Choosing a blog to sponsor is hard. Then on top of that you have to figure out whether or not they even did a good job. Which is hard. How do you judge if a blogger is a good sponsor or not? How do you judge whether or not you should sponsor them again? Below are a few of my thoughts on this whole process. If you see anything I am missing make sure you add it in the comment section!
1. Make sure promises were fulfilled. Normally, under the sponsor option title is a little blurb stating what the blogger promises to fulfill during that sponsorship. Hold the blogger accountable to those promises. If they forget, ask them about it- as you know we all get busy and forget sometimes! Be nice about it - no sense in burning bridges here people. If in the end, after asking twice, move on and chalk it up to experience and write that blogger down in...which brings me to tip number two.
2. Keep a list of blogs you like to sponsor - for example, a couple of my all time favorites are Chits and Giggles and Helene in Between. I like to do this because I tend to go back and sponsor multiple times - not in row, but evenly spaced out. Also, keep a list of blogs you think suck at sponsorships. This is important. Don't get sucked into blogger icon love and forget what you experienced. No need to waste cold hard cash - you can like someone, but doesn't mean you have to sponsor them. Another reason I keep these lists is that I get asked time to time I will get asked by a blog friend about a blog to sponsor before they decide to make that jump. I just let that person know what I experienced - most of which are good, I have only had two really bad experiences and chalk those up to a learning curve.
3. If you decide to start allowing sponsors, remember how you were treated by blogs that you sponsored. Don't be a jerk-face, try to be nice, and try exceed expectations if possible. Truthfully I could write an entire post on this and plan too.
4. If the blogger does their ads via Passionfruit update your ad image a few times throughout the term of the sponsorship. I typically rotate about three times throughout a 30 day ad stint. Once I started doing this I noticed my click rate increase dramatically. If they don't have passionfruit then halfway through the sponsorship send over the coding for the new button and ask them to swap it out.
5. If you don't know, just ask. ASK QUESTIONS! For example, I couldn't decide on which sponsor option I should choose on Living in Yellow. So I just asked Erin her opinion! She was super helpful and nice. She helped me picked my ad spot, I purchased, and everyone is happy (I go live in May!). If a blogger isn't willing to help their sponsors pick which option is right for their needs then you really need to pick another blogger - because that just speaks volumes on how you will be treated during the sponsorship.
6. I don't typically suggest sponsoring a blog unless you get social media and/or in an post feature.Yes, a sidebar ad is great -but you don't get the exposure that you would get if you were featured in post and mentioned in social media. So keep that in your back pocket when looking at sponsor options.
Picking a blog to sponsor is tough potatoes - trust me I know. On top of my tips listed above, I also highly suggest that your REALLLLLYYYY read that blogger's content well. If he/she talks about how crazy they are - odds are they probably are and will probably burn you in sponsorship. It's happened to me twice, once by a relatively big blogger. One blogger went as far as to remove my sponsor highlight, ad, and send me a rude email - all because I started blog designs. Oh yes, that leads me to another point. I am just scarred by the whole blog design fiasco - so make sure you read the blogger's sponsor page well. If they don't mention anything about allowing or not allowing blog designers then don't worry about it. That blogger should have CRYSTAL CLEAR qualifications listed on who they do and do-not allow. If they don't and they get all pissy about it - don't worry about it. It's their fault they didn't list their qualifications on who can and cannot be a sponsor.
My very last thought of the day is to address this constant discussion "if you don't see a blog offering ad swaps, then don't ask for it". My opinion on this is it really depends on if you are the same size blog and if you can offer something in return. If you are a bigger blogger than me and want to ad swap - sure I am all about it, it's like why the heck not?! If you are wanting to barter/trade just ask - don't be insulting about it though. How would you like it if you had a Gucci purse and someone wanted to trade the Gucci for their Old Navy? Not cool huh? Get what I am sayin' here? It's not hard - just treat someone like you want to be treated.
Overall, I have had more good interactions then bad and have made some great friends through sponsorships. It allows an opening to a dialogue they may not have been there before. If you have any questions just let me know via email in the comment section below!
Because Ashley is so awesome, she's giving away a $25 Sephora giftcard to one lucky reader! It only takes four entries to enter! Four. Can't pass that up! Happy entering and best of luck my people!