How to Make Money with Sponsored Posts: A Complete Guide (+ Free Contract Template)

28 min read

This page contains affiliate links. Meaning, I get a commission if you purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.

How to make money with sponsored blog posts: A complete guide by The Side Blogger
The way to monetize a blog and earn substantial money every month is to create multiple income streams. And one of those income streams can easily be sponsored blog posts.

If you’ve been blogging for a year or so, chances are that you have a regular stream of traffic and some devoted readers/fans already. You’re now an influencer. If so, there are brands/companies in a relevant field who would like to partner with you to promote their services or products. For example, over the years, I’ve partnered with companies like Shutterstock, Envato, WP Astra, and others to promote their products.

So, in this post, I want to give you a complete guide to getting sponsored post opportunities for your blog. If you’re interested in working with brands or companies to create content for your blog, then please read on.

In this post:

Sponsored Posts Basics

In this section, I’ll try to outline some of the basic information you need to know about sponsored posts before we get into the details of landing these sponsorship gigs from your favorite brands and companies.

What are sponsored posts?

Sponsored blog posts or social media posts are content that brands or companies pay bloggers and influencers to write or create. Companies pay for sponsored posts because they want to increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, get more leads, generate revenue, etc.

For example, a couple of years ago, Canva—the online graphic design tool—paid me a previously agreed-upon fixed amount to write about their newest Instagram direct publishing feature right from within Canva’s design editor. That was a sponsored blog post.

Typically, a company pays a one-time fee to a blogger to create this sponsored content.

In this post, I’ll be focusing on sponsored blog posts, but many of the same rules apply to sponsored YouTube videos, Instagram posts, reels, TikTok videos, etc.

Also, FYI, in this post, I’ll be using “brand,” “company,” and “advertiser” interchangeably, but all three refer to whoever is paying you to create sponsored content.

Why do companies pay for sponsored blog posts?

There are plenty of reasons why a company may want bloggers and influencers to create content for them. Here are some examples:

  1. A new company may want to spread the word about its existence by paying bloggers and influencers to write about it. Imagine that you’re a fashion blogger advocating for sustainability in the fashion industry. Understandably, you have an audience that cares about the climate crisis. So, a climate-forward clothing company may want to tap into your audience to grow its business.
  2. Even a not-so-new company may want to partner with bloggers and influencers for things like increasing brand awareness. Using the same example as above, let’s assume that there are many other sustainable clothing companies, and one such company that has been around for a while needs to increase its visibility to compete with the new players. What better way to do it than having a blogger or influencer promote its products to their audience?
  3. A company may also want to work with bloggers and influencers to promote a new product or feature. The example I shared above where Canva paid me for a sponsored blog post promoting their Instagram direct publishing feature was such an instance.
  4. Sponsoring content is often cheaper than running Display ads. Depending on the kind of product or service it is, some companies find it more useful to directly pay bloggers and influencers who can help them reach their ideal audience more easily and effectively, and often for much cheaper. Some companies may even decide to invest their promotional budget between traditional ads and sponsored content.
  5. The science of persuasion suggests that people are much more prone to buy products based on recommendations by those they trust than traditional ads (as demonstrated by the hypothetical scenario above.)

The thing to understand here is that we—bloggers and influencers—have a dedicated audience and this audience trusts us. So, when we recommend a product, it carries some weight. It is different from just running paid ads.

Allow me to demonstrate this with an example:

Consider a hypothetical situation where you have sensitive, acne-prone skin and you need a moisturizer that would help without making your condition worse. You see ads on Instagram about such products, but you’re even more confused because you don’t know which product will actually help.

However, a certain blogger you follow who has a similar type of skin and only recommends the best products, writes an in-depth review of a particular moisturizer that promises to help specifically the sensitive and acne-prone skin like yours.

Wouldn’t you want to try that instead of the barrage of ads for products you’ve never heard of?

Well, that is the power of bloggers and influencers who have a dedicated audience that trusts them. And companies know how effective of a marketing tactic it is, so they’re more than willing to pay said bloggers and influencers for a myriad of content such as reviews, tutorials, products in use, etc. 

Prerequisites for Landing Sponsored Blog Posts And Content

It’s neither feasible nor advised to start working with brands from blog-launch-day-1. It requires some know-how, some preparations, and a good understanding of what you’re getting into before you consider working with brands. In this section, we’ll look at what you need to get started.

While you can’t expect to work with brands as a complete beginner, if your goal is to eventually work with brands, then it’s good to know all that I’m about to share with you so you can start preparing your blog (and social outlets.)

Set up an amazing blog

First things first: set up a blog that looks professional, easy to navigate, loads fast, and leaves you with a great impression. To that end, here’s what I recommend:

  • Set up a self-hosted WordPress blog with SiteGround (this is what I use.)
  • Use a great theme—Astra, for example.
  • Optionally, you could also use a page builder such as Elementor to further customize how your blog looks and feels.

