With the explosion of social media and the ease of creating and distributing content, there is an army of bloggers looking to monetize their blogs.
While trying to make money with your blog is, in the end, a legitimate thing to desire, your focus should't be on the money. Yes, earning a few (or a lot) of bucks is nice but you have to see that as a byproduct of what you're doing, not as a purpose in itself.
What this means is you must focus on your audience and create useful, mind blowing, entertaining content and the sponsors will follow.
However, you may be anxious to get your first blog sponsor and don't wanna wait until they come.
So, whatever you're looking for - money, free outdoor gear to review, electronic gadgets, etc. - if you think you have something to offer, here are three ways to get blog sponsorship.
1. Ask for the sponsorship - "Grab It!"
As simple as this may seem, there are a lot of bloggers out there wanting to be sponsored but they've never sent out a sponsorship request via email... How sad is that!?
Gary Vaynerchuk, incredible wine video blogger and social media specialist, says it best in the video above: "Grab It!".
And by the way, if you're a blogger or interested in creating online content of any sort, you gotta read Gary's books: Chrush It! and The Thank You Economy. You'll get pumped and you'll learn that you can actually create a sustainable business with your blog.
Speaking from my own experience, the only reason I got a new winter sleeping bag and a new climbing rope, was because I wrote about 10 emails, got about 5 replies and actually got just one brand to agree and send me gear: Mammut.
What you have to remember is the law of averages and in this particular case this is the law of large numbers which can be translated into:
The higher the number of your trials, the higher chances of you getting a good result.
So start sending out emails to potential sponsors. Tell them what you're all about, what outdoor activities you do, what you can offer, etc. It doesn't have to be ultra formal. As long as it's sincere, brief and concise you might get that free gear or advertising deal you're looking for.
The funny thing is that brands who reached out to me never asked for traffic stats, they simply wanted to sponsor me. But when you are the one reaching out, it's good to give them some figures right upfront so they know what to expect.
Be honest about your stats and be honest about the impact your articles can make.
No one expects wonders from an individual blogger so neither should you. What most brands want is to be mentioned and be online through the voice of individuals. They want you and your readers or followers to talk about them (hopefully in good terms but that's another story).
For your convenience, I reproduce below one of my email requests (sent to Mammut) along with the latest traffic stats screenshot (image that you should normally attach to your email).
My name is Constantin Gabor and I'm a climber, mountaineer and blogger from Romania.
I would like to offer advertising space and promotion articles to an outdoor gear brand that can sponsor me with a good wintersleeping bag or a down jacket.
You can get any sort of promotional announcements, product reviews, product placements in YouTube videos, links and banners on Highball Blog and you can also host any kind of giveaway contests.
Traffic Stats for Highball Blog (Jan 19 - Feb 18 - 2011):
13,319 Unique Visitors/Month (and growing)
Top Countries Sending Traffic:
4. Romania (my home country)
Visitors are mostly men, interested in mountaineering, climbing, mountain biking, gear reviews and related activities (editing outdoor videos, DIY projects, etc).
I am open to any kind of collaboration according to your current priorities.
I won't take it personal if this sponsorship is not possible.
Thanks for reading this email.
Have a good day!
info at gabtrend dot ro
Yahoo Msg: catascouts
2. Blog to teach and/or entertain
This is just another way of saying Stay away from personal journal land!
If you're not Lady Gaga or Ashton Kutcher, nobody cares too much about you. Except your family and your friends but they get enough of you already so don't expect them to be your most avid readers.
Avoid writing too much about yourself and keep your content oriented to helping your audience. The only time it makes sense to talk about yourself is if your story is somewhat relevant to what you're teaching.
For instance I talk about myself only when my experience may add value to the topic I'm blogging about. I show you how I edit GoPro HD videos and how I built my DIY climbing hangboard coz I know that's what you want to learn. That's why you land on those pages from search results, Twitter, Facebook or your RSS reader.
And I also respect your option of potentially not being interested in what I blog about. How? By being ultra specific in my posts titles - you know from the very start what the article is about so if you're not interested you can just browse away. That's what you should do with your blogging as well.
For online purposes and for getting sponsors over and over again, a blog that speaks only about your realizations (speed swimming records, fast ascents, high climbing grades you were able to pull, long treks, etc.) is not going to do as well as a blog where the content is more about how readers can solve a particular problem.
If you're doing entertainment, the particular problem you're solving is to bring excitement, laughter and smiles on people's faces, if only for 5 minutes.
If you're a successful athlete, the problem you can solve with your blog or videos is to teach people how to train effectively in order to become as successful as you. And so on.
Spill out your secretes and make your content timeless (evergreen).
By the way, notice that my top posts getting traffic in June 2011 were all written in 2010. They're timeless, educational (notice the How To... and Tips) and searched for.
The whole point here is to serve your readers well. This means having a quality blog which means you have readers which means sponsors are interested in advertising with you. You must remember that sponsorship is not a donation and companies want something in return. They also don't want their name to be associated with poor quality content or the wrong people.
The best way to attract sponsors and advertising deals to your blog is to create content for your audience, not for your ego.
3. Forget about writing, do multimedia & physical products = think multi channel
A smart way to attract both readers and sponsors is to create content in multiple formats:
- Videos - easier to consume for your audience and more likely to be shared via social networks
- Podcasts - some people prefer to listen to whatever you have to say while jogging so offer your content in audio format
- Games - if you're a developer and enjoy building games, do one for the particular topic you're obsessed with
- Photos - nature photos or extreme sports shots hosted not only on your blog but on all the other platforms out there
- Artwork - of any kind. From hand crafted items to mountain bike shirts designs made with computer graphics software, etc., etc.
- You build a product that you need - you get benefits by using it
- You can create a tutorial and teach others how to do it (hence the chance to add more content: blog posts - tutorials, videos, pictures, etc)
- Your product may have commercial value and you can sell it (especially when your audience specifically ask you to). This happens to me once in while - I get requests via YouTube comments from people wanting to buy a DIY glidecam - it's not for sale yet. :-)
Recently (July 2011) I've been contacted by a video producer from Bulgaria who's interested in the raw footage from my cliff jumping and DWS trips. They're doing a video to promote Bulgaria as a tourism destination and my "incredible frames" (their words) may be used in their film.
My point? If you only write text, there's less chances you'll get sponsors or potential business deals.
Now, some deals won't go through but if you want the law of large numbers to work, you have to do your part and throw in those large numbers, be it emails, videos or blog posts.
The global audience is more fragmented than ever and this trend will continue as the internet will become a more important part of our lives, propelling us forward into a global economy with small village rules.
If you start a blog and take your publishing effort seriously, you're basically entering the media business. So it's only a mater of time until you make money with your blog or YouTube channel.
Don't forget to:
- Ask for sponsorships
- Blog well and serve your audience
- Deliver content in multiple formats hosted on different platforms (be everywhere)
- Over deliver - both to your readers and to your sponsors
- Do you have any other tips for attracting sponsors to your blog?
- How long did it take you to get your first sponsorship of any kind? It took me about 10 months of blogging and the sponsor was GoalZero.com - they still sponsor me with solar gear.
- Apart from writing articles, what's your next preferred format and why? I love to do adventure videos mostly because I have to "strive" for creativity and I think that's a good process for me. It's also hard work and that brings a sort of discipline with it - another perk of the trade. :-)
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