Are you a travel blogger/ influencer? Do you want to know how to get your blog sponsored and find brands and companies to partner with? These days everyone seems to be trying to sell the dream of traveling the world for free staying in luxury hotels or offering to share their secrets to how to get free stuff as a blogger. While it is totally possible it isn’t easy and nothing, I repeat nothing comes for free!
So, if you are a blogger wanting to know how to get sponsored posts for your blog in this post I will share my knowledge and expertise as someone who has made blogging my full-time career. And if you feel like it’s impossible to figure out how to get sponsored as a blogger, don’t worry I was exactly where you were. I remember how disheartening it was to be constantly rejected or ignored after spending hours emailing people only to be rejected, or just straight-up ignored!
How to get sponsored as a blogger
It’s not easy starting out as a blogger and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. So if you are looking to make quick bucks or bag yourself a few free nights in posh hotels this probably isn’t for you. There are far quicker and probably easier ways to make money than this! If you are in it for the long haul and ready to put the work in now to reap the rewards later then read on for my guide on how to get sponsored for blogging.
Things to think about before you become a sponsored blogger
Is your blog good enough?
Before we go any further I want you to take a look at your blog and all of your social media channels. And answer this question honestly.
Is my blog good enough to secure sponsored posts?
If you aren’t sure or you think you can do better then do the following:
- Ask some friends to take a look and give you some feedback
- Run your website through https://nibbler.silktide.com/ it will give you a report scoring your website out of 10 on different aspects.
- If you think your site could be a little slow then do a free Website Speed Test. Don’t forget that the website’s speed depends on your hosting provider. In that case, low-Speed Test results may be a signal that you need better web hosting.
If after all of that you realize you need to do some work on your blog go and do it. If you know your blog needs a complete overhaul then do a course to help walk you through and keep you on track. I wrote this post on the courses that I have personally done and recommended.
Are your social media profiles strong, well branded and showcase what you do?
Things to look for are:
- Consistency- Are your profile and cover pictures all the same? How about your description? Is it consistent and packed full of keywords?
- Do you post regularly on all of your live channels? If you have abandoned Twitter then close it. There is nothing worse than an abandoned account, it makes brands mistrustful of you. It’s better to not have an account than having an abandoned one.
Do you have a good social following?
This is a measure of your social influence and what potential partners are going to look for. Yes, you may have lots of followers on Instagram. Are that following engaged? This is possibly more important than your number of followers if you have 40k followers on Instagram but you never get more than 100 likes and no comments this is a red flag to brands.
If your social media profiles aren’t up to scratch then before going any further spend some time making sure they are.
If you are happy with your blog and social media channels then you need to look at your content…
Can you prove what you can do?
When reaching out to brands it’s better to have examples to be able to send them to prove your work. For example, if you are pitching a hotel review then ideally you want to be able to send them a hotel review you have already done. The same goes for a product review, a tour review, etc.
These first reviews may need to be done at your own expense. But having good quality reviews with strong images and a decent engagement to be able to send with your pitch is essential to help build trust and demonstrate the quality of your work. If you need some help putting together the perfect pitch then take a read of this post.
Do you really know your audience?
Understanding Google Analytics
I religiously keep a weekly count of all of my data stars from all of my social media channels and google analytics. As well as monitoring my views and users I record the gender, age, and countries of my users. To be able to pitch to brands and companies you need to know who your audience is.
And even more importantly you need to know that your audience is their potential customers and be able to prove it!
Having worked on both sides of this, both as a travel influence and being in charge of marketing for a tour company, I can’t even begin to tell you how many travel bloggers I have rejected for a sponsored tour because of this.
If you are a budget traveler specializing in backpacking and thrifty travel, with a demographic made up of 18-25-year-old men you are wasting your time pitching to luxury resorts and spas.
Know who your audience is, be realistic and only approach companies that will suit your brand and appeal to your audience.
Do you have a media kit?
Why create a media kit? And what to put in it?
If you are wondering how to get noticed as a blogger then having a solid media kit is going to really help.
As a marketing manager for a tour company I always asked for this from any blogger who contacted me. If I didn’t get one, that told me they weren’t professional and it would be a big red flag. It also made my life so much easier when making a decision if we wanted to work with someone. I wrote a whole post on creating a bloggers media kit that you can read here.
Your media kit needs to sell you:
- Who are you?
- What is your mission?
- Who your audience is?
- What is your reach?
It doesn’t need to be fancy and you need to be able to edit it quickly as your social reach changes. But this is your calling card and the key to making you look professional. Make sure it’s a PDF and that it’s not a huge file if you have images in it.
Once you have got your blogger media kit you need to go through and find the companies and brands you want to work with. I like to keep them all on a spreadsheet with as much detail as I can.
I then create a template.
I NEVER send out blanket emails and you shouldn’t either. I always personalize it to each company making sure I drop in some information about the company I have found on their site.
People know when you are just trying your luck and sending emails on mass. Personalizing each email may take a little more time but it will make a difference and you are much more likely to get positive responses. I always follow up 3-4 days later to just bump up your email and remind them of your offer.
Don’t ever write the word free in your email
What is it with people wanting to know how to get free stuff as a blogger? This is the most important thing I can share with you. For real, don’t ask for a FREE tour or a FREE night at their hotel. It isn’t free if you are working for it. Change your mindset. You are not asking for something for free, you are offering an exchange of services. By talking about free things you are actually undervaluing not only yourself but all of us travel influencers out there trying to earn a living doing this.
