I’ve sponsored a whole bunch of bloggers and have been accepting sponsorships for about a year. I’ve had good and bad sponsorship experiences. Mostly good. I’ve worked with bloggers who have helped my blog grow tremendously and those who helped me become a better blogger (and person).
Every once and a while, I wish there were things I could say to people who are considering sponsorship or perhaps have already jumped in. These are not all situations that have happened with me and my sponsors and some are just things I’ve heard about via other bloggers or the occasional twitter rant. But it would be nice if we put it all out there, so here goes:
1. If you don’t do your job, I can’t do mine.
Do not sponsor someone unless you are planning on blogging. I know, it sounds like common sense. If there’s no content, there is nothing for me to share with others and there isn’t much reason for someone to stick around if they do click your ad.
Here’s the thing: most bloggers are nice! If something comes up and suddenly you can’t blog for some reason (life happens!), email the blogger you’ve sponsored. Chances are, they’ll work with you on dates. I would much rather you ask me to postpone your sponsorship than you waste your money advertising when you won’t be adding content.
2. Your blog will not grow from sponsorships alone.
This goes hand in hand with #1. You can buy advertisements on all the biggest blogs and host giveaways galore but if you aren’t posting good content regularly, it probably will just translate to a lot of followers and not a lot of readers. I don’t really know what that does for you except maybe boost your ego a bit.
3. Not all posts are sharable.
Sometimes I cannot think of a singe damn thing to tweet about a sponsors post. So I don’t. And I’m maintaining my credibility by doing so. Some posts can’t be tweeted or pinned or Facebook shared. And that’s okay! Those are every bit as valuable but might not be sharable.
4. Sponsor Guilt is a real thing.
Often times when you buy an ad spot with a blogger, your ad may not start for several weeks or months. The truth is, blogging inspiration ebbs and flows. I’ve had a week or two when I just wasn’t having a good stream of ideas. That’s when I worry others can tell and that I’m not giving my sponsors their moneys worth. In those times, the guilt creeps in. A little good healthy guilt is the reminder of how much I care and don’t want to disappoint you. Can I get an Amen from the other Catholics out there?
One thing I have had happen to me that totally sucks is when bloggers essentially stop blogging during sponsorships. If you are accepting sponsors and stop blogging, you should feel guilty. Give people their money back, yo.
5. We might not be the perfect fit.
Are you a foodie blogger? A mommy blogger? Or a DIY blogger? I am not. Yay for variety! Though I read all kind of blogs, not everyone does. That means that if you buy an ad on my blog, I can’t say for sure that my readers will be in to what you’re in to. I’ve never advertised on a foodie blog but chances are, those readers won’t be as into me as another lifestyle bloggers readers might be.
I’m not saying stick to your own kind but recognize the risk. I won’t turn you down because a. I don’t want to be labeled the bitch of blog world, b. If you have a quality blog of a different subject matter, it’s your decision to take the risk to sponsor blogs on a variety of topics, and c. the money doesn’t suck. That’s the honest truth.
6. Don’t start buying ads until you and your blog are ready.
It always stuns me when people start a blog and jump in head first buying sponsorships. How did they even know to do that? It took me months before I knew what a sponsorship was and why I could or should be doing it.
Though there is nothing wrong with jumping in head first, I think it’s a better use of your money to wait until you have a few months of content to start advertising. Trade ads with people, make friends, tweet other bloggers content and pin their pictures. They’ll love you for it. Once you’ve got enough history that people can back-stalk you when they click your ad (did I just make up that word? that’s when you stalk a blogger all the way back to their early days), it’s probably a good time to go ahead with ads.
7. Giveaways might sound good but probably aren’t.
If you’ve been around here a while, you’ll notice that I do very few giveaways. I don’t offer a giveaway with my sponsorship options and have not organized a big giveaway myself. If another blogger asks me to participate, I might (if I actually like what is being given away).
A lot of bloggers offer giveaways to their sponsors. Then what sometimes happens is they get a free entry (or two, or five) for being the hosting blog, even though they often didn’t include their own money/prizes in the giveaway. That means that your giveaway on their blog is really benefitting them.
I once sponsored a blogger and contributed to the group giveaway only to find that no one could enter the group giveaway until they liked her blog on Facebook. Though I wasn’t super pissed, it did just feel a little off. Giveaways don’t always make me feel good and as I said above, don’t always translate to readers. And I’d rather you be here because you want to, not because I’m always offering you free stuff. Mmkay?
So tell me, as a blog sponsor or the sponsoree, what bothers you or what do you wish that other people knew? Nearly two years into blogging, I still have a lot to learn so I’d love to hear what you think!