Choosing Blogs to Sponsor

January 30, 2014
I have now sponsored about 7-8 blogs and am looking to sponsor some more in February when my spending ban is over.

Here are some factors that I consider when choosing blogs to sponsor:

*Content:  This is a big deal since it is what attracts readers to a blog.  Since my blog is a lifestyle one with a focus on beauty and traveling, I tend to pick other lifestyle/travel/beauty bloggers when looking for sponsorships.  The blogs I have chosen to sponsor are all blogs that I enjoy reading myself.  I would never want to put my button on a fitness or cooking blog because I'm not that interested in those things.  Since I rarely post about those topics, my blog might not appeal to those who are reading about working out or making intricate recipes. 

*Pricing/Sale:  Pricing is something that I really do have to take into account when choosing sponsorships.  If I have $25 to spend, is it worth it to just spend it all on one ad of a bigger blogger? Yes, sometimes I think it is.  For the same price, I have to take into consideration that I could get 4-5 ads on smaller bloggers' sites.  I always read the description of what is being offered and look carefully at the pricing and then weigh my options.  It's the best when a bigger blogger has an ad sale because that way I am able to "test the water" and see if I would want to shell out the $$ on one of her full priced ads later on. 
    
*Recommendations from other bloggers: If my blogging pals tell me that they've had an awesome experience sponsoring another blog, you can bet that I'm going to check out the blogger they've been raving about and look into sponsoring their blog myself.  

*Wait time:  This definitely matters!  Sometimes when I'm looking at sponsoring blogs, I can see that some bloggers have almost everything available right away.  This tends to make me a little wary because I think to myself, "Why doesn't this blogger have others sponsoring their blog?  Do they not know what they are doing?"  On the other side of the spectrum, if I have to wait 6 months or more to buy an ad on someone's blog, I'm probably going to look somewhere else.  I mean, that just seems so far away, and I'd like to think that I'd still be blogging in 6 months, but ya never know!

*Number of followers/number of comments received: How many followers a blogger has is something that I take a look at, but what's more important to me is that the blogger receives comments because that shows me that people are actually reading what a blogger posts about.  Anyone can have a lot of followers and look like a "big" blogger, but seeing that a blogger has real readers is what draws me into paying for a sponsorship. 

*Number of times a blogger posts per week:  Before committing to a sponsorship, I make sure that the blog is an established one and that the blogger posts at least two/three times a week, minimum.  If a blogger isn't posting anything, their own readers aren't reading their blog as often, so those potential readers are not going to be clicking my button on the sidebar either.

*Social media activity:  The biggest way that I like for my blog to be promoted is on Twitter, so I check out the Twitter pages of those offering sponsorships on their blogs to see what's going on.  I see whether or not they are active on Twitter and look to see if they are giving lots of attention to their current sponsors. 

*Previous Sponsor Highlights:  When I'm considering buying some ad space on a blog, I look back at that blogger's older posts that introduced previous sponsors.  If I like what I see, I am more likely to go ahead and purchase an ad.  I love it when the introduction is done in a creative way like the way Amanda from Living in Another Language introduced her sponsors one month.  Instead of just a regular introduction post, she asked me what my worst piece of blogging advice was.  Other bloggers shared the best advice ever given to them.  Since the piece was interesting and well-written, I got a lot of page views from it.  (Click here to see the post I'm referencing.)  I feel that sometimes readers skip over sponsors' introductions...I know it's true because I do this myself from time to time.

*Inclusion of a giveaway:  This used to be a big factor for me when deciding whether or not to sponsor a blog, but now I think I'm going to cool it a little on the giveaways because it can get pretty expensive.  The giveaway that got me the most followers was when Amanda @ Living in Another Language hosted her Paypal Cash giveaway.  Because of this one giveaway, I was able to get about 100 new followers on Twitter.  I think one of the reasons why it was so successful was because everyone contributed $$ (not ad space) towards it if they were going to participate.  In the past I have participated in giveaways in which I gave away gift cards and Paypal cash, but smaller bloggers only gave out ad space on their blog.  I feel like if they had offered a gift card or something else in addition to the ad space, that the giveaway would have been more popular.  With Amanda's giveaway, I actually spent less $ and got more followers.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that I like it better when the group giveaways are more uniform and it isn't just up to you what you want to give, but I'm sure everyone has their own opinions on this.
   
