If you’re looking for additional streams of revenue, corporate sponsorships could be a viable revenue stream. Now please don’t think this is FREE money. Major companies only do sponsorship if there a clear ROI. If you have something to offer (like an engaged niche audience) this could be a realistic business opportunity for you. Corporations are looking for ways to reach their target customer, if you have a tribe in their sweet spot, they could be willing to pay to engage you as a channel partner.
What Corporate Sponsorships Look Like
There are a lot of different types of corporate sponsorships deals, so know that you’re not limited to the following ideas.
A brand might invite you to be a “resident expert” on its blog, contributing content and sharing it with your audience. You could also publish several sponsored blog posts from the brand on your own blog, helping them reach your audience. You might be engaged in a social media marketing campaign, talking about the brand’s product launch or pushing a contest. You could also host product giveaways through your various social channels. Corporate brands might also want to advertise on your website. Or you could represent the brand as a speaker at industry events.
Often when you build a corporate sponsorship package, you might include several of these different options. Always consider the customer’s goals and offer your best suggestions to help them with their marketing challenge. You want to make sure you give them what they ask for but, be sure to include some additional offers that might also be appealing.
Are You Ready for Corporate Sponsorship?
Not every small business owner is positioned to offer something of value to a corporate brand. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if pursuing sponsorships is the right next step for you.
How significant is my social media following? Social media is typically a large part of any sponsorship campaign, so brands considering investing in you will want to see that you have tens of thousands of followers across Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Also, how engaged are your followers? How much do you know about your target audience? A brand should be able to look at your followers and see that the audience it’s trying to reach frequently sharing and responding to your social updates.
What am I known for? For me as the SmallBizLady, it’s clear that I have the ear of small business, and so I tend to attract corporations that are looking to connect with that target audience. But what about you? What niche do you serve that would appeal to a corporation? Where do you demonstrate your expertise? On a blog, Youtube, Instagram, etc.? Content is often how these connections are made, so where are you doing it?
What’s my unique value? How would a corporation benefit from working with you? Realize that there are many, many experts doing nearly exactly what you do. What makes you better than the rest? What value can you offer that beats out the competition? Give sponsors a clear reason to choose you rather than shopping around to another influencer.
Do I have time to take on additional work? Sure, you want to boost revenues, but do you have the time to do the work required for a corporate sponsorship? Depending on what you agree on with your customer, you could be spending 20 hours or more a month writing content, making public appearances, or scheduling additional social media content. Make sure it’s financially a smart move for the amount of time it will take to do the work.
What would I get out of it? You will get a financial reward from a corporate sponsorship, but sometimes there are other perks such a FREE products and services. But don’t just get excited about a free printer, you should be getting paid too. Working with a large corporation might open the door to other business opportunities. Always look for the long-term relationship: rather than a single blog giveaway. Try to build out at least six-month sponsorship package. The more value you can provide long-term, the more indispensable you become to that company.
Does this brand align with my business’ values? If you’re a vegetarian, it doesn’t make sense to take on a fur coat sponsor. You get my drift. Because you’ve worked so hard to build trust with your audience, it’s of the utmost importance to only work with brands that you feel comfortable standing behind. Don’t promote anyone you wouldn’t buy or use. It’s easy to lose trust with your audience if you end up sounding too salesy when talking about your corporate sponsor. If any brand pushes you to send overly promotional marketing messages, push back or move on. You must always remain genuine and true to your own brand.
Final Tips for Corporate Sponsorships
Make sure you clearly understand what is expected of you before you sign any contract. Know exactly what deliverables the company wants from you, and how you will be paid? Also make sure you know how long they can use your content and likeness in connection with their brand. Use a lawyer to help you with any contract
Know your worth. As entrepreneurs, sometimes we tend to be shy about charging what we’re worth, and believe me: a giant corporation that can afford to pay you triple isn’t going to tell you you’re undercharging. Unless the brand approaches you with a budget number, quote a price that makes you just a little uncomfortable, but that’s still reasonable. The corporation will likely come back with an offer that you can then consider.
If engaging corporate sponsorships fits with your business model, it can be a fantastic way to not only boost your bottom line but also extend your business contacts and boost your brand. Who knows? You might end up with customer for life as a result.