As though getting your blog to look and sound how you want wasn’t hard enough, getting actual readers to follow your blog is 10x harder. Most “successful” bloggers probably spend twice as much time networking and marketing their blogs as they do actually blogging, a fact that I think most newbies don’t realize. Just having a beautiful blog isn’t enough if you actually want readers, and as much as people try and claim “the numbers don’t matter,” why would you be blogging unless you wanted someone to actually read what you’re writing?
I’m lucky enough to have a decent amount of disposable income, so I’ve sponsored quite a few bloggers since I launched Oddly Lovely. But even though I have some money to spare on advertising, I also don’t want to waste it on sponsorship packages that aren’t going to give me some decent bang for my buck. One of the biggest questions I receive from other bloggers is who they should sponsor, which is a great question. Here’s what I look for when I’m interested in sponsoring a blog:
1. Will their readers likely be interested in your content?
There is no point in sponsoring a blog that is totally different from your own, because most of their readers likely won’t be interested in what you have to say. For example, it would be silly for me to sponsor a mommy blogger who mostly talked about parenting or a very devout blogger whose readers would likely disapprove of my own takes on spirituality and feminism. Try to imagine the people who read the blog and ask yourself if they would also be interested in reading your own. Do you guys share similar types of posts like outfits or recipes? Do you have a similar aesthetic and voice? If you’re not sure, be honest with yourself about whether you are interested in reading their blog. If you don’t care for their content, their readers probably own’t care for yours.
2. What is the price range?
For me, this pretty much determines whether or not I’m going to sponsor them in the first place. Even if a blogger has a super high number of followers, I just can’t convince myself to shell out $100 for a single sponsorship package. Alternatively, if they’re offering $10 for a sponsored post all about mua, I’m pretty much always down provided they have even a small following. In general, though, I usually expect to pay between $25 and $50 for a good ad on a medium sized site.
3. What are the available sponsorship options?
The truth is, unless a blogger is huge, just a sidebar button probably won’t bring very many new people to your site. Occasionally I’ll spring for it if it’s super affordable, but mostly I’ll look for sponsorship packages that offer a sponsored post interview or guest post or a group giveaway package. Group giveaways on sites like The Freckled Fox or Helene in Between are awesome for growing your followers. (Not so sure about the ethics of sponsoring giveaways? You can read my argument for them in my post about how to get more readers.)
4. What’s the blog’s monthly/daily uniques and pageviews?
This is the number that I always look for in correlation with the price range. If a blogger has a small number of uniques but is offering a sponsored guest post for $20 plus a sidebar ad, I usually find that that’s worthwhile. Alternatively, if a blog that gets 30k uniques a month is offering just a large sidebar button for $20, that might also be worth my time. Basically, no blog is too small or too large – it all depends on cost. That being said, I never bother with a small sidebar ad, even on a huge site.
5. How many social followers do they have and how much engagement do their social presences receive?
Since social followers can be inflated slightly with giveaways, I look at this number after uniques in terms of importance. It’s still a good place to gauge the size of a blogger, however, especially if the sponsorship package says they’re also planning to promote you on social media. Additionally, see how much engagement their posts get – are they being retweeted and repinned? Are they receiving comments? Some Twitter accounts will have a huge follower number, but no one cares about what they say. Those aren’t the blogs you want to sponsor!
6. How many comments do they get per post?
As with social, the number of comments a blog post gets is indicative of how much people actually care about and trust this blogger. If a blog has a very active community with 20+ people commenting on every post, you can bet that they’ll also have at least a handful people clicking through to your own website from their blog.
7. How soon will the sponsorship start?
This might matter less to some of you, but I’m far more inclined to sponsor another blog if my ad launches tomorrow and not in six months. If I’m being honest with myself, I might not be blogging then (who knows!), and so it feels silly to throw down $50 on something so far away. The farthest out I’ve ever sponsored a blog is two months, and even that irks me a bit. It’s really a shame too, because there are so many great blogs with affordable prices that are completely booked months and months out. But, like I said, this might matter less to some of you than it does to me.
Bonus Tip: Ask for recommendations from friends to get an honest opinion
My favorite way to find new bloggers to sponsor, other than just browsing Passionfruit, is to reach out and ask my friends who they have loved to sponsor. Although you can do everything right in terms of finding affordable packages on big sites, the truth is some bloggers have readers that will click-through to your blog more and some bloggers will give you way more social media love than others. You just can’t know until you try, but at least we can all share insider secrets.
Now, the next question you might think to ask is: but, Cat, who are your favorite bloggers to sponsor? I’m so glad you did! Let me tell you:
- The Daily Tay, Saturday Takeover $40
- I got a load of click-throughs to my blog when I mentioned my Plan B post. Definitely one of the best ads I’ve ever done!
- Whispering Sweet Nothings, A Dozen Roses $40
- Although I didn’t receive many new followers when I did a sponsored post and solo giveaway, Shane was a pleasure to work with and gave me loads of social media love.
- But First, Coffee, Espresso Shot $25
- I received a great amount of click-throughs for the cost on this “interview” style post Kallie did for me, not to mention she included tons of pictures.
- The Freckled Fox, Large Ad $50
- The first time I sponsored Emily, I received a good number of click-throughs from the sidebar button plus a load of followers from the group giveaway. But the second time I sponsored her, she didn’t offer a group giveaway and wasn’t responsive when I emailed her about it. I want to say even just the sidebar button is worth it, but sponsor at your own risk.
- Helene in Between, Large Spots $35
- Helene is a delight to work with. I saw an okay number of click-throughs just from the sidebar button, but the real power is in the group giveaway. She’s also very responsive via email.
What’s your experience with sponsoring blogs? Any favorites to recommend to myself and others?