As a parenting blogger, one of the most popular ways to make money from your blog is to allow sponsored posts from relevant brands.
After all, most other parenting bloggers around you are doing this, and the thought of receiving free stuff, and even large sums of money simply for posting a sponsored post on your blog can be very appealing!
However, did you know that most of the money is going to only a small percentage of blogs? That’s right – and these blogs aren’t even necessarily the biggest ones, or the ones with the most traffic.
See, brands look for quite a number of factors when determining whether or not to pursue a sponsored post opportunity. Having coordinated dozens of them personally and members of the Kinacle team pursuing even more – take it from us.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the factors we look for when choosing which blogs to pay for sponsored posts on, and how you can help your blog become appealing to brands such as ours.
1. Price Is The Starting Factor, But Not The Most Important
Always remember that the entire purpose of a sponsored post, in a brand’s eyes, is to make a positive return on investment.
We want to make more money from the sponsored post than we paid for it. Prior to arranging a deal, we’re going to calculate exactly how much money we think we’ll make off of the post, look at your price, and if the ROI is good enough, we’ll pursue the opportunity.
The fact of the matter is, if your price is too high to warrant a healthy return, we’ll move towards a blog that will. Please don’t think that because a multi-billion dollar brand like Pampers or Fisher Price is willing to overpay for a sponsored post means that everyone will – the rest of us pay much more attention to each transaction.
Truthfully, most parenting bloggers either charge far too high, or too low for the return they offer to most of the brands they’re trying to appeal to.
Of course, the brand’s offering, marketing, and sales pages also affect their return as well, so it’s not all in your hands. A brand with sales pages that convert very well into customers will be willing to spend more money for the same amount of visits.
Anyhow, price doesn’t matter nearly as much as the other factors we’re about to go over, because again, it’s value of the post that matters – if a sponsored post required us to pay $5,000 but made us $10,000 in profit, we’d happily pay it.
So, what are the other factors?
2. Follower Engagement With Your Blog
Did you know a smaller, engaged audience is worth substantially more than a less-engaged, larger one?
We’ve ran sponsored posts that have made twice as much, with an audience 1/5th the size.
Engagement is a huge factor when it comes to choosing a blog to work with. We want to know that your audience won’t just skim over the post – we want them actually reading it, and then taking action because they know, like and trust your recommendations so much.
More specifically, here are some metrics we look at:
- Number of comments across several posts.
- Your total following on social media, and your engagement rate – how many likes, retweets, shares etc. are your posts receiving?
- Are your comments primarily from other bloggers, or is there a healthy amount of consumers?
- Do you foster engagement (respond to blog comments, mentions, ask questions, etc.)
- Do you have an audience of regular visitors, or do they come and leave forever (more on how we determine your traffic sources later.)
Fortunately for you, these are metrics you can directly influence, and they do not require you to grow your audience. This means even small mom blogs and dad blogs can start making more money from their sponsored posts right away, simply by engaging their audience further.
While it’s certainly not the most important factor, increased traffic will almost always correlate with increased rates when it comes to sponsored posts.
After all, more eyeballs on the post means there are more opportunities to sell, leading to more sales and a higher ROI for the brand.
In my experience, I’ve found that bigger brands, or brands with a goal of increasing brand awareness / exposure rather than making an immediate, direct profit will prioritize traffic volume a bit more than smaller brands will.
Take Huggies for example, who works very heavily with parenting bloggers – their goal is not to get you to go out and buy some of their diapers immediately after you read their sponsored post. They simply want to be in the forefront of your audience’s mind when it comes time for them to start buying diapers, or consider switching from one of their competitors.
While higher traffic justifies higher rates, it’s not the most important metric, so don’t fret if your numbers are low. Develop a foundation of engagement, and then focus on building traffic – it will be far more valuable in the end.
Bonus Tip: Don’t inflate the numbers in your media kit, we have a pretty good idea when a blogger is lying about their traffic stats. Most of us have trained marketers on our team and know when something’s not legitimate.
4. Audience Demographics
Speaking of marketing, it’s important to know that not all consumers are equal in a brand’s eyes.
We’re looking to connect with the right sorts of people, the people who are most likely to be interested in the products we offer. Of course, this will vary from brand to brand.
A brand selling pregnancy supplements will be looking for a completely different audience than a brand selling toys teaching children to program computers, for example.
This is why it’s so important to include demographic information in your media kit – specifically, age of your audience, a breakdown of gender, and the primarily countries your audience is from.
You can find out this information through Google Analytics – if you haven’t already set it up on your blog, you’ll want to do so right away. Additionally, communicating regularly with your audience through blog comments, email, and social media will help get further insight as to who your readers actually are, and what they care about.
