Last Updated: 4/17/2017
I have been thinking about writing a post on how to have returning sponsors for a long while. As someone who hasn't had a sponsorship program up and running for longer than six months (maybe), I kept thinking, I'm no expert.
Why should I offer my advice on ... well, anything? Then someone said to me, "There is always someone who hasn't done what you've done, and there is always someone who will benefit from what you learned. Period." That was exactly what I needed to hear to write this post! I'm going to dive in head-first.
Feel free to add anything you've learned in the comments so we can all push each other forward!
Being YOU is so serious these days, guys. Everyone is so busy telling you how to dress, how to act, how to think and how to feel... that it's so easy to lose yourself in your writing, in your blogging, and in your lifestyle.
As someone who has struggled with being misunderstood my entire life, I can come to you now and say that saying exactly what I want, whenever I want, is the most freeing and liberating thing ever. I also have noticed benefits from it - such as people telling me that they trust me and that they like being around me now - which was totally unexpected when I first started making the transition to authenticity from being whatever everyone else wanted me to be.
Just BE YOU, and act like you're having a coffee with someone on the other side of the screen. It's much easier to talk that way.
Chatting with your sponsors is very important. This is how they get to know you - and your brand - and want to come back. Read their blog, share their posts, and most of all, talk DIRECTLY to them.
I prefer Twitter as my favorite chat platform. I like that it's open and anyone can see our conversations. I've actually gotten a huge influx of followers just by talking to my sponsors normally, sharing their posts, and liking their Tweets.
Another great tip is to interact with your sponsor's friends too! This creates a feeling of community (which we'll talk more about later) and develops trust with your sponsor. And lastly, chat with them about their goals.
What do they want from this sponsorship? Are they hoping for more followers? More views? More newsletter subscriptions?
The more you know, the better you can help.
I recently started up a Facebook group specifically for my sponsors. I sent out an email informing them of it, offered them the chance to join it, and was sure to include a free wallpaper download.
FREE perks (or even just discounted things) make me sponsor people and then return to sponsoring them. I've sponsored Helene In Between twice (three?) times, and love it each time. It's because she actively pursues each of these actions: she's intentionally authentic, interacts, offers incentives to her sponsors, and creates community.
Speaking of community, let's talk about relationships. When someone sponsors you, they don't just hand over their money and think, welp, hope my page views go up!
At least, I hope that's not what they think, because that's sad. That means someone they've sponsored has taken their money and left their button in their sidebar as their single course of action.
There wasn't any interaction or communication there - just an exchange of service for cash. I have to say that those people have hugely hurt my chances at being sponsored! When someone sponsors you, it becomes your HONOR to interact with them, love on them, and encourage them.
If they're trying something new, find out what it is and constantly check in with them. Because a blog is an extension of someone's very personal life, it is important to realize that by giving you their button, they are leaving a little piece of themselves on your blog. Be respectful of that and try to get to know them.
When you understand them, community follows. Where there is community, there is relationship and trust. (And returning sponsors.)