I am kind of furious at myself because I wrote this post out and somehow deleted it off my computer. Which is why it has taken so incredibly long for me to re-write it and post it. C’est la vie.
Here I've written out ideas on how to incorporate sponsorship into your blog, but also my thoughts on the matter and some things I think need to be contemplated. I do not consider myself an advanced blogger in the slightest, or claim to be an expert, or want to be an expert, really. I am just sharing a few things that I went though when I recently took on this endeavor, and some of the things I think are important.
First order of business is set some standards for yourself. You want to maintain integrity, don’t want to spam readers, and you need to deliver the appropriate content to fit your blog! I think theres a way to keep integrity and not promote junk/sound like a commercial while still accepting sponsors. Write up a sponsor page and put it on your blog for people to find. (Mine, which I am constantly tweaking.) Credibility is important, word of mouth is the most valuable form of advertising and that’s what companies want, your word. Don’t forget that and remember you are in control of your content! I don’t want freebies enough to write a shining review for a company with service I wouldn’t recommend to my friends. (That would make me a huge jerk). But, I like trying new products because its fun! I feel comfortable accepting free clothing as long as it is clothing that I would already want to wear. I do not accept money to alter the text that I write in my blog, and I even turned down 200 bucks once because I didn’t want to put a hyperlink in my main blog layout for a year. That kind of thing doesn’t really feel chosen by me, if that makes sense, and it just seems cluttered and like spam. I don’t believe that anyone should be in control of my text but me.
You deserve getting a little something for the individual voice you can provide to the blogging community, and you can pick sponsors that fit your voice. You’re not a billboard for whoever (whom?) wants to paint a logo on you, you’re a neat person getting some stuff/money for being so neat. Sounds pretty good, right? We can obtain success while still sticking to our own voice, there is no single path. You also shouldn’t feel bad about accepting sponsors if this is a direction you want to go. It's a great thing to be compensated for something you love to do. Just remember to remain sincere, and think about what you say, endorse, and if its the right fit for you.
Here are some ideas for ways to integrate advertising on your blog.
Trade ads with your favorite blogs. This is my preferred option, you both get to gain new readership, it’s free for both, and its supportive in all the right ways!
Consider small businesses. When you think of getting sponsors you probably want to be contacted by all the big companies you see all over the internet. But think about offering very affordable ads for Etsy or Big Cartel sellers. It’s a good way to build relationships with people, and may lead to more advertising in the future. Urban outfitters doesn’t need you to put up an ad for them for free, but a small business benefits from bloggers willing to help them out.
Affiliate programs. I’ve never been too interested in affiliate programs truthfully, probably because I don’t feel like I have the time to play sales person for any store other than my own. (I don’t really like talking that much.) Where am I going with this? Anyway, I feel like it's just giving away free advertising for a company I know nothing about. No thanks. But, I was contacted by a company via email and I finally signed up for my first one. JGood. The reasoning was when you sign up you got a free $5, and then if you’re an approved affiliate you get an additional $20. So I figured if I were going to share my experiences of this store, at least I’d be able to share my experience as a customer. I ended up loving the jewelry that I bought, and later on the company did a little interview with me on their blog. So of course I ended up being pretty happy with this affiliation and the company, plus I wear my jewelry all the time. Who knew? Now I am happy to support this company and I hope they do well, because they have shown interest in helping me do well. The best kind of partnership!
Incorporating companies clothing into an outfit. Most of the time companies contact you, seeing if you are interested in trying their products, but there are a few cases where you can sign up for blogger programs. Oasap has been teaming up with bloggers all over to incorporate their items into our posts. Yes, its a marketing strategy on their part, but the benefits are pretty mutual, and it may be the right start to getting the word out to other companies that you’re interested in this sort of thing. I got a sweater from Oasap and shortly after I posted my photos I was contacted by a different company asking if I wanted to try some clothing. (Possibly 100% coincidently, however I felt on a roll!) If you see opportunities like this it may be something worth trying. It’s a good deal because usually the company promotes your outfit on their sites, and if you love the clothing and its your style it’s a win/win. Getting a free item or two a month I don’t feel like I’m playing into consumerism too much.
I think the moral of this whole post is that any opportunity may be worth trying! It’s just important to remember to maintain your own opinions and voice. Remember to enjoy the fruits of your labor, and more success will come by maintaining your vision. It’s important that in blogging, and in our daily choices that we pay attention to what we are consuming.
Let me know what you guys think about sponsorship and the different ways you go about approaching it!