June 4, 2014

How to Make Money on Your Blog: Sponsored Posts

All you could want to know about making money through sponsored posts on your blog

About once a week or so, I get an email asking how I make money on my blog.

And invariably, they say in their email, "I'm sure you've written a post about this, so you can just send me the link if that's easier."

Well, I hadn't written a post about it until this very moment, but now, you can bet I'll just be linking to this post and saving my fingers for typing more important things like how much I love Captain Hook in Once Upon a Time

So get ready. Here's more than you ever wanted to know. (I wrote the first section and it was so ridiculously long that I'm dividing it into a couple of parts). 

First off,  I'm pretty serious about diversifying my income on my blog so that I'm not overly reliant on a single source of money.

Secondly, I'm very choosy about what I promote on my blog and I try to keep about a 4:1 ratio of non-sponsored content to sponsored content, so I want as many options for money making as possible so that I feel like I can choose the very best stuff, rather than just feel like I have to take whatever one single stream is sending me because I need to pay the water bill. 

So. . . those are the major reasons this is such a long list. 

The other reason is that I like money. Don't we all?

Today, I'm only talking about sponsored posts (where you get paid to write a post promoting a brand). 

The companies below work with brands, negotiate how a campaign will work and then send out emails with current campaigns to everyone who is part of their network. You apply for campaigns you are interested in, and then they select a group of bloggers that are a good fit for certain campaigns. Here are the ones I work with: 

Clever Girls Collective: You need to have around 10,000 monthly pageviews and have been blogging for six months to be accepted. Clever Girls has a really diverse set of clients; some of their clients are the more standard product brands (diapers, beauty products, kid toys, etc) while other campaigns are focused on social awareness or promoting new online tools or websites. I've done a lot of campaigns with them over the years, from last week's post about road-tripping with children to this old classic where Ella danced with joy over yogurt (her life is small and sad). Depending on the post requirements, they usually pay between $75 and $300. 

Pollinate Media: They are fairly similar to Clever Girls, but they do almost exclusively products, especially food and consumer goods (paper products, magazines, dog food, tampons etc). They tend to have very detailed instructions for their campaigns. They pay slightly more on average, I think, than Clever Girls. This recent s'mores party was with them and I did quite a few with them last fall, including these to-die-for chocolate streusel muffins

Weave Media: This is a new sister-company to Pollinate Media and it's designed specifically for bloggers with 20,000 or fewer monthly page views. I haven't done any campaigns with them, but I assume they function very very similarly to Pollinate. 

Collectively Inc: They focus heavily on beauty and fashion goods. I met both of the co-founders at Alt Summit in January (in fact, the sponsor dinner I went to was hosted by them) and they are lovely. They pay on a tier (so if you have a lot of traffic, you'll make more on a campaign and vica versa, unlike Clever Girls and Pollinate that pay a flat fee regardless of how much traffic you have). They don't have as many clients yet because they're pretty new, but they're growing. As far as I know, there is no traffic requirement to join. The only campaign I've done with them so far is this Bare Minerals one (by the way, I'm still super in love with that makeup).

Mode Media: Mode Media (previously Glam Media) is my ad provider (those rotating ads in the sidebar and occasionally around the frame of my blog). They also do sponsored posts with a very similar set up to Clever Girls and Pollinate (they send out an email, you apply if you're interested, and they select you if you're a good fit).  I've done a few with them, including this one about snack plates. You can only be notified about their sponsored posts, though, if you're part of the ad network.

Social Fabric: This one is a little different because usually you're not just doing a post, but also acting as a shopper and letting the company know how their product looks on the ground - they have you take photos of the store, how the product is displayed when you go to pick it up, and share a brief synopsis of your experience with them privately. I've only done a few posts with them, including this Christmas Eve fondue one in December.  They are looking for bloggers with more than 15,000 pageviews per month and an overall social media presence with 4000+ followers. Posts pay about the same as Pollinate generally. Also, their website is kind of a disaster - it's super busy and I find it kind of crazy to navigate.

Blueprint Social: This one is focused on DIY projects and you usually get a boatload of product (my craft closet is bulging after just a few campaigns with them). They pay on a sliding scale sometimes and sometimes just a flat rate (generally $100). You have to need to have been blogging at least six months, but they don't have a stated minimum traffic requirement. I did this decoupage clock with them and this painted carafe

IZEA (or Social Spark): This is the only company I've ever worked with that previews your post before it goes live (which means there is more back and forth than the other ones). I won't lie - this one is one that I find a little tricky to use. Their system is just wacky, and you have to write your post in their interface then copy the HTML into your own blog after it's approved, etc. You can negotiate your rate, which I like. I did this gelato post with them last month. 

Mom It Forward: This is one of the newest ones I've joined. In fact, I haven't even done my first sponsored post with them yet (coming next week - get excited). They don't seem to have as many opportunities, but they pay pretty well. Also, I couldn't find a minimum traffic requirement to join.

