I’ve been getting a lot of emails, DMs and messages from you lately asking how to take your blog to the next level. While I’m not able to personally meet with everyone who asks, I figured it would be great to share some tips on how to make your blog look as attractive as possible to a potential blog sponsor. If you’re starting off, you’re most likely aiming for gifted product and event invites. If you’re a little more advanced, I have a breakdown of how to land sponsored (aka paid) post opportunities here.
Just as a disclaimer: you should blog because you genuinely love to create content. If you build a following and are able to attract sponsors, that’s a nice perk of the job. However, as a blogger, you are a content creator first! Only blog for the right reasons 🙂
Build an Engaged Following
Ok. You do actually have to make the effort to build your following before a company will sponsor you. You don’t need tens of thousands of followers to land your first sponsorship, but whoever your followers are need to be engaged with the content that you’re posting.
It’s hard to say the exact number of followers one should have to land a campaign since every company is different. You should have folks commenting on your blog and social media posts on the regular, and as a rule of thumb, aim for at least 3-5% engagement on Instagram posts. Just for kicks, you can see my very first sponsored blog post here. It was for the Kardashian Kollection at Sears. My, how far I’ve come!
Invest in Photography
When I first started blogging, I didn’t have a photographer and I reposted a lot of things I saw on Tumblr. However, as soon as I linked up with a photographer of my own, I started to build an audience and brands started taking notice. I was in college when I first started blogging, so I shot with a student photographer for free to start off with. Now that I’m getting older (as are my photographers), I obviously pay them. I also have a camera of my own to take shots if I’m on the go and simple product shots, and sometimes my friends/family will help out with photos.
If you’re looking to hire on a blog photog, here’s a list of tips and tricks that will make it easy!
If you want to attract sponsors, you’re going to need to be consistent with blogging. I was posting around 2-3 times a week once the sponsorships started to pick up, so don’t think that you need to post 5 days a week in order to achieve your goals. It’s better to post fewer times a week and post high-quality content, than posting a bunch of “filler” post that are low quality 5 times a week. Whatever your frequency is, just be consistent about it. If you’re juggling a full-time job and a blog, here’s how I managed to blog with a busy schedule.
Use SEO and Hashtags
I’ve been discovered by brands in 2 main ways: my SEO and via Instagram hashtags. I’m one of the first results when you Google “DC Blogger,” and I always make sure to use the #dcblogger hashtag on Instagram when I post. It’s a lot easier to get invited to local events and also be considered for D.C.-specific blog campaigns with solid SEO and consistent hashtagging!
What the heck is SEO, you ask? I’m not the best person to explain it, but I love this article from Liz.
A few years ago, I had to start pitching myself to get my name out there and gain attention for brands. I actually still pitch on a regular basis now, especially for categories that I’m still trying to break into (ex. home decor and entertaining). The absolute worst thing a brand can say is no, so it really doesn’t hurt to put yourself out there!
Want to learn how to pitch? I broke everything down in this post here!