This is one of the questions I get asked a lot. I will go through when you can start applying for sponsored posts, how to find them and what makes a blogger get chosen. Sometimes it seems like the same people are getting chosen all the time and you are left out of the game. Is it just who you know? I can tell you it isn’t like that, and it’s not all about growing your following or traffic either.
Different types of paid blog posts
There are a few different types of paid blog posts. The first one depends purely on your DA (domain authority). As you have more and more blog posts, your site is around for longer and you get other sites linking back to you (follow and no follow), your DA grows. A DA score of around 20 and above means you will start to get approached by SEO agents, also known simply as SEOs. SEO stands for search engine optimisation. There are businesses out there who, like you want to increase their DA and their visibility in search engines. The aim of the game is to get higher up on the page rankings so your business or blog can be seen more. They simply want a link back from you, typically in the form of a guest post. They supply a written post including their link. They will want a follow link and will pay you for your time and the link back. They are not really bothered about your audience, comments, shares or social media posts. I’m not going to get into great detail about whether you should do follow links for payment or not; I do, but I always disclose them as sponsored and as a guest post. I very often stealth publish them, unless I can tweak them and the topic is relevant. SEO posts make up about a third of my blog income. My blog is primarily my business, and not purely a memoir for me, so I may approach it differently to some. I get contacted every day about SEO posts, and very often, the budget is too low for me, or the links are inappropriate (gambling, loan sites, etc). The few that offer a decent budget I do work with. It can be a gamble, you never know if the payment will come through, but it’s only happened a couple of times where I’ve had to remove a link or a post due to non payment.
You may also get offered to do link insertion, to an already existing post. I have a large back catalogue of posts on Midwife and Life and they often contact me with a post already in mind and where they want the link to go. Again, not everybody does it, but for me I don’t see any issue. My main sticking point is the fee. It doesn’t take much work to put in the link but you do run the risk of Google penalty, plus they are still getting the same link value as if they had a guest post. I charge slightly less for link insertion, but it can be too high for some. You will get offered ridiculously low fees like $20 – maybe some people who are desperate will do it for that, but it’s not worth it for me. Everyone has their minimum, you need to know what yours is. They will also say that they will have regular work for you, this is often not true, but sometimes it is. I have some regulars now that contact me for work and I know they pay when they say they will.
The second type of paid blog post is the brand campaign. This is where you will need an audience, traffic and a good following on social media. These are my favourite campaigns, where I can be creative and I feel like a ‘proper’ blogger. A brand will contact you with their campaign ideas and tell you about what they want to promote. They may approach you with a fee already, or you might need to negotiate your rate. It might be that they are paying in vouchers or products. What you negotiate is up to you, what you feel your time, creativity, blog and following is worth. Typically you write the post, you may have guidelines on what to include and a specific link or anchor text you need. Sometimes you send a draft to the PR for approval. The link is usually no-follow, but I’ve done both.
Paid social media and video content
Occasionally you will be asked to do social media campaigns, again you need a good following. I’ve done them with a medium sized following, so you don’t need big numbers at all. After my Instagram hit 5k I started getting approached for Instagram campaigns, both paid and product.
Bagging the paid posts
So.. we know the types of paid posts, but how can we clinch the deal? If your blog is new with only a few posts, keep writing. Your DA will go up with time, and link backs. If you’re writing and sharing good shareable content, you will naturally get link backs. It sounds a bit hazy, doesn’t it? Here are a few other ways to grow your DA:
- Comment on high authority blogs, you will gain a link back
- Contribute to crowd sourced and round up posts by providing your opinion, or a post if relevant
- Offer to write guest posts for high authority sites and include your blog link
Every little helps, find a group of like minded bloggers and all do guest posts for each other. Once your DA rises and you do some collaborative posts your site name will get out there and more people contact you. I must be on several lists because of the amount I get contacted, plus I see in my referrals some odd list websites. They also find you through SEO, so keep that in mind. On your about me page or home page, put down what you offer. A lot of bloggers have a ‘Work with me’ page, where you can put what you offer.
Have a media kit and rate card detailing your skills, audience, social media accounts and your rates. Offer packages and different ways to work together. Then if you get asked for it it’s there. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and Canva have free templates you can edit.
Take a long hard look at your blog. Does it have a clear header, are your photos clear? Is it immediately apparent what your blog is about? Are there any spelling or grammar mistakes? Is the content on display relevant, shareable (share buttons are a must) and easy to read? Do you regularly post? You don’t have to stick to posting every day or even a few times a week, if once a week is all you can manage stick to that. Do you have a brand identity? A logo, a header, colours that complement. Does your social media reflect your blog?
Join the networks – you’ll find a list of blogging networks and facebook groups in this post Where to find sponsored posts for UK bloggers. When you fill in forms to apply for posts, be honest about your numbers. Always write your full name, check for spelling and grammar mistakes. If there is a space for extra information, write why your blog is a good fit and your turnaround time.
Do a good job! This sounds obvious, but once you’ve agreed a rate for whatever you’re doing, do it well. Provide the post on time, read the brief and stick to it. Again, make sure spelling and grammar are up to scratch. You don’t have to be an amazing photographer, but make sure your images are clear and clutter free.
Give value: The best sponsored posts don’t look sponsored. Take this post from Edspire. On the face of it, it looks like a heartfelt post about the reasons behind their choice to home educate. It is that, of course, but it also includes a link to a school and she has it marked as collaborative. She has included lovely photos, she has made it personal and relevant to her blog and audience. It doesn’t appear salesy or promotional. Anyone seeing that would choose her over someone who had made it more obvious. Think outside the box when you are writing a sponsored post. That’s what I love about writing blogs for brands, the challenge of fitting it in around what I want to write, and the satisfaction of doing a good job for them. PRs and agents will come back to you again and again if they like your work.
Want more help to get your blog earning for you? If you want in on all my blogging secrets, more on how to make money and grow your blog and social media, I’ve written a comprehensive course you might want to consider, called Blogging Secrets. If you enrol in the course you also get these EPIC bonuses!
- My eBook Pinterest Magic for FREE (normally £9.99)
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