Sponsored Posts: Where to Find Them, How to Do Them, and What You’ll Be Paid

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My name is Meggan Hill and I blog over at Culinary Hill.Meggan Hill | Culinary Hill I’ve been blogging since 2011, and I’m making a living from my blog. A big part of that income is from sponsored posts, and today I’m passing along my knowledge!

Note: This is mostly only relevant to US-based bloggers. However, off-shore bloggers will receive opportunities on occasion from these networks. Nagi will be doing a separate post on how to find your own opportunities. Typically, going direct to brands is relevant for non-US-based bloggers and command a premium but require more effort on the blogger’s part.

Sponsored posts for bloggers! Learn where they are, how to apply, what to expect, and how much you'll make.

Congratulations! Your food blog is up and running! You are feeling so good and confident about it that you are now thinking beyond your own borders. You are wondering, “How do I make money with this thing?”

You’re in luck! I have a lot to say about Sponsored Posts and I am just dying to talk your ear off (or whatever the equivalent of writing on a blog is). Let’s just quick cover the scope of things to come so you know what to expect… and so you can leave right now if this isn’t what you’re hoping for!

I am going to discuss sponsored posts from online networks and organizations.

I will not be discussing sponsored posts from working with brands directly or via a PR agency. The types of organizations I’m going to discuss act as your “middle man” and handle all the details and logistics. All you do is post, amplify, and get paid!

Okay, so it’s not quite that easy….

But it is absolutely doable! The more sponsored post you get, the more confidence you’ll have, and soon you’ll see a snowball effect.

But first things first….

Am I sell out?

I want to say exactly 74 words about this and offer my opinion. Only YOU will know whether a sponsored post is right for you and your blog. I only accept campaigns that get me EXCITED. If I have a compelling recipe and something to say, I’m game! But as you wander this battlefield, you’ll see campaigns that may give you pause. It’s okay to pass. But if you are true to yourself and if you know your readers, there is nothing wrong with doing sponsored posts!

A Note About Pay

Because pay is always confidential information (and varies widely depending on the campaign requirements), I have provided a scale that will represent the average pay of most campaigns within a network up until your monthly page views exceed 400,000.

$: Under $100
$$: $100 – $200
$$$: $200 – $500
$$$$: $500+

Sponsored posts seem to come in waves. There might be a drought for a while with little-to-no activity, and then all of the sudden, there is a major surge.

Where to Find Sponsored Posts

SheKnows/BlogHerSponsored posts for bloggers! Learn where they are, how to apply, what to expect, and how much you'll make.

 

Pay:    Sponsored Posts – $$$,  Social Influencer – $

An example of a Social Influencer Facebook post for Frigo Cheese can be seen here.

Apply to SheKnows/BlogHer here or learn about becoming a Social Influencer here.

You must be an ad network member to be eligible for sponsored posts. However, there is a Social Influencer program that is open to non-network members. These campaigns involve sharing images or messaging (usually created by the brand) on social media channels during a specified time frame.

Here is an example: Post 8 social media posts (4 each to Facebook and Twitter) over an 8-week period for a flat fee of $50 total. You record each of your social media posts through a BlogHer system they call “Touts.” This type of post is also called “Content Seeding.”

Federated MediaSponsored posts for bloggers! Learn where they are, how to apply, what to expect, and how much you'll make.

 

Pay:    $$$

I have done two posts for Got Milk via Federated Media, seen here and here.

Apply to Federated Media and DailyBuzz here.

As far as I can tell, you do not need to be a member of their ad network to be eligible for their campaigns. For “hobby bloggers,” they also have a group called DailyBuzz.

TapInfluencetapinfluence_logo

 

Pay: You set your own rate (brands may negotiate). $$$$

Apply to TapInfluence here.

I have completed one campaign through TapInfluence for Marzetti.

I don’t know what the minimum page view requirements are for TapInfluence, but the brands are premium and the pay is substantially higher than the other traditional networks.

Once you are a member, though, all campaigns are invitation-only. So, instead of perusing campaigns and applying, the brands peruse bloggers and invite them to participate in campaigns.

Pollinate MediaSponsored posts for bloggers! Learn where they are, how to apply, what to expect, and how much you'll make.

 

Pay:    $$$

Apply to Pollinate here.

