In my three years of blogging I have attended MANY blogging conferences. In fact, I LOVE a conference. They’re a wonderful way to learn and be inspired by other bloggers, but also a fab way to make friends or to strengthen existing bonds. It’s quite common for bloggers to be sponsored to attend the larger, more expensive conferences and I have always found seeking sponsorship a fairly straightforward process. A few people have asked me to share how I secured the sponsors I have worked with, so here goes. It’s worth saying that you obviously don’t need to have a sponsor to attend these events, but it’s great to partner a brand for a number of reasons (not only financial!).
I have previously worked as an events organiser and have lots of experience in securing sponsorship. So, I just applied this experience to blogging and here’s my step by step guide to clinching that sponsorship.
1. Tidy up your blog
Anyone you approach is going to immediately look at your blog if they are interested in the proposition. So make sure all those housekeeping tasks that you keep meaning to do are taken care of. Does your blog look professional and appealing? Do you have clear social media icons, a comprehensive contact page, detailed ‘About me’ page etc. Do all of you links work? If so, then you’re good to go.
2. Produce a Media Kit for your blog
A media kit is a document containing all your blog stats and other important information. Keep it simple (one page) and bullet point all the useful information about your blog, including your stats – monthly page views, unique visitors, all your social media figures. If you need more guidance to how to create a media kit this post might help.
3. Brainstorm potential brands
Grab and pen and paper, brainstorm all the brands you have worked with. Brands you might have not worked with, but perhaps have tweeted or had some other contact and also brands you love. Think about crossing any off that wouldn’t fit with the conference you are planning on attending. It might be the case that the brands target audience doesn’t fit with your blogs audience.
Top Tip: Check out which brands follow you on your social media channels, this might show they have an interest in your blog already or at the very least it’s a conversation starter.
4. The right person
Address the pitch to the right person. Do some research and try to find the name of the person responsible for blogger communication/outreach, the account exec or similar. This will mean your pitch will be better received, than if it goes into a generic email account.
5. Write your pitch
It’s important to set out all expectations at the start and show the brand what you can offer. Now is not the time to hide your light under a bushel!
I would structure your pitch as follows;
Opening paragraph – Introduce yourself and either remind them that you have previously worked with them, or that you admire their brand.
Purpose of the email – That you wish to attend X conference, which is the largest conference in the parenting blogging calendar (for example) and are looking for a brand to sponsor you.
Brief overview of your blog – Introduce your blog, ranks, combined social media followers, page views.
What you can offer them – Some ideas are;
- Sponsored posts; a post introducing your sponsor, then further posts as agreed.
- Host a giveaway or promote a special discount.
- Run an advert for them in your sidebar for an agreed time.
- Retweet the brands tweets.
- Include a link to their website in every conference post.
- Adding conference posts to relevant linkys, thus increasing their reach and engagement.
- Tweet about the brand and their offers/products.
- At the conference include brand in your tweets.
- If you produce a newsletter you can include the brands details for the term of the sponsorship.
- At the conference use branded items. For example, pens and notepads.
- Write a post for the brands website/blog.
- Wear branded clothing to the event (check what you are allowed to wear to the conference before agreeing).
- Promote your sponsor on your business cards.
- Ask for their input if they wish to include something you have not thought of.
6. How much will it cost the brand
This is the part people are apprehensive about, naming their price. I would advise you to remember your worth and the exposure that you are offering the brand. You have a targeted audience that come to you, which is very desirable.
I would include a breakdown of the costs you are looking to have covered and a clear total. Some people may just want the ticket and travel covered, others may be looking for a fee on top. Whichever it is, just state it upfront and with clarity.
7. Why should they work with you?
You have given them your stats in your media kit, but what else can you offer the brand. Loyal readers, thriving Facebook community, the demographic of your readers matches those of the people the brand is targeting. These are all very desirable things to a brand, so make sure you point them out.
8. Ways to contact brands
There are various ways you can contact a brand, some more appropriate than others depending on the individual company.
- Put a notice on your email signature, saying you are seeking sponsorship.
- Add a page or badge to your blog.
- Tweet out a request for sponsorship.
- Email brands directly.
- Use Twitter Direct Messaging.
The first sponsorship I secured via a direct message (to a brand that followed me), which I followed up with an email. The most recent was a spec email to a brand, who ran a focus group that I was involved in.
Remember if you don’t ask you don’t get.
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