I see myself as a travel professional. In my email subject headline, I put “potential partnership opportunity with Claire’s Itchy Feet”. Because that is exactly what I am offering. My marketing and influence skills in exchange for the service they are offering. I am clear about my value and what I can offer them. That is why I am so successful at securing partnerships. Because I understand my value and I am professional in my approach.
How to get sponsored posts for your blog
Ok so now you know what not to do, and have hopefully got a better idea of some of the fundamentals to get sponsored blog post, now it’s time to actually do the work!
When you start out as a new blogger looking to work with brands you are going to have to do a lot of pitching. This is when you reach out to people and ask them for something in return for promotion on your blog. This could be a tour, a stay in a hotel, or a product. I wrote a whole post on creating the perfect pitch email you can view here to help you get started.
Pitching to brands can be a lot of work, and when you start out you may get a lot of rejection. But keep going and if you put the work in there will come a point when the tide turns and you will no longer need to reach out as they will come to you. These days I very rarely reach out to brands.
How much to charge for a sponsored blog post
Before we move on to the next section, it’s important to talk about money! So how much should you charge for a sponsored blog post? In all honesty, I do have a set price, but this will often change depending on many things, mostly how much I actually want to work with this brand!
Starting out I worked solely on an exchange of value so they give me something and I give them something of equal value. For example if I valued a post on my blog to be worth $250 then I would make sure whatever I’m getting from the brand is of at least equal value. Alternatively, if it is a product to review then I would normally just agree to include it in a relevant post with an affiliate link, so each time a reader buys that product through a link on my blog I get a commission.
You really have to go with your gut on this one, but please, don’t be taken advantage of and work for free. There are so many brands out there trying to take advantage of up and coming bloggers and influencers you need to be careful they don’t take advantage of your lack of experience.
How to get sponsored on Instagram
Instagram is a whole other beast! I won’t lie to you, it really isn’t my thing and I make very little money from it. But I know a lot of bloggers who are making a lot of money posting sponsored content on Instagram, so it can be done.
The key to getting sponsored on Instagram is to build your following and make sure they are engaged. The only way to do this is by being on the platform as much as possible, posting regularly, and engaging with your audience as much as you can. The more followers and higher engagement you have the more influence you wield and this translates into how much money you can charge for sponsored Instagram posts.
As a general rule, you can charge $10 for every 100 followers you have. As I have 21k currently I can ask for $210 per post. but as mu engagement is on the low side I normally charge a little less than this. I know influencers who charge $5k for a single post as their reach and engagement is so high… let’s let that sink in for a sec, $5k for a single Instagram image!
You do need to be careful on Instagram with sponsored posts though as some influencers can go a little OTT with it and it will start to get on your follower’s nerves if every single post is sponsored. I personally think a 70/30 ratio with a maximum 30% of your content being sponsored is a good rule to follow.
Most of the time people will contact you about Instagram sponsorship as they will find you on Instagram and send you a DM or email reaching out. But like getting sponsored blog posts you can also pitch brands about just posting to Instagram. Just make sure your Instagram stats are highlighted in your blogger media pack.
How to get sponsored travel
Getting sponsored travel for travel bloggers is the ultimate goal right? Well not always, so before you start pitching for sponsored travel you need to think about some of the implications it could have on your blog.
As soon as you accept something in exchange for a review you are leaving yourself open to criticism for being biased or selling out. If you take a free stay in a hotel, it is going to be expected that you write a positive review regardless of your experience. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it, or that you can’t do it in an ethical way, you just need to be careful about how you work with people and how you present these sponsored tips to your audience in an open way.
The key to being a successful travel blogger is building trust with your audience. The people reading your blog need to feel like they trust you to give them good advice, break that trust and it’s hard to get it back.
So if you do accept sponsored travel then I sugest doing the following:
When in the negotiation stage of the collaboration make sure you are clear with the company you are working with that you will write an honest review. I like to add a statement like this for clarity, ‘Negative Reviews: In the case that I have a negative experience with you and will include that experience in my review, I will share my write up with you before publishing so that you are able to write a statement which I will publish alongside any negative comments to offer your side of the story.’ I have yet to have to do this, but it makes it clear from the start that I will be honest.
Do your research, seriously, before agreeing to work with anyone make sure they are a great company that you are happy to share with your audience. This will help you to avoid a situation that you might need to leave a negative review for later!
Is it really worth it? Personally I rarely work with accommodation providers. I prefer to just pay for my own accommodation as I always make the money back from my affiliate links. Plus for me, unless I’m staying at $500 a night luxury hotels it just isn’t worth all of the work I have to put in to secure the stay and then write the review. $500 a night hotels are great, but my audience isn’t going to spend that money on accommodation so it would not be a good deal for me or the hotel.
Be honest with yourself and don’t just grab for anything you can get. Be true to your brand and make sure everything you do that is sponsored fits in with it.
- Make sure your blog is as good as it can be
- Check all of your social media platforms to make sure they are consistent and you have good engagement and regular updates.
- Make sure you have strong examples of your work to send out
- Know your audience
- Only pitch to companies that fit with your audience and brand
- Create yourself a media pack or outsource to a professional
- Create a spreadsheet with details of all of the brands and companies you want to approach
- Have a template pitch but make sure you personalize each individual email
- Never ask for anything for ‘free’ you are a professional. This is an exchange of professional services.
- If you haven’t heard back in 3-4 days send a follow-up email
This post was proofread by Grammarly
Book your trip now
Are you ready to book your trip? To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.
- Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with.
- Booking.com – I LOVE booking.com especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections.
- Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
- Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on Bookin.com.
- Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as booking.com, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there.
- Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership!
- Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then bookaway.com is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
- RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals.
- Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
- World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review.
- SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here.
- Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration.
- Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.