Here’s a guide to starting a blog with WordPress.

Build a readership and grow your audience

Companies want to work with bloggers and influencers who create quality, helpful content for their readers. They also want to work with folks who have a dedicated audience. So, first things first, build a blog that people trust. I mean, that’s the entire point of landing sponsored content deals: to connect brands with their ideal customers.

To that end, do the following:

  • Write amazing and super valuable blog posts to build trust between you and your readers.
  • Grow your newsletter subscribers (I use ConvertKit to build and maintain my email list.)
  • Try to use at least one social media platform to grow your blog. I recommend Pinterest to all new bloggers for driving traffic. Aside from that, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and other platforms can also be great for landing sponsored post deals.

Set up a “Sponsorship” page on your website

Some companies have people in their PR or marketing team whose job it is (or at least part of their job) to look out for bloggers and influencers in their niche.

Over the years, I’ve had plenty of people who reached out to me to offer some form of paid or unpaid partnership. You’ll make their life (and yours too) a lot easier if you set up a dedicated page on your site with some general information about how you work with a potential sponsor. Also, make this page easily accessible (in your main navigation or in the footer area, for example.)

The screenshot below shows a screenshot of the footer area of the popular blog — A Beautiful Mess — where they have linked their “Sponsor” page.

Screenshot of A Beautiful Mess Footer area where there's a link to the site's sponsorship options.
Screenshot of A Beautiful Mess Footer area where there’s a link to the site’s sponsorship options.

Alternatively, you can link to your media kit where you may list all the different types of sponsorships you offer. This is useful if you offer more than just sponsored blog posts. I have a link to my media kit in my footer area, for example.

If you’ve been blogging for a while, then you may have really impressive data to brag about on this page. But no worries if you don’t. Not all brands are looking to work with the super hot-shots. Some companies actually prefer smaller bloggers and influencers with a more dedicated and engaged audience.

Things you may consider putting on this page:

  • What your blog is about.
  • Who your audience is (so that potential sponsors can understand whether or not you have overlapping audience demographics.)
  • Your website, audience, and social stats. For example, my social media presence is laughable, so I skip that part entirely. What I am proud of is my email list. It’s not huge but at around 9K subscribers, with around 45% email open rate (at the time of writing this), my subscribers are pretty engaged.
  • The type of sponsored content you offer (a.k.a., services).
  • Examples of past sponsored partnerships (such as links to sponsored blog posts you’ve written for companies.) If you do not have them yet, that’s fine. Just keep this in mind so that once you have some experience and a few brand deals under your belt, you can remember to go back and edit this page with all the relevant information.
  • Your email address so that brands can contact you. (I recommend having an actual email address here rather than a contact form.)

Also, remember to update this page every couple of months or as needed with up-to-date information.

Prepare a media kit

You should create a media kit even if you don’t think that you’re ready to partner with brands. Sometimes opportunities may come knocking on your door (I’ve heard stories about brands wanting to partner with relatively new bloggers) and you want to be ready if and when that happens.

I have a complete guide on creating media kits + a free Canva template here.

Free media kit Canva template by The Side Blogger
Get this free media kit Canva template here.

Essentially, you’d want to add the same information I’ve outlined for a Sponsorship page on your media kit as well.

Media kit format:

A media kit is typically a PDF document.

Personally, I have a PDF as well as a web page set up for this.

Some companies prefer a document as opposed to clicking a link (not sure why, it may have to do with company policies on their end.)

In any case, a PDF media kit is a must, and a web page for the same info is optional. Some bloggers do not want a media kit with pricing info on their websites, others (such as myself) do not mind this.

Similar to a sponsorship page, you should update your media kit often or as needed with up-to-date information.

A few words about including pricing:

Most bloggers do not include pricing in their sponsorship page or a media kit.

I used to not do so either. In an older version of this blog post, I recommended not including a price. This was for the following reasons:

  • Sometimes new bloggers want to partner with companies regardless of what they’re getting paid. So, including a price may turn around some companies with smaller budgets.
  • On the contrary, some companies may have a big budget but if you ask for too small a fee, you’ll be leaving money on the table.
  • It is best to do some research on the company before giving them a quote.

These days, however, I’ve decided that in some cases, listing a price isn’t a bad idea.

For example, I’m at a place in my blogging journey where I don’t want to work with just anybody or for just any amount of money. However, I get daily emails from a variety of businesses about sponsored content. So, to weed out the cheapos, I have started including a detailed pricing list in my media kit. If the price works for you, great, we can start a conversation. If not, thanks, but no thanks.

Prepare a contract

Signing a contract is absolutely necessary for any business partnership.

Sometimes, companies will provide you with a contract, and other times, you may have to send them a contract. So, it is useful to have a contract template ready at hand. You can just customize this template based on the details of any specific sponsorship deal, and send it out.

Blog sponsorship Contract Canva template. (Free download below.)
Blog sponsorship Contract Canva template. (Free download below.)
Download a blog/content sponsorship template in Canva (FREE!)

