Venus Trapped in Mars

28 September 2013

9 Things No One Tells You When You Start Taking Sponsors





Miss Kaylee requested a post about taking sponsors for this first time! If you have a request for a Saturday Session tutorial, go here. Let's do this!




1. A wait list is ok.
I remember the first night I posted sponsor options, the biggest size ad space I had limited to just one person shown at a time. Within a few hours, I had two people purchase that option. This meant that one person was live on the blog now, and someone else had to wait a month. I panicked over someone having to wait, and immediately changed the settings to have two shown at a time, then another blogger bought that size ad space and I changed it to three shown at a time.... then four shown at a time. Dumb. I just wanted to make everyone happy but instead I threw my sponsor system all out of whack on the very first day.

2. Don't do something you're going to regret as you grow.
I stared with 5 ad sizes and too many shown at one time in each ad size. As I started to grow, and people were added to my wait list for each ad size option, I wasn't able to make any changes to the number shown at a time without changing start dates. I just got so excited that anyone would want to sponsor me, my mindset was "Take all the $2 sponsors on the internets and let them live on my sidebar forever and ever!!!!!!" 

What I wish I had done...







By starting with just a few options, you can always add more. I assure you, it is much harder to take them away. Here I sit, nearly 4 months since I started taking sponsors, and I'm still trying to get rid of two of my ad space offerings. I know it is exciting, but just trust me on this one.

3. Don't take sponsors before your blog is ready.
This is one thing I think I did correctly. I held out until the 500 follower mark. I never did swaps, never wanted to do swaps. I didn't start blogging with the intention of making money, I just wanted to teach girls about sports. So my advice is to focus on stabilizing a solid following before you start taking sponsors. 

4. Knowing how to price yourself
I think supply and demand is the best way to look at this. I started with pretty low prices, then as a wait list grew for that ad size, I sporadically increased the cost for that sponsor option. 


5. Know when to have a sale. 
Women love the word sale, but you gotta know how to use that word. 

Bad: Macy's advertising, "Exclusive, unprecedented one day sale this weekend. One day only. Preview day Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday."

So when they have a sale... who cares, they're always having a sale. 

Good: Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual Sale. Stuff there is NEVER on sale unless you're in the dumpy bargain bin, and in the market for granny panties or no support spaghetti strap white cotton sports bras that wouldn't hold a 12 year old boy's boobs in.

So when they have a sale, YOU STOCK UP. 

See my point? HeleneSami and Erin are all really good at having flash ad sales. They don't offer them very often, but when they do, you stock up!

6. Reward your most loyal sponsors.
I try to remember to give free space or gigantic discounts to the girls who have supported me from the beginning. Many sponsors will reward repeat clients with a discount code or do three month packages at a discount. 

7. Size your spots correctly. 



All of your ads should be the same width. Say it with me....
I also recommend wider rather than tall. So largest size should be 300x300, next size down 300x200, next size down 300x100.

8. If you want to do this all on your own, you might as well just forget it.
Use Passionfruit. I know there is another company out there, I don't know anything about it. Yes, PF is $9/mo. I think that as a general rule, if a blog isn't generating $9 in ad revenue, hold off on taking sponsors.

That's why I waited a while to start taking sponsors, because I wouldn't make enough money to justify the fees associated. First, you should take your profits from blog advertising and pay for passionfruit. Second, reinvest in sponsoring other bloggers. 

9. Have fun with your sponsors. 
Think of cute names that relate to your blog for each size sponsor ad. Mine are Jerry Jones, ESPN, ESPN2... etc. etc. The more you have fun with it, the more your sponsors will enjoy their time hanging out on your sidebar.

Link love...
Some girls who are doing sponsoring right, in my humble opinion...
Daily Tay - her Saturday Takeover was a brilliant idea


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27 comments :

  1. Awww I'm honored to have made your list about doing it right :) I agree 100% with your tips. It was such a trial and error process, I think this list will help a lot of bloggers.

    One thing I would add is to have your advertising policy/legal info somewhere on your blog or in your sponsored posts. As a lawyer, I just get so nervous that one day someone is going to really go after blogs for not being transparent in their policies and it's very costly to get in that kind of trouble. Better safe than sorry!

