How to Advertise Your Company through Blog Sponsorship

By Amy Lupold Bair, Susannah Gardner

For a splashy way to be seen on a blog or website, consider sponsoring the site. Sponsorships for popular blogs have gained a lot of notoriety in the blogosphere. Some bloggers call accepting sponsorships “selling out,” but others regard it as a great way to get paid to do what they love.

Sponsorships tend to get you coverage on other blogs, even if it’s just speculation about the amount you paid to sponsor a blog, but as they say, “Any publicity is good publicity.”

Sponsorships usually entitle you to occupy any and perhaps all advertising slots on a blog, and they often earn you mentions in the text of the blog, as well. Few blogs actually advertise that they accept sponsorships, largely because sponsored blogs are still fairly rare.

If you want to sponsor a blog, contact the blogger directly with an inquiry. He or she can let you know whether the blog is open to a sponsorship, and you can go from there.

Sponsorships can be expensive to do. Be prepared to negotiate with the blogger about the length of your sponsorship and the amount of money you’re willing to pay, but think bigger than you would for advertisement. In some cases, sponsors assume the operating costs of a blog, in addition to paying the blogger for his or her time and audience exposure.

As a sponsor, you’re entitled to more than just a prominent ad placement (though you should get that, too!). You can consider requesting exclusivity — that you’re the only advertiser in your industry on the blog, the only sponsor, or the only advertiser. You can request mentions in the copy of the blog, or any other arrangement you think is good for both you and the blogger.

For many sponsors, having a prominent logo placement and label at the top of every blog page, and no other advertising on the blog, fills the bill.

Topics to discuss with any blogger you’re considering sponsoring include the following:

  • What topics the blog covers: Know what kinds of content the blog you’re sponsoring typically has and what kind of language it uses. Because readers associate your brand with the blog, you need to be comfortable with the way the blogger expresses him- or herself, as well as what subjects the blogger may raise.

    You might also want to discuss how you plan to handle situations in which the blogger has blogged about a topic with which you have a problem. Understand that the blogger is likely to resist giving you editorial control, and be clear about what, if any, say you want to have in the content of the site.

  • How you want the blog to acknowledge your sponsorship: Be sure to establish how the blogger will place your brand on the page, and when and where he or she will mention your business and link to your business’s website.

  • How other ads or monetization occur on the blog: Talk with the blogger about other ways that he or she earns revenue and decide what, if any, of those systems can remain in place during the term of your sponsorship. Be prepared to compensate the blogger for any revenue that he or she usually earns that you request he or she remove from the site.

    For example, if the blogger commonly uses Google AdSense advertising that you don’t want to appear on the blog when you sponsor it, ask for accounting statements showing the value of those ads to the blogger.