We all dream of having money thrown at us for taking part in super, awesome brand collaborations, just like all the top bloggers and YouTubers we see on our computer screens!
We get so excited, make an amazing blog with Pinterest-worthy photographs, all set out on a white background with strategic placed plants and candles, but then it’s tumbleweeds. Not a sausage of an email from a brand enters your inbox and you can’t help but feel a sting of frustration.
You’ve made a blog that looks almost identical to those of your favourite and most successful bloggers, you post about the same stuff and even people in your startup blogging community have started getting a few dribbles of sponsored posts, so what’s wrong?
I’m going to give you a little sneaky insight into how brands and agencies work with bloggers and how they choose from the thousands out there on the interwebs. How do I know these mysterious secrets I hear you ask? Well, I just so happen to work as one of those people who flood your inbox with press releases and PR requests!
What do brands and agencies look for in a blog?
First of all, you need to know that there are 2 different types of people that may contact you, one is an SEO agency, the other is a PR agency. Both will look at completely different metrics to determine whether you are suitable for whatever campaign they’re peddling.
An SEO agency will be most likely to contact you about a sponsored post, in which they give you money to write a post on your blog, that links back to their client’s website. SEO agencies will usually have a number of different clients in a range of different industry sectors, so if you’re looking for regular sponsored posts, it would be in your interest to buddy up to one of them!
A PR agency, on the other hand, will be after more reach and views for their client or product. These guys are the ones that are most likely to give you an actual product rather than cash in hand (or more like bank transfer).
The difference between how the two decide whether you are worthy is this:
SEO Agency – These guys look at metrics, they’re all about the numbers. They want to see that you have a DA over 30, a trust flow over 15 (ideally 20!) and also good quality backlinks from other high-quality websites.
Why? SEO Agencies want you to link to their client’s website because your blog or website is seen as a high-quality site, that will help their client rank higher up in Google search results. By putting a link into an article published on your site, you are effectively telling Google that you endorse that linked site and pass some of your godly website quality over to them.
PR Agency – These will be after publicity, which means they are more likely to ask for your monthly traffic numbers and social media followers.
Why? PR Agencies are looking to get as many eyes on their products as possible. They will usually work within a campaign, this may span various different mediums such as TV ads or an online interactive of some sort. They will often get you to write about their product in exchange for whatever product they are pushing, so you basically turn your blog into an online billboard.
What do BOTH agencies look for?
The things that both of these fine establishments look at is the quality of your website e.g does it look a bit naff, or does it look all shiny and beautiful? They will also look at niche and focus, so if you have one of those blogs where you’ll write about anything and everything just to get a bit of cash, you are vastly decreasing your chances of getting picked.
The more niche your blog focus, the higher the price these people will be willing to pay, however, you’ll also get fewer inquiries, so you have to pick your battles!
How can you increase your chances of being contacted?
There are a few ways you could do this, you could:
A) Contact them directly, informing them of your blog stats and asking them to put you on their outreach lists
B) Churn out amazing content, optimise it for SEO so you appear high up in search engines when they are having a mooch around the internet and guest posting on blogs with a bigger reach than you.
How do agencies find bloggers?
Most of the time, these agencies will find blogs through regular Google searches, or through databases (both internal within the company and external, such as online databases like Cision).
When looking using Google search, they will often search by niche. So for example, say there’s an SEO company working with a travel client, they will head off to Google and start typing ‘travel blogger’. Yup, we’re all that lazy. This will then present them with the highest ranking travel bloggers, these are the guys that get the most traffic and have pretty awesome website metrics.
This is why I suggest using SEO to get yourself to the top! The higher up you can appear in organic search results, the better chance you have of being seen by the right people.
You can also combine the two approaches. So, say you have pretty good website metrics, but you’re struggling with the SEO side of things, drop a message to a few agencies. SEO can take a very long time to give you results, so there’s no harm in using both tactics!
— Zebnys & Zonkey (@ZebnysAndZonkey) 4 December 2017
You can even check the Twitter hashtags #journorequest & #prrequest for opportunities
What should you NOT do when approached to work with a brand or agency?
So, here are a few things to think about, should you be contacted by brands:
- Don’t ask for an extortionate amount of money, especially if you’re going to get them to write your content for you. For websites with a DA of 20 and a trust flow of 15+ – you’d be looking at about £100 for a sponsored post. For sites with a DA of 30 and a trust-flow of 25+ – I’d aim for the £250 a post mark. You can always push your luck, there’s always a chance someone will agree, but don’t ask for £300 and then get them to write your content.
- Don’t say yes straight away – Make sure you are 100% comfortable to work with that brand. Check that they are a brand you love and respect and make sure to keep up to date with them on social media, so you know all the latest news about them, you never know when they may mess up!
- Be rude! I can’t even begin to count the people who have been just plain rude to me over email. Remember how lucky you are to be able to make money from this amazing and creative platform and appreciate any opportunity that comes your way. If the pitch they’ve given you doesn’t fit your brand, politely decline and move on. Just because they have emailed you about something that doesn’t fit your blog this time around, it doesn’t mean they won’t have something better for you in the future!
Here are a few things you should probably know when agreeing to do sponsored content:
- Do-follow links do not ruin your blog – If you find yourself working with an SEO or content marketing agency, you may find they ask you for something called a do-follow or followed link.
- Followed links just mean that the link holds more benefit for the website being linked to. It is telling Google to count the link as a recommendation for that website. A no-follow link tells Google to acknowledge the link but not to count it as an endorsement and therefore, not pass any of your websites goodness over to the linked site. However, any article labeled as an AD must contain a no-follow link.
- If a brand pays you to write an article for them to promote either their company or products and they have control over what you say in the article or video, then you must, by law, disclose the article as an ad. If however, the brand has no control over the content you write e.g. if they have paid you to include a link somewhere in a post, but you write the content from scratch without their input, then that is not classed as advertising and so does not need to be identified as such! You can read more about this from the ASA.
- Clarify key information before making a final agreement – this will include deadline, number of words, the URLs needed to be linked to within the article, images to be used (making sure they are either licence free or have the correct licence to be used commercially), whether it’s a no-follow or followed link and how much they are offering for the content.
- Check the quality of the site they are asking you to link to within your content – you can do this by using tools like MOZ, to check that they have a DA over a minimum of 20 and a how many quality links they have already. If your website is linking to a lot of dodgy sites, Google will see your site as being dodge as well!
Reading this dragged up a few cheeky questions? No problemo amigo! Just get in touch with me over on this shiny contact page and I’ll be sure to try and answer!