Got First "Passive" Sponsorship!

Around a month ago, I got my first sponsorship by reaching out to companies that I was hoping would give my newsletter a shot. I was lucky enough to secure one sponsor from the reachoout of 10, but realized that the cold reachouts were taking too much of my time. I thought... there must be a better way.

Since my blog gets ~500 readers on any given day, I figured that maybe instead, I would just put a note at the bottom of each article letting people know it's "open for business". This was the text that I put at the bottom of an article: https://imgur.com/a/qoIqTqd. Super simple stuff.

I put it there since I didn't want it to be intrusive and also am guessing that if someone made it all the way through an article, they can see the value they provide. The link directs them to my promote page: https://stephsmith.io/promote. That page is connected directly to Stripe Checkout, so I don't have to manage as many logistics and just get the notification that someone has chosen to sponsor!

Anyway, I implemented this around two weeks ago and was happy to wake up to this message this morning! My first "passive" sale: https://imgur.com/a/aEfprtO 😊She even sent over a template for the newsletter copy, so this will only take me a matter of minutes, versus the hours I had spent last time.

Hopefully, I'll be seeing more of these roll in over time and means that I can focus on writing and increasing traffic.

  1. 5

    That's awesome! I never set up a full system like this when I was doing sponsorships for Indie Hackers, although I really wanted to. It was a total pain sending cold emails and then walking people through the whole process manually.

    One good thing about cold emails, though, was that a few of them led to sales calls with bigger companies who probably never would've signed up passively. They paid a lot more for deals than everyone else did.

    Hopefully, I'll be seeing more of these roll in over time and means that I can focus on writing and increasing traffic.

    I hear you there! Super frustrating to have to split your time between advertising and content creation. Ideally working on your product and increasing your revenue would be identical activities… and they can be!

    If I had it to do over again, I'd restructure IH so that the content and the ads were one and the same, rather than two separate things. Ben Tossell does this well with Makerpad, and Lynne Tye does it well with Key Values.

    1. 1

      Thanks Courtland!

      And totally agreed - I'll probably still need to do cold outreach to land some of the bigger deals, but hopefully this will augment that process in a beneficial way.

      You also make a great point about integrating the advertising into the product itself. I've been thinking about how I can expand my blog past long-form pieces that will hopefully allow me to experiment with some other ad options.

  2. 4


    I had a quick look...I'm curious to know how you manage the CPC ads?

    1. 1

      Thanks Rosie! Right now, it's pretty hacked together. I am embedding HTML within my posts and using bitly links and simply tracking through that. However, I'm building out my own platform (https://upread.co/) to manage them more effectively and hopefully enable others to do the same.

      1. 2

        I've used the bit.ly hacked together approach in the past too :) Always looking for better ways.

        1. 1

          Hopefully Upread will be a better solution! 😊

  3. 2

    Nice! Congrats! Curious, do you provide specs such as open-rate, placement, etc?

    I just started a newsletter myself. I don't have many eyeballs yet, so too early to look for sponsors, but its in the growth plan.

    1. 1

      Hey! Yes, I openly share my open and CTR, and when I was doing cold outreach, that was included. This was my original cold outreach template (although it was customized per individual): https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QrXikOmMWgsCfYT1zUsMGrJtNxvnAV76ogHqGlMIVyw/edit?usp=sharing

  4. 2


    I'd like to hear if anyone has advice on what to ask for on sponsorships and what to charge... thanks

    1. 1

      Thanks Vidal! I’ve also been unsure about this and did some research for what I saw other blogs charging, but would be good to have some more info here!

  5. 2

    Sweet! I think I need to implement this now, so when I eventually get traffic, it'll be ready to go. Right now I just have it go to my contact page.

    1. 1

      Yeah, I think it’s a great way to just have it available as you build up traffic!

  6. 2

    Congrats 👏! Good times are coming ✨

  7. 2

    That’s good it’s the basic steps the work the best.

  8. 2

    I enjoy your newsletter, subscribed some weeks ago, and congrats on the sponsorship!

    1. 1

      Thanks so much Kamran! Hopefully this will allow me to deliver more articles and spend less time on sponsors 🙌

  9. 2

    Awesome Steph! I like the simple approach!

  10. 2

    Congratulations! That's amazing.
    How did you decide CPC though?

    1. 2

      Honestly, it was a bit arbitrary. I work in marketing, so I went with a CPC that wasn't crazy high, but also one that was justified for a targeted audience. So far, I've only had one company work with me on the CPC ads, so may adjust moving forward!

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    This comment was deleted 2 years ago.

    1. 2

      Thanks Nick! I might do some more cold outreach in the future, but I'd like to see if I get any sustainable stream of passive sponsors come through first. I find cold outreach pretty mentally taxing, so I'd rather focus on the content if possible. Fingers crossed! 🤞

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    This comment was deleted 2 years ago.

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