In the last article, I wrote about how to make money from advertising using ad networks.
We discussed which ad networks paid the most and how to get accepted as a publisher.
Although using ads to monetize your blog does generate a good amount of income, there is another lucrative option:
Sponsored blog reviews.
Most people know what sponsored reviews are, but never pull the trigger on them. In a way, they’re less conventional than just joining an ad network and there is more work involved. You’ll likely have questions like:
- How do I find companies to sponsor me?
- How much can I charge?
- How much traffic do I need to get my first sponsored reviews?
The process of getting your first sponsored review is simpler than you might think it is, and we’ll go through them all in this article.
There are a few things to avoid in order to maintain trust with your existing audience.
Over abusing sponsored reviews is a quick way to lose trust you’ve built with your existing audience.
It should be used as a supplementary form of monetization.
Things you want to avoid:
- Reviewing a product that is not in any way related to your niche.
- Making it sound overly positive and hyped like an advertisement.
- Recommending low quality products you wouldn’t use yourself.
How much money should I charge per review?
There are a few things you’ll need to consider.
First, you’ll need to determine what the advertiser is looking for. Are they hoping for a mention in a random blog post, or a fully detailed review?
The more they ask for, the more you can charge.
Next, analyze the product.
Remember when to say no. Only accept sponsorship from high-quality products that you would use yourself.
The more closely related the product is to your target audience, the higher you can usually charge.
If the product isn’t directly related to your niche, you won’t be able to charge as much since a broader audience means a lower conversion rate.
Instead, think purely based off metric values.
- How much traffic will you drive to their page?
- What would the conversion rate be?
- What would that mean in dollars of sales for them?
These are estimations that you can make yourself before pitching them a quote.
As you can see, a large part of pricing sponsored reviews just comes from charging whatever you want to charge.
That doesn’t mean you should just throw a crazy number out there. Estimate the value you’ll provide, what they’ll make back, and start from there.
How much money can I make from sponsored reviews?
There’s also no clear answer for how much you can make from sponsored reviews.
It depends on how much traffic you have on your blog, what kind of advertisers want to work with you, how many you take on, how strong your branding is, etc.
Once you build up a strong brand and a large blog audience, sponsored reviews can become much more lucrative than ad networks.
An interesting story from one of my favorite bloggers Michelle Schroeder-Gardner from Making Sense of Cents is about how she started making money through sponsored reviews.
Her blog started out simply as a hobby, then grew into a blog that makes $10,000 to $20,000 per month on sponsorships alone.
Why choose sponsored reviews rather than just promoting them as an affiliate?
Many companies don’t have an affiliate program, but are willing to advertise with sponsored reviews.
It’s a lot of work and takes a lot of time to build and manage affiliate software, recruit affiliates, and provide support.
As a publisher, you have the potential to work with more companies.
Ways To Do Sponsored Reviews
There are three main ways to do sponsored reviews: Blog post, Instagram, or YouTube.
Blog posts is the most common way of doing sponsored reviews.
It allows for lots of link insertion as well as a very detailed written analysis of the products.
Creating an advertisements info page (also known as a media kit) is a major must-have.
It’s basically a resume for your blog.
It showcases what your blog is all about, your metrics, your audience demographics, and results/testimonials from past sponsors.
Here is a detailed article on what you’re media kit should look like.
However, there’s no need to wait until companies reach out to you first.
Most blogs that offer sponsored posts get 90% of their sponsors by doing cold email outreach.
Ideally, you should look for companies that are actively advertising on Google for some of your target keywords, already sponsoring other blogs, and advertising on other mediums like YouTube and newsletters.
Use an outreach tool like Mailshake and send them a short, but concise email introducing yourself and asking if they’d like to advertise to your audience.
Your initial email should only be a few sentences.
You don’t want to write a 1000 word bio/pitch. Just a quick intro and a line to reach out to you if they’re interested in learning more.
Having clean design, good branding, and strong engagement is a big plus
While it won’t make or break a deal, having a professional looking design makes it more attractive to advertisers.
Make your brand one that other companies would be proud to be associated with.
It also helps if you can show high engagement on your older blog posts.
Having lots of blog comments and social shares is good for this.
Example of a sponsored blog post review
Doing sponsored reviews through YouTube is becoming more and more popular.
It’s perfect for visual demonstration of the product since the YouTuber can showcase it live on camera.
It also feels a lot more genuine to viewers as they get to see you use and describe it directly.
In order to attract sponsors on YouTube, you must ensure that you read the YouTube rules, have good quality content, and leave your business email in the bio.
Like with blog posts, you’ll find the best results by doing email outreach to companies directly.
To find which companies to contact, check out videos of your competitors and see who advertises on their videos
YouTube also has a sponsorship platform called Famebit.
You must have 5,000 endorsers to sign up and they take 10% of your earnings as the middleman.
Example of a sponsored YouTube video
UrAvgConsumer does a tech review of the LG Gram laptop.
Getting sponsors on Instagram is probably the easiest out of the three.
Companies are willing to pay for sponsored reviews with lower requirements.
You don’t even have to be an “influencer” to do get deals.
I know of some people who don’t even have 1,000 followers and they’re already out there promoting hiking gear and sunglasses.
Of course, the higher the following you have, the bigger the brands you’ll get to work with, and the more money you’ll make per review.
Knowing your brand, having a consistent theme, posting consistently, hashtagging and geotagging, tagging brands in your post, and including contact information in your bio can play a huge part in attracting sponsors on Instagram.
Example of a sponsored review on Instagram
Networks that do the connecting for you
If you don’t want to be consistently hunting for sponsors, joining an ad network that specializes in sponsored reviews could benefit you.
There are a few really good ones out there that will connect you to thousands of advertisers looking for people like you.
Some reputable ones are:
Fango is the #1 influencer marketing platform in the world.
They connect top brand sponsors to social media creators.
It works in the way that creators send their proposals and brands choose the one that best fits their campaign.
Mainly for YouTube channels, Famebit has a very large network of sponsors.
They’ve currently generated 650 million views. Endorsements start at $100.
Other than working with YouTube, they also work with Instagram and Twitter.
At Tomoson, you’ll find advertisers for blogs mainly.
There are no requirements for the blogs that want to join, so the quality of the blogs are low, as you’d expect.
There are a lot of blogs that join just to get free stuff, and not with the intention of benefiting the reader.
That being said, if you come in with a good quality blog, your chances of finding awesome sponsors are higher.
Sponsored reviews can be a great way to add extra revenue to your blog.
Doing too many of them can hurt your brand and make you lose trust with your audience.
Who wants to read a blog that only writes positive reviews of products in return for money?
However, if you’re highly selective with what companies you work with and what products you promote it can even become a highly anticipated category of article for your audience.
Remember, unless you have a very popular brand already, you won’t get many companies reaching out to you first.
Be the one to make the first connection.
Reach out to them and introduce yourself and your blog.
It’s a numbers game with a higher conversion rate than you might expect.