To join Pollinate, you must have at least 20,000 pageviews per month. Every Monday, they send an email with new campaigns and other information that might be useful to members.

 

Weave Made MediaSponsored posts for bloggers! Learn where they are, how to apply, what to expect, and how much you'll make.

 

Pay:    Unknown

Apply to Weave here.

This is Pollinate’s “little sister” for small and niche blogs. To join as a female blogger, you must have at least 7,500 pageviews per month. To join as a male blogger, there is no monthly pageview minimum.

 

Social Fabric/Collective BiasSponsored posts for bloggers! Learn where they are, how to apply, what to expect, and how much you'll make.

 

Pay:    Sponsored Posts – $$, Party Rounds – $$$$, Social Media campaigns – $

Some of the brands I have worked with through SoFab include Canada Dry, Hunt’s, RO*TEL, M&M’s, and La Morena.

Apply to Social Fabric/Collective Bias here.

There is no ad network here – it’s just campaigns! And A LOT of campaigns. Social Fabric has, by far, the most campaigns I have seen anywhere. Not all of them are for food bloggers, but as you’ll see I’ve worked with them a number of times. There is no minimum monthly pageview requirement.

There is an online course called SoFabU (as in, Social Fabric University) that is recommended for all new members. Because SoFab has a lot of requirements specific to them, it is very helpful to go through their modules (and read their handbook, too). For example, they talk a lot about the “hero image,” they require you to shop at certain stores, and they almost always require you to take an in-store photo of the product (not just on the shelf; they want to see the whole aisle where it’s located). Some posts require Insight Surveys (a short survey where you offer information on your shopping experience) or Instagram videos. Nothing is a surprise; you will always know what you’re applying for up front.

For some shops, they will include Party Rounds. These pay a lot more money (sometimes twice as much as a basic blog post) and require an entire party plan, theme, tablescape, etc. Sometimes they even require you to host an actual party and photograph your guests. Although anyone can apply, if you don’t have examples of Party Posts on your blog already, you probably won’t be chosen. So, if this sounds like something that interests you, use your own posts and start building a collection of Party Posts that you can reference in the future.

There is one GREAT feature of SoFab that I haven’t seen anywhere else. For each campaign, they pick “The Best” post out of everyone who participated and pay for a weeklong Facebook ad. All the traffic goes straight to your blog. It’s great! It really keeps me motivated to always try my best.

 

Clever Girls Collective/FannySponsored posts for bloggers! Learn where they are, how to apply, what to expect, and how much you'll make.

 

Pay:    Sponsored Posts: $$, Social media campaigns: $

Through Clever Girls, I have worked with Bob’s Red Mill. I also completed social media campaigns for Campbell’s and Dove chocolate.

Apply to Clever Girls here.

You must have a minimum of 10,000 monthly visits (GA “Sessions”) to be accepted. They have both blog post campaigns and social media campaigns.

 

Massive Sway/SITS GirlsSponsored posts for bloggers! Learn where they are, how to apply, what to expect, and how much you'll make.

 

Pay:    $$$

Apply to Massive Sway here.

There are no requirements to join; just create an account through their iSway portal and you can start applying for campaigns.

 

SverveSponsored posts for bloggers! Learn where they are, how to apply, what to expect, and how much you'll make.

 

Pay:    $$$$

Apply to Sverve here.

This is another organization for campaigns. There are no posted requirements for monthly pageviews. I have joined but haven’t done any campaigns yet. I will update this post if that changes!

 

PopSugar SelectSponsored posts for bloggers! Learn where they are, how to apply, what to expect, and how much you'll make.

 

Pay: Unknown

Apply to PopSugar Select here (create an account through the drop-down menu in the upper left hand corner).

PopSugar has an online presence in many areas including food. They offer campaigns, contests, and events. I am a member but haven’t done any campaigns yet. I have, however, received one of their “Must Have” boxes in exchange for 3 posts on blog/Facebook/Instagram.

 

Healthy ApertureSponsored posts for bloggers! Learn where they are, how to apply, what to expect, and how much you'll make.

 

Pay:  On a sliding scale based on traffic. $$$$

To apply, first register with the site here, then start submitting your photos. You will receive an introductory email that will tell you how to apply for sponsored posts.

I completed a campaign for USA Rice and for the Cranberry Marketing Committee through the Healthy Aperture network.

