Sponsored Posts & All You Need to Know

Sponsored Posts & All You Need to Know

If you are reading this I am sure you have an Instagram and have seen some of your favorite bloggers with posts that contain #ad or #sponsored. These are what you call sponsored posts that the blogger worked with the company/product they are sharing in exchange for something. 

I am going to break down what these posts mean and my experience with them. I will cover:

  • How to Get Sponsors
  • How Companies Reach Out/ Do I Reach Out?
  • Deciding If It is a Good Fit
  • Handling The Conversation With Each Company
  • The Ask (company and blogger end) 
  • **Along with The Ask -- Gifting/Rates/Money
  • Contracts and Rules
  • Tips

**First and foremost I want to say I am very very grateful to have to opportunity to work with great brands on social media. Everything I will talk about is my opinion on the topic and what I have personally experienced. With saying that please know that everyone is different and every blogger account is different.**


HOW TO GET SPONSORS

I think this topic has the biggest grey area. It is also one of the most popular questions I get. "How do you get free stuff?!" A lot of people think it is just the coolest thing - don't get me wrong, it is cool. I never ever thought when I started my page it would turn into what it is or that free products or amazing opportunities were even a possibility. I will say I see some people starting their instagram pages where is it obvious their end goal is getting free products and followers, which is a no-no [to me and brands].

1. Give it time -- Most brands will want to reach out to people with a decent size audience who also have good engagement. So if you are someone who just started your page (as I said this shouldn't even be on your mind then) you need to be patient and build your page and your brand. 

2. Be yourself - Brands will be able to see quickly if you are genuine and someone they want to work with and/or represent their brand or product. Don't try to go do what other people are doing - especially those working with the brands you want to work with. 9 times out of 10 (depending on the brand) they will look for people in the same niche but who offer different things and have their own voice. In time brands will find you and they will want to work with YOU for who you are not who you are trying to be. 

REACHING OUT

How do brands reach out?

I have experienced two ways. Emails and DMs on Instagram. 

I am not sure when I created my fitness email but it was once my following picked up and I was getting messages from companies in my DMs. It is very easy to lose things in there so I created my email and put it in my bio {which is now super easy to link if you have a business profile.} Now, for the most part, I only work with companies who take the time to reach out via email. I'm not sure why but at some point it seemed more professional to me and as I said DMs can be tricky and missed. 

I have been very fortunate to have brands reach out to me. Being in the fitness/wellness world on IG most of the brands/companies that reach out are in that category. They will normally reach out complimenting my page or something along those lines and proceed to tell me about their product or specific campaign and ask if I am interested or willing to collaborate. 

Do I reach out to brands?

I would say 98% of the time I do not reach out. However, I do feel if you love a certain product/brand and feel that it aligns with you AND you have GOOD INTENTIONS - I don't think there is anything wrong with reaching out. There have been times when I have liked a specific product - like a bathing suit or pair of sunglasses and I will DM the brand on Instagram and tell them that I found their product, that I love it and ask if they would be open to collaborating. What do you have to lose? As I said, it is rare that I will reach out but I would tell you all to not be afraid to!

*I will cover a little more of this in the TIPS section*

IS IT A GOOD FIT?

One of the most important things when it comes to working with a brand is making sure it aligns with you, your brand and your account. An important rule I follow is: do not ever accept a gift or do a sponsored post solely for the money or the product. I feel like it's selling your soul!

Every company that reaches out - I look them up and pay attention to what their vibe is and if it even meshes with me. If not - it's immediately a no. If I do not like the what the product is or how the clothes look it is also a no. Next, I look at how their email/message is worded and what the ask is. If the email starts with the wrong name or my name spelled incorrectly - I pretty much delete it as soon as I open it. Any company I want to work with will not address me by the wrong name and will check in my bio how to properly spell it - I am also cautious about emails that start with, "Hello kal_fitlife," I am more than just my Instagram handle and I want to work with brands that see that and call me Kallie. Lastly, I see if the ask is a good fit. If they are asking for wayyy too much for not enough in return I will turn them down but if it is reasonable, a product I believe in and aligns with me I will do it.

