Wow, it’s been a hot minute since we last shared a business post… so I’m really excited to announce a small change! We have a new editor on the team — everyone, meet Katie Williamsen, a super-talented web and social media strategist. She’s the real deal and joined the team to help drop some serious business knowledge on us. Katie specializes in helping like-minded female entrepreneurs feel informed, empowered and excited to creative effective changes within their business.
In terms of this business series, we thought it would be fun to do a double-take, basically what my response to a question and what Katie thinks. We’re from totally different backgrounds, so I think this is gonna be fun. — Joanna
Question: My question to you both is about monetizing a blog. It’s something I’m working to do more of. I have the brand, but what I don’t have at my fingertips are those commercial sponsor connections. How do you connect with potential sponsors? Cold call? How do you find time to do that? Do you belong to a blogging network that makes those connections for you?
Wanting to monetize your blog? One of the most lucrative ways to monetize is creating sponsored content for brands. If you are fairly new to the blogging space and growing your readership, working with an influencer network is a great place to start. These networks work closely with brands to find the best influencers and bloggers to share their product or service.
When you apply for an influencer network, you will be asked to share blog stats, such as monthly readership, reader demographics and social media followers. Once accepted into the network, you apply for campaigns that fit best with your blog. You must apply to the campaigns because most of the time there are more people interested in a campaign than needed. This is the downside of working with influencer networks. It takes time to apply for campaigns that you may not be selected.
Influencer Networks to Checkout:
If you decide you would rather work with brands directly, use your connections! Hop on LinkedIn or Facebook and see if anyone you know might be able to make a connection for you. If you have fellow blogger friends who work with brands, ask if they would introduce you to their contact. If a brand already trusts a blogger, they might be very interested in working with you, too.
If you aren’t comfortable asking friends and acquaintances for introductions, comb through a brand’s website until you find the PR/communications department. Send a short email and ask who to reach out to (Joanna’s note: make sure you include a hyperlink to your site!). You may not always hear back, but often times people will try to help you out.
Once you have established who you want to reach out to, put together an awesome pitch and attach a media kit to the email. Keep your email to the point and let the brand know how you can help them.
Working with brands can take a lot of time when first starting out. To save time, put together a few template emails that you can easily personalize and send. Also, be sure to only reach out to brands that you love and align perfectly with your brand. When collaborations seem natural, you and the brand will win.
Wow, Katie’s response is WAY more eloquent than anything I could have written (isn’t she amazing?). Instead, maybe it’s helpful to share all the ways that I work: I monetize in lots of ways: affiliate links, sponsored posts, sponsored Pinterest boards, sponsored Instagrams… even the ads you see in the side bar generate a small amount of income. I try my best to keep my revenue streams diverse and varied. Basically, I try not to put all of my eggs in one basket.
In terms of outreach to brands, I’m really lucky because I recently brought on a management team to, well… manage that for me. I found that I was totally buried in emails which was preventing me from doing what is most important to me, being creative! When I have an idea for a blog post, I typically email them my idea and a list of brands who could be a good fit. Then they reach out and try to make it happen! They also bring me opportunities from the brands, as well. A lot of you have told me that you find the content I’ve been sharing vastly improved and I absolutely believe that’s because I’ve got an incredibly supportive management team who ensures that I can come into my studio every day and be totally creative.
ps — if you’d like to submit a question, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!