As a marketer and a blogger myself, I recently spoke with a fellow mom blogger who couldn’t afford to attend an upcoming conference. When I suggested she approach a brand about sponsoring her, she admitted that not only did she not know where to start, she was afraid to even ask. So, since I work with bloggers on behalf of brands on a regular basis, I thought I should share some recommendations on how to approach and manage a blog conference sponsorship opportunity.
- Be authentic to who you are when choosing brands – Your readers look to you for content that’s relevant and beneficial to them but that also provides an insight into who you are. They certainly don’t want to feel like every time they come to your site, they’re getting endorsed information from the highest bidder, so choose your targets carefully.
- Start with brands you’ve worked with in the past – Recently, I was approached by multiple bloggers who wanted us to sponsor a Twitter party on behalf of one of our brands. Who was chosen? The one who had posted about our brand on previous occasions because she genuinely likes our products and thought our information at the time was valuable editorial content. She’d built a relationship with us and created an authentic connection with our brand, so when it came time for her to pitch a paid opportunity to us, we figured out a way to make it happen. So, start by reaching out to marketers you’ve taken editorial (non-paid) content from more than once and see if there are opportunities for blog sponsorships. They might not be able to make it happen until next year’s budget talks roll around, but you have a greater chance with them than anyone else.
- Tell them why they want to work with you – Most marketing budgets are approved by corporate executives (especially most brands that can do cash sponsorships), and those people want to know in real numbers what kind of investment they’re making. Share your value, which is: your visitors per month, case study information about how you helped drive sales or web traffic for another brand, your Twitter followers, partnerships with other bloggers that could extend the brand’s reach, Facebook Fans, how many people their brand will touch at the conference, etc. They might think your content is wonderful (and I’m sure it is), but the marketer who will request these dollars from executives has to quantify your influence.
- Balance your responsibility – Social media guru Chris Brogan recently wrote, “You have to give sponsors the opportunity they need to sell or spread their influence. You have to give your audience your best content and your protection. By getting into the sponsorship game, you’re accepting responsibility for this relationship on both sides, and you’re promising to protect everyone involved.” This is so true! You need to provide value to the brand sponsoring you, but you also don’t want to alienate your readers. Obviously you wouldn’t be where you are now if you didn’t already know how to build and manage a following, so just be up front with the brand you’re working with regarding how much their messaging will actually influence your content.
I’ll leave you with one final thought , which is – what’s the worst a brand could say? No? OK, so move on to the next one. All those marketers who pitch you on a regular basis aren’t putting all their eggs in just your basket either, so just keep trying. You’re likely to succeed!
About the Author:
Erica is a marketer and blogger. You can follow her on her blog Erica in the Mix or on Twitter.