Almost a year ago, I took a giant step in the blogging world. I began sponsoring other blogs. I began using my own money, money that I earned from my sponsorship program and from sponsored posts to put myself and my blog out there in hopes that new readers would come from it. I was extremely leery of it at first. I didn’t want to put my hard earned money into something where success wasn’t guaranteed. It might sound silly, but it was a really scary thing for me. I was also worried that Cory wouldn’t be supportive of it. Blogging has always just been a “hobby” for me. And putting money into hobby’s isn’t 100% necessary. You know? But Cory was supportive. It was actually his idea that I start purchasing ads in the first place.
And you know the crazy thing? It actually worked. I can honestly tell you that my blog is where it is today because I put money into it. That old saying that “you have to spend money to make money” has never been so true. Those first few months that I started sponsoring other blogs I saw an enormous boost in my traffic. And I’ve never went a month without sponsoring a blog since.
1. Don’t expect miracles:
I can guarantee you that there’s going to be some trial and error when it comes to figuring out which blogs work for you and which don’t. It’s hard to find other blogs to sponsor that work well with the content you produce on your blog, but when I find that blog that just “works” I tend to stick with them for a while. If you don’t get what you’re looking for from a blog you sponsor, dust yourself off and try again. Sure, it’s a bummer to lose out on the money you invested, but there are no guarantees with sponsorship.
2. Try outside your niche:
Some of the blogs that I’ve sponsored in my niche have done really well for me, but other times I’ve sponsored a blog that’s totally outside of my niche and saw so much more traffic. It’s funny, because there’s more comfort in staying inside your circle and inside your bubble, but you also must remember that when people go to blog’s they might not be finding exactly what they’re looking for. They might actually be looking for what you have to offer.
3. Sometimes bigger isn’t always better:
Sometimes bigger blogs bring lots of traffic, but sometimes smaller blogs bring you even more! It’s the opposite of what you would think, but sometimes smaller bloggers have a more engaged audience. It’s quite the opposite than what you’d originally think, but it’s the truth. Smaller bloggers also have more time to devote to social media promotion which only increases your bang for your buck! Which brings me to my next point…
4. Look at engagement:
This can be found by scrolling through comments on their blog, visiting their Facebook page and checking their interaction on Twitter. Are they social with their followers? Do their followers readily engage and socialize with them? These are the people that you want to sponsor. If their audience is hanging on every word, you can bet your bottom dollar I’m going to find myself a spot on their sidebar.
5. Help them help you:
If your ad space comes with social media promotion, than you need to provide content for them to promote for you. If you’re not providing new content a couple times a week, it makes it extremely hard for that person to promote you. Create fun, vertical, pin-able images with text for your images to be most successful on their Pinterest boards and write share-worthy content on a wide variety of different topics to be successful on Twitter.
And always remember that the blogger you are sponsoring has a life. A life outside of blogging and a life outside of promoting your blog and your content 24/7. Bloggers are human, too, and sometimes sick kids or weekend trips come before promoting your blog or before them producing new content to draw readers to their blog. Life happens. It doesn’t mean that they’re ignoring you or they don’t appreciate you, it’s just the simple fact that there is life outside the interwebs and they will be there for you when they can.
Have you taken the sponsorship plunge? What blogs are your favorite to sponsor?