All kinds of big companies look to experts for support. I have been involved in numerous corporate sponsorships over the years, and they have resulted in significant revenues and even greater audience exposure.
Here are some types of corporate sponsorship opportunities:
Paid Blogging – More and more companies are turning to experts and authors to generate content for their blogs and websites. Pay rates vary, but can range from $0.50 to $2.00 per word. In many cases, you can generate ongoing contractual agreements to write for a company blog one or more times each month, creating a consistent revenue stream.
Sponsored Blog Posts – Get paid to write a blog post and mention the company or a specific product or service. There is nothing shady going on here, since part of the agreement should include full disclosure to your readers to conform to FTC guidelines for advertising online.
Blog Syndication – Some companies want to feature great content on their websites by syndicating content from existing blogs. If you’re approached about syndicating your content on a major company website, know that this can bring valuable exposure for you. These types of arrangements are rarely paid, though the exposure usually makes them worthwhile.
Licensed Content – If you have an ebook, special report, or similar content, you can license the rights for a company to distribute your materials. Licensing agreements typically include a fee for a specified number of copies. Best of all, licensing digital content will cost you nothing and can be a purely profitable venture. For example, if your ebook covers sales strategies, a corporation that markets to salespeople can purchase the rights to give copies away on its website or at live events.
Books – If you have authored a book, you can sell it in bulk to corporations to distribute at their conferences and events. Some will pay extra to have their logo printed on the cover or special content added to the interior.
Sponsored Tweets – More and more companies are turning to experts who have large followings on Twitter and offering to pay for individual tweets or setting agreements to help sponsor a contest or event.
Webinars – You can get hired to deliver webinars on behalf of a company to their audience or as sponsored by the company to your own audience. This could be a one-time opportunity or delivered as a series over a period of time.
Spokesperson – Similar to how the major makeup manufacturers hire models to represent their brands, you can get hired as a spokesperson for a company initiative. Responsibilities can include conducting media interviews, working directly with a selection of the sponsor’s clients, or speaking at events. Some will even hire you for speaking tours in multiple cities. These contracts are quite lucrative since you can typically negotiate a hearty retainer fee.
How to Get Corporate Sponsors
Simply implementing many of the strategies we discuss on this blog can attract corporate sponsorships directly to you. When you stand out in your field, have a high-traffic website, a popular book, or a large social media following, I can assure you that you will be noticed. I have been involved in more than a dozen corporate relationships that have all come directly to me. This stuff works!
But you can also pursue relationships directly. The real key is finding companies that want to reach the same audience as you, and then offer them options for working together.
For example, if you’re a fitness expert, you can pursue relationships with companies that manufacture fitness equipment and diet products, or offer related services. If you’re an expert in productivity, you can market yourself to office supply companies, household organization suppliers, closet manufacturers, or companies that want to deliver productivity training to their clients or employees.
Start researching companies that would be a good match for you. A great place to look is in industry magazines and websites. If a company is spending money on advertising to your target audience, they may be interested in new marketing opportunities.
Finding the right contacts can involve some investigative strategies. I have used LinkedIn to locate some key contacts. For example, if you discover that a large company has a strategic initiative or even a special website devoted to reaching their audience, use the advanced search functionality on LinkedIn with keywords related to that initiative. I’m constantly amazed at how easy it is to locate the people in charge of these things since they list the details in their profiles.
To contact them via LinkedIn, you will need to either get introduced by a mutual connection or pay to upgrade your account to allow you to send mail to contacts outside of your network. This small investment can pay off big time.
Here’s another trick. Once you find a name for a contact, search for that contact on Google. Many times, you can easily find a direct email address.
Next, you will need to craft a pitch. There are about a million ways to approach this. Here is the formula I recommend:
- Briefly introduce yourself and state your authority in your field. This means mentioning your credentials, such as books you have authored, web communities you host, the large size of your social media network, etc.
- Mention a specific initiative the company has or that your contact is responsible for. Let the contact know you are familiar with it and that you have ideas for how you could contribute.
- Suggest a few options that you think would be a good fit, such as contributing to the company’s blog, speaking at an upcoming event, or promoting to your audience.
- Keep your communication brief, succinct, and professional. Hopefully, you will have the opportunity to expand on ideas and details later.
- Close with a question like, “Can we schedule a brief phone call to chat about possibilities?” This can help ensure you get a response, and one that leads to the next steps.
Be patient with this process and expect that it won’t be easy. Also, expand your search and focus on more than one company. I recently sent a pitch to a large company and didn’t receive any response initially. A month later, I was contacted by the person I had reached out to with an entirely different opportunity than I had suggested. It worked out great and was well worth the small amount of effort involved in sending the pitch!