I make around 2.5k a month – so not quite where you’re aiming but close! I can say that it’s entirely possible and it’s not nearly as difficult as people are going to tell you.
I started making money as an 18 year old college student balancing blogging with a full course load, devoting maybe four hours a week to it. At that time I made about $500 a month, but now that I spend about 10 hours a week blogging I make significantly more.
For me, most of my money comes from collaborating with brands – I charge $400 to feature a brand in a post and try to do a few features a month.
- What is sponsored content?
- Finding companies that will pay for sponsored content
- What should you charge for a sponsored post or paid review?
- Legal responsibility: To disclose or not to disclose?
- Best practices for publishing sponsored content
What are sponsored posts?
- Sponsored posts are articles that a blogger or website owner is paid to publish on their own sites by companies, businesses, and brands related to that site’s niche or topic.
- Sponsored posts can be written by either the site owner/blogger or by the sponsoring brand itself. If you’re hired to write the post as well as publish it on your site, obviously you’ll charge a higher rate than if you’re essentially just renting space on your site.
- Sponsored posts can take a variety of formats, such as reviews, summaries of an offer or offers, announcements of a sale, roundup/list posts, product announcements, videos, infographics.
Finding companies that will pay for sponsored posts
Another good source of sponsors for beginners to build up a portfolio and some experience is local businesses. Identify businesses in your niche who are located near you. If they can’t afford to pay you, you may want to explore some form of bartering. Once you have some experience under your belt, look at partnering with marketing and PR agencies. Form a good relationship with one (or a few), do consistently excellent work, and then you’ll get more work from them in the future.
Similarly, sponsorship market sites such as Cooperatize, PayPerPost, Sponsored Reviews, and Tomoson can help you find sponsors by performing a middleman function, leaving you to concentrate on the writing. For additional resources on where and how to pick up more sponsors, A Beautiful Exchange offers a number of tips for working with media companies and pitching companies directly to build a business relationship and make money online.
What should you charge for a sponsored post or review?
Finding companies and advertisers is the first step to earn money with sponsored content on your website or blog. However, as even the most cursory Google search will prove, the going rates for sponsored content vary wildly. So how do you begin to know how much to charge for writing and publishing a sponsored post on your own site?
SuccessfulBlogging.com’s post on the subject of fair fees for sponsored blog posts suggests that complicated algorithms may not be the best place to start, especially ones that include PageRank as a factor. Rather, traffic and audience alignment should be bigger concerns for reputable brands (and your writing ability, of course). However, some brands may place more importance on other metrics.
One good place to start is to create a media kit for your website or blog. This is simply a collection of documented information about your blog and its readership, including the major analytical metrics such as unique pageviews and bounce rate. Finally, you can get an idea for going rates by looking for posts such as this Babble roundup of 25 bloggers and what they charge per sponsored post. Then adjust for your relative traffic/readership size and your experience level.
To disclose or not to disclose?
Publishing paid content to your audience also comes with a legal responsibility. The biggest issue with sponsored posts is whether or not you should disclose that they are, in fact, sponsored posts. In many countries it’s even the law to disclose sponsored content. For U.S. bloggers, the answer is pretty clear: Yes, you should disclose. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission requires it.
If you’re in the U.S. you must include a clear and conspicuous statement with every sponsored post identifying that the post was paid for by the sponsoring brand. While many bloggers and site owners put their disclosures at the end of the post, the disclosures really should be placed at the beginning. The exact wording of the disclosure is up to you. You can even get creative with the disclosures – just don’t make them so creative that they lose all meaning for your readers.
The FTC’s Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking is an interactive guide that explains more about the disclosure requirement, when it applies, and what sufficient disclosures look like. Even if you’re in a jurisdiction where the FTC rule (or something similar) doesn’t apply to you, it’s still a good idea to let your readers know. Your readers could lose trust in you and your brand if they feel that you’ve misled them, even unintentionally.
Best practices for publishing sponsored posts
As you can see, earning money by publishing sponsored content isn’t rocket science. If you want to start a blog and earn money online, there is some more important advice to consider. Here are a few additional tips and best practices for sponsored posts and paid reviews on your own website or blog:
- Add rel=”nofollow” tag to sponsored links. Many agencies (especially SEOs) will try to insist that you do not add this tag. You can certainly comply, but if you do, charge more and also take into consideration that by doing so, you’re risking your own website’s rankings.