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  2. "I think that as a general rule, if you can't afford $9/mo then you should not be offering ad spots on your blog to begin with."

    That makes no sense whatsoever to me. Everything else does, but that line threw me for a loop. What?

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  3. Yay! Thanks for the good tips :)

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  4. I also disagree about not doing ads manually. I know several people who do and are very successful. If you don't know anything about html or getting organized, or simply can justify the expense of a Passion Fruit account (and don't have issues with them, which I do), then by all means delegate! But it's not impossible.

    The rest of this post is really good advice, though.

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  5. Great advice! I used Passionfruit for a while back when it was still free, but my blog was not really big enough to see any real results. Should have been more sensible! Will definitely keep this advice in mind.. thanks for sharing :)

    Best,
    Danielle
    http://awriterinlove.blogspot.com

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  6. Thank you! This is great information for a small blog to keep in mind what we're doing! I really like that you support waiting until you have a good following and have really built up your blog. :) Always love your Saturday Sessions :)

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  7. I've been thinking about adding a sponsor option for a while but have been holding off until I get a bit more of a following so I'm glad to see I'm kinda on the right track. Some really great tips to consider once I do go into that realm. Thanks for sharing!!

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  8. It definitely makes your blog look cleaner to have spots being the same width, but so many people don't have wide blog buttons. I can't stand a stretched button. I actually hold off on buying spots that don't match my blog button sizes. In the future, I'm going to have way more than two sizes to work with.

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  9. This is perfect! Thank you so much for sharing these great tips! Also, love that you are a Cowboys fan! Love to see a girlie sports blog! Now if you would just change your college preference, it would be perfect (coming from a die hard UK fan!).

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  10. These are great tips, thanks! Never really knew how the whole sponsorship thing worked, and I never planned on making money off my blog, but hey. If the jeans fit, buy them!

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  11. Excellent post! I'm no where near taking sponsors, but it's definitely a good reference for when (and if) that day ever comes!

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  12. Hii!! Wanted to let you know that I nominated you for the sunshine award! The rules say to let each nominee know so they can participate! I promise this isn't spam lol. Here's the link:

    http://thecrackedlensblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/the-sunshine-award/

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  13. Hi Sarah, Thanks so much for this article. I learned a lot! I was considering starting up a sponsorship page but realize now I am too small and will definitely wait till I hit 500 follows. Thanks again for such a helpful and informative post.

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  14. You're awesome & thank you SO much for including me in that little shout out list! I can't wait to be back on YOUR sidebar next month. 6 month long sleepover, what what!!

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  15. This is so helpful, thank you! How about our Vols yesterday? What what!

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  16. All great advice! I just started buying ad space .. so I think that's my first step in getting my blog more followers.. THEN I might consider taking sponsors.

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  17. so many good tips here for newbies at taking sponsors. i'm still working out the tweaks on my sponsorship program so thanks for the shoutout :)
    -- jackie @ jade and oak

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  18. Love, Love, Love!

    Thanks!

    -Kate
    www.theflorkens.com

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  19. This is really great advice. Thank you. I have been considering it but concerned about the income/tax reporting part of it.

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  20. had to go back and comment on this bc a i love ya and b this is perfect. i love the sizing thing too. when you suggested that I was like ohhh yeah that definitely makes sense!

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  21. Im glad i came across this! As a newbie blogger i was so confused about what to charge and if i even should be getting spnsors

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  22. So sorry that I am JUST now reading this. Thank you so much for including me in this, that means a lot and you are the sweetest! I’m excited for my sponsorship to start on your blog soon!

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  23. These are all spot-on tips (did I really just say that?) and I agree with them. I stick with swaps because I'm just not big enough for paying ads. The end post one is paying, but that's only because it's at the end of every post. And the comment about the $9 makes perfect sense to me.

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  24. Great advice! What would you say about people that have a pretty steady following, but struggling with followers. My new and return traffic is pretty solid, but the stinking follow number is stunted. Would you consider a sponsorship program with a stunted official "following"?

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  25. Great ad advice! Esp the part for new bloggers!

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  26. All of these are amazing! Thank you so much! As a new blogger, I need all the help I can get in this sort of stuff!

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