The success of your sponsorship program hinges on one thing: whether your blog sponsors are a good match with your readers. Whether you’re just getting started or have been running a sponsorship program for years, it’s important for both your sponsors and your readers that you get this right.
I had a recent conversation with Taryn of Wooly Moss Roots and Annie of Alphabet Glue about the recent success of their products, and they had some amazing insight into what makes a sponsorship work.
Both of these ladies have sponsored a wide range of blogs – from those with huge readership like Soule Mama, to much smaller blogs with just a handful of readers. And in both Taryn and Annie’s experience, no matter how many page views the blog gets every month, if the readers and the sponsor don’t “fit,” the results for a sponsor can be dismal. But likewise, when a mid-sized blog really takes the time to connect the reader and the sponsor, the results can be magical.
In this post, I’m going to look at these two great examples of a successful sponsorship program – on the same blog. We’ll look at why these sponsors are a good match for this blog, and then I’ll share ways you can have the same success with your sponsorships.
Now, before I begin talking to you bloggers – The responsibility for initiating a good sponsor relationship really belongs to the sponsor: it’s THEIR product, THEIR business, and THEIR responsibility to market themselves well. But if you, as a blogger, know the temperament of your readers, then you can not only advise potential sponsors about whether they’re a good match for your readers, but you can actively seek out sponsors that are.
Let’s take a look:
Obviously this is a match made in heaven. Knitters. Love. Buttons.
But do you know what took this sponsorship to the next level? In a simple gesture of kindness, Taryn sent Ginny some of her buttons – to preview, to check them out, to see what she thought. And because this WAS such a good match, Ginny *loved* the buttons and of course, used them in one of her knitting projects…which she shared on her blog. And the rest is history. Taryn got more interest in her Etsy shop from a single month of sponsorship on Small Things (just look at this giveaway!), than she had from several months of sponsorship on other blogs…combined.
Annie started out as a blogger over at Bird and Little Bird, but you may know her as an editor at Rhythm of the Home and creator of the popular family crafting and literacy E-magazine, Alphabet Glue. When I talked with Annie, she shared a very similar story to Taryn’s – that something magical happens when sponsor and blogger really connect. Here’s what makes her relationship with Small Things special:
When Annie decided to sponsor Small Things, Ginny didn’t ask for a sample of the magazines. But Annie is a smart marketer and she sent them anyway. Now, this won’t always happen, but in this case, Ginny *loved* Alphabet Glue and took some photographs of her kids making crafts from the magazine. You can see the posts Ginny wrote here and here.
This is clearly a win-win-win situation. The blogger loves using the product, the readers love learning about the product (and seeing it in action!) and the sponsor loves getting the star treatment – with the end result of great sales. Everyone is happy.
The result of only accepting sponsorships for products you use? You’ll be able to have fewer sidebar ads (read this post for more info) and be able to charge a little more for them – because you’ll be giving all your sponsors the star treatment and they’ll be happy to pay more for the high value of sponsorship on your blog. Plus, you’ll build a lasting relationship with the sponsor that will keep them sponsoring your blog, even in the “off” months.
If you’ve already started a sponsorship program on your blog, it’s worth the extra effort to truly connect the sponsors you love with your readers. It’s not just about “making money,” but about sharing valuable resources with the people who make up your blog community. Make sure that if you’ve decided to promote sponsors, you’re giving your readers the best you have to offer, and giving your sponsors the special treatment that will make them want to be a long-term part of your community.
If you’re a sponsor, be generous. $15 – or even $30 – per month doesn’t even begin to cover the amount of time it takes to do sponsorships well. Give your blogger something that will set you apart from their other sponsors, and perhaps they’ll be wonderful people and pass that along to their readers, as well. When you build a great relationship with a blogger who welcomes you to be part of their life, it’s worth more than the sidebar buttons on a dozen “mediocre” matches. Treat your bloggers like they’re someone special, and you’ll get the same treatment in return.
What do you think? Have you had any great (or not so great) experiences with sponsorships? I’d love to hear about it, so please leave a comment below!
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