If you’re unsure, I have a 4-page template (made with Canva) that I use myself. You can download it for free below.

This template has the following:

  • Contact information for both blogger and advertiser.
  • Partnership specifics: Services to be rendered, details about content, and timelines.
  • Deliverables and payment details and timelines.
  • Copyrights and disclaimers.
  • Signatures and dates.
FREE Blog Sponsorship Contract Template (Made in Canva)

This is the exact contract I use for my blog sponsorship deals. Now you can use it too… for free!

(You’ll also be signing up for my regular newsletters, FYI.)

How to Know If Your Blog is Ready for Sponsorships

Ideally, you should have met the following conditions:

  • You have been consistently blogging for about a year and have built up a decent readership with at least a couple of hundred daily visitors to your blog.
  • You have an email list of 500 or more subscribers. Or,
  • You have at least one social media channel (or YouTube channel) with 500 followers.
  • You’re starting to get emails (or DMs) from companies that want you to become an affiliate for them, review their products, or pay you to publish content for them. This shows that some people think your blog is influential.

Understand that these are “ideal” conditions, but ultimately, getting sponsorship deals depends on a bunch of factors, and I’m not sure I know or understand all of them.

In fact, I’ve heard of bloggers who managed to partner with brands with a smaller following or with almost a brand-new blog.

In any case, reaching the aforementioned numbers should give you a better chance at landing brand deals. And the higher those numbers, the better offers you’ll get (better offer = more money!)

The Steps to Working With Brands for Sponsored Blog Posts

These steps are not in any particular order since the order can often change depending on who you’re working with. In any case, in any sponsored content partnership, the following things need to happen between you—the blogger or content creator—and a point of contact at the company you’re partnering with.

  1. Figure out which company you’re partnering with.
  2. Decide on what the sponsored content will be. For example, a blog post, a YouTube video, social media posts, or maybe a combination of different types of content.
  3. Decide on a rate.
  4. Discuss a timeline (when the content will need to be published, when you’ll get paid, etc.)
  5. Be clear on how and when you’ll get paid.
  6. Sign a contract.
  7. Create content.
  8. Have your drafts approved.
  9. Publish content.
  10. Get paid.

In the rest of the blog post, I’ll expand on all of the aforementioned steps. Let’s get started!

Finding brands to work with

I started getting emails from all kinds of companies and individuals about wanting to work with me around the time this blog was barely six months old. However, many of those were for unrelated products, services, or establishments. (Folks often email me about promoting casino-related content… no effing idea why.)

Here’s the thing: You can work with just about anybody who offers you some petty cash for inserting a link or sharing a pre-written blog post and then lose the trust you’ve built up with your audience. Or, you can be picky about who you partner with, making sure you’re recommending and reviewing the right products to your readers.

I’d suggest you do the latter.

You see, sponsored posts, used without discretion, can ruin your blog. You can lose your readers’ trust, and that can be fatal for your blog in the long run. Don’t prioritize money over ethics.

With that out of the way, here’s how bloggers find companies to partner with:

Work with companies that reach out to you:

Most of my brand partnerships have formed this way.

Shutterstock, Envato, Astra, and a few others have reached out to me about promoting their product or a particular [new] feature of their product.

After making sure the product(s) are relevant to my blog and potentially useful to my readers, we usually decide on the type of content I’ll create, and discuss rates.

Once both parties are on the same page, we sign a contract, I create the content, get approval from my point of contact at the sponsoring company, get paid, and voila.

Pitch a brand yourself

If you love a brand, you can always reach out to them yourself. I’ve heard many amazing stories about bloggers and creators landing sponsored content deals with high-ticket clients using this method.

In fact, one of my sponsored blog post deals here on The Side Blogger is a direct result of me cold-pitching a company I really wanted to work with.

A few things of note when cold pitching a brand:

  • Since you don’t always know whether a company is looking to work with bloggers or influencers, try and craft a compelling pitch that makes the other party want to consider partnering with you.
  • If you do not hear back the first time, don’t be afraid to follow up. Follow up a few times (up to three or four times, once every week, should be enough) before you call it quits.
  • If you do not hear back after 3-4 tries, give it a break, but feel free to reach out again with a new pitch/proposal 4-6 months later.
  • Make sure you have a good proposal when you pitch the first time. Do not mention money right away; just try to woo the brand to work with you. Once they’ve shown interest, you can open up the money conversation (more on that later.)
  • Have a media kit ready. However, when you’re pitching a brand, in addition to attaching the media kit PDF to your email, share (in plain text) within the email what you’re proposing. For example: Is it a blog post? A review? A tutorial? An Instagram post? TikTok video? YouTube video? A combination of multiple content types? Etc.
  • This is a case where I don’t recommend that you share pricing in your first pitch email. Wait for that convo until you’ve heard back with positive interest from the company.
How to find companies to pitch to

Your goal should be to partner with companies that will actually help your audience. To that end, you should already have a good idea of what type of products your readers will be interested in. Once you know that, the rest is easy: Start looking for companies that make these products.

