The question of how much to charge for sponsored posts has been a hot topic on the Food Bloggers Central Facebook page. I’ve set out a “formula” for you and even created a CALCULATOR for you! Read on to get it!
There is no industry standard, no rate sheet and it differs vastly between countries. So it’s important to bear that in mind reading this post, and remember that this is just my opinion only, based on my experience and information I’ve gathered.
Here are all the things to take into account when deciding what to charge for a sponsored post:
1. How much time is it going to take you? Planning, recipe creation, photography, special props, research, writing the post and promoting it.
2. Do you have any special skills or offering? For example, creating a video.
3. What is your traffic? How many subscribers do you have?
4. How influential are you? This is a really strong selling point when you’re negotiating with brands. I’ve written more about this below.
5. How is your social reach?
I don’t need to tell you that the higher you rate on these variables, the more you should (and can) charge.
I could keep talking about all the factors you should take into consideration but I know what you really just want to know is this:
How Much Should I Charge?
Bottom line – my view is: $250 (US or AUD). No matter what your traffic is, and what your social reach is, this is my recommendation for the lowest you should go – unless it is a brand you are trying to build a longer term relationship with.
My first reasoning for this bottom line is because if a post for a client doesn’t take you at least 4 hours (from start to finish, including cooking and photos and promotion) then I query whether it’s a rushed post. So you need to consider the value of your time on a per hour basis.
Secondly, you have to remember that any sponsored post you do is EVERGREEN ADVERTISING for your client. Don’t ever forget that word – EVERGREEN. Push that point hard with the client. Your traffic might not be huge now, but that sponsored post is still going to be on your blog when your traffic is much higher. Your client is getting a bargain by getting in now!
So when you take time plus the perpetuity into account, $250 suddenly doesn’t seem like very much, does it? Or, another way to look at it is this: If you add a 100% margin for sponsoring a post onto the time value you invest in preparing a post, this works out at about $30 per hour for your time (assuming a post takes you 4 hours). i.e. 4 hours x $30 per hour = $120. Plus 100% margin of $120 for putting it on your blog = $240 (say $250).
$30 per hour isn’t bad…..not if this was a steady job. But don’t forget, this is a one off. (And don’t forget, it will probably take you longer than 4 hours anyway….).
Based on Traffic – with 1 million monthly page views, the rate I get offered from American networks and brands is US$1,300+. Which works out to be $130 per 100,000 views per month. Which is lower than the $250 I recommend even if you have less than 100,000 views per month because that’s where the market is – the rate per view gets lower the higher your traffic.
So if you are a growing blog, I would work off around $150 per 100,000 monthly views. But charge a minimum of $250.
I have a Special Skill or an Edge over other blogs
If you have a special skill or something that gives you an edge over other blogs then you should also add a premium to your sponsored posts. Examples include: professional photography / styling skills, recipe creation in a niche sector (e.g. highly skilled cake decorating) or a large social media following.
Do some research and find out the market rate for that particular skill set. For example, professional photographers charge out anywhere between $150 to $300 per hour, depending on how elite they are. Use that as a guide to determine your market rate and incorporate that into the calculation for your sponsored post.
Audience Engagement and Influence
Your influence and engagement with your audience is a strong selling point when negotiating with brands. Impressive traffic means little if your traffic is “drive through” visitors. It could just be a one off “viral” recipe as far the client is concerned.
What they are more interested in (or should be – so educate them if they are not!) is your influence and engagement with your audience. AND not just your readers, but also your blogger friends. Because, as a blogger, you know full well that we get ideas from each other. That’s one way the word spreads and brands love that!
It’s hard to measure audience influence. A key selling point is your mail list. Your mail list is an incredibly valuable asset. Each time an email goes into the inbox of your readers, it is an opportunity for you to engage on a personal level with your readers.
Now that is gold for the brands.
So talk about your mail list and open rate. (PS When you do a sponsored post, switch from content extract to full post content in the email so the entire post lands in the inbox of subscribers. Because if you’re like me, your click through rate is a lot lower than the open rate. You want to tell the brand about the OPEN rate!). Talk about the engagement on your blog and on social media.
Tell the brand about emails you get from clients. Talk about the blog comments you get, not just for new posts but for posts you did in the past (reminding them that the content is evergreen ).
Any engagement you have with your audience is more than the brand has – so sell it!
The higher your engagement and influence, the greater the premium you can charge. Don’t undersell yourself. Let me stress again – your ability to send personal messages by email to your subscribers is an extremely powerful form of marketing. This is highly valuable to brands!
I’m based in Sydney, Australia. BUT all the networks I am with are American which means all the sponsored post opportunities I receive from networks are for American (or global) companies.
Because I’m not in America, this means I don’t see as many opportunities as American bloggers as most companies won’t send food products overseas (though an increasing number are offering to, especially liquor brands).
Most of this post is written from a US viewpoint because I have more knowledge about the market rates for sponsored posts for American brands.
I can’t speak about the sponsored post market for other countries but I can share my experience in Australia. Over the past couple of months, I’ve been talking more and more with Australian PR companies and major brands and it’s become apparent that there’s a premium above American rates of at least 30%, in some cases, even more. One PR company is telling me that my Australian market rate is more than double what US companies offer me.
Part of the reason is that the pool of bloggers here in Australia is far smaller than in the US. The industry is smaller and less developed, and the reach of bloggers is seen to be a premium offering.
But I see a lot more rubbish in my inbox from Australian PR firms and companies. That’s the flipside. The blogging outreach market here in Australia is less structured.
My point is: don’t discount your position just because you aren’t in America. My advice to you is to focus on local brands with high exports to the country where most of your audience is. So for example, because my audience is mostly US, I’ve targeted Australian companies who are either trying to expand their US presence or are heavily reliant on the US for exports.
Sponsored Post Calculator
Phew! That was a lot more than I expected to write! So here it is in a nutshell.
You should charge the HIGHEST of the following:
1. Your minimum sponsored post rate – which I recommend to be $250;
2. The value of your time you spend on the post (ordinary time AND a higher rate for “special skills” time) at a rate you believe to be reasonable for your time PLUS a premium for having the post on your blog (which I recommend should be at least 100% of the time value of the post, or more depending on your social reach); and
3. The value of sponsored posts based on the average monthly views of your blog using $150 per 100,000 views if your traffic is less than 500,000 per month, dropping to around $130 per 100,000 views for 700,000+ per month.
Maths not your strongest point? I’ve condensed the above into a neat little calculator for you. All you have to do is insert your numbers into the grey cells – like hours you estimate, what you think your rate per hour is, monthly traffic etc. Then it will spit out an indicative minimum rate that you should consider charging for sponsored posts.
You can download the calculator here (Excel file): FBC Sponsored Post Calculator
Remember: You want to charge as much as you can (obviously). But ultimately it is going to come down to what the client is willing to pay and the value they see in your blog. You aren’t going to do yourself any favours by going in high and sticking to your guns, being unwilling to negotiate and never getting a sponsored post. There’s value in getting experience under your belt too. AND don’t forget about building longer term relationships with clients. You are better off securing 6 sponsored posts at a 20% discount than 1 for the full price you originally quoted.
HOW DO YOU FIGURE OUT HOW MUCH TO CHARGE FOR SPONSORED POSTS?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!