Today I’m sharing a bit of advice when it comes to charging brands for sponsored posts…
The world of sponsored content is a complicated one. It’s business, and like anything in business, it’s all about communication, knowing how to negotiate and standing your ground. I know from experience that when I first started charging for posts, I had no idea what I was doing. I accepted very small amounts of money thinking it was great, and in reality, I was completely being taken advantage of. It helps to be aware of what you should be charging and what your standards are before you contact potential clients about sponsored posts. I’ve filled this post full of info that I wish I’d known before I started taking on sponsored content and hopefully this post has some tips in it that will help out someone else!
How do I get sponsored content?
Whilst I get a lot of emails per week from brands and PR companies, I also send out just as many emails. It doesn’t matter how large your stats are, you still need to put the effort in if you want to earn money. If you get an email from a brand wanting to work with you on some sponsored content, great. If not, get on social media and try and make some contacts! You can find contact info for brands on their website, on their twitter page, or you can even send them a message on Instagram. If there’s a specific brand you want to work with then try typing the brand into google followed by “pr contact” and see what comes up. You can also join affiliate programs and there is usually a contact email under each brand so if you want to see if they have any campaigns you can work on, try emailing them through there. Quite often, I have googled things like “blogger pr” and it’s come up with marketing websites where it shows that they work with bloggers and what brands they work with. I have then contacted them asking if they have any work that I could get on board with. Another thing I’ve recently started doing to try and get more work in, is going through my emails and contacting brands that I worked with last year to see if they have anything new I can work on. It’s got me a few new opportunities so it’s really worth doing – and whilst on this topic, make sure you save the contact info whenever you work with a brand for this reason! A couple of other ways you can try and find sponsored opportunities is through Facebook groups, there’s a really good one for UK bloggers that so many PR’s post in so I highly recommend joining a few. It’s also nice to chat with other bloggers and swap details as brands won’t come across every blogger out there, so help them by introducing yourself! I have a little group of blogging girls who I chat to on a daily basis and we are always sharing emails for blog opportunities, it’s a great way to bring in more collabs. Some bloggers seem to be quite funny about it but I don’t understand why – if you’ve already had the opportunity yourself then why not potentially help another blogger out by sharing it with them? It’s not like you can do it twice!
How do I email a brand/PR?
If you’re emailing a brand or PR company about a collab, it helps to keep it short and straight to the point. It’s likely that they receive hundreds of emails just like yours every week so you don’t want to send them a long-winded email that they won’t have time to read. Start by introducing yourself, putting a link to your blog, and saying what you blog about. You can then go on to list a few of your best stats (but not them all) so for example, I usually mention how many unique monthly page views I receive as it’s quite a large number. I also mention my Instagram follower number as it’s my largest social media following. If it’s a brand that you’ve reviewed on your blog before, then you could also leave a link to a review you’ve done so they can see it as that will get you brownie points. To end the email, I usually mention that I’ve attached my media kit for them to view my stats more in-depth and that I hope to hear back from them soon. Then I hit send! Easy peasy. If they don’t get back to you, don’t be disheartened, it’s most likely that they are super busy. You can always try and email them again in a month or so, just don’t harass them as that won’t go down well…
How do I bring up payment if a brand or PR emails me?
I have accepted a lot of collabs that have come through without asking if there is a budget and later finding out that they have paid other bloggers to do the same collab. This can be very frustrating, especially when the only reason I forgot to ask is because I was so excited to work with the brand! I have learnt my lesson and I will reply asking if there is a budget most of the time now. If you get an email through about reviewing some products and there’s no mention of a budget to sponsor you but you think you should be paid for the collab then all you have to do is reply politely asking them if they have a budget for it. They will either reply telling you that there is so you can come to an agreement over what they should pay you, or they will reply saying that they don’t have one and it’s just a gifting collab. You can then decide if you think the products alone are worth payment for how much work is involved. Sometimes, if a big brand contacts you and is offering some really high quality products, payment won’t be necessary and there’s no point asking for it. But other times if a lot of work is involved, like for example if the post is a fairly large review, then it’s completely fair to ask for payment for your time. If the PR emailing you is expecting a lot of work in return for a product not worth very much then I usually explain how much work goes into the post and that I require payment for my time. I highly recommend doing this and to not let companies take advantage of you, they wouldn’t get free advertising anywhere else so why through your blog?