*Whether or not the blogger I'm about to advertise with actually reads my blog:  If I'm going to pay someone to promote my blog, picking someone who already reads and comments on my blog would be a natural choice.  I haven't offered sponsorships yet on my blog, but I'm thinking that if I did, it would be easy to come up with stuff to say about blogs I read on a regular basis since I truly like them already.  It would be harder to promote a blog that I don't really like that much.  In the past I have picked some bloggers who were not reading my blog.  Maybe they didn't know about my blog or maybe they were just uninterested, but if someone already likes my blog I feel that their tweets are going to be more genuine.  


What I've Liked About Some of my Sponsorships

*Twitter shout outs: The #FF is nice, but I don't think many would ever discover my blog that way.  I like tweets that highlight what I've posted about and ones that include links directly to my blog.  Examples from Christine @ Life With a Side of Coffee and Jackie @ Jade and Oak:





General Tweets that describe or introduce my blog and include links are also effective, too.  Example from Ash @ A Beauty Moment:


I also appreciate it when bloggers promote my introduction post on their blogs through tweets.  Examples from Noor @ Noor's Place and Amanda @ Living in Another Language:


 

It's always ideal when bloggers that I pay for sponsorship retweet some of the tweets I've written.  Chances are if I tweet about it myself, I would like that particular post to be promoted.  By retweeting what I've originally tweeted, other bloggers are helping me out by exposing the content to all of their followers.

*Comments: I know that some people might see this as "paying for comments," but if a blogger I'm paying for sponsorship leaves comments on most of my posts, that shows me that they are truly reading my blog and doing their best to feature posts that might stand out to their readers.  I can kind of tell when someone is putting thought into it vs. when someone just happens to pick the first post they come across to promote.  

*Being offered a coupon code for a % off a future sponsorship: After sponsoring Jade and Oak, Jackie sent an email out to her current sponsors and gave us a discount on an ad for the next month.  I thought that this was a great incentive to sponsor her blog again!

*Being asked, "Is there anything specific I can help you promote this month?":  Noor, Areeba, and Christine all asked me this, and probably others did, too.  Usually there wasn't anything specific I needed help with, but it is still nice to be asked this.  This month I *did* want some extra promotion of  the Weekly Wrap Up link up Rachael and I created, so Christine was kind enough to tweet about this to all of her Twitter followers.   I think that it helped to get the word out.

*Getting an email with a personal phone # on it in case I had any questions:  Okay, I can get why some people would be leery to give this information out, but when Christine sent me her # in case I needed anything, that showed me that she took her sponsorships very seriously and that she was going to go above and beyond (which she did).  No, I never had to call her for anything, but it was great to know that I could reach out if I needed to.

*Having bloggers that I've paid for ads offer to help me in another way:  When I co-hosted the Grab a Friend blog hop with Areeba and Noor, the code made my blog design go all crazy and put my picture and social media buttons down at the bottom of my blog.  Areeba offered to go into my account and fix it for me, which I was grateful for because at that time I was a new blogger and did *not* know how to do it myself!

*Having my posts linked: It's nice when a blogger I've paid for sponsorship writes a post and then links one of my posts in her post.  Normally, my posts just get linked in my introduction/giveaway post, so to have it linked in a regular post is a bonus!



What I Expect from Sponsoring a Blog  

*For bloggers who offer sponsorships to live up to what was promised in their description of the ad I paid for:  For example, if a blogger promises to tweet about my posts 4-5 times in a month, then that is what I feel that I paid for.  I would get upset if that blogger only tweeted about my blog once or twice.  I get that life can sometimes be unpredictable and could potentially stop this from happening, but I would hope that the blogger would reach out to me and explain.  

*To be followed by the bloggers I'm advertising with:  I'm not saying that I'll be angry if a blogger doesn't follow me via all social media, but I just feel like if someone is going to try to work with me to increase my readership, then she should at least be checking up on my blog every so often to find suitable posts to share with her readers. 

Overall, I have had very positive experiences with sponsorships and feel that I have gotten new readers because of investing in sponsorships.  What are your views on sponsorships?  

What do you look for when choosing a blog to sponsor?  Who has done a great job for you? 
26 comments on "Choosing Blogs to Sponsor"
  1. I've been thinking about doing sponsorships. I did it for a hot second when I first started blogging which was 1) silly and 2) pointless since I did only swaps any ways. I'll definitely take all these things into consideration if/when I get my act together.

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  2. This was an interesting post. I don't really have any experience with sponsorships (either as a sponsor or the one being sponsored) but I am totally going to refer to this if I ever offer them on my site. I never would have thought of the group giveaway thing, but that's actually a really clever idea.

