If you’re looking to turn your blog into your biz, sponsored posts are one of the ways you can start monetizing your blog! If you’re not ready to pitch to brands for paid sponsored posts, doing a post in exchange for a product is a great way to start (That’s how I started!). As long as you are promoting products you love and that fit with your brand, you can use these types of sponsored posts to help you get paid sponsored posts in the future. If you’re looking to land your fist sponsored post, read on!
Receiving an email to work with a brand you love is so exciting! Whether they find you online or on social media, it feels great that they scouted you out and want to work with you. Just make sure you get out of the relationship what you’re putting in.
If they are offering you a product worth $10, for instance, I would steer clear. It’s not worth the time and effort you’ll put into writing and taking photos for a post. The necklace I received for my first sponsored post costs over $220 Canadian. For me, that was totally worth it, plus I got a necklace I will wear for the rest of my life!
When you’re a new blogger who is growing your following and community, writing posts for product may be how you start out with sponsored posts. If you want to wait until you have a bigger following and get paid, go for it! But if you think it’s worth your time and you really love the product and brand, posts for products can give you leverage when you eventually start reaching out to brands to get paid posts.
Either way, there are key things the “good brands” are looking for in bloggers! This is how I landed my first (and second!) sponsored post! (PS. I talk about when and why you SHOULDN’T take certain sponsored posts at the end of this post, so make sure to stick around!)
1) WRITE GREAT, CONSISTENT CONTENT
If you’re writing awesome content on your blog, and posting to it consistently (AT LEAST four times a month) this is a great sign for brands. They want to work with bloggers who are giving their readers great information and consistent posts!
If a brand visits your blog and you haven’t posted for three weeks, it doesn’t look so good – especially if you are a relatively new blogger. It may make them think you’re not committed to your blog and readers, or don’t really have time to write a sponsored post.
Make sure to post at least once a week (I try for two to three), and post engaging, helpful content that readers want to gobble up! Brands will be dying for you to write about them!
2) POST GENUINE CONTENT
Write about things you care about. When I write about fashion, I often write about my goal to shop more consciously. Apparently this stands out to ethical brands, because my first and second sponsored posts were for ethical brands who give back to the community and are devoted to fair wages and safe working conditions.
Both of these brands reached out to me and both of them mentioned previous posts I had written about conscious shopping, such as this one: My Fashion Resolutions for 2016.
If you write about things you care about, it will resonate with your readers and with brands, and it will make them want to work with you.
3) ENGAGEMENT & COMMUNITY
Having an engaged community on your blog is better than having a massive following with little engagement. If brands see engaged comments on your posts, they see that your readers are loyal and that they trust your opinion. This is attractive to brands because it is more likely that people will look to you for advice on what products to buy, use, etc.
How do you increase engagement?
1. Comment on other blogs. Write down a few blogs that you love with the same focus as yours, and comment on them regularly. The blog owners will often come to your blog and comment, and this makes it easy for other bloggers to find you as well!
2. Join Facebook groups. This has been one of my greatest tactics for ramping up engagement on my posts.
Many blogs have Facebook groups you can join. They have promo days where you can promote your posts, and this is a great way to get people over to your site and engaged.
Check out this post to see some blogger Facebook groups I love!
4) GREAT PHOTOGRAPHY
From what I’ve read, brands prefer if you have original photography for sponsored posts, which makes sense. Most sponsored posts will be for products you wear or use, so having photos of you with the product is pretty much essential.
If you have great photos on your blog, brands will be attracted to this. It shows you know how to use photos to promote either yourself or ideas or products. Some aspects of great photos are: bright, focused, centered, clear, and colourful. They should fit the aesthetic of your brand and be pleasing to the eye.
Since I have a lot of outfit posts on my blog, the brands knew I could do these type of posts with their products, which I’m guessing was appealing!
Check out my beginner’s guide to photography here!
5) A SOLID SOCIAL FOLLOWING
These days, social media is king queen. Choose your favourite platforms and post consistently to them. My Instagram page definitely helped me land these sponsored posts, as both brands talked about it in the intro emails they sent to me.
Want to create an amazing Instagram theme for your page that will make people want to follow you? Check out this post: How To Theme Your Instagram.
And make sure to have your social media handles very visible on your blog’s homepage as well. This way brands can easily click over and check out your pages!
6) CONTACT PAGE
How are brands going to contact you if you don’t tell them exactly how they can? Have a “contact” or “work with me” page clearly visibly on the homepage of your blog and include your email. Make it separate from your “about me” page. This will make it SO easy for brands to contact you, how will they be able to resist?
If you have these 6 key things on your blog, you will be crazy attractive to brands!
But don’t just fall for any sponsored post “opportunity”. There are times when sponsored posts just aren’t for you.
WHEN NOT TO WORK WITH BRANDS:
1) If a brand asks you for dofollow links in your sponsored post.
I didn’t even know what nofollow links were until about a month ago, but if you are linking to a product on someone else’s site in a post for which you were compensated (with money or product) you have to add nofollow links. Google will penalize you if you don’t, which is NOT good for your site’s SEO ranking.
Here is an in-depth post from Free Borbeleta on what they are, and why and how to add them – it’s SUPER easy. But if a brand asks you NOT to add nofollow links, RUN.
2) If they ask you not to tell your readers about the relationship.
Depending on the country/area you live in, for a sponsored post you are typically supposed to let your readers know that you got paid or got free product for said post. I know in the USA this is a MUST, although in Canada I don’t think you have to.
However, if you are Canadian and working with a brand from the US, then I would suggest it. It’s probably just best to always do this just in case! You can write something simple at the top of the post such as:
I received compensation for this post, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Make sure you know what the rules are for your country/area. If you are required to state the relationship with the brand in your post, but a brand asks you not to, politely decline.
Luckily, I have never run into these two issues, but many bloggers do, especially if they’re just starting out. Brands try to take advantage of bloggers who don’t know the rules, so do your research and stay clear!
3) If they offer you a product that doesn’t suit your brand or interests.
Don’t take a sponsored post just to take a sponsored post. It can be exciting when a brand reaches out to you, but don’t promote a product you don’t actually love or that doesn’t suit your brand. Your readers will take notice- and not in a good way.
I’ve had a ton of brands reach out to me about writing a post on a product that I would never actually wear or use. Sometimes it is so far off from my brand it’s almost laughable. This shows me that they don’t actually care about what my blog is about and basically just reach out to anyone in the hopes that someone will work with them. No thanks!
Stay true to yourself and don’t accept the first sponsored post(s) that come your way if they aren’t what you truly want to promote and be associated with. The right ones will come, I promise.
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