It’s the time of year when our thoughts naturally turn to our plans for the rest of the year.
For some bloggers, that will naturally include attending the big London-based blogging conferences like CybHer, Food Blogger Connect and BritMums Live. But can you afford it?
With many conference tickets costing £100 and upwards, plus the cost of hotels, food and travel, it’s easy to spend £500 attending a blogging conference. Ouch!
Many bloggers try and secure sponsorship – which means asking for a brand to pay for your expenses allowing you to attend the conference.
How to write a sponsorship proposal
If you want to find an event sponsor, the VERY first step is to work out why someone would want to sponsor you.
Try and write down a short summary of what your blog is abouta summary of relevant stats, such as monthly unique visits, Twitter and Facebook followers, Tots100 ranking and any other awards you might have won.
Have you worked on any particularly successful or high-profile brand projects in the past? Take a look at our how to write a media pack post for more tips.
Next, think about what you’re prepared to do for the money. Try and think creatively – will you host a sidebar/banner ad from your sponsor for a specific period? Could you distribute promotional materials at the event, or run a competition open to attendees? (check carefully, as many events will prohibit this kind of activity to protect their own sponsors) Perhaps you could write a series of reviews or sponsored posts? Organise/Host a breakfast before the event where the brand can meet with a group of bloggers?
Using these two bits of information, you can now create a simple proposal – a one page document that you can use to ‘sell’ the sponsorship opportunity to brands. Consider adding a nice colourful screen shot of your blog and a friendly photo of you to your proposal – people like to do business with people
How to contact potential sponsors
Once you have a sponsorship proposal it can be tempting to Tweet a request for sponsors to contact you – and wait for the offers to come flooding in. Sadly, life doesn’t work that way Every Tweet you send is only seen, on average, by around 3-5% of your followers, meaning one message is very easily missed.
It’s also hard to stand out at times of year when lots of people might be asking similar things. And think about it – would you hire someone on the basis they Tweeted the world asking for a job? Or would you prefer someone who made a more direct, personal approach and came straight to you?
We would suggest beginning by going through your inbox and making a list of ALL the PR agencies and brands you’ve worked with over the past year. Drop them an email to see if they are interested in working together, and offer to send them your sponsorship proposal if it might be of interest?
When contacting a PR agency, it’s always worth asking your contact to share your request – many large agencies handle dozens of accounts for different brands and you might make a valuable new contact.
Make a ‘wish list’ of brands you would like to work with and see if you can dig out their PR or press office contact details on their website – a quick email explaining who you are, and asking for the best contact for social media queries could pay dividends.
If you publish your sponsorship proposal on your blog, rather than Tweeting the link, consider adding a link to the bottom of your email signature. Underneath your name, just hyperlink a short question like “Interested in sponsoring me to attend Conference X?” and then link it to the post on your blog.
Check to see if the company hosting your conference/event has a register for people interested in sponsorship
Consider using a media request service to identify potential brands who might be interested in working with you – Gorkana, ResponseSource, Homes4Media and Food4Media are all useful websites that allow bloggers to send a message to hundreds of PR execs simultaneously. Although you can’t use these services to ask for sponsorship, you CAN use them to introduce people to your blog, and identify brands who might be interested in working with you on review opportunities and competitions, for example.
You can then follow up with brands and agencies to ask about other ways you might work with them, like sponsorship.
If you can’t find a sponsor, it’s not the end of the world – there are other ways to finance your attendance at an expensive event!
Many media outlets and online news sites might be interested in buying your ticket and covering some or all of your expenses in exchange for coverage of the event for their site.
If you’ve done paid blogging for any websites in the past, or have any contacts on major websites, parenting magazines or similar, now’s the time to drop them a line.
If your job involves any kind of online communication, social media engagement, PR, or marketing, then it’s entirely possible your employer would cover your expenses – after all, conferences count as professional development, right?
It’s perfectly possible to EARN the money to attend conferences if you’re determined and your blog has a good profile – sign up to services that arrange sponsored posts on behalf of brands, use online ad networks such as Tots100 Ads, drop every PR you know an email asking if they’re looking for sponsored posts… we know bloggers who have earned five-figure incomes in a single month by taking exactly this approach!
If you have other tips, recommendations or ideas please do share them in the comments. And if all else fails, at Tots100, our blogging events are free – we even provide cake