If you’re a relatively new blogger, who’s been around for 6-12 months or less, you may be finding it hard to pitch for business collaborations with companies. If not, then good luck to you, and keep doing what it is you’re doing! Share your success stories with others too 🙂
I’ve been blogging for just over three years. I still consider myself a fairly ‘novice’ blogger, as I don’t have all the technical expertise other more established bloggers have. But I do seek out opportunities to collaborate, as I see value in what I do as a blogger.
I put a lot of time into my blog, not to mention some of my own money. Over the years I’ve paid my domain registry and privacy protection fees. Then there’s hosting, and a JetPack personal plan for one of the years (which I probably shouldn’t have bothered with). I also purchased a theme (the one I currently use), and I’ve attended Eroticon twice.
These costs add up, and can often leave bloggers like myself out-of-pocket. So how do we recoup our costs, and maybe even make some money out of blogging? One way is to sign up to affiliate schemes, such as Webgains. This platform hosts a variety of adult retailers, including larger brands such as Lovehoney, Bondara, and Hot Octopuss among others. You receive a unique tracking ID to attach to links to the retailer’s site. If someone buys a product using that link, you will earn a small commission.
The caveat with these links is that they generally last 30 days. So they need to be renewed frequently. I find it better to use a couple of banners from my home page, or in the side bar. It’s important to be transparent about whether your posts include affiliate links. If you advertise using affiliate links on social media platforms, then you should use the hashtag #Affiliate or #AffilateMarketing
Other issues with affiliate links are that when people hover over them they may think they’re dubious and so be reluctant to click on the links. This is why it’s important to state in your posts that affiliate links are used (if they are), and what they mean for the person using them. For example, I often add a disclaimer to my posts, “This post contains affiliate links. By using them, I will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.”
The other main problem for affiliate links is that cookies can track them, so if people don’t regularly delete their cookies, the links do not always track back to you. That means no commission. 🙁
I’ve spent a lot of time talking about affiliate links, but they don’t give much return for some bloggers. The reason being, that they might not have a particularly high following on social media, nor on WordPress. A blogger becomes a ‘brand’ in a sense. People who identify with the blogger’s ‘brand’ will more likely use their links.
In addition to providing product reviews, it’s also a good idea to write content about your own experiences. It could be on a range of topics, not just sex-related. For instance, I talk about mental health and therapy I’ve tried. This way, people get to find out about the person writing the content. People don’t just buy products, they buy into other people who sell/market the products.
Then there are other types of content you can produce, such as lists of top 10 toys to take on holiday. Just make sure if you’re travelling abroad, the countries you are going to/through allow sex toys. Alternatively, guides on using sex toys in novel ways are another interesting type of post to write, as well as read.
Back to the topic of making money; you can pitch your ideas to companies/ web-zines for a sponsored post. I’ve written some, for retailers and also for web sites that enable people to meet others. It’s entirely up to you to gauge how much value you think your content is worth, though it’s a good idea to find out the rates other bloggers ask. Find out what some well-established bloggers set theirs at, as well as bloggers who have a similar level of readership to you.
When it comes to dealing with companies, some may be reluctant to pay for content. I find it can help to stand your ground in these instances. Diplomatically explain the reason behind your costs. Firstly, your time is worth their money. Secondly, if you value what you do, then stand by it.
There are some companies who will insist on you reviewing a product for free initially, before they pay a fee. That may be fine if they are a small company. However, if they make it sound like they will only pay for a favourable review, then walk away. Companies who try flattery and then seem shocked by your rates are also best to avoid.
Lastly, if a company or individual asks you to write a sponsored post, do not write anything, until they’ve agreed to your fee in writing. I was naive enough to do this recently for a complete time-waster, who then told me my ‘site was too weak for theirs to be linked’ from. I politely told that person, they could have ascertained this before asking me to write for them.
I’m quite an introverted person, but I do like to interact with people. So I will spend time talking to people about products they may be interested in but unsure about. I can only tell them what I know from experience, so I’m not going to ‘make things up’ to persuade them one way or another.
If there are promotions, I will often talk about them on social media and my blog. This is one way you can make money; by charging for banners on your site. If you do this, you need to list these banners as ‘sponsored content.’
Indeed, I’ve not tried them all, but my plan for this year was to expand my readership by posting content on other platforms. This is why I’m joining in the Smut Marathon; to hone my writing. In reality, the best way to do this is simply to write. About whatever you choose, if you cannot always think of something sex-related. 🙂
Do you have any advice to share with other bloggers? Have you been approached by companies that seemed interested in working with you, but then declined to pay for content? Please share your experiences in the comments section!