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One of the most popular ways to make money from blogging, yet one that is not talked about very openly, is sponsored posts. Particularly sponsored posts with the main goal of getting a link from your blog to a client.
Sponsored posts are one of the easiest and most effective ways to make money from your blog. This is because:
- There are many people looking to buy sponsored posts on blogs.
- Often very little work is involved. Brands usually just want a mention and a link.
- They can pay very well relative to the work involved.
Like everything in blogging, this method of income generation does have some downsides:
- If you are being paid to mention a client then you can get in trouble with Google if you don’t mark the link as nofollow or sponsored (see how and why here).
- It can be hard to connect with clients looking for sponsored posts when your blog is not widely known.
If you think the pros outweight the cons (and I can help you with the second con) then keep reading. As I’m going to explain how to make money with sponsored posts below!
You will learn...
- The different types of sponsored posts
- How to make your blog attractive to clients
- How to find clients
- How much to charge
- How to pitch potential clients
- What happens next
- What to do to make sure you get paid!
1. The different types of sponsored posts
There are basically two types of sponsored posts and these depend on what your client is looking for when they work with you. Clients either want:
- Access to your audience. This means that they will probably want a sponsored post that promotes their company or reviews their products. An example of this type of sponsored post is here.
- A link on your website. They may not care exactly what the blog post about as long as a link to their company fits naturally in the content. An example of this type of sponsored post is here.
Sometimes they are interested in both.
The type of sponsored post that the client is after will determine how you pitch them as they will be interested in different things.
For type 1, they will want to see your influence. For type 2, they will care more about your domain authority (DA).
In this tutorial, I am going to focus on clients who are primarily after a link on your website. You can see more information about pitching clients who want access to your audience in the free guide, Making Money From Sponsored Posts, which you can download here.
2. How to make your blog attractive to clients
For clients who are primarily looking for a link on your blog, the following aspects are the most important:
- The domain authority of your blog.
The higher, the better and you will have more opportunities if your domain authority is over 30. For more information about what domain authority is, how to check it and how to increase it, click here.
- Your blog is kept up to date.
You don’t have to publish new content every day, but you should aim to have new content at least once a month. Also check that other parts of your blog are up to date. Is your about page current? Do you have the year in the footer and is it correct?
- Your blog looks somewhat professional and cared for.
Your blog doesn’t have to look like it’s a professional company, and it can certainly be personal. However, it should load in a reasonable timeframe, not be covered in advertisements and be easy to navigate with no errors.
These are all things that you should care about if you want readers as well so it should not be extra work.
3. How to find clients
The hardest part of making money from sponsored posts is definitely finding clients.
For obvious reasons, bloggers are generally very reluctant to share their contacts.
Other options for finding clients include:
- Swapping contacts with other bloggers
- Having a “work with me” page on your blog so potential clients can contact you
- Using a site like the following to connect with clients:
- http://www.linqia.com/influencers/ – this is for North Americans and you get paid for clicks on the link rather than an upfront payment.
- https://www.cooperatize.com/publishers – this one pays you depending on how many people view your blog post.
How do I find clients? I have always had a trickle of clients contact me via my blog (and now it’s a gush especially since I started being listed in the top 50 travel bloggers list).
I also purchased a list of contacts when a blogging friend approached me with one and this is where I made the majority of money from sponsored posts in my early days.
The best part about buying a list was that I only had to sell a few sponsored posts (which I did in the first few days of having it) to earn my money back. Then it was all profit!
4. How much to charge
There are three things to take into account when working out how much to charge. The first is your domain authority, the second is who is supplying the content and the third is how much you need to make to make it worth your time.
The higher your domain authority, the more you can charge. You won’t see a big difference between, say 25 and 29, but when you hit the 30s, then the 40s+ you will notice more of a difference in how much you can charge and how many opportunities you will get.
There are two options here: you write the content or they supply it.
I recommend the former. It’s faster if they supply it but it will be much better quality and fit into your blog better if you write it yourself. This will minimise the risk of getting in trouble with Google.
You can set different prices for each option.
What is your time worth?
Consider carefully how much your time is worth. Also remember that it’s not just the time to write the post but it’s the time negotiating the price, making any amendments and chasing up payment. Don’t undersell yourself!
I have never valued my time at less than US$50 an hour and I would estimate at least three hours are involved in a sponsored post. More if I have to share it on social media, I need to do a review or there are complicated requirements.
I also recommend an extra charge for sharing the post on social media or to have a permanent link. Otherwise you can say the post will only to be live for a year.
Here is an example of what you might charge if your blog is around DA30:
- Link added to existing post: $100 for 1 year
- Post supplied by client with 1-2 relevant links: $150 for 1 year
- Post written by you with 1-2 relevant links: $250 for 1 year
- Permanent links cost an additional $200
- Social media promotion of post costs an additional $50
I recommend putting your prices slightly higher than you would accept to leave room for negotiation.
The more you charge, the less opportunities you might get. However, you will also need to do less sponsored posts to make the same amount of money.
5. How to pitch potential clients
The most important part when pitching a potential client is to know what the client wants and to address this in your pitch email. Concentrate on illustrating this rather than what you want.
In the case where they primarily want a link, you can get straight to the point. They are going to care most about what your domain authority is and how much the post will cost.
To avoid any confusion or problems later, it’s important to be very clear. I always make sure I clearly list what they will get and what I will get in return (usually money).
You can find a template of the pitch I use in the guide here.
6. What happens next
Four things can happen at this point:
- The potential client replies and says yes
- The potential client replies and wants to negotiate
- The potential client replies and says no
If you haven’t heard back after a week then email again. This is not uncommon at all and I often find potential clients don’t reply to the first email but have a positive response to the second. I also have a second follow up a week after the first if I still don’t hear anything.
If the potential client wants to negotiate, this is completely up to you. If they want to pay less than you want, you could consider adding more to your original offer instead of lowering your prices. For example, doing social media promotion for free.
Once you get a yes, it’s time to write the post.
7. What to do to make sure you get paid!
In an ideal world, you would get paid before doing any work but it can be hard to make this happen. The good news is that I have only not been paid once so as long as you are firm, it’s not hard to get paid but it can be frustrating chasing it up
I have found the following process is the quickest way to ensure I get paid without delay:
- Publish the post as “protected” and set a password for it. You can do that here in WordPress:
- Set the date as a couple of months previous so it’s unlikely to come up on your home page or anywhere your readers might find might.
- Provide the client with the URL, password and payment instructions. Tell them you will make it public and change the date when you have been paid.
- In the same email, ask them if they need an invoice. If they need an invoice, I make one in PayPal. Occasionally they will want it as a document. I still make it in PayPal and then save it as a PDF and send it to them. I receive all payments via PayPal.
- If they haven’t paid after a few days, send a reminder.
- If they still haven’t paid in a week, send them an email saying you will remove the post in 24 hours if they still haven’t paid.
- 99% of the time they pay at this point. If not, remove the post until they pay.
At this point, congratulations! You have made money via sponsored posts!
I hope this tutorial has made the process of attracting, securing and getting paid for sponsored posts much easier for you.
I give even more details in my free chapter, Making Money From Blogging, which you can download here.
Questions? What are your best tips for making more money with sponsored posts?
Find more posts on making money from blogging here.