Honest Cooking Honest Cooking Logo

Pay: $$ – $$$

Join Honest Cooking here.

You must be a site contributor to be eligible. Honest Cooking is a recipe curation site where you can publish your own recipes or they will auto-publish one recipe of yours per month.

They email out campaigns when available. Some are not food-specific but you can still apply. For example, they had a campaign that advertised the Florida Keys which you would mention on your blog (but it did not include a trip to the Florida Keys).

Other

I have no experience with the following companies… yet. Do you? Please let me know in the comments!

Markerly

Izea

Passion Fruit

Linqia

Kitchen Play

How To Do Sponsored Posts

The Application Process

Although you will apply for sponsored posts in different ways (through online boards or in email), 99% of the time, you will complete an application online. Always be aware of the application deadline so you don’t miss it!

Some information that may be in your online application includes:

  1. Your monthly pageviews and unique visitors
  2. Social media URLs and follower counts
  3. An acceptance of the required go-live dates and timeline
  4. Links to other sponsored posts on your blog
  5. Your recipe idea or pitch (not required for social media campaigns)

The Pitch

More often than not, part of your application will require you to pitch your idea for the post. Sometimes it is not obvious (Mode may ask for your recipe idea but not hold you to it). Other times, they are very forward about the Pitch. SoFab in particular is excited about the pitch. It’s all, “Tell us why you’re great for this post! Tell us why you’re excited! Tell us how you will tell a unique story and weave this product into it!” In the case of SoFab, the idea you pitch is the idea you must post.

I take the pitch seriously because it is my chance to evaluate whether a campaign is a good fit for me. If I have an interesting, compelling recipe idea and a story that I think my readers will enjoy, I will apply for a campaign.

Sometimes I will stew over a campaign for a few days. If I can’t think of something that is true to my vision, my brand, and my readers, I don’t apply. It’s not fair to my readers and it’s a waste of my time. My general benchmark is the recipe factor. If there is NO way to weave a recipe into the post, I’m not applying.

Sometimes, even if it is possible to weave in a recipe, I still won’t apply (this happened recently with a line of cleaning products; I accepted my invitation and then recanted a week later, plagued by unease. It just felt wrong!).

If you are accepted, you will confirm your acceptance formally, often with a contract. Then, you will receive instructions for the post.

Completing the Post

In your instructions, every detail, requirement, and expectation is outlined. You may find information on everything from imagery, themes, and slogans to disclosures, hash tags, word counts, ethics, social media sharing requirements, and the timeline for posting. In most cases, you will be responsible for obtaining the product you will feature in your post (they will not send it to you). They will also confirm your pay.

After that, all you have to do is follow the requirements outlined. I recommend several readings of the instructions before, during, and after. Links to brand-specific content must be coded “no-follow.” Install any brand logos if required. Double-check all your links by clicking through and seeing where they go. Disclosures should always be at the TOP of your post, before any content or pictures.

After the Post

Once your post is live and amplified across all (or at least the required) social media channels, you will need to report your links. This is usually time-sensitive and is required to get paid.

Another item required to get paid? A W9. You’ll either fill the information out directly on the company’s site or you’ll scan a hardcopy W9 over to them. I keep one on my computer that I can email out when needed.

Final Thoughts

The more sponsored posts you do, the more comfortable you’ll feel with them. The application process will become second-nature. You’ll start to get a feel for which campaigns you enjoy and which ones to avoid. And, you’ll be making more money than you were before!

Never be afraid to apply for a sponsored post… or to turn one down. Always trust your gut, but also give yourself a break. I have done a few sponsored posts I regret, but I don’t regret the learning!

Do you have any tips for sponsored posts? Preferred networks? If you’re brand new to this, be sure to comment below or tag me on FB and let me know how things go!

And if you found this useful, share it with your friends!

Everything you need to know about sponsored posts - including $! #fbc #bloggingtips Click To Tweet

Meggan Hill | Culinary HillMeggan Hill is the blogger behind Culinary Hill. She’s been blogging full time since 2011 and makes a living from her blog. Contact her for more information. You can also follow Meggan on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+.

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Really great article and it help a lot for information and details. Thanks for putting your time posting this.
    i just starts blogging month ago and my niche is Thai food there’s quite amount of western food in general as well. I’m base in Thailand and Singapore and wondering if my blog would fit to companies which mostly base in US or how can i get the sponsorship when i’m base in Asia. beside of trying to reach a local companies for sponsored.