5. Your Sponsored Post Ratio
It can be very exciting when you get offer after offer to publish sponsored posts on your blog.
After all, how awesome would it be to have companies throwing money at you? How could you possibly say no to that?
Unfortunately, sometimes, you have to. Especially if you want to attract top-tier rates. This is because your ratio of sponsored to normal posts is very important to the best brands.
Remember, the goal of a sponsored post is for your audience to pay attention to the offer, and hopefully take some sort of action. This because increasingly difficult if they are constantly bombarded with ads, and paying brands know this.
Even if you’re selective with your offers and your audience does tend to like them, there is only so much money they’re going to spend at a given time, and too many sponsored posts dilutes the value of all of them.
Additionally, a high sponsored post to normal post ratio is a negative signal to Google, and correlates with lower search engine results. This is also a negative for brands looking to bank on long-term organic traffic from your post involving them.
So what should this ratio look like? The lower the better, but it’s important to find a balance that works for you. Ideally, it should be no later than 1 sponsored post to every 5 normal posts.
6. Longevity / SEO
While not important to all brands, it’s typically a bonus if your sponsored post will bring attention to a brand for an extended period of time.
This is especially true for brands paying for the goal of brand awareness, rather than immediate sales. Brands like these will often prefer you casually mention them within a helpful article that will rank well on Google, rather than write a post all about them.
In any case, higher search engine rankings for a given article will lead to a higher rate, in addition to the extra traffic ranking well means. Marketers will often check your website’s domain authority, a number developed by the search engine company Moz to determine how likely a website is to rank well. (P.S: You can check your domain authority for free by clicking here.)
Additionally, brands may also use tools like SEMrush to see which articles of yours are ranking well on Google, and try to estimate the organic traffic a sponsored post will bring in over time.
Therefore, having a solid SEO strategy in place will be sure to boost your blogging income.
7. Your Personality, Values, And Personal Brand
Last but not least, brands look at who you are as a person, and how you portray yourself on your blog.
When you accept a sponsored post, you are aligning yourself with that brand in some way. And by choosing to work with you, that brand is aligning themselves with you as well.
Brands tend to develop an image of themselves that they try to uphold, and this may mean declining to work with people that do not share their same values.
To make an extreme example out of this, Kinacle would never work with a blogger who was openly racist, sexist, or unethical, regardless of how much money we think we’d make from that deal. Yet, bloggers like this exist, and there are companies that pay them.
Be polite and professional, but don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through either. We’re all just people, looking to connect and build each other’s businesses up.
Miscellaneous Tips For Accepting Sponsored Posts
- Don’t be afraid to suggest alternate post styles if you know that they work best for their audience. If a brand is asking for a video review, but you know giveaways work phenomenally well for your audience, take time to suggest it.
- Make it clear if you’re going to nofollow links to the brand’s website. Brands will take the time to look through past posts to see if you nofollowed other outbound links, so there is really no point in trying to hide it. Additionally, understand that nofollowing links will decrease the rate brands are willing to pay you.
- Traffic in the country the brand is based in will almost always be worth more to them. The exception to this is major brands that have distribution channels all over the world. Other than their home country, USA, UK, Canada, and Australia visitors are more valuable to advertisers.
- If you can, accept extra products in place of extra payment. It is much cheaper for a brand to send more products than more money and this is usually a win-win for both parties, when the product is right.
- If there is a brand you love, reach out to them with the offer for a sponsored post!
- Check your spam folders from time to time – sponsored post offerings often end up in spam.
- Post articles on your website consistently – if you haven’t posted in two months, brands may assume your audience isn’t checking your website regularly, or you’ve quit blogging entirely.
- Give extra value and don’t charge for it. If you love a product, don’t avoid talking about it down the line in hopes of getting more money. Not everything has to be a financial transaction.
- At the same time, make it clear that you’re open to collaborate again down the line.
- Last, but perhaps the most important tip, do what’s best for your audience. The long-term success of your business is worth more than any money you can grab in the short-term. Never recommend junk and betray your audience’s trust – they are your ultimate asset.
I hope this has provided some insight into the various factors brands look for, when choosing parenting blogs to advertise on.
By utilizing the advice mentioned in this article, you should be able to ask for higher rates, while also providing more value to both your audience, and the companies that choose to work with you. Of course, if you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask them in a comment or email.
Finally, if you feel that Kinacle would be a good fit for your parenting blog, please don’t hesitate to contact us – we love working with mom / dad bloggers of all sizes!
– James McAllister
CEO of Kinacle