Do I need a media kit?
Yes. If you want to take your blog seriously as a business and earn good money from it, you will need a media kit. It means you can keep your emails short & sweet as you can just attach your media kit to the email for the brand to look at if they’re interested in working with you. A media kit generally has a little bit of info about your blog, brands you’ve worked with, your social media stats and your blog stats. You can also include a bit about what you charge for a sponsored post to help give them a rough idea. Media kits should look nice & professional as your blog is essentially a business. Like all businesses, you need good branding, for your media kit as well as your blog, and Logojoy can help you out with this. You simply type in your blog name, pick a few logos that you like the look of and choose a colour scheme. You can then use their search option to find icons to your taste (if you want some adding to your logo) and it will come up with some logo choices for you! You can also alter any of the design choices until you’re happy with them. Super quick & easy, perfect for those who have busy lives!
How do I know how much to charge?
This is the tricky question… because I honestly don’t think any blogger knows exactly what they’re worth. It doesn’t help that nobody ever talks about what they charge. I only started getting sponsored content at the end of last year, and I can’t believe how little I was charging compared to what I get now. It was only a few months ago that I let a brand (a big one too) pay me £60 when I found out they were paying another blogger around the £200 mark. You can imagine how infuriated I was! I sure as hell learnt my lesson after that, and I’ve been earning really good money since. So I guess some good came from it. To give you an idea, I usually accept between £130-£200 for a sponsored post. It all depends on what the post is, how much I need to write, how many photos I need to take, etc. It goes without saying that the higher your stats are, the more your blog is worth. A brand isn’t going to invest £200 into a blog that doesn’t receive many page views, you know? I do agree that it shouldn’t be all about the followers etc, but sometimes you have to think about it logically. Lets say for example, Zara want to put an advert for their A/W collection in a magazine, they aren’t going to pay as much as they would for advertising it on national TV where it would be seen by thousands more people are they? If you have a good dig around the internet, you can probably find something with a rough amount on what you should charge based on your following, and you just have to base it off that. It’s all really about how much work you’re prepared to do and for how much money. Don’t forget it isn’t just the post you create for the brand, it’s everything else you do on a daily basis, like advertising your blog to get the views in, posting on Instagram daily etc. Another thing I want to mention is that some brands who contact you will tell you what their budget is which makes life a lot easier, and some will ask what you charge. It can help to email the brand back asking what their budget is so you can come to an agreement before you give them a figure. Also if you aren’t happy with what they’re offering, try and negotiate!
Should I ever accept accept less ££ than usual?
If you’re a freelancer, then you’ll know how hard it can be to earn money and how sometimes you will have quiet periods. I read lots of posts on being a freelancer and how you shouldn’t undersell yourself, which I do agree with to some extent – but sometimes you have bills to pay and everything helps. A good example is how quiet I’ve been lately, I thought that with Christmas coming up I would be getting plenty of work coming in but I’ve been a little bit quieter so far, compared to last month anyway. I’m sure things will pick up again like they always do, but I still have bills to pay this month, as well as it being a really expensive time of year. It was Reuben’s first birthday last week, then coming up is Halloween, my sisters birthday, plus Christmas to pay for! This doesn’t mean that I will accept any old thing, but if a brand wants to work with me but doesn’t have a large budget, then that’s okay. As long as I actually want to work with the brand and I feel like it’s beneficial to my blog, then I’m happy to accept a lower payment. I recently accepted less than half of what I was paid last month for a spon post, but this is because the brand is fairly small and just didn’t have a larger budget. I was okay with this, because I negotiated with them by agreeing to review their product but in a post with a few other products so it wasn’t a post dedicated to that one product. This product also fit in perfectly with a post I already had planned, so I was basically getting this money for little effort since I was already doing this blog post. The item I received to review is also really lovely so I get that in payment too! I am still talking about over the £50 mark for this post and not a ridiculously low amount like £20, please remember how much hard work goes into blogging and not to undersell yourself for the sake of a bit of pocket money! It’s also worth remembering that if you do accept a lot less than usual for a post, not to put the same amount of work in as you would for a brand who paid full price. You are being paid for your time to write & photograph the post and like anything in life, you get what you pay for! This doesn’t mean the quality of your content has to decrease obviously, it’s still your blog, but let’s say for example, you might not take as many photo’s or write as much content for the brand if they aren’t paying you as much. They are still getting advertisement from you, they just don’t get as much content produced for them as they would if they paid more.