A good starting point for finding brands to pitch to is by looking at the products and services you yourself use and like. For example, I’m a blogger and my audience is comprised of other bloggers. So, if there’s a blogging tool that I love, chances are that my audience will love it too.

Another method I like to use is to look at the products in my affiliate networks. For example, I’m part of some affiliate networking platforms such as:

Sometimes I like to look around the merchant lists on these platforms and see if a company or product I find promising.

One other thing you can do is look at who’s sponsoring your competitor bloggers or influencers. Chances are that the same companies or competing companies may be willing to partner with you.

How to find contact details

There are a couple of things of note here: First, you need to figure out who to pitch, and then you have to find out their contact information/email.

Who you contact typically depends on the size of the company. If it’s a smaller company (0-100 employees,) you can easily find out the name of the CEO/owner, and email them directly. If it’s a larger company, then you may want to find out if there’s a media or press contact.

To find the name and email of a CEO, the process is fairly straightforward. Use Google! Search for “Company Name CEO” which should give you a name. You can also use Owler to find the names of CEOs of companies and other relevant company information such as the number of employees, yearly revenue, funding, and more.

Once you have the name of the CEO, do a bit of stalking. Find out their LinkedIn profile (again, Google should help) and see if there’s contact information/email.

Below I’ve shared a couple of other tools you can use to find CEO emails.

Rocketreach

A good place to look for CEO contact information is RocketReach. When you sign up for a free account, you get up to five monthly searches (more with paid subscriptions.) Just enter the name of the CEO (that you’ve found on Google or Owler,) and then search on RocketReach. You should get a list of results. Make sure the contact info matches the name of the company; that way you’ll know that you’ve found the right person.

For example, if I wanted to search for Canva’s CEO’s email, I’d start by searching “Canva CEO” on Google. Which gives me the name: Melanie Perkins. Then, I’ll head over to RocketReach, and enter the name in the search box. This gives me the following:

How to find a CEO's email on Rocketreach.
How to find a CEO’s email on RocketReach.

Hunter

This is another tool that you can use to search for relevant email addresses, and not only the CEO’s address. Sometimes, if a company has a dedicated “press” relations or media person, then Hunter can come in handy.

You can get up to 25 searches with a free account with Hunter. Instead of the company name, you’ll be asked to enter the website URL to see relevant email addresses.

Hunter also has a pretty useful Chrome extension. All you have to do is click the extension when you’re on the website of a company of interest, and it’ll pull up the email addresses. In the example below, Hunter is showing me relevant email addresses for a company called Loom — the screen-recording software.

Hunter shows email contacts for websites.
Hunter Chrome Extension shows email contacts for websites.
How to write a cold email

Many people say to keep a pitch email short because nobody has time to read it!

I’d like to be contrarian here and say that a pitch email should be as long as it needs to be to convince someone to be a sponsor.

Think about it. You’re reaching out to a person you’ve never met, and you’re asking them to pay you! How can this be a three-sentence email???

So, for example, here’s an example of a cold pitch email (very similar to an actual email I sent to a CEO):

Email Subject: My readers would love to know about {product name}

Hi {first name},

I’m Maliha—the owner of The Side Blogger (thesideblogger.com).

Recently, I had a chance to test {product name} and I loved it so much that I ended up subscribing! Honestly, I’ve tried a couple of other {similar products}, including the one everyone has been talking about these days—{competitor product name}, but surprisingly, I loved the {feature} of {product name} a lot more. I believe your product is much more superior to all the other similar products.

Anyhow, preamble aside, I would love to write about {product name} for my readers (primarily US-based, over 60% female, mostly bloggers and content creators). I believe they’ll benefit from {product name}, and because it’s so much more affordable than {competitor product} while being even better and more user-friendly, I want to recommend it to my audience.

They’ll love it! And I know for a fact that they’ll also benefit from it.

So, I was thinking, would you be up for sponsoring a blog post with a video tutorial? If you’re interested, please let me know and I’ll be happy to discuss more details.

Thanks for creating an amazing yet affordable product for content creators 🙂 Hope to chat with you soon!

Maliha

As you can see, it’s a fairly long email with a smiley face emoji and all, but it shows that I’ve done my research; that I know a thing or two about their competitor, and that I personally loved their product more than their competitor’s.

And guess what? I got a reply back after this email, and we even ended up working on a sponsored blog post!

In any case, feel free to use the sample email above as inspiration to craft your own pitches.

You can join influencer network platforms

I’ll be honest with you: I have never been on an influencer networking platform. Most of my sponsored content has resulted from either the companies reaching out to me or from me reaching out to brands directly (cold-pitching.) However, since many other bloggers and influencers find quality opportunities through influencer network platforms, I feel obligated to share this with you.

