As the world of influencer marketing continues to grow, more and more bloggers and influencers will be joining the ranks in hopes of landing sponsored blog post opportunities, promoted social shout-outs, and more.
Although it’s great that so many brands are using influence marketing campaigns to reach new audiences, influencers are finding that these opportunities are becoming more competitive, and possibly even difficult to get accepted to.
Maybe you’ve been working really hard to build your traffic so that your blog statistics look great on the technical end. Or maybe if you’ve been focusing on your social media following so that your follower count looks more attractive than the other applicants.
Although all of this is great, the truth is that it takes more than just good traffic or a large social following to land a sponsored blog post opportunity.
So whether you’re a new blogger just starting out or a seasoned one who has been at this awhile, these tips can help you continue to improve your blog and (hopefully) get you more sponsored content gigs.
Make Sure Your Blog Looks Clean and Put Together
There is nothing worse than landing on a blog that is cluttered with ads, sidebar banners, random buttons, and dare I say – wacky and funky designs/colors.
Think of your site as a resume. You want it to look clean and inviting, not super flashy and nauseating.
Take a moment to look at your blog and ask yourself the following questions:
- How many ads am I running on my site? Are they distracting? (Ask an outsider to review if you need a neutral opinion)
- Is my site design easy to follow? Do I have a cluttered navigation? Do I have a navigation menu at all?
- Do I have at least 50% original content showing up on my homepage? (We don’t need to see every sponsored blog post you’ve created all showing up in the same place)
- Do I have my social media icons located in a visible location?
- Do I have a white or mostly white background? If not, is my current color/design taking my eyes away from the content I’ve written?
- Do I use a lot of stock photos or are my images mostly original? (This could be important if the brand wants you to display a product a certain way)
Remember, the first thing that any brand is going to see is your blog. This is your two second chance to make a good first impression and if you have a video ad running on the left, a moving animation on the right, a dark colored background image, and on and on, then it’s going to be really hard to sell yourself as a well put-together brand who will showcase the client well.
Your Social Media Followers Should Be Engaged and Active
A lot of bloggers get intimidated by the sheer number of followers that their counterparts have on Facebook, Twitter, and so on. Although it’s great to have such a large following, you might be wondering if those followers are really the “right” ones if you only see one or two retweets or likes on their shared content.
The truth is that if you are taking a sponsored blog post, odds are that some sort of social media amplification is going to be attached to it, and that means that you’ll want to have an ENGAGED group of people to share your link to.
Why? Because not only does that mean more traffic for you, but it means the brand gets more visibility as well.
Even if you don’t have large traffic yet, your social media following could be your foot in the door to opportunities that you thought you wouldn’t get if you know you’re going to get a good amount of shares/likes/retweets.
The moral of the story here is to stop worrying so much about those follow-for-follow threads that you see in Facebook groups and focus your attention on those avenues that are going to get you the engaged followers that you want.
Yes, it’s going to take reaching out to your target audience, tweeting at them, and responding to their comments, but I promise you that the results will be so much better than if you had 100,000 followers and only a few likes here and there.
Make Sure You Fit the Sponsored Blog Post Opportunity
I know how hard it is to not get excited about sponsored blog post opportunities that comes up (because hello, we all like getting paid to blog, right?), but the truth is that if a specific type of blogger is being requested (e.g. fashion blogger, Millennial, etc.), then odds are that there’s a reason for it.
Now, of course you can still apply to these programs if they’re open to you, but don’t get discouraged if you don’t get chosen – it really is nothing personal and the brand most likely just had a specific demographic they were looking for.
Take the Opportunity to Share Some Previous Work or Explain Why You’d Be a Good Fit
You never know how many other bloggers have applied for the same sponsored opportunity as you, so it’s always good to make yourself stand out amongst the rest by including a little something extra.
No, that doesn’t mean that you need to post an entire novel on why you’re the best blogger for the job. Instead, try including a link or two to some previous posts that relate to the content in this particular opportunity. You could also write a brief paragraph of how you would position the product in your post. Think of it like painting a picture – if you can give some life to how your post even before it’s written, then you might more easily sell yourself to the brand.
You could also explain any personal experience you’ve had with the brand in the past or any other qualifications that you think would help position you as an expert for this sponsored blog post opportunity.
Practice Taking Good Photos
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and the truth is that you’ll probably get more followers and a lot more social media engagement if you know how to take a good photo.
Brands also love to see bloggers who can capture beautiful images. Why? Because they know these are the people whose posts get shared hundreds of times. They also feel excited about sharing that content on their own page (can you say huge traffic boost?).
You don’t have to have a fancy camera or an entire photography class to produce good photos. Take some time to practice at home, watch YouTube videos, and go on photoshoot sprees!
Be a Regular
What I mean by this is be a regular on your own blog. That means to be present and to post on a consistent basis. If a brand sees that you haven’t posted in two months and/or haven’t been active on social media, then they might look to the next blogger to see if they’re more active than you are.
Even if you can only post once or twice a week or so, that’s better than once every two months!
Note: Blogging can become tiresome and sometimes you just need a break from it. Totally fine! Just take a moment to write a few posts to get going again before you try to jump on the sponsored blog post opportunities again.
Think of It Like a Job
Imagine that you got hired for a job and were asked to complete your first project by the following Monday.
Now, imagine that you had a lot of other things going on that week, so you pushed the project aside and didn’t have it completed by the deadline.
Do you think you made a good impression?
Probably not. And you may have even gotten let go because of it.
There seems to be this underlying problem in the blogging world that deadlines don’t always have to be met. This is just a “side gig” for some after all and there are plenty of other things going on that might get in the way.
But the truth is that this sponsored blog post is still a job.
A job that you will either complete on-time or you won’t.
Now, think about how you’re going to look to the brand (and the network, if you’re going through one). What impression do you think you left? Is it a good one or a bad one?
If the brand sees you as a responsible blogger who posts on time and produces good work, then odds are that they will want to work with you again.
But if you post late or clearly post something that didn’t follow guidelines or live up to the posting standards, then you might not get chosen again because the brand doesn’t know whether this is just a one-time thing or if you’re truly this way with all programs.
Do yourself a favor and always stay on the good side. View every sponsored blog post opportunity as a new job that you want to impress with. I promise that if you do this, your good reputation won’t go unnoticed.
Finally – Be Available
If you apply for a sponsored blog post opportunity, please make yourself available for contact. Make sure that your email and all other contact information is up-to- date on your site and in your network profile (if you’re applying through a network).
If you don’t check your emails regularly, you could miss out on being selected because you missed an important message or campaign update.
By combining all of these tips, you’ll be well on your way toward getting more sponsored opportunities!
P.S. If you want more insight into the influencer marketing world, check out my post: From Influencer to Project Manager: 5 Things I’ve Learned.