January 07, 2013

how to be a blogger: advertising and sponsored posts

The second post in my 'how to be a blogger' series is dedicated on how to monetize your site successfully (for tips on how to get started as a blogger, click here). I'm more than aware that this can be a tricky subject amongst many bloggers and the opinions vary hugely from some believing that there is no harm in earning some dosh from your blog and others being almost outraged at anyone earning money from their hobby. Personally, I believe that anyone out there that finds ways to successfully earn a small income from advertisements or sponsored posts on their site that are carefully chosen to fit their audience should be applauded and never shot down. Also to any new bloggers, please don't see this post as a reason to start blogging, starting a blog should be for fun and if your eyes are full of pound signs then you are doing it for all the wrong reasons and ironically your blog probably won't become successful. This post is aimed at anyone out there that has been running their blog for a while now and is interested in making a little bit of money on the side.

When I first started blogging (three years ago!) it was all a very different world and hadn't been properly recognised by the beauty industry as much as it is today, now pretty much anyone and everyone can work towards a successful blog with time and dedication. That being said I was certainly under no impression that I'd ever earn cold hard cash from my blog, I thought perhaps I'd receive a product here or there to review and that would be pretty much it in terms of what I'd gain in monetary terms.

However, after around a year or so that my blog was first set up I began to receive emails including offers of sponsored posts and enquires regarding advertising. This all seemed very well and good but I set my mind to never write a post that I thought wouldn't fit with the theme of my blog (yes Paypal I'm looking at you). This isn't by any means an excuse to write off these offers straight away, I always find it's worth investing a little time into seeing if you can work together with the company on a post that would be more fitting to your site, and if not it's always worth offering advertising space. And of course even if the style of the post fits with your site the price isn't always going to be right. In the last two years I have had offers of sponsored fees of a certain amount on the lower end of the scale all the way up to something worth twenty times that amount, it completely depends on the company and their budget.

Sponsored post tips -
  • Be sure to check with the company if there is a word count required for the post, in my experience some companies are happy with a short informative post whereas others like up to 400 words, the price which you agree upon should reflect the work you put into the post too.
  • Attempt to negotiate the price in which a company is offering for a post, in the past this has mean that I have doubled and at times almost tripled the price they are willing to pay, put your wheeler dealer caps on!
  • Try to get started working on the post as soon as possible, this is appealing to companies and means they are more likely to work with you in the future.
  • Get creative - if a company is working on sponsored posts with a handful of bloggers then your readers will be finding trawling through all of the posts rather tedious, so make sure that yours is the most innovative of the bunch.
Advertising tips -
  • Set a price in your mind that you are happy to offer a little space on your site for a company to advertise in, don't sell yourself out for rubbish looking or unsuitable ads just for a quick earner.
  • If you haven't much space for ads in your sidebar then let your price structure reflect that, it makes more sense to have one or two high quality ads than tons of small earners that clog up your site.
  • Offer companies a discounted rate the longer they'd like the ad up for, I tend to offer ads for a course of 1, 3, 6, 9 and 12 months.
  • If a company emails you enquiring about ad space, firstly offer text link ads as these take up the least amount of space on your site and look the neatest, and most of the time this will suit them just fine, banner ads and image ads aren't always necessary.
  • Include an 'advertise here' banner on your site linking to a page of information on your blog's stats and your contact information. Of course you don't have to display your stats and you can always disclose them privately if you'd rather.
I hope that all didn't seem a bit too much like I'd turned into Alan Sugar for you all, I simply love the idea of everyone being able to make the most of their blog and being open to working with great companies, and want to support you all in doing so.

I've also just set up a Formspring account for any bloggers that would like to disclose the amount they charge for ads and sponsored posts if any of you would like to join in http://www.formspring.me/bloggersdollars

Do you have any hints and tips to add to this post? Leave them in the comments below!


  1. I couldn't agree with you more - I think if you get serious about blogging then there's going to be an outlay spent on maintaining a site, photography, products to review, etc so making a little of that back or, if you're lucky making a small profit, is no bad thing!

  2. this is such an informative post, thank you! x

  3. Well written and thanks for sharing your advice :)


  4. Great post! I'm not in any position to offer any sort of paid advertising/sponsor posts on my blog just yet but I will bear your tips in mind if the opportunity ever comes about x


  5. Thanks for the advice. I never know what price to say! It's so hard to judge. I'd rather them offer me a price and then I can negotiate xo

  6. Great tips! I'm defiantly not yet at that stage but iv been blogging nearly a year now so it's something to keep in mind :-) xx


  7. There's some great advice here :) I think I've been selling myself short when it comes to sponsored posts!x

  8. I've never been asked to put up a sponsored post, but I have had a few companies contacting me to ask if they could do a guest post. I have said yes because they often include a link back to my blog on their website, in future I may try negotitiating! I have never thought about offering ad space on my blog, I don't think it is big enough just yet. x

  9. Thank you Jess, very interesting and informative post. I think there are lots of things about blogging that people are too afraid to ask due to the negative reaction from some people, so it's nice to see someone tell it like it really is.
    Mel x


  10. really interesting post. also agree that if people can make a bit of money out of their hobby then why not!


  11. I've been blogging for over a year, have built up what I believe a good amount of GFC followers and reading this really helped me! I'm so lost and confused, we should all be more open and supportive. Thank you! xx

  12. I've been blogging over a year (and a half nearly) but I still don't feel like I'd have a clue where to start with advertising! Your post has definitely helped, but I'm still totally undecided! Maybe one day!

  13. This is so useful! Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    You're totally right, anyone blogger should be passionate, and anyone doing it purely for the money is in it for the wrong reasons!

    Great advice :) x