Influencer networks are third-party platforms that connect brands to bloggers and influencers. Many companies post opportunities on these platforms, making it easy for you to find a deal that works for you. Some well-known influencer networks include:

Instances where you do NOT want to work with a brand that reaches out to you

Once your blog starts to get traction, plenty of random brands will reach out to you with various different types of requests. Some of them are legit and actually good companies, while a majority are spammy.

The most common types of spam that land in my inbox are:

“Can you please share a link to our product in your blog post?”

Chances are that they want a free link. That’s fine, but what’s annoying is when the link to the product or service has nothing to do with my blog or the topics I cover.

“Can you please share a link to our client on this particular blog post? We’ll PayPal you $100!”

Red flag! When you get an email like this where they don’t even bother to mention who the client is, you’re better off trashing the email and forgetting about them, $100 or not!

“We’ll write a guest post for your blog and the content will be something your audience will be interested in. We’ll pay you $100. It will have a link to one of our client’s websites.”

Again, red flag! Steer clear! Partaking in such shady exchanges will only weaken your readers’ trust in you. Don’t do it!

Decide what type of content you’ll create for a company

If you’re finding opportunities on influencer networking platforms, then they’ll already have some kind of content plan. If that’s the case, you don’t need to worry about creating a content plan yourself.

Sometimes, if a brand reaches out to you, then they may also have something in mind. For example, They may ask you to do a general review, or they may ask you to review a specific feature.

If you’re pitching a company, that’s when you’ll need to sit down and think about exactly what you’re offering. Here are some tips:

Look at your strengths, and focus on what’s working for you.

For example, when I pitch a brand, I don’t even mention Instagram or Facebook, because social media isn’t my strong suit.

My strength is in creating engaging content. So, my choice is simple. I pitch a blog post (and maybe a YouTube video to go with it since I often create tutorial-type content for software services.)

Now, if you’re someone who has an engaged Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube audience, feel free to highlight those or even pitch a content strategy involving those platforms.

How to price your sponsored blog posts and other content

This is stressful, even for some of the best bloggers: How oh how to charge for a sponsored blog post???

I’m going to list a few things that can affect how much you can earn from a sponsored blog post, and yes, this is going to confuse the shiz out of you, but that’s just how it is: confusing, annoying, migraine-inducing, but oh well.

Just remember that you’ll make decisions you’ll regret. You may charge someone $500 for a blog post, and the marketer will agree to it all lightning-fast, making you think that you should have asked for more… a lot more.

This might impair your judgment for a minute and the next time you quote the same price for another partnership, the marketer may come back to you saying their budget is only $100 for a 2,000-word blog post + video tutorial.

I mean… no, just no.

So, here’s something before we get into the factors that can affect how much you can and should charge a brand for sponsored content:

Do NOT make sponsored content your only method of making money from your blog.

Some bloggers may be able to make four or even five figures from sponsored content per month, but they’re veteran bloggers with pretty high monthly traffic volume who’ve been around the block for several good years already. If you’re a newish blogger, or only starting to offer sponsored content, better start slow and steady. In the meantime, create a few other earning streams such as affiliate marketing, digital products and templates, online courses, etc.

OK, with that out of the way, let’s look at the factors that affect sponsored content pricing.

Factors related to your blog:

  • How long has your blog been around?
  • How much traffic do you get per month?
  • How many email list subscribers do you have and what’s the email open rate?
  • How many social media channels are you active on and how many followers do you have?
  • Where do most of your traffic come from? (If you’re promoting a business aimed at the UK market, but your traffic is from the US, then you have a problem.)
  • Are you also an affiliate of the company?
  • How many clicks and conversions can you expect from writing the blog post?

Etc.

Factors related to the sponsoring company:

  • What’s their budget? (There’s no way for you to know this for sure, so it’s always a bit of a gamble.)
  • Do they have money in the first place? (A financially struggling company won’t be able to pay much.)
  • Are they proactive about working with bloggers and influencers?
  • Will they benefit from working with you? (Do their audience and yours align?)

OK, now that I have sufficiently stressed you out, let me give you some helpful tips when deciding how much to charge for a sponsored post. This, by no means, is going to be a perfect formula and you will still make mistakes (I know I do!) but this should help you figure out a starting point.

Calculating a minimum base rate

This is the minimum rate for creating content for a company. Ideally, you should be charging more than the minimum rate; it’s simply a baseline to build upon. But this method can help you set boundaries for yourself.

Here’s a simple guide to calculate your minimum base rate:

Step 1: Calculate the per-word rate

Let’s say that a company wants to pay you to write a review of their product, and they want a minimum of 1,000 words. Assuming you’re a relatively new blogger with no previous experience with sponsored content, you can set up a base rate of 10-cents per word. That means, your per-word base rate is:

1000 * 0.10 = $100.00

That’s 100 bucks for 1,000 words.

Step 2: Add hourly rate to create collaterals + publish the post

Now, most blog posts include a featured image (at the very least) and sometimes they may include additional images.

