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How to be a Successful Sponsored Blogger

October 4, 2016

paid bdeathtostock_medium10blogger outreachSo, you’re a blogger and you want to attract brands to sponsor posts, send you free stuff or pay you lots of cash? That’s nice. The thing is, there are a zillion bloggers who want this too and don’t make the cut. We work with hundreds of bloggers through our influencer outreach programs and here’s what I can share with you to get you positioned for better offers and maybe even be a better blogger.

The most important thing to know before you try to make money blogging
Blogging for a living is a lot of work. Especially if you are blogging to market products for brands, it requires a ton of hustle. At first–before you build your reputation and your network–it’s going to be even harder because you’ll be posting for free. You’ve got to build a fan base, demonstrate  you can consistently get comments, retweets and social shares. Most brands won’t hire you until you have established that following.

If you want to work for brands you’ve got to hustle

Build up your value in authentic fans and followers who comment on your posts and enter your giveaways.Get your Facebook page verified so you can share sponsored content. Encourage your fan base to engage and grow your page views, your Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook followers. We do review your blog and social shares. Your posts reflects on the brand of the clients we represent. If your writing is embarrassing and full of typos we’re not going to hire you. If you have 10,000 followers on Twitter and none of them engage with you ever, we’re going to assume you paid for followers. That doesn’t do our brands any good because paid followers rarely engage. If you have no fan base and you get 100 unique visits/month to your blog and/or zero comments on your posts, it’s a stretch to pitch you because you’re not going to have the reach brands demand.

Write quality content that matters to your target audience
I know a blogger who is the queen of pitching and getting what she wants in return for a blog post and leveraging her social networks. Good for her! She focuses all of her posts on specific categories she wants to be known for.  When she writes a post it’s something that both supports the goals of the sponsor and intrigues her readers to get engaged. She’s got value for both ends of the deal. Win/win. Brands pay her in merchandise and cash because she’s worth the effort.

Some brands just care about numbers in a giveaway or contest
They’ll give you cut and paste content you barely have to think about and let you give away a product or a gift card. That’s fine if you can make money at it, just know giveaways are work too, and you will lose any jobs that require writing skills or unique content. In this case, you really have to show you can generate a large volume of shares, entries, comments and retweet’s to make it worth it for the brand. These posts usually pay less because the brand doesn’t perceive much effort (Even though we know there is!) so you’ll have to write a lot more posts to break even.

Please think about your domain name
“Missy Pumpkin’s Fairy Treasures and Doo-dads” may seem cute when you come up with it, but you’re going to have to live with it for a long time. Some brands will not associate with you because they deem your domain name silly. Names like “Jane’s Workin’ for Beer Money” may not entice a brand to want to be aligned with your brand. Think about the title and domain name to help classify you properly and get you better SEO too.

Respond quickly
Brands are notorious for posting a call for bloggers to “see who we can find” before they are actually ready to start the campaign. Even so, don’t get jaded. Respond quickly and be there when they need you. They’ll remember that you responded quickly and you’ll find yourself higher on that list and also the next list, and the next. We like to work with responsive people. Life is too short to be reaching out multiple times for one campaign. Remember, we may be contacting a hundred bloggers at a time. The first ones to respond are the first to be considered. We get campaigns that need a fast turn-around quite often and we’re going to reach for our most responsive bloggers first.

Be the 20%
The Pareto Principle tells us that 80% of people will do an OK job and just get by. The other 20%? They’re outstanding. They’re the ones we think of for a new campaign and develop relationships with. They’re the ones who will be asked to join in before we even release the call to the rest of the world. They’re the ones who get the higher paying gigs because we know they’ll come through.

Think before you reply
Every single campaign we have people who respond to the call for bloggers with completely off-base questions or demands because they didn’t read the request at all. It’s a waste of our time and yours. You look bad, we think you don’t listen, it’s just not good. Are you a good fit? Cool. Tell us. But if you’re just blindly applying for everything that crosses your radar with an auto-responder you are wasting a lot of energy.

Where are you?
Yes, many campaigns are national or even global, but if I post a call for bloggers in Ohio and you make that clear in your response? You’re ahead of the game. Don’t bother telling us you have a national or international audience and can reach Ohio from Nevada. We know that, but the brands often want to see local influence.

Show us you actually care
I know, I already said this, but think about what the agency and brand needs and respond appropriately. Every time I get a response that shows the person listens and responds in a personal fashion I move them to the top of the pile for consideration. If the offer says they’re going to pay $100/post and you come in and say you’d like to do it but you charge $650? You’d better be ready to justify the difference. And that doesn’t mean you have 150,000 followers on Facebook. Do they react to your posts? Can you move them to action? That’s what makes the difference to a brand. Remember, part of your job as a blogger is to define your own brand as a reliable and articulate blogger.

Know the rules
As a professional blogger you need to know the rules. The FTC has strict guidelines for endorsements the post in the link is frequently updated, so check it often for changes. These rules cover sponsored posts and how you share on social media. Facebook has recently released new rules for their own network as well. Know what you need to do to comply. Brands are obliged to let you know of these rules and we do that for every campaign as well as monitoring posts for compliance.

Want to work with us?
Awesome. Brands are looking for bloggers for holiday campaigns now. We have offers coming out for custom posts, giveaways, product reviews, live-tweeting events and lots more. Fill in this form and tell us who you are. We’ll be reaching out and making new lists.

If you are a brand or agency looking for blogger outreach campaigns reach out, we’ll get back to you ASAP.

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