Linqia: This one is very different in that you aren't paid a flat rate for your post, but instead by the number of clicks you get on the target link. You set your own rate per click (generally about $0.50 - $1.50 per click) although once you set it, it's set in stone forever for all future campaigns. And then they cap you at how many clicks they'll pay you for. If you overachieve, you'll likely get a higher ceiling on the next campaign. Originally you could just do it via social media, but now they require a blog post (a change that I do not care for, but they didn't ask my opinion).  (Also, if you use Linqia and you don't disclose that it's sponsored when you're directing people to click on the link, I will definitely think unkind thoughts about you. Just so you know). I do love that you have tons of leeway on how you structure your posts with them. I did this cell-to-landline post with them last year.

Any questions? I'm more than happy to try to answer. And if you know of other companies that do this kind of thing, feel free to share them in the comments.

Now go forth and make money. I'll write another post later this month about other forms of revenue. I hope you're waiting on the edge of your seat.

P.S. I belong to Mom Central, but I've never done a campaign with them, mainly because nearly all of them pay in product rather than cash, and surprisingly, I can't pay my rent with free pre-natal vitamins. I'm also aware of The SITS Girls, but they don't have loads of campaigns. 


  1. This post is golden! I've actually got a sticky note on my computer of all the companies I want to apply to once my stats get just a little higher, but your list has ones I can apply to now! The only one I have on my list that wasn't on yours though is federated media publishing... I think you need 20,000 page views a month. Also, huge thanks for recommending me for that Clint Kelly Event this Friday, I'm going :)

    1. Oh yeah, I get the Federated Media emails, but I don't think I can actually participate because of my exclusivity clause with Mode.

      And I'm so happy that you're going to that event. Have fun! I'm so sad I can't go.

  2. Awesome post! I also work with many of these companies, but a few of them are new to me--I appreciate the heads up on the ones I haven't seen/heard of before!

  3. Thank you so much for posting this! This is one of the first actually helpful posts about how to make money blogging. Going to apply for a few of those now!

  4. Great list Janssen! I have a running evernote doc with information like this, but I appreciate feedback on what you like and don't like about each option.

    And I think you're really smart for diversifying and allowing yourself enough options to be choosy. I'm sure I'm not the only reader that notices and appreciates that!

  5. What a great list, thank you for sharing. Have heard from some of the companies, some of them are new to me though. Will need to try them out. A few other platforms I also currently use to monetize with sponsored posts:

    teliad - I love the fact that you can choose out of different types of sponsored reviews giving you alot of flexibility. Unfortunately sponsored reviews are paid out over 12 months. If that doesn't bother you though, go for it.

    sponsoredreviews - Great platform with loads of advertisers. You have the chance to be found by advertisers or go find them yourself.

  6. We'd love our One2One Network to be included on the list. In addition to paid blogging opportunities with great brands like Simple Skin Care, Evenflo Carseats, Crest, Eggo Waffles and more! www.one2onenetwork.com to become a member.

    Not a blogger? We have opps for non-blogging social media users as well. If you love to learn about new products, insider contests, and sampling -- and you have a natural tendency to share your discoveries with your social networks -- we hope you'll join One2One too!

    Questions? hello@one2onenetwork.com

    Hope to "see" you there!

    Krista Carnes
    Blissful Media Group & One2One Network

  7. I agree. This is the best post out there with this type of information. Thank you for being so open and honest about your job and income!


  8. You are very thorough in your approach, well written!

  9. Thank you so much for this list! Our blog is a little different because we are a local blog. We had another blog that we stopped doing a couple of years ago (we weren't making hardly any money on it). We started up again about a month ago with a broader vision and are trying to make it profitable (sustainable) this time. We did get over 20,000 pageviews in the first month, so looking at your list that is encouraging. www.iheartaz.com

  10. Thank you for this comprehensive, detailed, honest list Janssen! I knew about a couple of these but not all. I've been busy applying this morning!

  11. This is very helpful. Thank you so much for posting this!

  12. This is the first time a so called 'advice blog post' has actually given great solid and informative answers! From all of us beginner bloggers - THANK YOU! Now I feel like I have somewhere to start and move my blog forward. Great post!


  13. Love this! I really appreciate how you explained each group because as a new blogger this part of monetizing your blog can be a bit overwhelming! pinned this amazingness :-) thanks so much
    Cathy @ three kids and a fish

  14. Hello Janssen,
    what a great post for helping people starting out with sponsored posts,
    with a mention to useful resources.
    Thanks for sharing.

  15. I really love this list! Thank you so much. As a new blogger, I am excited to try it out :)

  16. Thank you. This is just what I have been looking for.

  17. Thanks! I'm a new blogger, so this is really useful information. Thoughts on doing a blog post about how to build your readership base?


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