Blogging as a business: Sponsorships

Blogging PR

Hi guys!

In today’s post, I will be talking about everything related to monetary aspects of blogging. Not many people like discussing blogging as a business so here are some insider secrets.LETS BEGIN!

1. Is your blog your primary source of income?

Before you begin to start budgeting for your blog, this question must be answered clearly by you! To read about the differences of blogging full time vs part time, how to manage time for blogging and staying on top  of your game- check out Debasree’s post! Just cause blogging is not your full time job doesn’t mean that you cant be paid for it!

2. Make an Expense Sheet
The key to any business is to map down how much you plan to invest in your blog, what your expenses are over a time period and approximately how much do you see your self making. Make an excel sheet with the following columns to keep track of your budget:
1. Predicted Expense
2. Expense
3. Predicted Income
4. Income
5. Predicted Profit
6. Profit
Having these “predicted” versus “actual” columns really keeps me motivated as I get a better idea of my goals and if they’re being achieved.Don’t run away from expenses because all good things do require some hard work and initial investment. Have a number  in mind that you know you cannot cross when it comes to spending on photographers, designers, interns etc. Similarly, don’t undersell content. Have a figure in mind, below which you will not  accept collaborations

3. What is your blog’s worth?
How much do I charge companies? This question is not that hard to answer if you trust you content, have worked hard on it and have your expense sheet in place. How much you should charge for a collaboration depends on a lot of factors such as: how much was your investment?, how many blog readers to you have, what is your blog engagement like?Having all of these figures in mind and doing some market research with similar bloggers in the bloggersphere, create your media kit.

A Media Kit is basically a document/graphic, PDF that has your blog name, a little paragraph about your blog, all your social stats, what you charge for different types of collaborations: Shout outs on Social media, blog post reviews etc

3. How can you earn from your blog?

There are multiple ways you can earn from your blog. The most popular ones are:

  • Advertising: I don’t have advertising on my blog as yet and plan to do so in the near future. I cannot speak about the same in detail but I can tell you that don’t allow random content to be advertised on your blog. If your blog is about food, get a food based company to advertise content on your blog.sThis method however is one of the easiest to get a flowing monthly income!
  • Affiliate Links: Just like advertising, affiliate links are also an easy no brainer way to earn from blogging. Amazon is one of the most active websites when it comes to affiliate linking. To sum it up, affiliate links are basically direct links to products in which case, when a reader of your blog, buys a product by clicking on that link, you get a cut from it. So, if you’re a photographer and have listed affiliate links to the nikon camera on amazon.com; if a reader buys that camera by clicking on the link- you get a commission from the same.
  • Sponsored Content: What this means is that a company will contact you directly/ the brand’s PR company will contact you to write a post featuring or reviewing their products. This of course means that the brand will send you the products and you WILL be made paid too for writing that post. Writing a post just for free products doesn’t make too much sense to me especially if blogging is your main income. If you want to earn from your blog, please don’t shy away from charging for sponsored content. It’s very easy for PR companies to send you 2 bottles of cream, a lipstick and a mascara and not pay you along side. Your writing and hard work is worth much more. Of course, in the beginning when you want your blog to grow m, writing posts for brands without charging and just accepting the products to try out works fine but not when you want to make the blog an income source. Having said that- NEVER write a post for a brand that you would not use and not love. Your readers aren’t stupid and can tell between you faffing your way through versus honest genuine content. At times, a brand will pay you for a “review” where they may nice enough to say ” please be honest”! Those are definitely the kind of brands and companies you want to work with- where you get to try out a product, write the truth about it and get paid. NEVER and I repeat NEVER write a false review if the product sucked. Yes I know you’re being paid and you have certain deliverables that have been promised to the brand. In such a situation, be honest and write an email to the PR company/brand telling them what you feel about the product. The terms of the contract with the company may get re-negotiated.
  • Freebies: Companies may contact you for your address so that they can send you a gift. In return they would expect a shout out on Social Media. Please note: YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO POST THE “GIFT” on your social media.Please don’t forget that you are not being paid to post the product. Neither had the company sent you a list of deliverables. It is simply w gift where the power to post a picture should lie in your hands. Please don’t let any company intimidate you or harass you if you haven’t put up a picture of their “gift”. You love the gift, sure put up a picture and talk about it
  • Product features: These posts are very different from writing sponsored content. A brand may simply send you products that you can style and use for your blog posts but the post need not be exclusively about the product. You are not obligated to write anything about the brand either since you’re not being paid. You feature the product in your posts only cause you want to! They work like freebies do- except that you actually use them in a blog post rather than just posting a shout out on Instagram.

4. Events and Blogger meets: PR companies and brands hold product launches, brand launches, PR parties, blogger meets etc for which you may be invited. Very often you may told/ordered to write a blog post or even 2 posts about the event, live tweet and post on Instagram- DONT DO IT. If someone asks my blogging pet peeve, it’s got to be this. You are inviting me for an event- treat me like a guest- will you? If you want me to write about your event, I will charge. Full stop. If I want to live tweet at the launch, I will do so happily so long as I’m not ordered to, that too for free. Just cause you’re being offered a free lunch and a cocktail or two doesn’t mean that you should be obligated to write a full blog post talking about the event.

Think about the type of company that’s inviting you for the bloggers meet. If it’s a smaller brand trying to widen its client base, the brand need you- not the other way round! They want your content and hence you should be remunerated for it. If that’s not possible, don’t shy away for asking for an Uber to and fro from the event. Some companies may be nice enough to offer but others don’t say a word unless you ask.

I can go on and on but will stop right here. I really hope this post helps you if you’re a budding blogger. Please value for content and had work! I know it can be hard to say no to companies since you want to do as many collaborations as you can but whatever said and done, just don’t undersell your self! If you love a brand and the work they’re doing and the opportunity you’re getting is unpaid- go for it! Mix it up and have fun so long as you don’t let anyone take you for a ride :)