Let’s assume that, for this example, your sponsored content partnership includes writing the 1,000-word blog post + a featured image, a couple of screenshots, and a short 3-5 minute video.

In this step, figure out how long it will take you to create these additional materials. Do not include time for writing the 1,000-word post because you’ve already calculated that to be $100 based on your per-word rate. (I do not recommend charging a per-hour rate for the actual 1,000-word post because some writers are way faster at writing and typing than others. So, to be fair, I personally prefer a per-word rate to an hourly rate. But for everything else, an hourly rate makes more sense.)

Let’s assume that you have a pretty good idea of how long it takes to create the additional material (the short video, the featured image, and the screenshots.) For the purpose of this exercise, let’s also assume that you’ve decided it’d take roughly 2.5 hours to create all the additional material.

Now multiply the total hours with your hourly rate.

You should figure out what the hourly rate is and this will change based on your expertise and location. But, if you’re a US-based blogger, I’d recommend setting your hourly rate to at least $20 if you’re a beginner blogger. So, for two and a half hours, your rate is:

2.5 * 20 = $50.00

Step 3: Add the per-word rate and the hourly rate to get the minimum base rate

So, now that you know your total per-word rate for the written post, and the total per-hour rate for the additional material, add the two to get the minimum base rate for this particular sponsored blog post:

Total per-word rate + Total per-hour rate = Minimum base rate
$100 + $50 = $150

So, there you have it. For a 1,000-word post with a featured image, a couple of screenshots, and a short video, you should never charge any less than $150.

You can adjust your hours and hourly rate if you’re also creating content for social media such as TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

Now, this is important: There’s no need to share your method with the sponsoring company. This system is for your eyes only. All you need to do is give them whatever rate you’ve come up with.

So, how do you actually quote a company for sponsored content?

At the end of the day, it really comes down to how much the company has set aside for marketing, how much of it is set aside for sponsored posts, and how many partners they wish to work with.

Well, since you have no way of knowing that, I recommend learning with trial and error. When you’re a newer blogger and just starting to work with sponsors, feel free to start at the base rate, and then increase your rate as you gain more experience and confidence. Also, with experience, you’ll start to get a feel for which companies are eager to work with bloggers and influencers and willing to pay more.

How much you charge depends on more than your pageviews and followers. For example, consider the following scenario:

Blogger A has 100K visitors per month, but the audience doesn’t engage, and the audience is also not very interested in the product being promoted. Whereas Blogger B has 20K monthly visitors, an engaged readership that comments on posts, clicks on links, signs up for the email list, etc. This audience may also be more interested in the product. Chances are that the sponsoring company will be more willing to pay Blogger B than Blogger A in this scenario.

As I’ve said, there is no way to know for sure, but you do start to develop a feeling for such things the more you work with brands. So, if you’re a complete beginner, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, or even lose a chance or two to work with an amazing brand, or make more money. You’ll learn from your mistakes, and the experience will only make you wiser.

If, on the other hand, you’re using influencer networks to find opportunities, then some of them will share their fixed rate, so you won’t have to worry about giving them your rate.

Lastly, if you’re like me and you’ve decided that creating sponsored content isn’t worth the headache unless it pays a certain amount, you can simply list the prices on your Media Kit and go from there.

When is it OK to work for less than the base rate?

Some companies ask you to insert their link for free, others may want you to write a review in exchange for being an affiliate for them.

Be careful! I don’t like it when people try to get us to do things for free. It’s one thing to promote your aunt’s brand new hand-made jewelry business for free, but why would you do that for some random-a** company that you’ve never heard of before?

Worse, when it appears that the company reaching out to you has money, but still asking you to promote their product for free???

Below are some instances where you may want to consider working with a company in exchange for being an affiliate or for less than your base rate:

It’s a brand new company with little to no marketing budget but you love them, and your readers will actually benefit from them. 

In this scenario, when you know that the product will help your readers, and you have complete faith in the people running the company, you may choose to promote them either in exchange for being an affiliate (where you’ll earn a small commission for every successful lead/purchase,) or for a small fee. Or, if they’re willing, both!

This company offers a really high affiliate payout, and/or it’s a product that your audience absolutely needs.

So, I’m an affiliate for a hosting company called SiteGround. I love them. This blog is hosted on SiteGround and has been since day one. Over the years, my blog has grown and this hosting company has accommodated all my needs, scaling alongside my growing website and traffic.

I have created a lot of content promoting SiteGround but they’ve never actually paid me a flat fee to write any of it.

But it doesn’t matter because I’ve made thousands with their affiliate program already! They have a high commission rate, so each successful sale generated from my blog makes me money.

When a company without a marketing budget offers you a free product that you love.

A couple of years ago, when I was still considered a new-ish blogger, a small company (which isn’t so small anymore) reached out to me and offered me a lifetime of pro-membership for creating some content for them.

I didn’t do it.

And now I kind of wish I had done it.

