6 tips to start sponsorship on your blog

Sometimes growing your readership requires a monetary investment so one way to break even is to offer sidebar ads on your website. The concept of blog sponsorship seems easy enough; however, it can be a tricky thing to grasp. If you’re doing it right, it’s time-consuming. You need to give every single one of your sponsors the attention he/she paid for and this means scheduling social media shout-outs, sponsor spotlights, individual guest posts, and monthly giveaways. Some months your giveaways might get more entries than others, and this also goes for readers clicking on sidebar ads. It can be frustrating when some weeks are more successful than others, but it’s important to not get discouraged and to keep giving your sponsors attention. It’s not your fault your readers are more “click happy” on certain days of the week, and you cannot do anything to control this.

If you’re considering sponsorship on your blog, here are a few of my top tips:

6 Tips To Start Sponsorship On Your Blog

1. Start out small.
I used to receive lots of emails from bloggers wanting advice on starting sponsorship. I always told them to start out small so they could get used to devoting their time to blogs other than their own. Open up a few different sized ads in your sponsorship shop and don’t dive into giveaways right away. My ads didn’t start selling for a while, so I gave away a few to blogs in the same niche (or my blog friends) so I could practice. I think this made all the difference!

2. Use tools.
I send a Google Doc to all of my sponsors asking them to fill out questions for their sponsor spotlights. All of this information goes into a spreadsheet I can check off when that times comes. This helps me stay organized. I also keep a sponsorship notebook to keep track of which bloggers have completed their Google Doc questions.

Social media shout-outs can get time-consuming so I use the Buffer App to schedule all of these ahead of time. Buffer does my dirty work and publishes tweets throughout the day.

3. Don’t disappear.
I’ve seen this before. A friend buys an ad on a blogger’s sidebar and said blogger stops posting for a month. Not cool. If you’re offering sponsorship, you need to continue to crank out interesting posts to generate traffic to your site. That’s the only way your sponsors will get clicks, right? If you know of a vacation/wedding/other commitment ahead of time, ask friends to guest post while you’re away.

4. If you have a bad month, offer free ad space.
Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging (because it should) and I might feel like I didn’t give certain bloggers enough attention. This is when I will write an apologetic email and offer a free month of ad space. Usually they’re surprised, but it makes me feel better and makes my “brand” seem more professional.

5. Overwhelmed? Get rid of ad spaces.
Sponsorship got overwhelming for me so I started slowly getting rid of spots in my PassionFruit shop. Because I was offering less ads, I also increased the prices. I don’t want to feel stressed because I have to promote a ton of bloggers, and I want to give everyone a unique sponsorship experience so I think it’s a win-win for everyone! I think individual attention is very important and I want to improve on this.

6. Have fun!
Sponsorship gives you the unique opportunity to meet other bloggers and develop awesome relationships. I’ve met almost all of my blog friends through this — so have fun with it!

Any other concerns? Feel free to leave questions in the comments section. I’m also offering one-on-one blogger workshops to help grow your readership.

       
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Filed Under: Blogging, Blogging Advice36 Comments
  • http://www.theartisticbrunette.com/ Megan Thudium

    Thank you for posting this amazing advice! I thought long and hard about this before I opened up sponsorships this last week. I actually think it’s exciting and fun to be promoting people! It brings out the marketing side of me. :)

    • http://www.postcardsfromrachel.com/ Postcards from Rachel

      Exactly! Plus I love meeting new bloggers. :)

  • Kerry

    I have been thinking about sponsorship but my biggest concern is the back end of the income part. Did you have to set up an LLC or do you just include it as income?

  • http://theannabelleblog.wordpress.com/ Anna Belle

    Thanks for the advice, Rachel! I’m really new to blogging, so I am filing all these ideas away for the right time!

    • http://www.postcardsfromrachel.com/ Postcards from Rachel

      Glad I could help!

  • http://www.sunshine2thesquareinch.blogspot.com/ Beka Johnson

    How many page views / how big does your blog need to be before selling as space? I’ve heard various answers.

    Also – to get as spaces selling I think it’s good to offer a discount at first. That way people can test your blog out and you can get some ads going.

    • http://www.postcardsfromrachel.com/ Postcards from Rachel

      I started sponsorship after blogging for around 5 months. I can’t remember how many followers and views I had, so that’s no help. Sorry! :/ Do whatever feels right, though. You can always offer swaps and then adjust your prices later!

      Yep, discount codes are good. I offered those early one!

