- How smart is your blog’s design?
- Selling on your blog
- Advertising – does it still work for blogging?
How to Get Paid Blogging for Brands
A great way to make money with your blog is to promote a specific brand. Yes, there are many big brands that pay bloggers to write about them. The blogger writes about the brand’s products or services and describes the features and benefits to their readers. This shouldn’t be a sales pitch but a genuine this is what the product is, this is the problem the product solves style article.
If the blog is relevant to the brand, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. And of course, you should not attempt to hide from your readers that you were paid for the post or commercially associated with it. Decent Brands will be cool with this – they don’t want to tarnish your relationship with your audience, they want a happy blogger-reader relationship. No Brand wishes to be known as the one that soured a blogging community – the negative backlash from something like that can last a long, long, long time.
Where to Start – Brand Networks
You can connect with relevant brands through networks designed for the purpose of partnering up.
- SocialSpark (part of Izea)
- Escalate Network
- Blog Frog
- Sponsored Reviews
- Brit Mums Professionals
You sign up and submit your blog, and advertisers can find your site by browsing blogs in their niche. I’d start with one site at a time and thoroughly explore it before joining the next one, however if you are in need of cash fast, then you might want to sign up to them all at once.
These networks allow you to set your own price in some cases and, if there’s interest, you can negotiate with the brand. Sponsored Reviews start at $5 a post, the most they ever offered me was $20 a post, and it wasn’t relevant to my audience, so I didn’t do it. There is no need to take everything that is offered. Sure, you want to earn some cash but you still have your audience and readers to consider.
Payments through Brand Networks tend to be reliable, and directly into your Paypal account. You may have to wait up to 60 days to receive your payments, although some Networks pay faster.
Some Brands get more involved with their bloggers or Brand Advocates, beyond providing a pay cheque. They may help you further build your readership by offering free giveaways. This gives your readers a chance to try the brand’s products themselves and helps grow your community or following. Free giveaways also can generate links back to your site, build your list and gain your blog massive exposure through the entrant’s social following. On the downside? It takes time to manage and collate the feedback and Brands tend to want things on their time scale not yours .
BT Tradespace had a terrific way of managing their Brand advocates and I met many other great bloggers when I used their platform, and much of that was down to Amy Cutbill, Bian Salins, Martin Faux and Derek Hemphill. There may be other Brands you can form a long term relationship with, you just need to keep your eyes open to long term opportunities as well as short term ones.
Before you sign up on a network, there are a few basic considerations. Your blog should have a consistent following of readers but, even more importantly, you should be influential with them. You’ve laid the groundwork by building a solid relationship of trust with your readers and they listen to what you say. When you have influence, your message is more powerful and it means more sales for the brand. I met with a publisher last year who loved Birds on the Blog reviewing his books, he said we help push authors up the charts on Amazon
When it comes to blogging for brands, certain niches have a higher success rate than others. Brands of all shapes and sizes love mommy bloggers. Blogging moms are extremely influential with their readers, many of whom are mommy bloggers themselves. This is what you need – a core group that listens to you and buys products on your recommendation. Back in the summer I met a group of car and racing bloggers, they were drift racing courtesy of BuyAGift.com. BuyAGift were talking to the bloggers, creating Brand awareness and encouraging the bloggers to share their racing experiences. Drift racing has a lot of excitement surrounding it and the bloggers were trained how to do it. It was a great day out and as well as the online buzz it generated among racing enthusiasts, it also generated a lot of offline word of mouth. My husband never stops talking about the day, and BuyAGift are always mentioned.
Catering to a specific geographic location also works in your favor. If your blog has a geographic base in Paris or Oslo, these may be areas where a brand wants to increase its sales. If you’re involved in the community offline, this gives your Brand an additional influential boost in the community.
Can you Brand Blog without Selling Your Soul
For many bloggers the idea of blogging for brands doesn’t rest easy with them. You’ve been writing a blog and building a loyal readership writing what you want, offering helpful tips, and really connecting with your readers on a personal level. If you start to advertise brands, it might feel like you’re selling out, but you still have bills to pay and a roof to keep over your head – you are just like your readers in that respect, so is it really selling out?
Selling out can also be a matter of style. If you change your normal blogging style from useful and informative to blatant sales promos then it looks like selling out and you can’t disguise that.
How do you promote a Brand without feeling unethical?
- Choose brands you really like and endorse them honestly.
- Choose them based on products your readers can actually use.
- Don’t advertise anything you don’t wholeheartedly stand by.
- Be transparent and come right out and tell your readers that you’ve been asked to write a post.
Over at Birds on the Blog we frequently get pitches from Brands and PR people who have not taken the time to get to know us or the site. They ask us to review children’s shoes, kids toys and if they had taken two minutes to look through the site they would see we are not the right site for them.
Occasionally we do review the odd item that’s not suited to Birds and that’s because the blogger reviewing has requested the review. An example of that would be Skeanies Shoes. I asked the bloggers if anyone was interested and Lilach said she was. Skeanies sent her a pair of shoes for her daughter, and Emily duly tested them out and Lilach wrote the review and we published it. We are also doing some work with Disney, and this time we are reviewing games. Again it’s not what we usually do, but we get to write about how we feel as parents of daughters and how Disney products work (or don’t work) for us.
Make sure that the brand doesn’t tell you what you have to say. They should encourage you to write your views and in your own style. They may issue guidelines and they may ask site stats, Twitter followings and how you plan to promote the post. It should be totally up to you to make either positive or negative comments about that brand’s product, but if you are not suited to the Brand, you should think twice about taking the money and then writing about something that you and your audience are not going to relate to.
Ultimately blogging with Brands means both your goals being met and what you write being of benefit to your readers.
Brand experiences? Share your thoughts
Or subscribe to my newsletter for awesome blogging goodies