They have a really good product, and it’s something my audience benefits from. I eventually did become an affiliate for them, but I wish I agreed to create content in exchange for the lifetime pro membership.

If you like a product, and they offer it to you for free in exchange for creating some content, think about whether it will be useful to your readers or not. If yes, then feel free to consider taking the gig even if they’re not paying you with actual money. And well, the experience doesn’t hurt, especially so if you’re a new blogger.

Figure out a timeline

Talk it out with your point of contact in the sponsoring company. They may need you to publish something within a set date. For example, if they want publishers to create content promoting a new feature they’re releasing, they may want to time the publication accordingly.

In any case, you have to make sure that you have sufficient time to 1) create all the content you’ve promised them, and 2) get draft approval from them, which may take a few days.

Personally, I never sign a contract with fewer than a month’s time.

You should also consider payment into this timeline. Make sure to ask when you’ll be getting paid and how. I’ll talk about it more in a second, but it’s important that you and the sponsoring company are on the same page about this.

Be clear on how and when you’ll get paid

If you’ve secured a deal through an influencer network, then you may have to set up payment details (bank info, PayPal, Stripe, etc., depending on the network platform’s requirements) on those platforms.

Some companies may decide to pay through their affiliate platform (if you’re already an affiliate for them, this may be something the company would prefer to do. I’ve worked with companies that I’m already an affiliate for via Impact, and I got paid through Impact as well.)

Other times, it may be up to you and the company to decide the best way to get paid. Ideally, these are the primary methods of getting paid:

  • Wire transfer
  • A check in the mail
  • PayPal invoices
  • Stripe invoices

Etc.

Don’t be afraid to suggest a payment method of your choice. Most companies should be OK with whatever payment method you’re comfortable with unless they already have a different system in place.

As for when to get paid, some companies may have a frigid rule about it, and others will ask you.

If it were up to me, I’d always get paid in advance (bad experience from my freelancing days, hah!)

But not all companies would agree to it.

Here’s what I recommend: If it’s a well-known company and they say they only pay after content has been published, then fine, go for it. If you don’t trust the company much, then stress on getting paid in advance or at least getting partial payment in advance. Make sure that these terms (how and when you’ll be paid) are listed clearly in your contract—whether you’re the one crafting the contract or they’re the ones sending it to you.

Sign a contract

Everything, and I mean, EVERYTHING must be on your contract. For example:

  • What type of content you’re creating.
  • When they’ll be up on your blog (or other platforms).
  • Whether or not they’ll need to be pre-approved.
  • Usage rights.
  • How long the content will be visible (I never promise visibility for longer than 24 months.)
  • How much you’ll be paid, when, and how.
  • Anything else that may be relevant.

If you’re unsure about this contract, no worries; download a copy of the contract for free (below) that I personally use for my sponsorship deals. I made it with Canva, so you can easily customize and use it for your own sponsorship gigs.

FREE Blog Sponsorship Contract Template (Made in Canva)

This is the exact contract I use for my blog sponsorship deals. Now you can use it too… for free!

(You’ll also be signing up for my regular newsletters, FYI.)

Once you’ve modified this contract, download a copy, sign it yourself, and then send it to your contact on the side of the brand partner to be signed. Typically, these are digitally signed.

I personally use Adobe Sign to send over PDF documents for signing.

Create content, get approval, publish content

After you’ve signed the contract, do your thing. Create high-quality content that will not only make your sponsoring company happy but will also be super useful to your readers.

Get the drafts approved, and then publish within the timeline you’ve both agreed on.

Get paid

This has either happened already (if you asked for payment beforehand), or this will happen soon after you’ve published your content, within a specified time/date per your contract.

If you do not get paid, consult a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer yet, try threatening your sponsoring company with one anyway, and if that doesn’t work, unpublish all content. Yeah, you’ve wasted some time, but bigger mistakes have been made in life, wouldn’t you say?

If it’s any comfort, I’ve never had to chase any company for payment (unlike freelance clients in the distant past). If you pick your companies well, hopefully, you won’t have to either.

Sponsored Post Disclosures and Links

Here are some more details about sponsored posts (legal matters, search engine requirements, etc.) you should know about.

Sponsored post disclosures

Always make sure to let people know that a blog post or content was sponsored by a company. It’s pretty easy to do, and very similar to affiliate disclosures. Somewhere in the post, let people know that it’s a sponsored post. As long as that message is clear, it doesn’t matter how you word it.

I’ve seen examples such as:

  • “Thanks to [company name hyperlinked to company website] for sponsoring this blog post.”
  • “This blog post was sponsored by [company name hyperlinked to company website]; all opinions are mine.”
  • “This is a sponsored blog post by [company name hyperlinked to company website].”

For social media posts, simply use #sponsored in the post/description.

If you’re creating content on YouTube, they have a feature that you can check for paid content in the video settings. If you do not see this option, make sure to expand all options by clicking “Show More.”

