If you’d like to make an income from your blog, there are a handful of ways you can go about doing so.
Over the 8 years that I’ve been blogging, the most consistent way that I’ve made an income is by partnering with brands on sponsored content. This includes collaborative blog posts, hosting events and, in more recent years, sponsored Instagram content.
There are other ways of making income from a blog, including affiliate partnerships and banner advertising, but for me the return on investment (time and otherwise) has been best when directly partnering with a brand.
In this blog post I am sharing my tips on how to attract your dream clients as a blogger.
If you have an audience, there will always be brands willing to partner with you. However, not all brand partnerships will serve you in the long run.
In this blog post I’m diving into the ins and outs of working with clients you REALLY want to work with.
Dream clients move the needle on your business, in the short and long term.
How To Attract Your Dream Clients As A Blogger
1 – Create Content Which Aligns With Your Dream Clients
You may know that you are the perfect fit for a brand looking to promote ‘x’ product, but if the brand hasn’t seen you create that type of content before, it’s (more of) a gamble for them to work with you.
They need evidence of your skillset.
If you know that you want to work with brands on content of a particular type, begin creating that content independently, before approaching sponsors.
For example, if you would like to secure home décor clients, start by independently working on some home projects, and sharing them on your blog.
The beauty of blogging is that your blog can track whatever passion you have, at any point in your life.
If you’re now into a subject which you haven’t previously covered on your blog, no problem!
Simply start to share that subject, create content around it, and it will immediately become a part of your brand. How cool is that?!
You can ALWAYS pivot your content. As I’ve mentioned before, your ‘content blend’ is uniquely yours.
If you want to ‘own’ a new category add it into your social media bios. Nowadays one of the first points of reference a brand will have for you is your social media presence.
Make it clear who you are, and what you enjoy sharing.
A while ago I updated my Instagram bio to include ‘Mediterranean style, home décor, blooms and wellbeing’. Since doing so, not only is it clearer for my followers (potential or existing) to know what I’m interested in, it also helps brands to understand my main topics.
If you want to work with brands within a certain industry or niche, begin to create content around that topic. Develop a strong portfolio of work in that area, so that when you approach a brand to work together (or they approach you) you already have examples to share with them.
2 – Create A Media Kit
A media kit (sometimes called a media pack, or media sheet) is an overview of who you are as a blogger, alongside your statistics and rates.
This post by Amanda is a great step by step guide on how to create your own media kit. It’s not as intimidating as it sounds, I promise!
Before you start to approach clients for paid work, create a media kit.
This will 1: make you feel more confident going into a negotiation. And 2: create a smoother client experience. If you can easily link to your media kit it will prevent any stop-and-start negotiations which can hinder a project.
It will also clearly lay out your pricing structure for clients, so that there’s no confusion as to your fees.
Top tip! Offer three packages for working together: an entry package, a middle package and a top tier package.
A note on ‘smaller followings’
If you have what you consider to be a ‘small following’ please do not feel that this counts you out of working with brands, or making an income from your blog.
I have spoken to SO many brands and agencies over the past few years who’ve told me that they’re focusing on working with ‘micro-influencers’.
Micro-influencers are influencers with smaller followings, often between 5k – 10k on Instagram. That being said, I’ve spoken to agencies who count influencers with a following of 50k and under within the ‘micro’ category. It’s a subjective area.
Either way the beauty of micro-influencers is that their engagement tends to be high. The people following them know them personally (or at least feel like they do) and therefore are likely to connect with the content they share, often in a greater way to much larger accounts.
I’ve also heard of brands staggering their budget to work with different tiers of bloggers. A brand will allocate larger fees to a blogger with a larger influence, and smaller fees to those with a smaller audience.
Crucially, there is budget for both!
In your media kit, include your ‘engagement rate’ on Instagram as well as your follower count.
This article on the Later blog shares how to calculate your Instagram engagement rate. In a meeting I recently had with a large media agency, I was told that an engagement rate of around 3% is considered very good.
If you’re meeting or exceeding that threshold it’s something to highlight in your media kit for sure!
3 – Court Your Clients
Draw up a ‘dream brands list’. Write down all of the brands you’d LOVE to work with, and keep that list somewhere close so that you can look at it often.
If you want to work with a brand, go for it!
Be professional and approach brands yourself.
Engage with them on social media.
Find a contact so that you can start to build a relationship.
Go to press days and events.
Suggest a meeting . . . do everything within your power to ‘court’ your dream client.
Have your media kit to hand so that you can send that across as soon as someone requests it.
And keep note of who you’ve reached out to, and when to follow up.
I am confident that if you give it your all, you can (and will!) start a working relationship with your dream brands.
It may not always work out, but unless you give it a go you’ll never know.
Be patient and Go. For. It.
A note on cold-calling
Pick up the phone!
I know it can be intimidating to pick up the phone and actually call someone nowadays, but doing this is how I’ve built some of the relationships I now have with brands.
