When I first launched this blog, I knew that I wanted to monetize my blog with traditional advertising methods and affiliate marketing. I also knew that I needed a lot of blog traffic to do so. So I decided to offer free giveaways and product reviews as part of my initial business plan.
I didn’t actively seek out these sorts of sponsorships, but after a few months of being on the market, requests to do reviews and host giveaways slowly started to trickle in. Many of my first product reviews were for business and career-related books.
Over time, my blog grew and became more popular and my inbox became flooded with influencer and sponsorship requests; everything from tech gadgets and office supplies to office equipment, business opportunities, events, and much more.
This is one of my favorite things about being a blogger; you never know what opportunities are going to come through the pipeline.
If you're wondering how to become an influencer for paid reviews, sponsorships, and social media campaigns, here are some tips to get you started.
PLUS, I've compiled a HUGE list of companies that connect brands with influencers and bloggers at the bottom of this post.
How to Become an Influencer:
1. Build Your Audience
Before you go looking to work with brands, take some time to build your audience. This means consistently creating good, quality content and being present on the various social networks. Without regular killer content, you’re just a lonely blogger with only your family and closest friends reading.
2. Make it Apparent
If you want to work with brands, you need to make it easy for companies and PR agencies (these are the people who are running many of the blogger campaigns for large brands and companies) to seek you out. Create a special advertising or PR-Friendly tab on your blog, or take it a step further and create a media kit.
Let people know what type of opportunities you are interested in, and the type of companies and products you are willing to work with. If this information is hard to find or unavailable, your blog may be passed up for the next one that does have the information. Remember to include a method of contact, preferably an email address.
3. What are the Benefits?
Why should a large brand consider working with you? Do you have a loyal audience, are you tearing it up on Pinterest, do your Facebook Followers hang on every word you say, or do you create killer videos on YouTube? Use your unique style and flair to woo brands into working with you. Don’t over embellish, you’ll need to prove your ROI (return on investment). Better to understate your influence and later over-deliver on your promise.
4. Don’t Burn the Bridge
I’m sure you’ve heard about blogger and PR rep conflicts. Each complaining about the other; one acts entitled, and the other is taking advantage of the little guy. Get over it! Act like a professional, if a nutty request comes into your inbox, politely decline or make a referral to another blogger who fits the bill.
Never ever act rude or unprofessional, if you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, suggest an alternative or deny the request altogether. In fact, whenever I receive a request for free promotion, I often turn it into an opportunity by saying:
Thanks so much for reaching out!
This sounds like a great campaign. However, due to the overwhelming requests for resource and link additions, I’m currently only accepting and working on paid campaigns. I’d be happy to pass along my media kit if you’re interested.
Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
Kind regards, Holly
Point being, don’t burn a bridge because you never know when you’ll have to cross it again.
5. Go For It
Are you itching to work with a specific brand? Start laying the groundwork by following them on their social media platforms (all of them), interact with them, use their hashtags, mention them in blog posts, and share their stuff. This way when you make your first contact with them, they already have an idea of who you are because you've been in their field of vision.
When you contact them, remember to personalize your email, be short, sweet, and let them know what's in it for them. Brands and companies don't care about what you want — they want to know how you can help them build their brand. If you're having trouble finding the right contact person, try looking around on LinkedIn for the companies marketing or PR department.
6. Get Connected
Today brands are looking at much more than just your blog stats, they are looking for creativity, engagement, and influence. So part of being a successful influencer is being active on social media. Usually, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are a must, other networks like YouTube, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and SnapChat may be valuable platforms in your social media arsenal depending on what your niche is. Take time to really engage with your fans and followers, and remember that they trust you. Don’t work with brands that go against your values.
Need Some Help in Getting Started?
No problem, there are lots of places where bloggers and influencers can sign-up and get connected with campaigns from big brands.
A List of Companies That Connect Brands with Influencers and Bloggers:
Blogvertise allows you to make money by placing sponsored blog content, text links, social conversations, and banner ads on your blog. You can choose which campaigns you promote. Most tasks pay $4 – $25 and payments are made via PayPal 30 days after your assigned task has been approved. Payout rates will vary and will depend on the quality of your work and the popularity of your blog. Current companies working with Blogvertise include Totsy, Groupon, Vista Print, and Jenny Craig.
