How to sell your content to sponsors, brands and advertisers | Podcast S3E10

In this episode, we talk about monetizing your content and ‘selling’ it to sponsors. The influencer marketing landscape has changed A LOT in the last five years. So what are the options now? How do you broker those deals? What do you need to have to get started?

Specifically, in this show, we will talk about: 

  • Proof of concept – What it means to start creating your content strategically and build a case study 
  • Strategic pitch plans – Why engaging with your target audience is key
  • What makes a great media kit and why you need one

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Episode Transcript

Note: This transcript is auto generated and is nowhere near perfect. There will be typos and weird words in the transcription. It will however, serve as a guide to the contents of the episode.


And heavy and ready to talk about monetizing content. Because I don’t know what it is about spring time. It’s the first day of spring. Here in this hemisphere. And I think it brings the dreaming and the doing out of the woodwork. I don’t know. I’m not a big fan of winter. And I feel like the end of March comes around and I am ready to go. And I feel like that’s the same.

When you feel, I don’t know. You tell me. But I’m getting a lot of inquiries. Uh, into the team inbox into my direct messages about being ready to finally take this. Usually the quotas, this little blog of mine. And turn it into something, but then that inevitably. Comes with. Uh, how do I do that?

How can I make money? So that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Cause I have. Just a little bit of experience doing that.

By the way, welcome to permission to leap. I’m your host, Erin Trafford. And this show is for creative entrepreneurs and business owners who are ready to understand content strategy. And learn from a pro and unlock the power of story to fuel growth. So, this is where I share with you. My absolute, no BS approach to business building and content strategy.

So I’ll share with you lessons from my decades and newsrooms as an award-winning broadcaster. Insights and actionable steps you can take right now to create true momentum in your business. Just by shifting the energy around your content and the strategies you’re using to share it with the world, especially with what we’re going to talk about today.

So get ready to leap into being bold and to being strategic and into pushing those boundaries of what you think is possible. Because I often say this to my clients. I’m going to ask you to break your brain a little bit in the best possible way. And that is really what you need to do. If you want to make a go of selling your content to sponsors brands and advertisers.

And I know that that can feel really, really scary, but here I’m going to drop a few stats for you. Now, these are, these are older stats, but I’m sure that they more or less ring true at this point. And actually, before I do that, I’ll just give you a little bit of background, just a tiny bit in case you’re brand new here. Um, w which, if you are, by the way, hello? Hello. I’m so happy. You’re here.

But I am. What they would say is an O G in the content, the sponsored content world. And that means I have been doing it for more than a decade. I’ve been creating blog slash social slash branded content for sponsors. Since about 2012. So I have been there for the heyday of influencer marketing. When I started in the business, influencer marketing as a term was not really a thing. And now it is, you know, full departments within businesses and organizations and marketing agencies. So I really kind of been there.

As the world has opened up and shifted. So. When we first started. Um, when I had my first agency, my influencer marketing agency, um, we knew then that brands were starting to measure results and consider. Results. Uh, from quote unquote influencers or content creators or whatever kind of words you want to use there when they had as little as 500 page views per month on their website.

Now you’ll know from working with me, that I recommend your baseline goal should be around. At least a thousand a month. So I, I always want my clients and my students to try to get up to around 30 to 35 page views per day, which puts you in that nice four figure page view per month zone. And the reason I say that is because it actually gives you a critical amount of data that then you can use to figure out where you need to go next in order to grow to the next level.

So I always would say, you know, shoot for a thousand a month and shoot for 5,000 a month and shoot for 10,000. Then 20,000 and then once you’ve hit 20,000. You want to try and exponentially grow up to 50. Once you hit 50, then you want to double down and try to hit a hundred, right? Like that’s usually the, the spectrum that I give my clients.

Anyway, sorry, that was a bit of a tangent, but what I’m saying is that way back when we knew that brands were measuring results and seeking out influencers, And bloggers and content creators who had as little as 500 page views a month. Now here’s the caveat. I really want you to hear. Those who were being sought out at that level were extremely niche blogs. Right? So.

Uh, they weren’t, and this is going to sound like I’m being a bit of a jerk face here, but they weren’t mommy bloggers. They weren’t lifestyle bloggers. And I get on my high horse all the time about people who come to me and say, I just want to start a lifestyle blog. And I say, Uh, you can absolutely go fill your boots right about lifestyle. But the fact of the matter is, is that to a brand that doesn’t mean anything.

