While many people view advertising as the bane of all evil, bloggers need to eat too. Fortunately, there’s a way for your blog to generate income (and boost your brand) without being full of advertisements all over the place. The answer is sponsorships. Whether you’re partnering with a small local business or a corporate juggernaut, you can find a sponsorship that works symbiotically with both you and your readers.
If you have a blog with plenty of traffic, you may find that advertisers actively seek you out for partnerships. But you aren’t obligated to sit around and wait for them to come to you. You can initiate sponsorships with advertisers you believe would be a great fit for your audience. Regardless of how you find each other, these are a few ways you can nurture relationships with your sponsors.
Make it easy for them.
If an advertiser visits your site and is interested in partnering with you, you may lose them if you don’t have clearly visible advertising options. Create a page that describes your process and what you look for in a potential sponsor. Ideally, the advertiser will have done their due diligence in determining whether or not they’re a good fit for you, but you can clearly state that you only partner with companies your readers want to hear about.
To earn the trust of readers, you should only endorse products you’ve physically handled and those that you feel comfortable standing behind. Inform your advertisers of this and ask them to send samples of your products before you blog about them. Not only will this give you extra expertise, it will also form a more substantial relationship between you, your sponsor, and your audience.
Mention your sponsors when you can.
You don’t ever want it to feel forced, of course, but if you’re blogging about a subject that relates directly to your sponsor or their products, mention them! You’ll increase your clout with the advertiser, and they’ll be more likely to continue sponsoring you in the future. And if you truly believe in their products, this will provide a valuable opportunity to expose your readers to relevant, high-quality merchandise that you think would benefit them.
Share what you know.
Gaining blog sponsorships isn’t simply about making money. You also want to share insightful product information and valuable resources with your readers. If you run a blog for new mothers, for instance, info on the best baby bottles or strollers can be invaluable. You can also offer uncommon or creative ways of using these products, along with illustrations. If you whole-heartedly endorse a company’s products to an interested and invested readership, the business will often match your generosity (and you’ll boost your audience’s trust as a bonus).
Thank your sponsors.
This is important. You don’t necessarily want to shout it from the rooftops that your blog posts are sponsored, but you should acknowledge that they make your work possible. You should always mention in an individual blog post that your reviews are sponsored (albeit your honest impressions), but you can also take the time to write a blog post specifically to thank your sponsors. Make them feel appreciated, and they’ll return the favor.
Once you’ve found the right sponsor, there are many ways you can nurture that relationship. Again, this arrangement should never be entirely about money. You and your sponsor should provide valuable information to your readers without the limiting lens of advertising. If you can strike the right balance, it can be a healthy, advantageous relationship for everyone involved.