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Find a Sponsor for Your Blog

Building-A-Better-Blog-2Today’s task in the 31 Day Project will appeal more to those who are looking to make money from their blogs. If that’s not you – there are plenty of other daily tasks in previous days of the project that you might like to repeat. This task might also be easier for more established blogs than new ones – although it’s not impossible for a new blog to land a sponsor so give it a go!

Today your task is to go on a hunt for a sponsor for your blog.

You might not think that your blog is big enough to find sponsors (and you might be right) but even if you’re unsuccessful in finding one you will hopefully learn a thing or two about finding sponsors and might even start a relationship that could be fruitful at some point in the future.

Getting a sponsor for your blog (or selling an advertising spot directly without relying upon an ad network like AdSense) is a great thing for numerous reasons – not the least of which is that you cut out the middleman and don’t have to share the revenue with a company like Google!

It’s not always easy to land a sponsor – but it’s a skill that bloggers wanting to make money from their blogs should learn – even in the early days.

A few tips for finding a sponsor:

1. Before you go out and start asking companies to sponsor your blog read these two postsFinding Advertisers for your Blog and 10 Ways to make your Blog more Attractive to Advertisers. A big part of finding an advertiser is to get your blog in order first and to be prepared for what they might ask you.

2. If you have a smaller blog and haven’t had a sponsor before don’t aim for the stars straight away. It might be worth starting out by approaching smaller retailers, websites or companies in your niche and see if they’d be interested in some sort of partnership rather than aiming for the very biggest ones right up front. I did this a couple of months after starting my first digital camera blog and emailed 10 online digital camera sites to see if they’d be interested in advertising. 3 of the 10 bought small ads on my site (I think it was for something around $15-$25 a month). It wasn’t a lot of cash (and I didn’t have a lot of traffic to send to them) but I learned so much and made a little money in the process.

3. Target Potential Advertiser Carefully - before you start approaching potential sponsors think carefully about your blog and the topic that you write about and about who might want to reach your readers. Brainstorm a list of companies and websites that might fit the bill.

4. Wondering who to approach? Why not check out who is advertising on other websites and blogs in your niche. Quite often they’ll also be open to running a similar campaign with you.

5. If a sponsor isn’t sure whether to go with you or not – give them a discounted or free trial. I’ve done this a number of times and found it beneficial on three levels:

  • It gives the sponsor a taste of what your blog can offer
  • It can help get your readers used to the idea of advertising on your blog
  • I’ve found that having one advertiser (even if it’s a free one) can actually attract other advertisers (or at least make selling sponsorships easier)
  • You’ll learn a lot by getting the ad up, finding out how it converts and at a discounted rate you’ll even earn a few dollars

6. Find an Angle and Sell it - don’t just email a potential sponsor asking if they want to advertise with you – sell yourself. If your blog has a loyal community of core readers then sell this, if you get a lot of search engine traffic for certain keywords that the advertiser would want to have, sell it to them on this, if you have an audience who is researching to make purchases – this is a key selling point and if you’ve never had an advertiser before on your blog – turn this into a selling point. You need to give a potential sponsor or advertiser a reason to align their brand with yours.

7. If you can’t attract anyone – run a campaign of your own. Pick a part of your blog that you want to drive traffic to (perhaps a post, or a category, or a subscribe page) and develop a button or banner ads to drive traffic to it. I’m doing this here at the moment in the 468 x 60 banner position here at ProBlogger at the moment (there’s a number of different campaigns running there including some internal ones). The beauty of this is that you can test your conversion rates on different positions. Run a heat map test and you’ll learn a lot.

8. If you do manage to sign up a sponsor give sponsors as much value as possible. Do everything you can to over deliver on the campaign. Announce the sponsorship on the blog with a post, mention it any other newsletters or lists that you have, position it high on the page, consider throwing in a bonus text link in another part of your blog etc. The more traffic you can deliver to your sponsor the more chance of getting them to renew.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Lindsay says:

    I THINK YOU JUST SAVED MY LIFE!
    Today I posted a FREE ebook on advertising techniques that I have just finished producing and have had my bandwidth thrashed within an inch of it’s life, so, finding a sponsor may help pay the bills.

    Thanks for the great advice.

  2. Sachana says:

    Alrite this is new to me… i ll do it when i have a .com now its a blogspot blog… so maybe sponsors would not be interested. And before i do, i ll re-read your post a couple of times more:)

  3. Lori says:

    I never even considered this. My blog is mostly about horses, cowboys, and ranch life. I guess I could probably target a western store, vet, or ranch that does breeding..HA…I will definately put this into action when I change my site over to it’s own web host. I already have a .com but don’t use it. I guess I should. Thanks for the article. I bookmarked & printed it for later reference!