LinkWorth is a Dallas-based company that connects major brands to publishers. Through LinkWorth, bloggers can get paid for text link ads, paid blog reviews, in-text links, in-content pay per click ads, rotating text ads, hosted content pages, and article submissions. As the publisher, you will name your ad rates, and Link Worth will split the payment with you 50/50. Payments can be made through direct deposit, PayPal, check or wire transfer, varying fees, and payment thresholds will apply for all methods.
PayPerPost is an online marketplace that connects you with advertisers who will pay you to write blog posts about their products, services, and companies on your blog. Opportunities will be presented, and you have the option of accepting, declining or negotiating the terms with them. Depending on the opportunities you will be paid per word or per post, and you get to set your own prices. Payments are made via PayPal once you've reached a $50.00 threshold.
Pay U2 Blog is a third party company that connects businesses to bloggers. Bloggers can get paid every two weeks via PayPal for writing sponsored blog posts, hosting sponsored banner ads, videos, and podcasts. Assignment payouts will vary depending on the project, previous work history and number of bloggers enrolled.
Launched in 2012, Purple Camel Media connect bloggers to brands for sponsored blog posts. From the email I received, each sponsored post pays $100. If you'd like to be considered, shoot them an email via their contact form.
Sponsored Reviews is a third party platform that connects you with major advertisers who will pay you for write or post sponsored content on your blog. Advertisers pay anywhere from $5 – $1,000 per post depending on the quality and popularity of your site. Payments are made via PayPal every two weeks.
Social Spark is an online platform that connects bloggers, publishers, and website owners with major brands. Simply set up your account, set your price per post, pick which advertisers you’d like to work with, write your post, and then get paid via PayPal. Current companies working with Social Spark are HP, Overstock, AT&T, Microsoft, Beaches Resorts, Hilton, Kraft, and much more. Typical pay ranges from $25 – $200 per post, and you have total control over who you work with.
Viral Planet is a UK based company that is strictly for video content. Sign up for an account, display video content via your blog or social media accounts and get paid per view. Couldn't find any information on how often publishers get paid, how much or what methods. One current advertiser that they are working with is Huggies.
There are actually TONs of third-party companies that connect bloggers and influencers with brands. Check out this massive list if you're interested in working on sponsored campaigns.
- 3 C Consulting
- Blog Dash
- Blog Elevated
- Bloggers Connected
- Bloggin' Mamas
- Bloggy Moms
- Blog Insiders
- Blog Meets Brand
- Bookie Boo
- Brand Meets Blog
- Collective Bias
- Everywhere Agency
- Find Your Influence
- FreshPress Media
- Megan Media
- Mom Bloggers Club
- Mom Central
- Mom Impact
- Mom It Forward
- Mom Spark Media
- Mom Trends Media
- One2One Network
- Pollinate Media
- PTPA Media
- Rainmaker Collective
- Rise and Shine
- SheKnows Media
- Social Fabric
- Social Native
- Sway Group
- The Brand Connection
- The Campfire Circle
- The Mission List
- The Motherhood
- The Women Bloggers
- Weave Made Media
7. Remember to Have Patience.
Last but not least, you must have patience. It takes time to build up your blog and social media following. But keep putting out quality content on a regular basis and it will happen! Success does not happen overnight.
Oh and here’s a great Q&A with some top bloggers on how to become an influencer.
Still feeling lost? Julie Solomon has a great course on how to work with brands, called Pitch It Perfect. It goes over how to approach brands, what to say, what to charge, as well as negotiation strategies. It also contains templates for pitching brands! It's one of the best courses I've seen for getting paid sponsorships and brand ambassadorships.
What tips do you have for working with brands? How did you become a brand ambassador? Drop us a note; we'd love to hear from you!
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Originally published January 6, 2012. Content updated October 9, 2017.
Holly Reisem Hanna is the publisher and founder of The Work at Home Woman, which has been helping individuals find remote careers and businesses that feed their souls since 2009. Through her unconventional career path of holding over 30 jobs and obtaining two college degrees, she’s been able to figure out how to find a career path that you’re truly passionate about. Holly’s had the pleasure of sharing her expertise on sites like CNN, MSN Money, Huffington Post, Woman’s Day Magazine, as well as being recognized by Forbes as one of the “Top 100 Websites for Your Career.” Holly resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter and enjoys reading, traveling, and yoga.
This page includes affiliate links. Please be aware we only promote advertising from companies that we feel we can legitimately recommend to our readers. Please see our disclosure policy for further information.