YouTube Paid Content Disclosure Option
YouTube paid content disclosure option

Proper link tags

All sponsored blog posts must use outbound links to the sponsoring company’s website with the following “nofollow” rel-tag:

rel="nofollow"

Additionally, it is recommended to also use the “sponsored” rel-tag (this is optional):

rel="sponsored"

So, here’s an example of what the link would look like in plain HTML format:

<a href="example.com" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" rel="sponsored">Company name</a>

FYI: The <target=”_blank”> in the example above opens the link in a new tab in the browser, which is what I suggest for all outgoing links from your blog. It is not mandatory, but I highly recommend doing it.

If you’re using WordPress, then you can use the ThirstyAffiliate plugin to automate these rel-tags without having to tweak the HTML code.

For example, on ThirstyAffiliate, you can add a link to have both nofollow and sponsored tags, like so:

Using rel-tags is easy with the ThirstyAffiliate plugin.
Using rel-tags is easy with the ThirstyAffiliate plugin.

Some More Useful Tips Regarding Sponsored Blog Posts

Whew… I know, it’s a LOT! But well, this is supposed to be an “ultimate” guide to sponsored blog posts, so… might as well give you everything, eh?

Don’t worry, we’re almost done. I just have a few more remarks regarding sponsored blog posts:

  • Always share your email address on your website (ideally, on the contact page.) You may have a contact form already, which is fine but share the email address also. I often get sponsored post offers from companies who reach out to me directly via email, so make it easy for them to email you.
  • Additionally, feel free to create a “sponsor” or “work with me” page (or link directly to a media kit) with more information about how sponsorships work with your blog. You should add your contact info (email) on this page. You can also share examples of sponsored blog posts and content you’ve created in the past.
  • Feel free to list the kind of content you create or do not create on this “sponsor” page. Here’s my sponsor/Media kit page for reference.
  • In terms of frequency, try not to post too many sponsored posts in a short amount of time. Ideally, you shouldn’t publish more than one or two sponsored posts per month, assuming you’re writing just as many, if not more, blog posts that are NOT sponsored.
  • Have a media kit ready to send whenever a company asks for one. Sometimes a company doesn’t ask specifically for a media kit, only the relevant info. I send them the media kit instead because it’s easier that way.
  • Finally, no matter what, do not compromise your blog’s quality or branding, no matter how much a brand is willing to pay you. Only partner with brands whose products align with your blog’s niche, and companies you trust. Your readers trust you to share only the best; respect the trust!
  • Do not be afraid to negoriate a little.

OK, that’s about it. Whewww!!! I know, I know, this was HUGE! But working with brands is hella confusing, so I had to be thorough. If you have any questions or thoughts about sponsored blog posts, feel free to leave them below in the comments.

Before I go, to get weekly blogging, online marketing, and income tips right in your inbox, subscribe to my email list below. You’ll also get the sponsorship template when you use the form below to sign up.

FREE Blog Sponsorship Contract Template (Made in Canva)

This is the exact contract I use for my blog sponsorship deals. Now you can use it too… for free!

(You’ll also be signing up for my regular newsletters, FYI.)

15 thoughts on “How to Make Money with Sponsored Posts: A Complete Guide (+ Free Contract Template)”
  1. Hi Maliha, great post! Question: I had a company reach out to me to have me write sponsored posts on my blog but they want “one do-follow link” within the article. Is that ok? Thanks.

  2. MARITES I TRAVELGODEALS I LIFESTYLE

    Hello, Thank you so much for this blog post. I found this very helpful! I actually don’t understand what is sponsored blog post is! 😘 I have received three emails from merchants of ShareASale, where I was an affiliate, who offered me this kind of opportunity although I am a completely newbie, my reply to them is all FREE! yes!.. because I don’t know what to reply to them..😘 I have realized as you have said in your blog post that it is better to be prepared on this because we really don’t know when a good opportunity strikes on our face!

  3. THANK YOU!! Maliha, this is exactly what I needed! I only have one question: What should I title the subject of the email? I feel like if I said something like, for example, “Sponsor A Product Review” or something blunt, they won’t click on the email. But I don’t do lying, it’s so unprofessional and scammy. What are your thoughts? I can’t wait to send some emails soon!

    1. That’s a great question, Emma! I like to share (briefly) something that cues a benefit or missed opportunity. For example:
      – “My readers will love your {product}”
      – “My readers need to hear about your {product}”
      – “{Product} is better than {competitor} and my readers need to know”
      Etc.
      Hope this helps.

  4. I’m excited to read through this, sponsored posts are something I am very interested in but need to learn more about. I am still reluctant to reach out to a brand for some reason! My blog is about 18 months old.

    By sheer magical luck I was approached by a company when I was about 9 months into blogging, and I did my first sponsored post for them. It was a crazy thing and it hasn’t happened again since!

    1. Cold-pitching isn’t the most fun thing in the world for sure, and like you, I was reluctant to do it for the longest time. But I’ve warmed up to it now 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *