The truth of the matter is there are many ways to get paid blogging opportunities when it comes to working with brands.
Let me be clear. I’m NOT talking about a professional blogging job, where you would essentially be hired to do freelance writing work. There are plenty of those types of opportunities. They aren’t for everyone. Some people don’t like adhering to a certain writing style (or even grammatical standards, for that matter). Others simply don’t want to write about a topic that doesn’t really interest them, regardless of the pay.
The types of blogging opportunities that most moms who blog are looking for are those that come from a brand relationship. If you’re new to blogging, you’re often left scratching your head wondering how in the heck these people get to work with all these cool brands.
Hold on. I’m about to tell you all the secrets you’ve been wanting to know so that you can also have magical blogging powers!
Okay, not really. It’s not really a secret. It’s knowledge-sharing and it’s a big part of why I started this site.
Here are a couple of things you need to know about the process:
- Sometimes small or medium sized companies will approach you directly. This is why it is so important to have your contact information easily and readily available on your blog. They may send you an email asking about your level of interest. Or they may directly send you “the pitch.”
The pitch is defined as the offer, or “here’s what we’ll do for you and here’s what we’d like you to do for us.”
- Sometimes you’ll get a referral from another blogger. This is a great time to pay it forward. If someone comes to you asking you to sample some free baby clothes and your oldest child is 7, don’t take the offer for the freebies. It’s not appropriate and your 7 year old will resent you for trying to dress him in those tiny clothes. Instead, send a polite no thank you and a referral to someone who might be a better fit.
Example: “Thanks so much for your offer. While your baby clothes are lovely, I don’t think that this would be a good fit for my blog. May I recommend my friend Minnie over at Minnie’s Baby Blog? She just had her second baby and often blogs about clothing.”
- Most opportunities will come from a third party. There are many organizations out there that typically allow you to join for free. You sign up by adding your personal information, your blog information, and usually some information about your niche and your numbers. These groups secure relationships with brands and/or PR agencies for specific campaigns. Then, they present the opportunities to their registered bloggers.
Tip: DON’T LIE! People can tell when you lie about your numbers. You are who you are and most blogs will grow daily if you work at it.
So your next logical question is what are these organizations and how quickly can I join?
Have no fear. I created a round-up of blogging organizations designed to help link you to paid blogging opportunities.
Mom Spark Media was founded by Amy Bellgardt, a work-at-home-mom who turned blogging into a business. Her organization charges a membership fee, right now set at $5/month or $40/year. While the membership fee does provide access to many blogging opportunities such as sponsorships, surveys, focus groups, and online media campaigns, most members say they get their value from the Blogging 101 classes and courses.
Much like Mom Spark Media, Global Influence was founded by Amy Lupold Bair, better known on Twitter as @ResourcefulMommy. One of Amy’s claims to fame is the invention of Twitter parties! She knows how to work with brands and brings blogging campaign opportunities to her network of over 1500 registered bloggers.
If you are a mom who blogs, chances are pretty good that you know about Mom Bloggers Club. This organization was founded by Jennifer James, a blogger who, like many other founders, believed there should be opportunities for bloggers to connect with each other, showcase their writing, and work with brands. By joining her Blogger Programs, she gives those club members a first peak at opportunities before opening them up to her network of over 13,000 members.
Another blogger-driven organization was created to provide business and bloggers better ways to connect. Holly Homer, Shauna Callaghan, and Jay Cooney started Business2Blogger to bring the spirit of the small blogger to the table. Instead of filtering the opportunities for bloggers based on niche and numbers, they provide an email announcement of available campaigns. If the blogger meets the right criteria, they are encouraged to apply and then work directly with the brand managing the campaign.
Social Fabric is an exclusive community of Collective Bias, LLC. Their focus is primarily on what they call “real shopper media” by creating targeted groups of socially influential consumers. That’s where bloggers fit in. You must be invited to join by an existing member. You then have access to what they term “shoppertunities” where you can participate in specific and timely consumer related campaigns.
The Clever Girls Collective, a social media agency co-founded by Stefania Pomponi Butler, Cat Lincoln, Sheila Bernus Dowd and managed alongside Kristy Sammis, has created the Clever Network. Bloggers have to apply to become part of the network and your site is fully reviewed before acceptance. Clever Girls work with major brands and solicit a wide variety of bloggers for compensated opportunities via email newsletter.
You may know the names Cooper and Emily from TheMotherhood.com, a community of online moms based on mutual “circles” of interest. In addition to fostering the online community, Cooper and Emily launched The Motherhood Creative last year. They keep their enlistment process a little looser by simply asking “If you’re a mom active in social media and like participating in campaigns that are value-added, fun and make life a little better, tell us about you and let’s find a client project to work on together.”
If you’ve ever attended a conference with Maria Bailey, brainchild behind BSM Media and inventor of the Blue Martini, you probably know something about MomSelect. Maria travels around the world educating brands and creating opportunities for both moms and moms who blog. Opportunities often include: blogger events, media campaigns, and influencer programs.
There are many other organizations out there working to connect brands and bloggers with paid opportunities. Some are paving new ground while others are taking advantage of bloggers. When in doubt, ask your fellow bloggers for an opinion. Or read the fine print on the compensated posts that appear on their blogs. You’ll find out who has sponsored them and possibly form a relationship of your own.
I’d love to hear some of your favorite organizations you have worked with.
In the name of full disclosure, I have worked on compensated opportunities for Clever Girls and TheMotherhood (and happen to be a big fan of both!)