You have to know your audience and what they will want to see and what they will support seeing. Trust me when I say I will never share a product or brand on my page that I do not support or believe in. I am extremely choosy with sponsored posts because that is who I am and I would never want to flood your feed with sponsored things from me - I wouldn't feel very good about that and it is not why I started my page. Most bloggers know sponsored posts do not do as well on their pages because most people think you are being to "salesy"; when we are giving you tons of free inspiration on the daily. Just know that about 95% of a blogger's posts are NOT sponsored and when a blogger does share a sponsored post it means they stand behind what they are sharing and your support is necessary on those posts too -- Chinae did an incredible post on sponsored content recently for us bloggers that is worth a read!

Conversations with the brand

I try to be as clear and concise as I can be when working with any brand. Most sponsored posts I do these days are campaigns that have a certain timeline and therefore things needs to have a quick turn around. The sooner you get all the info the better. And the sooner you get the content etc back to them the easier it is to be prepared ahead of time for the post. 

Keep the conversation professional but make sure you still sound like you. I still handle all of my emails and brand collaborations. To be upfront with you, I have considered signing with management to take some of the email burden off of me but I have not fully committed to that yet! As a blogger you have to start thinking of yourself like a business and your own brand. You are not trying to have a conversation with whoever is on the other end, unless this is a long term partnership where you have developed a relationship with the brand or point of contact you have!

THE ASK

This one is pretty simple. Brands that reach out see something in you that they like and they want something from you. Typically this is exposure on your social media channels. For some brands it is a one time post, others want multiple or some are after more of a long-term partnership.

In my experience - the ask has been multiple things. In exchange for an item or product AND exposure on your channels you give them:

  • A single post (or multiple) on my IG
  • Multiple posts within a specific timeframe (Usually given dates of a campaign)
  • Post(s) + Blog Post(s)
  • Post(s) + Instagram Stories
  • Giveaway Post(s)
  • Review Post(s) of their product

With all of these posts they will give you guidelines in the agreement/contract (more below) of what they want and will require of you. Almost all of them want you to use it in your day-to-day life and share how you do so in an organic way using your own personal voice. They all will want you to tag them in the caption and in the photo, along with the required hashtags of the campaign and also FTC laws... #ad #paid #sponsored etc. 

I will say - there are some companies who don't ask for anything. I'm sure they reaching out HOPING you will share the product; but some simply say they want to give me and item and do not mention a required post. If this is the case and it is something I would like or use then I normally say yes and give it some love on my IG stories.

GIFTING AND RATES

THE BIG ONE. How much money can I make off a sponsored post? How much should I be charging for a sponsored post? SHOULD I be charging for sponsored posts? 

This took me a while to figure out, as it has anyone I know! As I stated before you have to take the time to build your brand and your audience for brands to reach out. You also have to have a voice/personality/account that they want to utilize and they have the hope to have more exposure across a wider audience all through YOU! In my personal experience I was not charging for gifts right when brands started reaching out - I didn't know any better. Blogging was becoming a bigger thing at the time and I had no idea making money was even an option. Now I think, wow those lucky people got all that free advertising that my naive self was giving them. I digress, I believe if you have a decent following and engaged followers you should be charging for sponsored posts! However, I think "gifting" is a great place to start.

GIFTING

If you are still growing your page and a company reaches out and wants to gift you a product in exchange for a post on your Instagram and you align with it, say yes! Other brands will see you are open to at least sharing branded content on your page. Gifting is a great option; sometimes if a brand is a start-up and doesn't have a huge budget and I support what they are doing I will post in exchange for gifting. However, I am at a point where I am charging for every or almost every sponsored post you will see on my page. 

RATES

I think once I hit about 30-40k followers is when I realized I needed to start charging for posts on my page. The emails/messages were more frequent and it dawned on me I was just giving companies free publicity. I was googling, "How much do I charge for a sponsored post" and I was lost. It's obviously not something you want to ask a fellow blogger because it's uncomfortable. At first I would say I charge and the company would come back to me with a number and I would agree - something was more than nothing - I thought!

Then, I started to really think about the time and effort I put into creating my content and what I felt I was worth and the voice I had on Instagram was worth. So then I started reading more articles and in those articles I found the common denominator of charging around $100 per 10k. I'm sure you will all do the math and say, "What?! You make that every time you have a sponsored post????" Without sharing my entire bank account with you I will say -- I have stuck to that number for the most part and handled myself like a business when talking to brands. I have made less than that and I have made more than that depending on the ask and campaign. Remember, if they are a brand that is worthwhile and understand who you are as a brand and respect you they will have no issue paying. 9/10 companies HAVE the money but if you don't stand up for yourself they will try to lowball you - don't let it happen! If a brand will not pay what you feel you deserve or they are asking too much of you, do not be afraid to turn them down. I have been there!