Lifestyle saying I read a lifestyle. Blog is like saying I’m a busy mom. It doesn’t mean anything. Every mom is busy. Right. Um, it’s like saying I’m overwhelmed while overwhelmed at this point in the world means not a lot anymore. It’s kind of like the baseline state for everybody. So. You know, when someone comes to me and say, I want to start a lifestyle blog and I want to monetize it. I say, okay, like, we actually do need to get more specific with your strategy.

If you want to attract a sponsor. You need to be able to show them that you can tell a story. And lifestyle is not a story. Right? Lifestyle is not even a data set. Uh, it’s such a, or it is such a broad data set that it’s very hard to see the value in that. And what I say, see the value. I don’t mean, you know, you as a creator, you are infinitely valuable. I mean, the value in the metrics, right?

So that’s a double barrel dancer or suggestion that I have for shoot for the thousand mark. When you’re growing your blog. Because that’ll give you a nice dataset. Okay. And because what really you’re doing when you are trying to attract a sponsor, Is you’re really selling a data set and you’re selling the behavior of your audience. The only way to prove the behavior of your audience is to have the metrics that back up that behavior. Okay.

So way back when, when we saw. Um, sponsors looking at bloggers who had 500 page views a month. Those are a very, very niche bloggers, like people who worked in the medical field or, you know, there was one client I had and he wrote all about engineering, but the engineering of. Um, construction. I can’t even remember what it was. It was like explosives, but like the explosives that they use to build roads, like it was so, so, so, so niche. So it didn’t matter that he didn’t have a lot of page views. The pages he did have were insanely valuable to the sponsors. He was trying to attract. Right.

So you got to think of it that way. If you’re heading out there and you’re thinking, I’m just going to write about what I eat for lunch every day and what I dress my kids in and what I keep in my purse and how I organize my junk drawer. That’s great. But. I’m going to be, you’re the voice in your ear right now to tell you you’re going to have a hard time attracting sponsors. If that’s your only approach, right.

I say don’t be sporadic with your content creation. For many, many reasons. This is one of them. Sporadic does not create a good enough dataset. Okay. So, how do we overcome that? You’re like Erin. What do I do? I want to, I want to monetize my content. I want to attract sponsors. So what you need to do, if this is there, your goal is you need to create a dataset. You need to build that storyline, that then you can serve up to a brand. And we haven’t even gotten to the pitching part yet. But what I want you to do is pick something that feels niche to you that aligns with what you want to attract.

So I’ll give you an example. There’s a woman who’s in the mentorship right now, and she’s trying to do this, this very, very thing. And she’s got this humongous list of brands that she wants to work with, which is great because I always say, you know, you need a big, big list. You got to work from.

You know, build up the dream, create a spreadsheet of all the brands in the world that you want to work with. But then you got to get specific with your content. So let’s look at your analytics and what’s working now. Okay. Well, right now I’ve got this really great set of posts. It’s doing awesome in my analytics.

All about. Um, and I’m going to make this up all about juice, certain. So juicing green juice, like celery juice and stuff. Okay, great. Let’s build a case study. Around that. Let’s build proof of concept around that. So I would recommend that then you go out and create more content that fits that theme in that niche.

And you build up. Proof that you can attract an audience all about green juice. And then you go out and that is what you tell your sponsors or your potential sponsors. You say, Hey, blender company, a, a I have this data set that proves that my audience behaves this way. When I put. Uh, content in front of them.

That pertains to green juice. And all of a sudden you’ve started this really great conversation because you’ve come at that brand. Not only with an idea for what they could get involved in. Would you like to sponsor my next green juice post and give me, you know, Um, pay me to write about your blender and how it works with this. You’ve given them a content idea. You’ve given them a branded content vehicle.

But you’ve also given them. Proof of concept. You’ve shown them through a data set that you’ve created, that this kind of content is, is valuable. And this is what kind of results they can expect. So I want you to start thinking about your sponsorships that way. Right. If you go out there and write a blog, Willy nilly and sporadic, and then pitch brands, Willy nilly, and sporadic.