    Thanks again for great post,

  2. says

    Thanks for such a great article!

    I have a quick question. In the very first company you mentioned and linked to an article you did sponsored by Pure Leaf … BUT I don’t see where you used their product? The only mention of them is when you disclosed that they sponsored the post. Am I missing something?

    Thanks!
    ~Marge

    • says

      Hey there! If I know the traffic information required, I have listed it in the post. Beyond that, you’d have to research each network individually.

  3. Marissa @ OMG FOOD says

    Hi Meggan! I was curious how your first campaign through Massive Sway went. Did you complete it? I just applied myself, but I’m curious to know how your experience might have been and if you’ve worked with them since. Thanks!

  4. says

    What a wealth of information Meggan.

    This is wonderful!

    I am already a member of a few networks like BlogHer, Massive Sway, Sverve but I’m happy to learn about new ones.

    Thank you so much :)

  5. says

    Thank you Meggan for all your helpful insights and sharing your personal experience. I’ve only been working directly with brands/PR companies for the few sponsored posts I have done so far, so this is a whole different (perhaps easier!) way of doing them. Thank you so much!

  6. says

    Thank you for putting this together. I’m a member of many that you mentioned but definitely want to check out some of the others. I’ve worked a few times with Tap Influence (it’s required by Fitfluential). I’m not sure their criteria. I was selected for one campaign outside of FitFluential. I was just asked to participate.

    Somebody above mentioned Linqia. I work with them and usually enjoy the pay per click format (though some products are harder to get clicks than others). Bigger blogs get the chance to earn more money by getting more clicks, but even small blogs can do well. You are given a goal amount of clicks and even if you go over it you will only make that amount. The next time you will have the chance to earn more with more clicks. I hope I’m being clear, I feel like I’m rambling :-). Anyway, the best thing about Linqia is that they pay so quickly, usually within a couple days of the close of the campaign.

    • says

      Thank you for your insights, Debbie! I don’t have any experience with FitFluential but obviously know they do things… I’d be lying if I said my blog was focused on healthy food (although those types of recipes show up a lot). Congrats on getting some sponsored action though, that’s great! I feel like once you get your first one it gets easier. So many places as for links to past sponsored posts, and once you have something to show then everyone else starts to give you work. Thanks for the tips on Linqia too, I have a friend that has used them but haven’t tried them myself. I will definitely have to check it out!

  7. says

    This is so AWESOME and thank you for putting these tips and sharing these companies with us…I am going to check them out and apply today. Thanks again…so helpful!

  8. says

    Thank you Megan! Although I’m in the UK, this is all still useful to know concept wise (haha!) I might start approaching some companies directly over here just as an experiment. I think Nagi is right though when she says the other problem us ‘foreigners’ have is that most of our traffic is US-based. So a company that exports to the US is probably the best way forward … :-)

    • says

      The real solution, Helen, is just to move yourself over here to LA. :) But seriously, it seems a bit unfair that your traffic is all US but that some brands only want to work with US bloggers. I figure at some point there is going to be a giant renaissance of non-US food bloggers and all your countries will start taking over the readership and next thing you know I’ll be pitching blood pudding trying to gobble up UK readers! Hey, it could happen! Until then, I hope you find some success. :)

  9. Elizabeth @ SugarHero.com says

    I have to put in a huge plug for Kitchen PLAY. I’ve backed away from working with many content networks (I prefer more direct work with brands, just my personal preference) but I do still love to work with Kitchen PLAY because it’s such a great experience. It feels very personal, expectations are always clearly laid out, they seem to really value their blogging partners, and the pay is much better than most.

    • says

      That is wonderful to hear, Elizabeth! I didn’t actually know about Kitchen PLAY until Allie from Baking A Moment told me about them. Uncharted waters for me! I can’t wait to check it out which I shall do immediately. I’m so excited that you read this post and then commented!!! XXO

      • says

        This was SO great–so thorough and informative! I hope it gets shared and pinned all over the place, because it is such a useful collection of info all in one place.

