That Sponsorship Thing That Nobody Really Gets

Raise your hand if you feel a little lost when it comes to the whole blog sponsorship thing

- because I sure do!

This is me (far left) sponsoring my University football team Freshman Year.
Every time I showed up, they won. Just sayin'.
(Note: If you have any amazing sponsorship tips, recommendations, or secrets, pretty please tell us about it in the comments!)

Considering how much lifestyle bloggers love to blog about blogging, I'm having a terrible time finding posts about how this whole thing works. I can find TONS of advice on SEO, blog design, how to write more interesting posts, etc. - basically all of the things that I can do and change on my blog for free.

But sponsorships? Nada.

If I'm spending money on this, I want advice and I want to know what works best for other people. So that's what I'm sharing with you today!

I am by no means an expert. (Actually, I might just be the farthest thing from expert on this subject.) But I can tell you what has and hasn't worked for me, so far.

1. The number of followers a person has doesn't mean much.

 Gasp! I know this is shocking, because you've been told all along that that number is so important. But let's get real. A blogger can have 2,000 followers, but it doesn't mean people are actually reading their blog. They might only get 50 page views a day.

Maybe they've participated in a lot of giveaways, and people have just followed along for the free stuff. Maybe they used to be a girly, beauty blogger and have recently switched to blogging about their new found Gothic lifestyle and followers have lost interest. Maybe they haven't been paying much attention to their blogs lately. Etc.

There are a million reasons that someone who has a million followers might not have many actual readers.

The best things to look for? Pageviews. The more clickies they get, the more your ad will be seen. Comments. If a blogger has a lot of comments, that means she's built up a good community. It means that people are actually listening to her and connecting with her content.

All good signs for a potential sponsor.

2. Sponsor bloggers with similar content.

You're more likely to get a positive response if you sponsor bloggers who's content is somewhat similar to your own. Why? Because you're advertising to an audience that you already know likes the type of stuff you post.

That fake Gothic blogger in the example above? She's much better off sponsoring other Gothic blogs than she is sponsoring a Granny's knitting and crocheting blog. #fact.

3. Sponsor bloggers you actually like. 

I don't know why this one works, but the more I like a blog, the better success I have when I sponsor them. .:Shrugs Shoulders:.

If someone's likeable, people are more likely to listen to their recommendations. #fact

This is why I've had so much luck with Back East Blonde and Two Thirds Hazel.

4. Sponsor bloggers who actually fulfill their promises

It's so easy to fill that little Passionfruit description box with mile high promises. But I always feel disappointed (and ripped off), when I don't get what I paid for. Usually you can figure this out by asking a bloggers current or recent sponsors. If they're happy, there's a good chance you'll be happy.

I have sponsored bigger bloggers who just stuck my button up on their site and pretended like I didn't exist for a month, despite promising extras. That's never helpful.

On a related note, if you don't feel like you've gotten what you paid for -please, please - contact the blogger you're sponsoring, especially before going around giving them a bad reputation. Sometimes, life just happens, and their dog died or the kid's were sick. Most bloggers really do want to help you grow your blog and are very nice if you just send a quick little e-mail.

You know who's amazing to sponsor, because she goes above and beyond what she promises?

5. Your Blog might be holding you back

If you're paying for tons of sponsorships every month, and not getting very much response, it might not be your sponsor's fault. It could just be your blog. A huge blogger can write you up the sweetest recommendation ever, but if your blog is lacking in some areas, or your button is unattractive, people are less likely to click through and follow along.

I used to have a really ugly design on my blog, and guess what? I had way fewer followers.

Ask a friend who's not afraid to tell you the truth about the following:

Design: Does it hurt your eyes to read my blog?
Grammar: We all make typos, and I'm the last one to judge anyone for it. But I've seen blogs, where I have no idea what the blogger was even trying to say. No clue.
Content: If you were a random stranger, would you find your blog interesting? Are you putting new ideas out there, or are you just repeating what you've seen on a thousand other blogs?
Easy to Find Follow Button: People like it when things are easy. Are you making your blog as easy to follow as possible? If your follow button is hidden somewhere on your page, most people aren't going to spend a long time searching for it. They're just going to click on that little "x." #aintnobodygottimeforthat

Note: I do realize that I need to work on all of these areas myself.

Alright, friends. I want to hear about your experiences and opinions, even if you think I'm completely wrong. I probably am! I really wish I knew what I was doing. This is just what I've observed so far.

I've also only sponsored a very small number of blogs, so I'm sure there are TONS of awesome bloggers I missed!

*If you have anything to add, please, please include it in the comments. If you've already written a post about sponsorship, I would love for you to share the link. You can even link it up here.


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