Disclosure: I am Vice President, Sales Marketing at BlogHer. Advertising and social media marketing programs are a significant source of revenue for the company and for the bloggers in our advertising network.
BlogHer 2014. We just celebrated the 10th anniversary of a little conference held to tell the world: Here are the women who blog.
Many things have changed in the social media landscape since July 2005. But a constant, at least in my little corner, is that social media offers consumers an opportunity to have a voice about the products and services they buy. To share their customer experiences (good or ill). To actively participate in the marketing cycle as endorsers of the brands they love. Preferably compensated.
Compensation. That’s our topic today. What should a blogger be paid for a sponsored post? How much is that tweet worth?
In my job at BlogHer, I lead the teams that create and execute our custom sponsored programs. Blogger payment is a topic that we address on a daily basis, and I shared some of our practices in a Business Fundamentals session about monetization during the conference.
Here’s the gist.
Task + Reach + Performance = Fee
The baseline for payment for a sponsored blog post is the task.
- What are we asking the blogger to do?
- Simple post? Cover an event? Develop a recipe? Create a Craft or DIY How-To? Produce a UGC video? Participate in a custom video program? Is travel involved?
- Does the blogger have special or unique expertise?
- How many hours will this take? At a reasonable hourly rate?
Everyone starts at the same baseline payment, because the work is the same no matter how big or small the blog.
Then we factor in reach, both monthly blog pageviews and overall social reach on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. If you’ve ever wondered why some bloggers get paid more than others for similar work (whether from BlogHer, or another network or social media/pr agency), your answer starts with reach. Absent other data (and more about that in a moment), potential reach is the most common proxy for influence.
Influencers with more scale can get higher fees. Usually. But sometimes the program just doesn’t have the budget. We don’t mind if bloggers ask for more if a program appeals to them but the fee seems low. Just as long as they aren’t offended if the answer is no.
But task and potential reach are not end game. They are a good start, but end game is results. The more a blogger is able to link back to actual results achieved for brands, the better fees she can command for future work.
Bottom line: Size matters. Influence matters more. Results matter most.
We’ve been doing sponsor programs since 2008 and have accumulated quite a bit of data on typical results. We use this data to predict program performance when calculating our guaranteed results for sponsored programs. Key measurements include number of post page views, both absolute and as a percentage of monthly traffic, total comments, earned social shares/pins, and clicks to sponsor site.
Starting later this summer, we will be sharing this proprietary data with the bloggers in our sponsored programs. Via their private BlogHer profiles, they will be able to see how their own posts are performing and better understand how their posts and social sharing contribute to a program’s success. We will also share historical benchmark data so they can measure their performance. Eventually, and we will give our bloggers plenty of notice, we will be using this results data in our fee calculations. Task and reach will always matter, but historical results will be a factor. This should be particularly welcome news to mid-size bloggers with loyal audiences that read and engage with multiple posts every month; these “magic middle” blogs should compare quite favorably to much larger blogs that get a big chunk of their traffic from one-time search engine visitors.
Exciting times. And more to come.
This post is cross-posted to Marketing Roadmaps.
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