How to Attract Sponsors Online (Step-By-Step)

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”
― Aristotle

Building your site’s domain authority (DA) can take months, even years. Once you gradually start to grow your site’s street cred. on the web, you’ll see followers subscribing and soon enough the sponsorship/partnership emails will come pouring in. Remember to take baby steps and whatever you do don’t get ahead of yourself. Try not to accept the smaller stuff and hold off for the larger partnerships, it will make your site a lot more valuable to companies if you don’t work with just anyone.

As a partnership coordinator, I usually won’t email those with sites or blogs which link to more than 45 pages (also called outbound links). In other words, try not to have tons of links everywhere. Keep it simple. Many bloggers shoot themselves in the foot by adding buddies lists, archive lists or tons of clickable sidebar buttons to their sidebars. Seriously, you’ll be surprised how fast outbound links will add up. Be patient and hold off false excitement from less-important sponsorships or partnerships and wait for the real deal. Wait for the business-changing emails that come around every once in a blue moon. Being picky with those you work with will make your site that much more valuable and opens much larger opportunities down the road. Great things come out of patience.

Let’s move on to the fun part of DA ranking– getting those “knocks on the door.”

Here’s a list of items you’re going to need to get the ball rolling:
A Computer
Social Media Profiles (ready-to-go)
A Timer
An Excel or Google Docs Spreadsheet
A large coffee

Forums are one of the first places I go for leads when I am looking to sponsor someone. Yeah, you heard right… forums. You know, those ancient beasts once top of the food chain on the web before the dawn of Reddit? I would have never guessed how valuable they would become to me as a partnership coordinator. So if you want to be noticed, these little online rooms are the place to be seen. I also look for blogs which allow guest posts too.

Let’s begin. Open up a new spreadsheet and title it “Forums To Contribute To.” As you go you can add on whatever columns pop in your head, but for now let’s just add the following sections: the forum’s name, URL, URL of posts, your posts’ date and a notes section. When you’re deciding where to post, there are a couple of factors you will want to take into account to help you get the most out of every effort. Look to comment on or post about a topic that has relevance, timeliness and lots of activity. Make sure that whatever you choose to discuss has to do with things your site can be associated with, this also gives you a little more credibility on the forum itself.

To get you started, here are some great places to find forums, posts and topics:
http://www.findaforum.net/
http://boardreader.com/
http://www.thebiggestboards.com/

You can also search Google by hitting the ‘Discussions’ tab on the results page and changing the search settings under ‘Search Tools’ from ‘All Discussions’ to ‘Forums.’

When you post on a forum most likely you will have to sign-up and log in as a new member. When you’re creating an account look for spots to link your website to the user profile. Also, see if there’s a signature option available. A lot of forums have caught on and banned outside links. If this is the case, I would suggest finding yourself a new site to contribute to. Afterall, the whole point is to gain recognition for your site isn’t it? Also, it’s not smart to go onto a forum and overly promote yourself, it’s annoying and you will be quickly removed from the discussion. Sometimes, you’ll even get blocked by the administrator. Really think about a question or comment you want to post. Ask yourself, “Will this contribute to the conversation?” Give honest, helpful answers and reference facts you throw their way. This is why forums are yet another place patience goes a long way.

After you organize your plan of attack and finally post, copy the URL to help you find it again in the future. Paste this under the ‘URL of Posts’ column. Don’t forget to add the date it was posted under ‘Post Date” too. You’ll want to keep tabs on these items every now and then. Plus, it helps you keep track of your progress. Visit this column every so often and respond to reactions or a contribute to a new discussion that may have developed based upon it.

When my well is dry I turn to Facebook and Instagram for new leads. Social media is another great way to get your site noticed by companies. Make yourself a business page on Facebook and double-check the category it’s labeled under to make it easier for those targeting a niche. Type your URL in the bottom-right section titled ‘About’ to guide them there. Your email should also be included in here to help those interested contact you right away. As a sponsor, nothing is worse than wasting several hours hunting down an email address. If it’s a particularly busy day, I won’t bother searching their business name or email. I rather pass on to the next person to be honest. I can’t stress enough how readily available your contact info and URL needs to be.

Same thing goes for Instagram, your email and URL should be in your bio. Across the board, I look mainly at the follower count on social. If the person I’m looking into doesn’t have a lot of followers and there’s not much engagement there, I will automatically assume their website reflects this. So remember to build your following, post regularly and engage your audience before you turn to these places for exposure.

Once your social platforms are up-to-speed and ready to go, join or ask to be invited to several private and public Facebook groups which associate with your site’s niche. These little groups are awesome online communities where people not only develop friendships but also find life-long fans. I’ve even seen partners of mine pass on exclusive sponsorship opportunities to others in their group.

You should get used to setting time aside every day to publicize your site on the internet. Get your handy-dandy timer out and set it to an hour and a half for the first couple of weeks and then to 45 minutes after you get the hang of it. Don’t stop until you hear the ring! It’s harder than ever to set out and achieve a task on modern technology, especially with the constant *pings* of notifications begging to distract you. This is where the large cup of coffee I suggested comes into play 😉

IT’S OKAY TO GO FOR WHAT YOU WANT. Need a product for your next project? Have a certain company in mind you’d do anything to associate your brand with? It’s forevernot too brazen to email them and ask for what you’re looking for. In fact, it makes the lives of marketing managers sooo much easier! We will love you for-ev-er.  If you’re confident in the exposure you can offer them, ask to speak with their marketing manager.

When you approach a marketing manager give them all the information you will think they’ll need to research how valuable you can be to them without sounding overzealous or arrogant. Enter the conversation with a can-do mentality and be confident in your worth!

Have you ever thought of a dream company you’d like to associate your website with? What would you ask them for?

Good luck, 

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