Advertising in The Wild West

We've covered the traditional types of advertising for bloggers. Today we'll look at the "Wild West" of advertising for bloggers: brand collaborations. Bloggers are pioneering a new industry, and companies are starting to see both the impact and value of collaborating with us.

How does it work?
Brand collaborations are called many different things: content campaigns, sponsored posts, underwritten posts, and the like. You're getting paid to associate a company's brand, logo and campaign to your content. Sometimes it's only underwritten, meaning that the brand is not at all dictating the content of the post, and there is no product integration in the post. Here's an example of a post underwritten on my site by the brand Skinny Cow. You'll notice that there is no mention of any product in the post. The post is simply underwritten with a logo and blurb next to it.

Sometimes you're getting paid to actually talk about a product. This is typically referred to as sponsored post. These posts are clearly marked as sponsored and actually include the product in the content. Here's an example of a sponsored post I did for Airheads candy. These should be better paying than the first example, since it's a much more integrated advertising method.

How can I cultivate these kind of advertising opportunities?
Most of these brand collaboration opportunities come from my ad network. However, before joining my network I reached out to brands exclusively on my own. Looking for contacts with a company's PR/marketing department is the best way to get started. Once you have a contact, you will need to put together a proposal detailing what you can offer their brand, and how you envision the partnership being successful. Expect a lot of back and forth especially with a bigger company. Be patient, but be persistent!

It's up to you to decide which kind of brand collaborations you're interested in and how much you feel comfortable charging. Most importantly, spend some time thinking about whether this brand is a good match for the content of your blog, especially if it's a post with product integration. You'll want it to be natural and organic to your blog content so you don't lose the spark that made your blog awesome to begin with.

Post by Liz Stanley.Check back next week for more discussion on Advertising for Bloggers! I also teach a Blogging 101 video class on July 25th.