Should I have a minimum guide price?
Yes. You should have a minimum amount in mind so that you know you’re not prepared to accept anything lower than that, even if you’re trying to negotiate for much more. However small your following is, I would recommend never accepting anything lower than £50. It’s a good figure for a blog post, without being too little. I do personally think that so much work goes into blogging and any blog is worth far more than that, but if you just blog as a hobby then a few spon posts a month for £50 each will soon add up to a bit of extra cash for you! It’s up to ones personal preference, but I honestly don’t think a spon post is worth doing for lower than that with how much time and hard work goes into it. If you’re prepared to accept anything then you need to take a step back and realise that you aren’t blogging because you have a passion for it. If you want to have your minimum guide price higher than that, that’s fine too, especially if you have really good stats!
Should I post content that doesn’t fit in with my niche?
I personally think it’s nice to have a good mix of posts on your blog so that there’s something that will interest everyone, but if you focus specifically on one topic then you don’t want to stray from it for the sake of money. At the end of the day, you will lose a lot of respect from your readers if you start posting just to use your blog as an ad platform rather than because you are passionate about it. I call myself a beauty & lifestyle blogger because whilst I post a lot of beauty related content, I also like to mix in a range of other things like parenting, homeware hauls, clothing hauls amongst other things! I think it keeps people intrigued by mixing up my content every week so that my blog doesn’t get boring. I also enjoy writing about all sorts of different things. This means that when it comes to sponsored content, I can accept all kinds of different opportunities. There’s also plenty of opportunities I don’t accept however, like for example I was recently contacted by a car company to write a post on maintaining a car and even though I would have liked that extra money, I don’t have a car so how can I write a post on one?! I guess you just have to have morals and decide how you want to be perceived by your readers.
Do I have to disclose Sponsored Content?
Yes you do, it’s a legal requirement. If you have been compensated for your post then you are legally required to state that the content is an advertisement. It’s the same on social media as it is for blog posts. For my blog posts I put a small notice at the end of my posts saying whether items featured have been gifted to me or if the post is a collaboration with a brand, or sponsored by a brand. For social media posts I usually just hashtag “ad” at the end of my post. I think it’s now the same for affiliate links too, as I’ve seen people disclosing those on twitter as well. You’re basically letting your audience know that they are being advertised to which is completely fair. Disclosure shouldn’t be hidden within your content and made clear, some bloggers feel the need to hide it but personally I don’t understand why. If I see a blogger posting something with it clearly marked as an AD, I think it’s wonderful and it makes me want to support that post even more so than usual!
Do I need to declare my earnings?
If you are earning less than £11,500 a year, then you don’t have to pay tax. This is the standard personal allowance rate according to the gov.uk website. If you earn more than this, you can find the tax rates here. If you are earning over the personal allowance rate, then you are liable for paying tax and must register as self employed and complete a self assessment. In business, you can take out your expenses when declaring income, so for blogging you might want to take out the cost of web hosting, photography equipment, wifi, etc. If you have a full time job as well as earning blog income, you can calculate your earnings after tax on this calculator here.
I hope this post helped anyone that has queries about sponsored content. I wish I had read a post like this before I started charging for advertising, everything is so confusing! Let me know if you have a similar post up as I really enjoy reading them 🙂
~ This post is a collaboration with Logojoy. ~