How to Decide Whether to Accept a Sponsored Campaign

By October 7, 2014Blogging Tips

Sponsored campaigns are a major part of the blogging business. If you’re the top fashion blogger in the world negotiating contracts with plenty of zeros on the end or you’re just starting to receive gifted clothes from brands; the process used to decide whether or not to accept a sponsored campaign shouldn’t change much. Complex campaigns create confusion leading us to as quickly as possible, summarize the campaign into very high level answers to these three questions:

  1. What brand is it?
  2. How many blogposts and social shares do I have to do?
  3. How much do I get paid?

When one of these becomes overwhelmingly great or bad we can end up jumping to a conclusion, often overlooking the minute details. This is exactly why it’s important to have a set of questions to answer while reviewing the sponsored campaign. Here are the ones we use when evaluating new projects.

Campaign Questions

What are the deliverables?

How will they be measuring success for campaigns?

Is what they are looking for attainable?

What’s the turnaround time?

Can I say what I want or does the brand have a set script to follow?

Budget Questions

Is there a budget for the campaign?

Is there travel? Is it covered?

Does the budget pay me enough for the ask?

How long is the contract?

If there is no budget then will it bring more recognition?

Brand Questions

Have we worked together in the past?

Do I already wear/use products they make?

Does their brand align with mine?

What’s their track record like?

Are there competing brands that I can’t work with or mention?

Is this a dream brand of mine that I’ve always wanted to work with?


Other Tips

Negotiate- Fight for the things you can’t live without and compromise on the smaller issues. Know what your Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA) is.  Most Blogger’s BATNA is that they will produce non-sponsored content and use affiliate links. In my opinion this is a strong BATNA because you can make money through affiliate, you have the choice of keeping your own voice and promoting your brand.

Trust the process and say No when you need to- Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you have to.  Sometimes agreeing to shitty terms on the first sponsored campaign with a brand sets precedent for future negotiations.

High end brands should pay too- One of the mistakes I see a lot of bloggers make is if the brand is a dream brand of theirs they are willing to do sponsored campaigns in return for gifted product. This is downright dumb and here is an example why: Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH) which owns Louis Vuitton, Celine,  Givenchy and Fendi (just to name a few) spent 4.88 Billion Euros ($6.32 Billion) on advertising and promotion expenses in 2013 and they will probably spend more this year. High end brands obviously have money to spend so if you are ever lucky enough to work with them make sure they pay you as well.






1. LVMH Half Year Financial Report “”Page 49


  • Deanna says:

    Great post and content Thomas. Very helpful to new and established bloggers alike.


  • Rachelle says:

    Very good advice, love your blogging tips section.

  • Marie says:

    Do you have any advice as to what point compensation in addition to free product is expected for sponsored posts? I have a growing blog and don’t want to turn off potential sponsors, but it’s becoming a lot of work for just free stuff. Thanks for any input!

  • Becky says:

    Great tips! Although I agree with all of them, I also think that as fairly new bloggers, most of the time, we just have to accept the products offered to us in order to get our blog’s name out there. I’m not saying we do whatever comes our way, but as long as the product being offered aligns with our blog’s objective and we think it’s something our audience would like, we should’nt say no just because it might not meet one of these guidelines mentioned above. As beginners, we mostly get offered free products in exchange for a review. Monetary compensation doesn’t come in to the equation until you’ve actually started making a name for yourself (except for a few campaigns in which you work collectively with a company that facilitates a payment). Most companies also won’t pay you unless you meet a specific follower/subscriber number. Once you’ve gotten your name out there, it becomes easier to say no to “freebie” posts. Just my two cents from what I’ve experienced in the last year. Keep the tips coming! Thanks!

  • Krissy says:

    Excellent insight Thomas, really appreciate it! Is there a formula about how the sponsors evaluate you as a good fit for their brand? Is it based on the website analytics? I’ve been following your travels and am impressed by your commitment to post multiple times a day, on several platforms. Bravo! I see potential for this cross promotional marketing in my industry (which sadly isn’t fashion) but need to get a better understanding what the sponsor is looking for.

    Thanks again for the content, will pick your brain again soon – I’m sure.

    • Thomas says:

      Thanks for your comment. I’d say three things are important for every brand: 1. How big is the blogger’s audience (Blog and all social)? 2. How engaged is their following?/Do they buy the things she blogs about? 3. Does the blogger’s brand fit with brand they are trying to promote?

      Obviously the first point is extremely important for major brands, since it’s time consuming to do lots of little deals. With the third point, I’ve noticed that brands are either super specific or they don’t care about brand fit. If I were running a fashion brand I would only want to work with people that are excited about my brand because it fits their style.

      Regarding the cross promotional marketing, this is something that everyone should do. Some businesses work better on Facebook, some work better on Twitter, some better on Pinterest, some on Instagram. It’s up to your company to figure out what works best and keep investing in that area.

  • Elyse says:

    Thank you for the awesome tips and insight. I will definitely be coming back here and subscribing to continue learning, since I definitely have a lot to learn. Thanks!

  • Karen farber says:

    Another great post! Love the guidelines you provided! I just wanted to ask you if there is a formula you use to figure out how much compensation to ask from a brand. Or if you know insight from working with brands about how much of a following most require to start paying you. My blog is growing, and I’m getting to the point of charging, but am confused on the subject! I think this would be a great post 🙂

    Also, maybe you could provide tips on how to get a more engaged audience!

  • Rachel says:

    Thomas, thank you for writing this blog! I am curious to hear about how this process applies to travel and promoting a hotel or resort experience instead of a more tangible product like clothing or accessories. I follow Gal Meets Glam on Instagram and Snapchat and love the travel posts/snaps. I would love to read about how those sponsorships work if you’re willing to share! Thanks!

  • Maren says:

    Hi Thomas – thanks for the post! Just out of curiosity, what is your opinion on bloggers approaching brands? Especially for new bloggers, how do you recommend they market themselves when approaching brands?

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