- Time your publication of sponsored posts carefully. Releasing five sponsored posts in a row will most likely turn off your readership. Create and use a good editorial calendar to avoid this.
- Tie the post to your audience. What purpose would the post serve from their perspective? What problem does it solve for them? How does it make their lives easier? If the sponsored post doesn’t help your readers, don’t accept that assignment.
- Choose your clients and projects wisely. Niche yourself, develop your own expertise, and be brave enough to turn down any inquiry that doesn’t meet your own criteria.
- Add value with high-quality images. This will help justify higher rates across the board. If you can work personal images in – for example you or someone you personally know enjoying the sponsored brand or product – so much the better.
- Keep your tone authentic and relatable. You need to hit the sponsor’s major talking points, but try to do it in an organic way. Entertain and educate at the same time, wherever possible.
Join blogger networks.
There are many sites that offer paid opportunities for bloggers. Once you check if you meet the requirements, create a profile and add your blog and some information about it (categories, stats, social media channels), you can browse campaigns or get notified by email if a brand wants to work with you.
Start pitching brands.
Brands might be coming to you one day when your blog is popular and you’ve built relationships in your niche, but for now, you’ll have to do the work.
The answer to how to get sponsored posts for your blog is this: Find brands that resonate with your audience, the ones you’re already a fan of or just those that have partnered with other bloggers in your niche.
That requires research. Once you get their names, head to the website and find their contact information.
Write an email to each brand and say why you’d be a good fit for their campaign. Keep it short and include a paragraph about you, your blog and its reach, and how you can help the company get exposure for their brand with your content.
Stand your ground.
Confidence is key in making money from blog sponsorships.
Know that brands love working with micro-influences and small bloggers with a dedicated audience can be making hundreds of dollars for as little as writing and publishing one sponsored article.
But don’t sell yourself short. Most bloggers earn much less than they deserve because they are scared not to lose an opportunity. It’s much better to be confident as a blogger and work only with brands you’re comfortable with and who have a budget for that.
Create your media kit.
Another key element you should prepare before contacting brands is a media kit.
That’s a file which contains information about you and your blog, together with its reach, details about your niche and audience, prices you work with, payment method you accept and any other requirements you might want to share with a company before collaborating.
Use a free tool like Canva to create a stunning media kit. Then, send it whenever a brand reaches out and wants to know more about the blog, or when you are contacting potential sponsors.
A well-designed media kit saves time but also shows brands you’re taking your brand and blog seriously. It’s yet another big step in learning how to get sponsored posts for your blog.
Increase your traffic numbers.
Growing your blog traffic should always be one of the goals you’re working on as it’s directly related to increasing your monthly income as a blogger too.
More traffic means more clicks on your ads (if you have these on your site) and affiliate links but also more brands starting to notice you and contacting you for partnerships.
Boosting your traffic happens by getting to know your readers better and giving them the content they want, optimizing your articles for search engines, leveraging social media, earning backlinks by writing amazing content and doing guest posting, and more.
I also make a bit of money through ads, nothing substantial though. $200 is a good month, I’ll be ditching the ads soon.
Going to live events is another thing I charge for. I went to Saint Louis Fashion Week in November for $350, and now that I’ve grown I charge $650 for events.
If you’re looking to start monetizing seriously, here a few things I recommend:
- Work on growing your social media following, too. Your blog is the most important, but if you want to work with brands they will want you to have a strong social following.
- Long-form content is the best. If you’re only writing 250 word posts building an audience and getting ranked on Google will take ages. Aim for at least 1000 words, but longer is even better.
- Don’t rely on ads. Yes you can make money with them, but they are inferior compared to becoming a brand affiliate or advertising for companies directly via sponsored posts.
- Consider selling a product like an e-book or course through Teachable to make a lot of money quickly. Bloggers like Melyssa Griffin pull in six figures in a month by selling online courses.
- Be consistent. I always see bloggers who only post twice a month complaining that they aren’t making any money. If you don’t take it seriously you’re not going to profit.
You can make fantastic money blogging, but you have to put in the work. The longer you blog the more momentum you gain and the easier it becomes. So work hard at first, focus on streamlining your process, and don’t give up