Are you a hobby blogger that is considering turning your posts into money makers? This A Thousand Threads post has a great list of everything you need to consider before seeking sponsorship.
Last week I posted a link to an article by Casey Neistat that I thought hit the “sponsorship” nail on the head.
In it, he talks with some disdain about the folks who’ve reached out to ask him how they might talk a big brand into paying for their vacation. His answer boils down to this:
I have made 86 videos for my YouTube channel in the last couple of years. 8 of them were for clients, 78 of them were for me. My focus is and always has been on making the work I care about. It is an honor to have found a way to get paid to create work like this, something I value greatly. There are no shortcuts. No one is going to pay for your vacation, no one cares, no one gives a shit and they never will. If you want something, anything, do the work and earn it.
It’s harsh, but true, and I can identify with what he means. There are no easy breaks here… and the goal isn’t the perk. The perk is just a nice bonus. The goal is the dream.
On the other hand, I know where those folks are coming from. The ones who contact Neistat about sponsorship unicorns. And it’s not always, as Casey understandably assumes, that they’re really just looking for someone to finance their vacation. Rather, I’d be willing to bet that most of those folks are looking for some way, any way, to follow their dream. Because whether that dream is to write or take pictures or make films or art or anything else, we all know it won’t come cheap. So in today’s world of underfunded art programs and shrinking newspaper staff, makers and doers are turning inward, looking for a way to reach their goals on their own… and the path that many, including both Casey and those who’ve reached out to him for advice, are turning up is that sponsorship is key.
But how do you make it happen? How do you catch the eye of one of those brands that really “gets it” and is willing to invest in the power of a dream you both share. Well in addition to reiterating the advice quoted above, because it will be hard work, I thought I’d pass along a few real-world tips I’ve picked up along the way.
Think about this question first before you ever consider reaching out to a brand: Are you ready?
You might not be yet, and that’s okay. Before you take the first real step toward sponsorship, you will have to prove yourself. Which might sounds scary, but I promise it’s not… what I mean is that you’re not just going to pick up a bunch of sponsors after opening a free account and throwing up a post here and there for a month.
This is why: Moving from hobby-blogging (which is totally okay to stick with and completely worthwhile) to sponsored blogging is the line between business and pleasure. Would you launch a food business before your recipes were both tested and perfected? I don’t think you would.