  4. NICE! i have tried to do some of the above and some have not even gotten back to me but that does not stop me….

    maybe its is my proposal letters or my blog or maybe me, but I will try some of the other tecniques above

  5. Nani says:

    i think it is quite difficult to approach a sponsor.
    in the past i work for a famous organization and approached some potential sponsors like samsung, nokia, etc. difficult!

    ——————————–
    http://www.ecmoney.org
    I share some tips on making easy money

  6. Ram karthik says:

    Very nice tips. I just started my blog two weeks ago and I’m happy to have three to four sponsors although they pay less. You have provided so many ideas to get advertisers.

    I would like to add TWO TIPS Darren:
    1. Posting the blog’s stats every week will attract more advertisers
    2. Also if you already have one or two advertisers, then write a post thanking them at the end and it will get more advertisers.

    I hope my points were also useful. :)

  7. Vygantas says:

    I think that blog shouldn’t contain any banner ads or so :-) Depends why you write blog. For money or for passion.

  8. John says:

    If your blog is about a particular niche, your market becomes limited. But at the same time the success rate to find a sponsor is high.

  9. Thanks a lot for this post, it will certainly help me find some sponsors!

  10. I think it is REALLY important to state the difference between asking for sponsors and SPAM. What is the line you shouldn’t cross?

  11. Stefson says:

    Nice article.
    Especially the part for smaller blogs.

  12. I recently started a new website:
    http://www.forsalebypublisher.com

    Listing your blog lets advertisers know you’re interested in selling ads directly, and they may end up contacting you, instead of you having to go hunting for sponsors.

  13. solazy says:

    I think find a sponsor for a little blog is… almost impossible. But I have to try your techniques. Thanks for the hint :)
    ____________________

    http://solazy.netsons.org/

  14. Cigar Jack says:

    My price is typically $120 for 6 months for a text link and once a month I post a round of specials my sponsors are having at the time. I’ve also worked out deals where some of them send me products to review instead of cash payments. I base so it is a bit cheaper than buy an Ad through Text-Link-Ads and give them more for their money by mentioning their site associated with keywords in posts once a month.

  15. Molli Fire says:

    My site is about music and I have a friend with an online music store. I offered him free ad space in my sidebar for the time being. It gives me a chance to monitor the CTR and keep my readers accustomed to seeing an ad in that space. When my traffic picks up to a reasonable size, I will be able to contact paying sponsors and offer them real stats about how well the targeted advertising has worked. Plus, my friend’s store gets free exposure. It’s a win-win situation!
    Thanks for writing this post Darren. I’ve actually been wondering how bigger bloggers go about securing those ads.

  16. uylog says:

    I am a new blogger and never thought of finding a sponsor yet. But after reading this post, now I am thinking of trying…

  17. Thanks for the tips Darren.

    On one of my sites Google AdSense is making me only about $10 per day for seven thousand page impressions. So, I have to re-think my strategy and perhaps follow your advice.

  18. Brad V. says:

    Finding a sponsor, or even working directly with advertisers, is one of the long-term goals I have set for my blog. Right now I don’t think I have a large enough readership to attract a sponsor.

    The good news is that I’m seeing the number of visitors to my blog increase all the time. August will be a record-breaking month in terms of unique visitors. I hope that my blog can continue to grow so that in the not-so-far future I can find a sponsor to help pay for some of my hosting fees!

    Great article!!!

  19. Great idea. Also, you could exchange the space for a percent of sales sent to the sponsor. This way the sponsor isn’t out any up-front money and they will know for sure if their sponsorship is working for them.

  20. Sean says:

    I haven’t thought of this before or even knew about it.

    ProBlogger is really a great blog :-)

    I would have to gain more traffic before I implement this though and thank you!

  21. Opal Tribble says:

    Those are great tips.

    I recently acquired and my first advertiser on one of my websites. It’s a service many of my readers use.

    The advertiser also told me if they were my exclusive ticket brokers they would give my readers $5 off each order. I accepted. I created a simple “contract” $30 for one month, $29 for three months + two additional write ups, $28 for six months + three additional write ups.

    They took the six-month deal. I requested to be paid in full via Paypal, and I received money shortly after sending them my simple contract.

    I officially introduced my readers to the advertiser with an introductory post. A few of my readers have already used the service.

  22. Of course and as always your tips are “right on the money” but I feel that it will be hard to give up the revenues of the adsense ads (even if it is only a small amount) in order to leave your site “blank” for direct advertisers.

