Recently a student baulked when I suggested he write more blog content for his own blog. “I can’t afford it,” he protested. “My blog’s just a hobby. I need to make money.”
A month later, he got in touch. “I don’t believe it! A client offered to sponsor a post on my blog. How much should I charge?”
Many bloggers never consider writing sponsored posts, but it’s an easy way to generate income from your blog. By the way: it’s not essential to have huge traffic; your blog may have other factors which make it appealing to sponsors.
Blog content: write for readers, then for your sponsors
“Sponsored content” is content you’re paid to write. Fees bloggers charge vary.
Remember your own audience however. Write for them first, then for your sponsors.
Let’s look at how to get started.
1. Get your blog content ready: assess your client list
If you’re writing for a similar audience to your clients’, your first sponsor offers may come from your client list. For example, if you’re a lifestyle blogger and your clients are in the same area, chances are you’ll need to make just a few simple adjustments to get your blog ready to accept sponsored posts.
But what if you’re blogging as a hobby? My student had this problem. He posted on many topics, but primarily about gaming. His clients on the other hand were in various business and finance sectors.
His fix: a blog makeover. He changed his theme to a “news”-style theme and began posting opinion pieces, commenting on the news in his clients’ areas.
By the way, if you’re wondering how the student went from “I can’t afford the time to develop my blog…” to a complete blog makeover? He chatted with other bloggers and discovered how much they were earning per sponsored post. It was way more than he earned per post as a blogger-for-hire, so he decided that the time and expense was worth it.
2. Boost your visibility: grow your social media accounts
Are you using social media? It’s time to grow your social media accounts.
Big tip: remember to share your clients’ content on your social media accounts. (Whether you wrote it or someone else did.) Share your clients’ promotions too, if it makes sense for you.
Use appropriate hashtags. On Pinterest, consider creating a “Clients” board. Your clients will appreciate it; they may even reciprocate.
Worried about time? Save time by creating a social media content calendar as well as a blog content calendar. Then you’ll know exactly what you’re posting and when. Tweeting and commenting on LinkedIn needn’t take much time: five or ten minutes daily is more effective than an hour a month.
3. Think like a magazine: offer upcoming sponsoring opportunities to your clients
If you check out magazines’ websites, you’ll find a Media or Advertising link where they post their themes for upcoming months. That’s their content calendar.
You can do something similar. As your blog grows and you write more sponsored posts, begin targeting companies which might sponsor your blog content. Group the companies into various areas: look for ways to create relevant monthly themes.
Remember major holidays, like Christmas; start offering sponsorships for your December/ January posting schedule in August.
4. “Exclusive”: sponsored posts and your blog content
Be aware that in essence, each sponsored post is an ad for the sponsor. It’s not “blog content” as such. Your audience visits your blog for the content, not to read advertising, so your readers (as we’ve said) always come first.
Practically speaking, this means that you can’t post endless sponsored posts. Limit your sponsored posts, depending on how often you post other content to your blog. No, you’re not losing money…
Think of it this way. If you offer just one sponsored post a month, that’s rare… (Assuming that you post to your blog once or twice a week.) It means that your sponsor gets an exclusive… And you can charge more for that.
TIP: use templates for blog content to add disclosures and other info
It’s easy to forget to add “sponsored by” to your sponsored posts, so create a sponsored-posts blog template to help you to remember the elements you need to include. And the things you need to check, like the copyright of any images you’ll use.
Don’t be shy about writing sponsored posts. Engage your audience. Discuss your upcoming sponsors, and why you hope your readers will support a sponsor.
Writing sponsored posts is a great way to generate income from your blog content. Start thinking about what you can offer sponsors (and your readers) today.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.