CONTRACTS AND RULES

With being paid comes legal documents and contracts and rules you need to follow as the publisher/creator/influencer. I will let you know the most general stuff that comes along with almost all sponsored posts.

  • If you are working with a specific product, especially food, they will expect you to be EXCLUSIVE with them for a certain amount of time. This is also called a non-compete. Meaning...you cannot post another product of the same category (sometimes specific brands are given) until your contract time is up! 
  • There are required hashtags that HAVE TO be in your caption
  • Certain things NEED to be tagged in the photo
  • A link in your bio may be required
  • You can only post it on a specific day(s)

I have always been someone who reads the contracts. Alright, I skim some parts - but the important parts like what is being required of me and all that good stuff I definitely READ BEFORE SIGNING. My best piece of advice when doing a sponsored post is follow the rules. This isn't just the rules of the contract and brand but also the FTC rules. You want to make sure you have all your bases covered. If you do what the contract asks you will be set but just make sure if you are sharing something on your page that you did get for free or you are getting paid for - don't be deceptive to your audience about it. I am not fully sponsored by a single brand but if I was I would keep it in my bio so it is clear to my followers! It is always best to stay on the safe side with sponsored content or even when you are reposting a picture that is not your own. Always give credit where credit is due and you'll be gucci!

FINAL TIPS

SHWOO!!! Some final tips for you:

TAGGING BRANDS

  • I have seen this 1000x and more from different people who want certain brands attention. I can understand that you may want the brand to see you but just make sure you are not doing it for every post. This is just my thought but there are some people out there who are just "TOO THIRSTY" for sponsorships and for certain brands to notice them. DO YOU - the right brands will come. 
  • This is my personal belief - do not tag brands that compete with each other in the same post, i.e. nike women, adidas women, lululemon. It's just my thing - keep it consistent!
  • **People have asked - how do you get adidas women to notice you?** I am not a full blown adidas ambassador, but I am beyond fortunate to have a relationship with them and I am so grateful. They reached out to me via email saying they found me and my page and that is how it happened. There wasn't a special or secret trick I can share, I'm sorry! I feel I align with what they stand for and they are a brand I am proud to wear so you do see me in the three stripes a lot

LET IT HAPPEN

  • I've stressed it but - give your page and brand time to grow and find your voice on social media. Once you do that you don't have to go fishing for sponsors or tag your ever-loving heart out of your pictures.
  • You do not have to have thousands of followers to do sponsored posts or receive gifts. I know some people with hundreds of followers who work with brands because they have a true message and engaged followers
  • Be you and let it fall into place!

CURATE A FEED

  • I talk about this in a soon-to-be YouTube Video
  • Curate a feed full of content that represents YOU
  • Think about your message in every caption and how you edit your photos
  • Your audience and brands want to see aesthetically pleasing photos
  • Have a consistent voice and feed and the right brands will come!

THE RIGHT REASONS

I have to finish with this -- when it comes to making money off blogging you have to make sure you are doing it for the right reasons

  • Do not create and Instagram with the sole goal of becoming a full time blogger (at least I don't think this is a good idea)
  • Do not create a fitness-specific instagram just to get free gym clothes and protein bars
  • Basically...don't do it for the free shit
  • Do it because you have a love for whatever it is you are sharing and because you have a message you want to spread
  • NEVER EVER accept a deal with a brand or company you do not align with
  • NEVER EVER accept a deal solely for the money
  • NEVER EVER compromise your beliefs or what you deserve for a sponsorship
  • ALWAYS stay true to who you are -- the rest will take care of itself :)

I hope this has given you some more insight on sponsored posts! They are something that I do not take lightly and I would encourage you all to do the same. It is a privilege to be able to work with incredible brands and spread the word about them on my instagram and blog. As someone who recently left their job to pursue a career in fitness I have had comfort in knowing that I have the ability to make money on the side through blogging and I am beyond grateful for that! Please leave a comment if you have any more questions - I would love to help!

COME COMMENT ON MY INSTAGRAM POST IF YOU READ THIS OR tell me SOMETHING YOU LEARNED!

Below are all examples of sponsored posts I have done

xx

Kallie

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