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    1. I think it works out way better because if I just posted a giveaway on my blog, only the people who were already following me would initially see it. When a group giveaway is done, it gets so much more exposure because almost everyone in the group usually posts it on their blogs. Also, the prizes for a group giveaway are so much better than I would be able to afford on my own!

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  3. great post and so many great points. I also appreciate it when a blog I sponsor takes the time to actually read and comment on my blog too. helps to show me that they're actually interested in me and helping my blog. I also try to spread out the types of blogs I sponsor - some smaller blogs and some bigger ones - helps to reach a variety of readers. and thanks for the sweet words for your sponsorship with me - glad you enjoyed it! :)
    -- jackie - jade and oak

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    1. I have been sponsoring larger and medium blogs, but this month I think I'm going to change it up and go with some smaller blogs. I hope to sponsor your blog again sometime in the future. :)

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  4. I just love this one! You hit the right nail girl! Yeah I'd get pissed off if the person ain't following me on any social media, c'mon we're working together! And getting tweets are my most fav-o part!
    Psst, thanks again for the shout out. You're the best!

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    1. Yes! If the package includes Twitter shout outs, they could at least follow me on there...It kind of rubs me the wrong way if they don't. I agree with you about the Tweets--I love seeing what everyone comes up with. :)

      No problem for the shout out! You and your sis are both very accommodating and dedicated to those who sponsor your blogs.

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  5. It's a great one Lisa . When i sponsor a blog and they take personal interest like comments or g+ or liking the posts on facebook , it shows they are not just completing the responsibility . Where if an ad includes social media shout outs and i am only given one throughout month , it totally breaks my heart to see the promise broken . A good sponsorship always includes the interest and relevancy of blog.
    Thank you for the shout out <3

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    1. Yeah, if someone can't live up to what she promised, I would never sponsor her blog again in the future. It's a shame when bloggers can't live up to what was described, mainly because they're the ones that wrote it themselves! I would like to have ad space on my blog one day, but since I have a crazy schedule, I don't think it would be a good idea because I want to be able to follow through with everything I offer!

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  6. This is probably one of the most honest posts I've read on sponsorships lately. I've sponsored both big and small blogs and have mixed results. I definitely agree about tweets, I'm more likely to work with a sponsor again if they are promoting my content versus the whole "These are all my sponsors this month" tweeted once.

    Jenn
    Jenafur.blogspot.com

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    1. Sorry to hear that all of your experiences were not great. The way content is presented on Twitter makes such a difference! When direct links are involved, I always get more views.

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  7. Wow this was an amazing post! Thank you so much for the input. BTW, what is the name of the font on your header? It's soooo pretty :)

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    1. Oh thanks! Honestly, I'm not quite sure about the name of the font on my header. I'll ask my blog designer and include you in the Tweet.

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  8. Love this sponsorship round up post, very good advice thanks!

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    1. You're welcome! I'm glad that you found it useful.

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  9. That is a lot of information but great information! I haven't participated in sponsorship but I do have your button on my blog although it is the old one...I hope it still works let me check that out...it does :)

    -Erica

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    1. Hahaha, I knew that your button worked because I always click on it when I want to read your blog. It's convenient for me to have it on my sidebar! :)

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  10. This is such a great post!! I love hearing what other people look for when sponsoring.... mostly to make sure I'm not crazy in what I like haha. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I also like reading posts about blogging. I wish someone would write a post about the benefits of self-hosting. There probably is one out there and I just need to find it!

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  11. as a new blogger to the whole idea of sponsoring another blog (let alone having them on my own blog) this was a super great read. as a reader, i definitely am more likely to click on a link via tweet/fb that another blogger recommended when there's something insightful about the post attached to it. thanks for all of the tips!

    xo.
    jenn @ hello, rigby!

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    1. You're welcome. I click on so many Twitter posts with the link already included. If I have to search for it, I probably won't take the extra step.

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  12. These are really good tips. I sponsored for the first time in November and it was great......December, not so much. It was like she disappeared (apart from promoting her own blog) and I was a little annoyed to say the least.

    Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo

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    1. Oh yeah, that would be irritating especially because if she had time to promote her own blog, why on earth would she not promote yours when you've paid for it?

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  13. What a great post, Lisa! Thanks for sharing! I'm a new blogger who has soooo much to learn about sponsorships, social media promotion of my blog, etc. so finding posts like this where tips and suggestions are laid out so clearly is really helpful!

    (Oh, I'm a new reader over from The Dwelling Tree Let's Be Friends Blog Hop) :)

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    1. I hope you'll be able to find a blog to sponsor that is a good fit for you and your blog & I'm glad that you found this post helpful.

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