Your results are gonna be Willy nilly and sporadic. But if you go out there with a great vision and start to drill down on the specifics and the behaviors and create a proof of concept within the microcosm of your own content strategy. So within your own blog, you can do this on Instagram as well. You can do this on your YouTube channel. It doesn’t really matter.

I say blog, but it’s really whatever kind of content you want to create. We do it with our podcasts over on story studio network all the time. Um, and that’s what you put in front of the brand. Then you’ve all of a sudden got a way more direct conversation. You have a way better value proposition for them.

And so I want you to think about that and that’s where we get into the pitch. Right? All of a sudden you have come to them. Showing them how strategic you can be showing them that you care. About them. Y you could say the smart gamey manager. Listen, I know that this is the kind of audience you want. Look at the numbers. I’m able to generate let’s team up and create great content. Maybe they can throw some ad dollars behind it. Maybe they can.

You know, come at this as a strategic partner for the brand, rather than just going out and being like, Hey, Hey, Hey, will you sponsor my living room makeover? Because trust me, if that’s the route you’re going to take pitching sponsors, you are going to have a hard road to hoe. I guarantee you, right.

This comes with any kind of sponsorship pitch. And then the last piece of the puzzle here. Um, is this pitch. And I w like I G again, If you’re going to do it, you have to do it with strategy, not just, um, kind of Willy nilly. But part of that strategy comes down to having a really great media kit. Now you’ll hear people call it a one pager. I’ve heard people call it.

You know, some, we call it internally a pitch kit, right. I call it a media kit because that’s old school, Erin using old school terminology that I’ve used forever, but it’s essentially like a blend. Between a one pager and a press release or a PR pitch. Right. And I have a template that I’ve been using for our media kits.

I think I developed it back in 2017. And I’ve been using it to great effect ever since. And it is something that I teach my students how to use. Because it is so refined at this point that it works for almost any kind of pitch you’re making. So. It’ll work for a sponsorship pitch. Like what we’re talking about today to get a brand, to come in and help you amplify your content and pay you to create content. But it’ll also work for things like joint venture partnership pitches. If you want to work with another entrepreneur, maybe you’re speaking at their summit or so on and so forth.

It’ll also work for podcast pitching. So if you want to be on somebody’s show, by the way, stay tuned. Uh, we are going to be accepting. More guest hosts and guest experts here on permission to leap just by the way. So stay tuned for that, but it works for all kinds of things. And the reason that this media kit works is because it tells a strategic story.

The problem that I see with most people’s media kits. And I’ll be totally honest with you is that it’s all about them. It’s and it’s all bland and not story-based it’s oh, hi. I’m Josee and I can talk about. Home finance and budgeting and, um, saving extra money and the latte effect and how to save for retirement and what to do when you have education-based debt. I can talk about all those things and it’s like, oh my God, this media kit is dry, dry, dry.

And whether you’re a podcast host or you’re another entrepreneur, or you’re a brand who wants to jump into content marketing. That is not going to move the needle for you. You’re going to see that and be like, but what does this even mean? How is their strategy in this? This is just a list of potential topics. There’s no.

Real teeth here. So your media kit, which is part of what you’re going to be sending to these brands. Uh, along with, Hey, I’ve got this proof of concept needs to also enhance the strategic approach. It needs to also prove to the person on the other end of the pitch that you’re thinking about them.

Never forget, never forget that. No matter what kind of content you’re creating, it is a two way street. Your content is never all about just you and your content is never all about just your audience. It’s always a feedback loop. And when you send pitches out into the world that are one-sided that used the term I too much, that don’t have enough strategic insight that don’t prove to the person on the other side, that you’re at least thinking about their needs and their desires.

And frankly, when it comes to a marketing manager, their objectives and their KPIs. You are going to lose opportunities, right? So this media kit. Needs to be visual because you’re probably going to be creating content that relies heavily on visual. So you’ve got to have some visual elements. It’s got to show not only what you think or believe about your topic, but it’s got to show.

That you think about the brand? So you need to have some space on that media kit to show. Here’s how I plan to help you move the needle. It’s also got to set some expectations for what the brand, if they’re coming in and I see brand, it can be your partner, whatever your sponsor, what they can expect from your audience. Because the other side of this is that, I mean, there’s many sides. This is multiple multifaceted, but your audience expects a certain thing from you.

