Table of Contents
If you’re ready to start monetizing your food blog, there are a few avenues you can take. A recent report from iBlog Magazine found that blog networks were the most popular (and therefore most competitive) path to sponsorships. However, confident food bloggers can avoid the competition by pitching sponsorship ideas directly to brands and PR firms.
There’s a reason blog networks are the number one source of opportunities for working with brands in a recent annual report on women and the blogging industry. Hands down, it’s the easiest way to start making money with your food blog.
Networks, or sponsored post companies, aggregate opportunities for bloggers. By joining a blog network, you can find and accept brand sponsorships with the minimum of effort from one central location. The network itself handles all the tedious details that can be intimidating to some bloggers, like deciding how much to charge for sponsored posts and finding PR contact information. In exchange, they take a percentage of your revenue. You won’t miss it, though, as it comes out before you ever see your cut.
While blog networks make it easier for bloggers to profit from their sites, they also provide valuable experience and, in some cases, insight into the brand sponsorship game. Imagine a network as a wizard tool that offers bloggers instruction on rates, pitching, and best practices while giving them practice and often feedback on their blogging efforts. Just by registering, you’ll be gaining a fuller understanding of what brands are looking for in food bloggers.
Once you’ve begun to build up credit in a network and receive more and more sponsorship opportunities, you’ll have examples of how your blog has benefited recognizable brands. As you gain confidence, you can use this evidence of your effectiveness to pitch directly to brands.
Once you’ve gained some confidence and a better understanding of what goes into sponsored posts and what brands want from food bloggers, it’s time to up your game. By approaching brands directly, you cut out the middleman, which can be much more profitable and satisfying for you.
With a blog network, you’re really at the mercy of the brands associated with that network. When you strike out on your own, you can pick and choose the brands that you want to pitch to. That may be a teensy Etsy boutique whose hand-crafted wooden spoons blow your mind or a large, familiar brand that’s your go-to for pasta night.
In the case of a smaller brand or startup company, you may have to do some digging to find the contact person. Large brands usually have a PR or marketing department who handle requests for sponsorship opportunities. Seek out that information on the brand’s website, on press releases, or on social media platforms.
When you approach a brand about sponsorship opportunities, be sure to come prepared with a professional looking media kit (more on that next week!). You’ll want a PDF version to send to prospects, but it’s a good idea to have a web version attached to your site. That way you’ll be prepared for the day when brands come looking for you!
A word about PR firms. Public relations should not be confused with marketing and advertising. Traditionally, PR firms have worked with newspapers and magazines to take advantage of product placement opportunities – read: free press.
The PR counsel’s job is to find a natural ecosystem (like your blog) for sharing the benefits of their clients’ brands. In the past, this included feeding press releases to the media as if a new product was actually news.
While times are changing, it’s important to go into a PR pitch with an understanding of conventions. You may run up against walls in an industry that’s historically relied on unpaid advertising; however, that doesn’t mean there are no advantages to working with PR companies. Some will shell out for sponsorship opportunities like brand ambassadorships, project sponsorships, or guest posts on their clients’ blogs. You won’t know until you reach out to a few.
Check out this exhaustive list of top food PR firms from O’Dwyers to start pitching to PR and see what you come up with!