    I have seen quite a few sites and blogs that have used both.

  23. jhay says:

    As always, great tips. Finding sponsors is one thing, recieving payment is another. Especially for those who live in countries where PayPal isn’t fully functional. A really big upset.

  24. I’ve found that having one advertiser (even if it’s a free one) can actually attract other advertisers (or at least make selling sponsorships easier)

    100% spot on, Darren. On some of my previous projects it took me months to get that first “brand” sponsor. After that, it was a breeze getting the next ones on board.

    It’s a bit like social proof. Other companies see a well known brand sponsoring your blog and that gives you instant credibility.

    Example: it took me months and months to get Quicken as a sponsor for a previous site I ran, but once they got on board I got Microsoft, Verbatim, Palm, Oricom and others within weeks.

    Also, I find that producing a top-notch media kit in pdf format with all the numbers and specs goes a long way.

  25. I think everyone should also look outside of their niche for advertising ideas. People all have somewhat common wants and needs so if you have a bicycle site like mine, you may be able to get advertisers for travel agents or GPS. Maybe even camping gear. So you should also look for related advertisers but ones that are not directly in your niche.

  26. Darren you were using Adsense on your old website. Did you not make much from Adsense? Page impression ads are probably better but one first needs the traffic.

  27. Amanda says:

    I am with Molli Fire on this one. My new site is going to be up this weekend. I have four 125×125 ads from my friends’ businesses. I am running them for free until I get enough traffic to recruit other paying advertisers. Having them up will show potential sponsors what kind of spot they will be getting, my readers will get used to ads from day 1, and I will be able to the track traffic. My friends get free advertising. They may even pay at the end of three months. It is definitely a win-win.

    Thanks for the encouragement on this one and for posting how much you charged in the beginning. I was already thinking $15 – $25.

  28. Hmm I like this new form of advertising, thanks Darren.

  29. Mrs.Womack says:

    Thank you for the great idea of selling sponsorships. Can you please give us a sample letter on how to write a letter to get sponsors? These sponspors will definitely be the blood line for my online site and community.

  30. How do you ask for a sponsor if your blog is not focused on a particular niche? :{

  31. Pádraig says:

    This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks a lot, Darren!

  32. Shair says:

    I would like to sponsor a blog so do i have to spend money on that or i can sponsor that on anyway for e.g. offer him a template, etc.

  33. geekazine says:

    Thanks for the tips on this one. I have added the Advertise here button. Also updated the page to include why they should sponsor my site.

  34. kilo verme says:

    If your blog is about a particular niche, your market becomes limited. But at the same time the success rate to find a sponsor is high.

  35. adikhresna says:

    Thank you very much for advice. Coz, i am looking for sponsors for my site.

  36. peter says:

    Hi Darren !
    Ok blogger news …
    http://www.adwordsa.com
    ads free ?

  37. I find this article really helpful, for i am having a hard time finding sponsors to my site. I only got one this month. The real problem is, i haven’t have the time to fix the layout of my blog to make it more attractive

  38. george tomas says:

    As always, great tips.Thank you very much for advice.

  39. obes says:

    still learn and read detail the articles…. very nice topic about getting sponsor,thanks

  40. first, a blogsite must focus on a certain topic of a certain category. That would be an initial target area where advertisers on that field would ponder. Upon seeing that your blog post are credible and highly relevant. It attracts them all the more.

  41. My blog is just very small, I get about 10 visitors a day. Thanks for your tips, this will help me out :).

  42. Thanks for this info specially the last one. I was having a problem how to deal with the company who wants to sponsor my blog. They are asking what are the requirements and can’t tell if they are aware of online advertising.

  43. Frank says:

    I always thought it was impossible to get a sponsor for my blog since its young and just getting started, but this post gave me hope and put me in the direction to be successful!

  44. Food Woolf says:

    Thank you for this invaluable primer. Your post reminds me that though I’ve already started thinking about advertisers to approach, I don’t actually know how to IMPLEMENT the advertising “widget” yet. Must learn some code I guess. Or hire someone that can advise me. Maybe that’s a post too? How to create a blog ad?

  45. Robby G says:

    Thanks. This is exactly what I was looking for. My blog is just about ready for this.

  46. VlogHog says:

    How much traffic do you need to search for a sponsor?

  47. michael says:

    thanks Darren.

    i havent got any sponsor for my blog.
    and im still new, you can checkout my progress.
    http://www.wowevil.com

  48. Michel says:

    Good to know, now i can pick up maybe some sponsors for other webdesign projects…

    nice tip!