Warning: Highly prescriptive!
The angsty question of how much to charge for a sponsored post dogs many a design blogger and Instagrammer. And here in the digital Wild West, where blogs were only ‘invented’ a little over 10 years ago, and where Instagram only became ‘a thing’ less than 5 years ago, no solid rules around pricing have had time to emerge. We’re all making it up as we go, which is super exciting but tear-your-hair-out confusing as well.
In the process of establishing The Third Row over the past 3 years, I’ve made it my business to ask as many nosy questions as I can, about what independent stores perceive as a good return on their marketing investments. If you want repeat advertisers (and surely, you do!), my advice is to…
Charge about $1 per new follower/click you’ll generate for the store
For example, if your blog posts generate, on average, 100 clicks for the store featured, charge $100. If your Instagram posts generate, on average, 50 new followers, charge $50.
Let me stress, this is a rough guide. Some stores will want more for their spend. Others will be happy with less (especially if they get sales). But based on feedback from stores this is a rough guide to what independent stores see as a decent ROI. If you disagree, let me know in the comments. DISCUSS.
Obviously bloggers and Instagrammers can’t guarantee what level of engagement they’ll generate. It’s different for every post. But when content is a good fit for a blog or Instagram account, there do seem to be patterns in the number of new followers and clicks generated.
For example, I’ve watched when Instagrammers with circa 60K followers mention product from a store on The Third Row, and they consistently generate 100 to 200 new followers for stores which are a good fit.
So how, do you know if your price is right? If a store that you know is a good brand fit for your blog or Instagram feed, sponsors a post once, and wants to work with you again, then you know you’re bang on.
It’s time to increase your price when you’re getting more sponsored post requests than you need, from stores that are a good fit.
Charge big brands more than independent stores
A year or so ago, I asked a certain design blogger about her banner advertising rates. ( I’d never purchase a banner ad now without a guaranteed editorial feature, but that’s a post for another day!) She sent me her media kit and I was a bit miffed to see that the banner ad I wanted was only available to ‘Small creative businesses’.
The Third Row was very much a small business at the time but because it was a start up and not a traditional creative business, I didn’t qualify. The only advertising option available to me cost over 3 times as much.
Fast forward one year, I completely agree with having different prices for small, independent businesses and big brands.
Why? Because big brands have the advantage over small independent stores in almost every way:
- Big brands have dedicated marketing people. Independent stores are run by 1 or 2 people wearing many hats.
- Big brands have huge marketing budgets. Independent stores have tiny budgets.
- Big brands have… big brands. Independent stores don’t have the same level of wide recognition and because that brand trust hasn’t developed yet, they don’t get as many clicks, followers and sales resulting from a mention.
If you want to work with independent stores and help them grow their businesses – which they desperately want you to, and which your audience wants you to if it values creativity – then you need to come up with creative ways of working together, so you generate value for stores without underselling yourself.
I can help with this.
Work with me (if you’re not already!)
I work with bloggers and Instagrammers to create new sponsorship formats which leverage the combined marketing needs of the 150+ independent stores The Third Row represents.
If you have a topic in mind for a post – for example, ceramics – I can recruit multiple stores interested in paying to featuring their products in the post. The cost is shared between several stores, which makes it more affordable for them. It also allows you to earn from multiple advertisers in a single post – in some cases just as much, or more than you’d earn from a dedicated sponsored post.
I’d love to tell you all about it. To find out more contact firstname.lastname@example.org