One of the most common questions I get asked is how to get sponsors for your blog. I don’t blame my readers for asking this a lot as well, I’ve been quite vocal in recommending bloggers find sponsors.
The first blog sponsorship I signed was in about 2011, and it was for a car manufacture to take naming rights to a specific section of the blog, and the blogs weekly newsletter. I’d have to dust off my notes, but it was either $20,000 per year, or $50,000 for three years.
This deal was easy money for doing pretty much no additional work. I rebranded the section to include the brands name, I created a leaderboard sized banner space on the websites Homepage, to run adjacent to the section permanently, and changed the subject line and header image in the weekly newsletters.
Now ten years later having done more of these deals, on both the selling and buying side of the equastion, I feel I can teach you how to get sponsors for your blog.
Step 1: Create a blog brands want to be associated with
Not every blog is suitable for brands to sponsor. You need to make sure you have a strong foundation that ticks all the right boxes for the advertisers you are trying to lure. This means a few things:
Let’s go through them one by one:
Essential Ingredient #1: Branding
No brand with $10,000+ to throw on sponsoring a blog, or a blog section, will want to associate with a poorly designed/branded website. One of the key concepts of branding is to associate with other brands that lift your brand up in the eyes of potential consumers.
Your blogs brand doesn’t have to be exceptional, but at least have a tidy domain name (no numbers, hypens, or weird extensions), well-designed logo, no technical errors, and minimal profanity.
Essential Ingredient #2: Traffic
Unfortunately you do need a volume of traffic to attract the mid to large sized brands that are willing to drop good coin on a sponsorship. You won’t be given any attention if your website gets 1,000 or 10,000 users per month, and you approach a brand like Apple or Nissan. At those levels, you’ll be approaching your local tech store or car dealership.
Essential Ingredient #3: Audience
There is one caviet to the traffic rule above, and that is the fact that 1,000 super targeted visitors per month is better than 100,000 mish mash of visitors. This is an important concept when deciding what to blog about, as your topic can heavily influence how you monetize your blog in the future.
The more targeted and niche your visitors are, the easier it is to find a sponsor.
As a real life example I pay about $1,000 per month to a blog to sponsor a section of their website, because I know that section attracts visitors who are likely to buy what I’m selling within the next few days.
Step 2: Create Sponsorship Opportunities
You’ll struggle to get sponsors for you blog if you are offering something bland. Sponsorship means something a little bit special, so you need to think about what you can offer the brands other than some banner ads, or shout outs on social media.
Two of my favourite things to offer are naming rights to an existing section, the creation of a new section, or naming rights of my newsletter. Of course, whatever the brand chooses, they also get some run of the mill ads as well.
Below is the Edmunds.com homepage. I just happened to visit it when there was a large homepage section for BMW, and took this screenshot. I have no idea what the relationship is here, but I see it is obviously a very lucrative arrangement for Edmunds.
Currently what we can see is “Photo Sponsored by” with a link to bmwusa.com. There is also five features articles below the header, with the first also sponsored by BMW.
This could be a one-day arrangement, or a 1 year sponsorship by BMW, I simply don’t know. BUT, what I do know is that now Edmunds has this great spot to sell sponsorships in, they could brainstorm dozens of new sponsors for it.
- “Panasonic Photo of the Day” – Sell the sponsorship to a camera brand, and feature the best automotive photos everyday. They could tie this into a monthly giveaway of the newest Panasonic camera. There are a dozen or so camera companies to approach to sell this sponsorship too.
- “Turtle Wax Photo of The Day” – Do the same as above, but focus on car care products. There are also dozens of these companies to approach.
- “Garmins 2021 Roadtrip Updates” – Edmunds could sell this sections sponsorship to a navigation/GPS brand like Garmin, and feature different road trips around the country. The car enthusiasts that read Edmunds (a car review website) are no doubt also interested in what road trips they could take, and what tech they need to help them.
Essentially my point is, with blog sponsorships, you need to think outside the box. What can you create on your blog that is UNIQUE for the sponsor.
Step 3: Create a media kit
When wooing (is that a word?!) brands who have the budget to sponsor a blog, or a section on a blog, it pays to put your best foot forward on first approach. This means not simply sending a 10 line email saying why they should consider sponsoring your blog, but a well design media kit that includes everything they need to know to make the decision.
Your media kit will showcase your blog, it’s audience, and the opportunities the brand has on your blog.
Get a head start by using our media kit template.
Step 4: Attract & Sign Brands
Now you’ve got your media kit ready, the first place to publish it is on a new page of your blog. This is the ‘Advertise with Us’ page and introduces brands and potential advertisers to your blog. Simply explain what you are all about, where they can download your media kit, and how they can get in touch with you.
Be sure to put plenty of information on this page, as eventually you’ll find that it’ll start to rank organically in the search results. The more brands that come find you, the less cold outreach and pitching you have to do! So even though you mediakit will have a good introduction to your website, and an outline of all the opportunities on your website, be sure to republish the outline and opportunities on your /advertise/ page as well.
Step 5: Find & Pitch brands
One thing I didn’t quite grasp before I knew how to get sponsors for your blog was just how much rejection you’d face. Over time you won’t be bothered by rejection, especially when it is in the form of simply ignoring your emails.
The trick on how to get sponsors for your blog with cold outreach is to play the numbers game, but also keep your pitches targeted. If your blog topic was about second hand car reviews in Belgium, you could probably write to 100 second hand car dealers to see if they would like to sponsor your blog. 80 might not reply, 15 might say no thank you, and 5 you can negotiate with.
With smaller brands, like the second hard car dealerships mentioned above, you might be able to find the person who can make the decision on your first or second email. They might also be able to decide within a week or so. But if you are going after big brands (Hyundai, Dell, Samsung, Nike, etc) you’ll probably spend a few weeks bouncing around finding the right person, or the media agency, then 6 months before you have money in the bank.
Knowing how to get sponsors for your blog can be a game changer in terms of making decent income from your visitors. When I first get my hands on a blog these are my first thoughts on the topic of monetization, in order:
- Firstly, what sections can I sell sponsorships on?
- Which brands will by banner space directly from me?
- What high paying affilaite programs can I work with?
- What digital products can I offer?
- Finally, where can I put an ad network like Adsense?
If you want to better understand how to get sponsors for your blog then it’s worth reading the Sponsorships section within the Monetization Method course. Not only does it teach in-depth how to get sponsors for your blog, but it also covers sponsored articles, sponsored links, display banners, affiliate links, and much much more.