In this short guide, we'd like to introduce you to sponsorships, and help you to find, manage and close down sponsorship opportunities. Sponsorships are fueling our partners at Intravert and are helping the publishers to close down hundreds of dollars in sponsorship money.
So, what are sponsorships?
Sponsorships are in first order a way for corporations or individuals to support a community, blog, research or project. Other than in traditional advertisement, basic metrics like CPC, CPM or CTR are not as important. The main interests of sponsorships are usually branding, exposure and brand awareness, rather than clicks and conversions.
The content that sponsorships are delivered with, are therefore usually a little different. Many ad networks are delivering their content through obnoxious banners or click-drawing images or popups. Sponsorships, on the other hand, are usually getting delivered through sponsored posts, a directed message ("Thanks to our sponsor...") or a long-term collaboration on content direction and curation (e.g. a publication producing content about personal finance, as part of a personal finance app sponsorship).
Sponsorships are usually not paid through CPM/CPC, but a flat fee, that might be recurring. As already mentioned, clicks and conversion rates can be secondary.
How to get sponsored
This all sounds good, but what is the catch? Well - closing down sponsorships may not be as easy as integrating a simple AdSense space in your site. It is likely that you'll need to approach sponsors, or get listed on a marketplace to attract offers.
Define your offering
First of all, you should define what you're offering, and for how much you're offering it. There are multiple things you should consider:
- What kind of sponsored content do you want to provide?
- Sponsored Posts
- E-Mail Sponsoring
- Podcast Sponsoring
- Who is your audience? How engaged are they?
- How much money can you ask for? Compare with others in your industry and adjust for audience size.
Use this to craft a value proposition for your sponsors. What are they getting for their money? Internalize this and optimize for that.
Finding your perfect sponsor
Next, come up with whoever would be your perfect sponsor. This does not have to be particularily realistic, but if you can make it so, that'd be perfect. Think about the following:
- Who is your audience? What issues do they have specifically?
- Are there any tools or services that can solve problems for your target audience (it's okay if it's widely known in the industry!)
- Are they known for sponsoring things, do they have the budget to do so? Be it hackatons, sports teams, other blogs...
- Can you stand behind their products? Are you using them?
This should give you the profile of sponsors you can approach. As starters, pick one single company which falls into that category. Then find similar ones. Try to craft a list of 30+ companies you can approach and find people who are working in partnerships, PR or marketing for those companies.
Craft some e-mails
Next up, pitch that list of yours! Cold emailing is an art in itself, but as long as you craft a well-versed template and stay personal for any of your leads, you should really not have any problems getting a reply. Do not try to pitch any generic support emails ([email protected], [email protected]), you will get ignored. Instead - find the person in charge and write them directly. Approach them with their first name, most Dear Sir or Madam emails are landing straight in spam as well.
You should introduce yourself to the person, show them your blog and what you're offering (feel free to leave out any prices in this e-mail) and be straightforward about what you're looking for. You're not there for support, you're not there to waste time, you're there to provide them with exposure through your audience. Say that.
Close it down
You will most likely not receive a reply right away, and your conversion rate may be drastically low, depending on how well you're with cold emailing. The key is to be persistent, but not obnoxious. Feel free to reach out again after 4 days. One more time after a week, but then stop and stay away. Nothing worse than getting obnoxious e-mails. Nothing better than receiving a nudge after you've forgotten about an e-mail.
Should you get a reply, you should be quite clear to them about why they should sponsor you, and what you can provide for them. If you're not clear - go back to step #1. At this point, you can also bring up audience size, CTR rates and prices. As soon as you've had previous sponsorships, it also makes sense to mention them.
Then, once you've found someone willing to sponsor you, make the process to do so as smoothly as them as possible. Use Stripe to send them an invoice, and craft them a well-written sponsorship line if that's part of the deal. Stay in touch with them, and fulfill what you've agreed on. A good sponsorship is worth far more than a good cold email strategy. You can potentially make a living off this if you have a set of 5-6 recurring sponsors. They are far more valuable than any advertiser that would ever pay you through an ad network.
Looking to serve sponsorship banners and get exposure to a community of sponsors now? At Intravert, we're working on exactly that. Sign up with your blog, serve native ad and sponsorship spaces, and gain exposure through the marketplace.