Katie is an IZEA pro who makes $3,000 a month with their sponsored post opportunities. We reached out to her to ask how she does it.
What Is IZEA?
IZEA is a sponsorship marketplace. You can sign up and create your profile, linking to all of your blogs and social media accounts, which allows potential sponsors and advertisers to see a snapshot of your online presence. By choosing tags and categories for your various profiles, you will see opportunities that correspond to your niche. You can bid on opportunities based on the client’s minimum and maximum price, and you can write a short pitch to grab the client’s attention.
IZEA offers site posts, sponsored tweets, branded Instagram and Facebook posts. They offer three levels of membership. The free plan allows you to bid on 3 opportunities per month. It means you can cash out only when you have $100 in your account. The Standard plan is $1 per month and allows you unlimited bids and a $50 cashout threshold. The Pro plan is $5 per month and allows unlimited bids and a $25 cashout threshold. You also get priority support and a PRO account banner.
Having tried all three plans, I recommend the Standard Plan. It is the best value for money, and if you’re doing well, hitting the $50 threshold will be a piece of cake.
How to Set Your Price
Potential sponsors will set a minimum and a maximum price on their offers. It is up to you to price yourself to make your blog attractive to them. It is important to understand all that is going to be expected of you for each opportunity. Nearly all blog posts will expect social media tours with specific hashtags, and you need to make sure you are asking enough to cover your time. It is also important to recognize what the client is looking for and whether you can offer enough exposure for them.
If you think your blog or social profile is a good fit, feel free to bid. Don’t sell yourself short — if you feel you are worth a certain price, go for it! I will often bid their maximum price if I think I am a great fit for the campaign. This can mean $400 for one post or $75 for an Instagram photo. Because IZEA sees your social stats and site analytics, it is important you consider your reach when you are bidding. If you are just starting out or your reach isn’t that great, try bidding a lower amount to get your feet wet. Once clients begin to see your good work (especially if you go the extra mile to tout it), you will get approved for more opportunities.
How to Get The Best Opportunities
The first step in making sure you get consideration is to ensure that your profile is fully set up. IZEA asks you to fill out your demographics, topics you cover, target audience and asking price. It allows you to choose your top verticals, as well as enter your own tags for each of your social profiles. There is no limit to the number of tags you can add, so I suggest adding everything you can think of that pertains to your site. Don’t pretend to be something you’re not. But do add all tags that you think work for you. I personally have around 150–200 tags for each social media profile.
Once you have set up your profiles, start bidding.
My Favorite Gigs
All opportunities come with high expectations from the client. But many times they also have something of value to offer you. My favorite opportunities are the ones that pay well, give me a free product to review and offer a giveaway of some sort for my readers. My audience would get tired very quickly if I was only ever giving generic posts that sounded like commercials. Having an actual product in hand that I can honestly review is going to benefit them more than me saying what the client wants me to say. And if they can read a great review AND win the item in question, they are totally happy.
How Sponsored Posts Affect Your Audience
Let’s face it, no one wants to go to a site that is nothing but advertising. Your readers have followed your blog because they care about what you have to say and like the insight into your life. It is always important to make sure that you only take as many sponsors as you can reasonably handle without alienating your audience. More than this, it is important that when you are doing sponsored posts, reviews or giveaways that you make sure you are still using your “voice.” Use real stories that bring your audience into your world.
If you are not yet an established publisher, you might have to take more sponsored content to reach the thousands of dollars mark. And that might be unattainable at present. But if you keep bidding on opportunities that match your blog’s niche (not to mention the many social media opportunities that are there), doing good work and keeping it real, you will be able to command higher prices in the future and eventually make some REALLY good money.
General Tips for Getting Gigs
- Keep it real. Don’t pretend to be a beauty publisher if the only beauty product you’ve ever written about is for diaper cream. If you really want to try it, be honest about your experience.
- Don’t lose your voice. It is so important to your audience that you maintain the kinds of stories and posts that you are known for. If you have a product to talk about, do it as organically as possible.
- Know your value. Don’t over or under sell yourself. If your time is worth a certain sum, then ask for it and don’t accept less. And if you are just starting out, don’t ask for the moon.
- Remember your audience. If you are taking too many sponsors on, your audience will notice. While most of them will cut you some slack in the beginning, it can get old quick. If you are not keeping it real, you will lose them.
- Be available. About once a week, I get an email from IZEA asking me if I can do a post with a really quick turnaround. This might be anything from two days to two hours! They will usually offer either more money or instant payment for these types of gigs. It is totally worth your time to be accessible to them.
If you are interested in working with IZEA, I would encourage you to sign up. It can be a great new revenue stream for you.