        And yes, Kitchen PLAY is awesome. It’s run by Casey Benedict, who you might recognize from various FB blogging groups. :)

    • meaghanlamm says

      Elizabeth, can I be rude and ask which membership level you started out with on Kitchen Play? I want to join but can only afford the free membership at the moment and am wondering if you ever used just the free membership and actually received sponsored posts? Thanks! I don’t know if this will notify me of new comments so here’s my email just in case cookcraftloveblog@gmail.com

  10. says

    I’ve gotten several posts through Colectove Bias and one of my most recent posts was chosen as the best post and promoted on Facebook!! I had no idea that was an exclusive thing and I literally squealed reading that lol. I’m a member of iSway but it seems all their posts require you to be a mom so I haven’t applied for any. I’m on Izea but their site kind of confuses me so I’ll have to take another look. I recently got accepted to Weave Made but haven’t received and posts yet. Looking forward to checking out some of the others. Love this post!!

    • says

      Thank you, Meaghan! I agree about Izea. I definitely signed up for an account at one point and that I got really confused. I feel like I was led there by another group so then I thought they were affiliated, and I really have no idea. I will have to look into it again! Good job on the Sofab Facebook ad. That’s the best, isn’t it?! I wish I knew how much many they were spending on those FB ads and what parameters they set… it’s always such a nice boost in traffic! I am glad you enjoyed the post!

  11. says

    Okay going to try my reply again, my last one timed out!

    Thanks so much for this post Meggan, I’ve not done any sponsored posts yet but I’m definitely interested in it. I’m in the UK so I doubt I’d get many, if any, but there’s no harm in trying so I’m definitely going to be checking out some of the links provided!

    I can’t wait for the post about approaching brands directly as that’s obviously more relevant for me! I’ve been working with a brand I love here in the UK but at the moment I just review their products and don’t get paid, I get the product for free which is great for me as it’s the brand I would use anyway (and it’s all baking equipment, it saves me a fortune). But as my blog grows I definitely want to explore approaching them to negotiate paid posts!

    • says

      Hey Michelle! Sorry you were having problems with the site/leaving comments. I know there is a group called Foodies 100 for people in the UK (sorry if I’m repeating myself… I know I left a comment on the FB group about that but I can’t remember who asked about it). I agree about working with brands for products you love. If it’s something you are going to use anyway, it’s great to get it for free! I also feel that way about sponsored posts. If I have a great recipe in mind, it’s a great way to create more content (which I need anyway) and get paid for it! Thank you so much for stopping over, reading my post, and commenting. Especially if it took you more than one try. 😉

  12. says

    Fantastic post Meggan!! I’ve done a few sponsored posts, and hope to continue :) I primarily use Collective Bias and I find their site easy to navigate and they have good communication. I just recently got a 3 part sponsored post series through Izea (although my posts will actually be housed on Hormel’s website). I’ll have to look into a few of these other sites 😀

    • says

      I will have to check out Izea, Amanda! I joined at one point but I don’t think there were many campaigns at the time, so I haven’t been there in a while. Glad to hear you found some opportunities. I’m on my way! 😉

  13. says

    Okay, trying again with my comment! :)

    I recently did a campaign with Honest Cooking that I really enjoyed. You do have to be a site contributor to participate (I got an email invite). Since joining in February, I’ve gotten emails about 3 campaigns, applied to 2, and been accepted to 1. They seem to each pay $300. For the campaign I did, we also got a giant box of delicious products in the mail. You do have to include a banner ad on your site for 2 weeks in conjunction with the post (I just added this ad into a new spot in my sidebar instead of replacing network ads with it).

    I have also done 2 campaigns with Linqia. It’s a little trickier because you are paid for each click you get, so if you don’t get as many click-throughs as anticipated you won’t make the full amount budgeted for your post. I do think companies like paying only for the results they actually get, though! I got to do a campaign for Ghirardelli through Linqia which was really fun. They don’t send you product but usually you get paid an extra $10 or so to reimburse you for buying it. There were a couple of products I couldn’t find locally, so I wasn’t able to participate in those campaigns.

    • says

      Hi Becky! I will have to look into Honest Cooking! Adding an extra ad is no big deal. :) And who doesn’t love a giant box of delicious products? $300 per post sounds great! Linqia – now that you describe it, I have definitely heard of it. Definitely going to check that one out too! Thanks for all your info. :)

    • says

      Thank YOU for letting me wax poetically about one of my favorite topics! I am so grateful to have this platform to share info with all our blogging buddies!!

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