate for the whole project. If you are going to do a series of four sponsored posts, and it's going to take you 12 hours and your usual hourly rate is $20, then you definitely should not go below $240, at least cover your bases in that regard. Of course, if you are more experienced, you may charge a higher hourly rate and that's okay too. Remember, it's all about what you bring to the table and I definitely do not believe that you should be working for mere pennies. The point is that the minimum you should charge should be about the hourly rate that you would get for what you're putting into everything. Now, that said, when you're just starting with sponsors, you may try out a few at a slightly lower rate, just to build up your portfolio. For those of you who are worried about not having any testimonials, this is a great way to get some. I honestly wish that I could offer you a definite set number of what to charge, but it's simply impossible. It really depends on you, your blog, your expertise and experience, and the services and level of skills that you offer. It's just so many different factors. Just remember, your time commitment is important and you should be earning a fair hourly rate from what you charge. Bloggers are powerful influencers and companies know that. That's why they work with bloggers. You need to make sure that you can agree with them on a number that is fair to them and fair to you. Now, for this lesson, consider what kind of blog sponsorship services you can offer. Remember to get creative here and really think outside the typical offerings that you've seen before. Also refer to some of those other media kits and see what might be in there. In your project, make sure that you list out any special skills that you have or ways that you can work with a business in a more specialized way, because this is something that will definitely make you stand out. Now, once you've done this, it's time to move on to the next video. 5. Finding and Approaching Sponsors: Hi, and welcome back to, How To Get Blog Sponsorships. I am now going to talk to you about how you can find and approach potential sponsors. In some cases, you might have a company reach out to you and this is awesome. In that situation, you will simply reply with a brief email and attach your media kit like the pro blogger that you are and see where things go. However, once you're ready and you have your media kit and you feel like you can offer value to your sponsors, you should also seek out these opportunities and see who might be interested in pairing up with you by sending out e-mails. Before you just send your media kit off into cyberspace to anyone and everyone, go ahead and sit down for five minutes and brainstorm what companies you would ideally want to partner with. Hotels, toy companies, makeup brands, list out specific ones and really dream big here. If you are a makeup blogger and your big dream is to work with Sephora, don't discount that right now. You might not be that experienced at the moment, but in the future, you will be. Additionally, do some research to find smaller brands. That would be a really good start for you right now, since they might have less exposure and would be excited to partner with you. Again, if you're the makeup blogger and you want to work with Sephora sometime in the future, but you're not quite there yet, you could see if there are any local makeup companies where you live. Reaching out to a company that you have never contacted before is considered a cold e-mail. They don't know who you are and you really have to win them over in that initial e-mail and wow them with your media kit. This is a lot of pressure. However, you can lessen the pressure by changing that from a cold e-mail or a cold lead to a warm one. That means that you want to try and build up some relationship with them before you reach out to them personally. The best way to do this is by interacting with them on social media. Comment on their Facebook updates, Tweet at them and that way when they receive your initial email, they will feel more connected to you. One trick that I like to do is create a private Twitter list. You can create lists on Twitter, which is a very good platform where companies are known to hang out, and you can keep your list private. Just companies that you might be interested in working with. Every day, go in, see what these companies are saying and reply to them and interact with them. That's a great way to warm up your relationship. When it's time to reach out to companies and businesses, try your hardest to find their press Tab on their website. See if there's anyone specific that you should be reaching out to regarding inquires rather than just their general info at e-mail. Your e-mail should be brief. It should introduce you, your blog and encourage them to check out your media kit to learn more. Remember that your media kit is on your side. It's there to work for you, it is there to show and not tell. Let it do just that. Something else that's helpful to sprinkle in there is some statistic, such as the fact that nearly 40 percent of marketers cite blogs as the most valuable type of content marketing. This will get a potential sponsor to realize that you're not just doing them a favor, you're not just looking for free products, you're not just looking for a free hotel stay, you are wanting to partner up and help their business because you have something to offer, and you can help them take some serious steps to getting noticed and building up customer trust in their company. Also, you should include any important dates or deadlines. For example, let's say you're offering ad space. What months are open? Let them know which months they can sponsor you and what your deadline would be to receive payment. If you're interested in doing a product review on the other hand, remind them that Christmas is right around the corner and you're hoping to include them in your gift guide. For this lesson, draft up a version of your cover letter. Remember, keep it brief yet welcoming. Try to include a statistic about blogging or digital media and the future, and include any applicable dates. This is really all that you need to include in the cover letter. Again, just remind these people to take a look at your media kit because it will tell them much more about your audience and how you can help them. Once you've done this, you can move on to the next lesson. 6. Keeping Sponsors Happy (and Sponsoring): Hi. Welcome back to how to get blog sponsors. You have landed a sponsor. What you want to do now is to make sure that you deliver above and beyond. The first way that you can ensure this is by having a very clear sponsorship agreement. This is essentially an invoice. It does not have to be fancy and it details what deliverables you are offering them and what they're paying you. You want to be as clear as possible here, especially in regards to numbers, the deliverables, and the deadlines. So if you say that you're offering social media coverage, that is incredibly vague. What social media platforms will you be using? How many tweets or Facebook updates or Instagram images can they expect? You want the sponsor to know up front what to expect? So in the end, when you exceed that, they will be super happy with you. Good communication is also key. Send progress e-mails along the way and let them know how things are coming along. The last thing that you want is this company that took a chance on you or is paying you a lot of money to be sitting there scratching their heads and wondering, "Wait, is this blogger actually doing what we wanted them to do?" You may be sitting down and working on this project, which is great. But if you're not keeping them in the loop, they're going to feel like you're ghosting them. It makes them feel insecure and maybe they might have made a mistake in partnering with you, and they really won't have any desire to work with you in the future. Aside from staying in touch, also try to go above and beyond what the original agreement was. For example, I offered to do a sponsored post for a Wi-Fi device that I used while traveling, and I had someone take pictures of me using it, and this was so much more than the sponsor expected. It was a small thing, but because we have just agreed on me taking some photos of the product and using some of their company photos. This was amazing to them. They loved my work and they were incredibly happy to have a more personal picture of me using the device, and it was just a small extra touch that left a lasting impression. That's the thing that is going to make a sponsor say, "That blogger was awesome. We should really try and work with them again." I won't lie, getting sponsors is hard, and if you can keep a sponsor happy and make them want to renew with you or work with you again in the future, that means that half the battle is done. Take whatever your sponsorship agreement was and see what extra you can add to it. An additional tweet, mention their name in your newsletter, use the product in a Facebook live video. These small things, will keep them really happy and interested in sponsoring you again in the future. For this lesson, you are going to create a template for your sponsorship agreement. You don't need to go crazy here and don't worry if it's not branded or anything. It is really just important, like I said, to be like an invoice. Detail what your deliverables are and what the deadlines are, and what you're receiving in return. I personally use my media kit template to make mine, but you can use other software like Numbers, Canva or Google Docs if you want to create something simple. Now once you've done this, you can move on to the next lesson. 7. Final Thoughts: Congratulations. You've reached the end of the class. I hope that this has been enlightening and given you a glimpse of how bloggers actually make money and giving you some tools so that you can make money with your blog. Sponsorship is awesome, especially when you pair with the right company and you do it well, it can be such a wonderful experience. If you follow the steps in this class, you will be able to find really great sponsors who will want to partner with you and help your blog grow even more. If you like this class, leave a review and let me know how it helped you and also check out some of my other classes. I talk about writing and blogging here in Skillshare. If you like this one, I have a feeling you will like some of these other ones too. Thank you so much and I hope to see you in another class here on Skillshare soon.