  • http://www.kayliwanders.com/ Kayli Schattner

    Great tips!! And like Beka said below, I think it’s great to offer discounts first just to get the ball rolling and ads sold!

    • http://www.sunshine2thesquareinch.blogspot.com/ Beka Johnson

      Thanks, girl!

    • http://www.postcardsfromrachel.com/ Postcards from Rachel

      Definitely! I did swaps and discount codes a lot in the beginning. :)

  • http://jennafinch.blogspot.com/ Jenna

    I think these are all great points. The number one reason I’ve never considered offering sponsorship on my blog is because I hardly have time to maintain my own posts and sponsor/guest post on other blogs. Plus… as we all know… I’m known to disappear every now and again. You’ve been one of my best sponsorship experiences ever, so you’re definitely doing this whole thing right :)

    • http://www.postcardsfromrachel.com/ Postcards from Rachel

      Aww, thanks Jenna!

  • http://lulug1975.blogspot.co.uk/ Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo

    Brilliant tips. I have just added a sponsorship page to my site. I had number 3 happen to me one month and you’re right, so not cool, especially when I’ve paid for it.

    • http://www.postcardsfromrachel.com/ Postcards from Rachel

      I’ve had that happen to me too and it was such a disappointing experience! They could have at least scheduled guest posts or something…

  • http://unlockingkiki.com/ Kaelene Spence

    Great tips, it will be awhile before I think about adding sponsorship to my site but I will def keep these tips in mind.

    • http://www.postcardsfromrachel.com/ Postcards from Rachel

      Glad this post helped!

  • http://www.moderncommonplacebook.com/ Ginny

    This is so good! Thanks! Do you have any tips for marketing your spots without sounding snobby? I don’t like saying “buy my spot!” but I do think I offer a really good deal for the amount of exposure people get. I guess it just takes time :).

    • http://www.postcardsfromrachel.com/ Postcards from Rachel

      I don’t market my spots that often actually. I might Tweet about it every once in a while if I offer a discount code or a free spot. That always helps!

  • http://www.somuchsunshine.com/ Erica @ So Much Sunshine

    Great points! I started offering sponsorship spots this year and gave away the first two months of ad space until I felt like I had it down and could feel good about getting money from it.

    • http://www.postcardsfromrachel.com/ Postcards from Rachel

      Yep, that’s exactly what I did too when I first started out. It’s good practice!

  • http://www.freeborboleta.com/ Fran

    This is so great, I’ve been toying with the idea adding sponsor ads on my blogs so this is perfect!

    • http://www.postcardsfromrachel.com/ Postcards from Rachel

      Glad it helped!

  • http://www.twentysomethingintoronto.com/ Shanondoah Nicholson

    These are great. I’d really like to start offering sponsorship, these tips make me feel like it’s not impossible :)

    • http://www.postcardsfromrachel.com/ Postcards from Rachel

      Not impossible at all. :) Let me know if you ever have any questions when that time comes!

  • http://www.hopeengaged.blogspot.com/ Katie Cook

    Thanks for sharing this Rachel! You are awesome:) xxoo

    • http://www.postcardsfromrachel.com/ Postcards from Rachel

      Aww, you’re too kind. ha. :)

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  • http://www.postcardsfromrachel.com/ Postcards from Rachel

    Definitely! And that makes all the difference!

  • http://www.postcardsfromrachel.com/ Postcards from Rachel

    Exactly! And that’s why I’m slowly getting rid of spots. It got to be too much with moving every six months and trying to figure out our lives. :)

  • http://www.tobagowoman.com/ TobagoWoman

    I particularly like the fact that you removed ad spots when it became too much. Shows that it’s not just about the money to you. Because of this, I look forward to sponsoring your blog in the future. Great tips by the way. Have a good weekend.

    • http://www.postcardsfromrachel.com/ Postcards from Rachel

      Such a great compliment.. thank you!

  • http://catchingcodyk.blogspot.com/ Cody Doll

    I have been blogging for about 2 years now and I am just now feeling like I can offer sponsorship but I had no idea how to go about doing it. This totally helped me!

  • http://www.trendbridged.com TrendBridged

    Hi,Great post!I have a question. In case you do a sponsored post- I know it is good ethics to declare it, however would your readers connect with you the same way? Thanks in advance!

  • http://www.underhonesttrees.com/ Theresa D.

    Great advice!

    How would you recommend going about getting ad space/sponsorships on other blogs? I’ve only recently started investing in my site (with a self-hosted domain) and want to start gaining more of a readership.

    Theresa
    http://www.underhonesttrees.com