Often it’s easier to find a phone number for a brand than it is a correct email address. Plus it’s harder for people to ignore your phone call than it is an email haha!
Google the brand you want to contact, call the switchboard and ask to speak to the press department. Once you are through to the press department ask who the best person to speak to regarding blogger collaborations is.
Normally at this point you will be transferred through to the correct person, or you will be given a direct email address.
That email address is everything.
Once you know that you’re through to the person who deals with bloggers, you can introduce yourself.
It takes time, and some detective work, but being on a brand’s radar only takes a few small steps.
4 – Organically Support The Brands You Love
If you’d like to work with your dream brands, support them regardless of whether they’re paying or gifting you.
My dream brands are a mix of ones I’ve bought from, admired and loved for years, and others I’ve come to know more recently.
Either way I purchase products, put them in my newsletter, rave about them and generally LOVE them regardless of if we have a working relationship.
The wonderful this about this, as a blogger, is that if a brand clocks onto the fact that you already like them and share about them, they’ll take notice. This is another way to get on their radar.
And once you’re there, you know what to do right?! (See point #3!)
5 – Deliver A Great Client Experience
Your client experience is a 360 degree view of what it’s like to work with you from the second an inquiry email or DM hits your inbox, all the way through to your final invoice.
How you manage this process will not only determine how enjoyable your day to day is during a project, it will also have a huge impact on the lasting impression you leave your client with.
Think: if you were a brand, what type of experience would you be looking for when working with a blogger?
Make it a pleasure to work with you, and a brand will always remember you for that.
It won’t necessarily secure you work, but it will put you in a much better position to be considered.
Go the extra mile with your clients, it will pay off.
Here are some of my favourites free educational resources, all of which address the topic of client experiences (and so much more!)
Smart Passive Income podcast
6 – How To Price Your Services
The blogging industry is becoming more standardised when it comes to pricing, which is a GREAT thing.
For many years it was a bit of a Wild West out there. The disparity between budgets and what bloggers were charging was confusing to navigate (for everyone!).
If you’re uncertain about how to price your services, take some time to research and dig into your offerings.
Things to consider:
How long does your content take you to create?
What kind of following, and engagement, do you currently have?
Do you have any costs associated with content creation? A photographer, space hire, props etc.
If you’re completely at a loss as to how to price your services, reach out for advice.
You can either contact a fellow blogger (ideally with a similar or slightly larger following to yours), or reach out to an agency to guide you.
There are lots of agencies who work with micro-influencers who will be able to give you a rough guide as to the fees you can expect to charge. To name a few agencies I personally like, you can look at Vamp, Zine, Whalar and One Roof Social.
A word of warning: do not undercharge for your services.
If a fee does not sit well with you, or you feel that the deliverables do not align with the fee which is being offered, try to negotiate. If the negotiation does not work out, don’t be scared to turn the work down.
For one, the client you are negotiating with will know that you are not willing to underprice yourself. And two, the extra time you have from turning that work down can be ploughed into courting other clients. Clients who (hopefully!) do have the adequate budget to work with you.
That being said . . . it’s OK to work with your dream brands for a lower fee, or for free.
If a brand is truly your dream client, then this is the time to be flexible with your fee . . . in the short run.
Sometimes there needs to be some give and take, and if a brand is truly your dream client, but they don’t have the budget to work with you, then you may choose to commit to a project anyway. I have done this on many occasions in the past, choosing to invest in the longevity of my business over a short term financial reward.
Ultimately I want to invest in long term relationships with brands I REALLY love, so if this means being flexible sometimes then I am happy to do so.
This is not to say that you should always work for free, or accept a lower fee, but if in the first instance of working together, or for the occasional project, you want to be flexible, then that is AOK by me.
Go with your gut on that one.
7 – Repeat Clients
Repeat clients are the dream! And yes we are talking about even dreamier dream clients here.
For one, a repeat client is not a ‘cold lead’, it is a client you have already put the effort into developing a relationship with. You know how you both work, which will make the process of working together again easier.
Two, on a technical side, if you’re already set up on a company’s system as a supplier, it’s likely that your payment will go through more quickly. A boring logistical point, but it’s worth knowing.
Further to all of this, working with a brand on a repeat basis helps to reinforce your relationship. It helps your collaboration to feel more authentic, and will likely lead to better results for your project. A one off project may introduce your audience to a brand, but multiple projects will ensure that the brand is on your audience’s radar in the long term, thus increasing the value of your work together.
Put into practice all that you’ve learnt about a great client experience, and be sure to complete every project on a high.
Deliver the analytics for your work together in a timely manner, send a thank you note, and even a gift if it’s appropriate.
The follow up on a project is like the cherry on top of the cake, and may just lead to another commission.
I could talk about this subject ALL day. Can you tell?!
Work which really lights you up, comes from having a sense of purpose and feeling fulfilled. A huge part of that is aligning with clients you really love, and I hope that today’s blog post will help you to do just that!
What’s Your Take?
I’d love to hear from you!
Love, Monica x