**I’m going to put on my blogger hat for a minute rather than my chef’s hat. Bear with me.
Bloggers work very hard to make sure that the most important people in the world, their readers, get high-quality content, great entertainment, or maybe just a good laugh. This is true of food bloggers as well, but we have the added load of making sure that we’ve got beautiful photos, concise recipes that are easy to follow and most of all, we have to buy all the ingredients for these sometimes extravagant creations with money that comes from our own pockets.
The ugly, brutal reality of all this is that food blogging is expensive. Most of us have to treat it like a business to keep it going.
Bottom line, we must make enough cash to cover the cost of cameras, ingredients, web hosting, image processing tools and computer equipment, (don’t forget to cover the cost of our time. For me, each recipe takes a little over two days to produce.) Otherwise, we’ll be forced to post less often, or close down the blog because it’s become too expensive to run.
The truth is, very few of us started out to do this as a business. We create recipes to share, to teach, to inspire. Our goal wasn’t to get rich or to get a degree in marketing and business management. It was to cook while being a part of a wonderful, caring community, and we love every minute of it.
How then are we to keep the creative flow going while still maintaining the quality we’re sriving for? How do we pay the bills that invariably come with this wonderful job we have? Part-time hobby or not, that money has to come from somewhere.
Sure, there are banner ads and Affiliate programs that can help fill in the gaps, but those things have diminishing returns overall. The world of blogging is changing, and with it, the face of social media. What worked yesterday might not work tomorrow, and that’s part of the harsh realities we face.
One of the best ways to generate a little more income from your blog or social platforms is to partner with brands. You either review their products or write about your own experiences using them. They get exposure, you get paid. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. But in the end (as long as you’re ethical about it and you can trust the companies you partner with) you still get to write exactly the same things you wrote before, just with a little help from outside.
The big problem is this:
Where do you find brands you want to partner with?
This process can lead to weeks of pitches, more marketing research, a lot of rejection letters, things like that. It’s hard to figure out where to start. It’s difficult to choose a fair rate for your work and even harder, sometimes to determine a deadline or achieve a good working relationship. Remember, we didn’t start off as marketing professionals. At my heart I’m still a food-loving full-time dad, part-time evil day job worker, all-the-time web geek who loves to tell a story or two.
I’ll give you one of my all-time favorite companies as a great place to start. It’s a wonderful place. If you’re interested in supporting companies, products or services that you’re passionate about, and you want to be sure that the Gods of Google won’t find fault with the way you did it, you’ll want to sign up with IZEA and give their sponsorship marketplace a try.
IZEA takes the guesswork out of a lot of the sponsorship process. They’ll help you determine a reasonable pay window (based on years of experience). I’ve worked with them more often than any other sponsorship company for good reason. They give you the tools to promote yourself to brands, to apply for the opportunities you’d love to write about, and make sure that you see just the opportunities that might interest you. Their offers are tailored to what you’re already doing now.
Full disclaimer here folks. I’ve worked with IZEA since before they were even called IZEA. They’re great people to do business with. They’ve helped me partner with major brands and build relationships with them that have lasted years.
The benefit for me is that they do all the advertising leg work. I go after the posts I want. The ones I think that you, my readers, would care about as well as the ones that me and my family are passionate about. And as for the rest, I just decline and move on. It’s that simple
The benefit for you is that IZEA can monetize just about any channel you have. That means if you’re a powerhouse twitter user and not a powerhouse blogger, they’ve got it covered. If you cause a stir every time you post on Facebook, they can help make you a little extra. They’ve got social covered, not just blogs. And for you YouTube moguls out there. Yeah, they have you covered, too.
In conclusion, I’ve been very happy working with IZEA. The money I’ve earned through them has helped make this Holiday season a much brighter one than it woulld have been otherwise. More than that, the income I earn through them helps in no small way to keep us posting what we love. Also, more than a few of the posts that our readers loved the most were sponsored through this company.
In short, I couldn’t recommend IZEA any more highly. And because it’s the holidays, I want to say a huge thanks to Ted Murphy, their CEO, for working with Google and the FCC to make sure everything is above board, and give an even bigger thanks to David and Cherise, also from IZEA, who have helped me many times along the way. You guys have always been great, and here’s to a long future working together.
**That’s enough. I’m gonna put my chef’s hat back on now and go make some waffles.