And if you are going to partner with someone to bring them in, they need to understand also what your audience expects. You have to be able to broker that relationship in a strategic way. And this is where, so, so many pitches fall flat. This is why, you know, you get into the control, all delete when you’re sitting in the editor’s chair or why I don’t accept a lot of podcast pitches. Will I have an up until this point to be on the show is because.

They made it all about them. And that’s not what it’s about. So, and you’ll notice too, just, just as we wrap up, I have not talked about. Your numbers beyond the fact that I think if you have a blog, you should shoot for a thousand page views a month. I’m not going to tell you how big your Instagram audience needs to be, because I actually don’t think it matters.

If you get the pitch, right, you will get the sponsor. The skill is in crafting the pitch and crafting the strategy. It is not in a massing enough followers to be able to pitch. The strategy. We’ll always precede the numbers. Absolutely. And the energy you infuse into that strategy. I mean, look at me. I, I have had incredible success and yes, my blog did grow to humongous numbers.

But I was doing six figures a year on that blog when I would have been considered small fry. And it’s all because I am able to articulate the case study. The data, the use case. The strategy from both sides of the fence, how it’s strategic for me and how it’s strategic for the potential partner. And I’ve been able to sum it up in an incredibly succinct, well formulated, well thought out, no fluff.

Media kit. Honest to goodness, that is how I’ve done it. And that is how we do it over on story studio network. When we broke her sponsorships for the shows that we work with, uh, on the podcast network, this is the exact approach that we take. Listen, we were able to go out there and make. Five figures in one day.

On a show. That hadn’t even launched yet. So the show had no data. I had no followers had no subscribers. I had no use case yet. But we were able to use. This skeleton of an approach to pitch sponsors. Before it even existed. And we did 10 figures for that show in one day. So believe me when I say that this is something that you can do regardless of your numbers. Okay. So I’m just going to run through it really quick. One more time for ya.

Because I think it’s important.

How to sell your content to sprint sponsors. Brands. Advertisers. Had a pitch joint ventures. I had a pitch for podcasts. It has less to do with the numbers and it has more to do. With seeing this proof of concept. Building up a data set. And telling a strategic story. That recognizes that it’s a two way street.

Also from a very tactical standpoint. You want to have a great media kit? Great kit. I only update my once a year. That’s how great it’s got to be. Like you spend a couple hours doing it and it will serve you. Over and over and over again. So I hope that this has inspired you.

To think about pitching and new ways. And Hey, listen, you would always ask me questions. Drop me a DM over on Instagram at. It’s dot Erin Trafford or email us team@erintrafford.com. I’d be curious to know your thoughts about this episode. Absolutely. Be curious to know. And Hey, listen. We have a brand new.

Three training. That we’ve launched this month. Oh my gosh. I’m so excited about it. It’s all about how to make a time saving content plan. Like saving time. Not spending hours and hours doing all of the things cause who wants to do.

So we’ve got a brand new training for you and it’s free.

So you got to go to the show notes and grab that. Right now.

And because I know you want to save time. It’s not even a long training. But it’s. Action packed. And there are some surprises in there for you. Because it’s me. I’ve got surprises for you that, to that link in the bio, you can take the training. I’ll be talking about it more. In upcoming episodes.

Deal. Sound good.

All right, that’s it for this episode. Thanks so much for listening to permission to leap. And if you like the show, please consider subscribing. On your favorite podcast platform and leave us a review. I also love when you take a screenshot and share the show with your social media networks. Like I said, just make sure to tag me at it’s dot Erin Trafford.

I already mentioned this copious times this episode, but make sure you check it out. The show notes for all the latest and greatest, including our brand new training. We got some crazy good stuff lined up in Q2. Listen, I have been doing so. Much. I would say shattering, chatting, talking, coffee chats.

With audience members from permission to leave. Just, just hopping on a zoom, having a chat. And I have heard all the things that you want from me. And I’m happy to say that we are following through. So stay tuned. I can’t wait. I’m like busting at the seams. To tell you what we got coming up. All this to say, keep your eye.

On the show notes. My love. And finally, if you have specific feedback for the show, Or. Officially, if you would like to be a guest. And have me interview you right here on permission to leave. Please get in touch with us. Team at Erin Trafford. Dot com.

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