If you’re a blogger looking to start doing more sponsored posts, you may want to check out the different blogging networks. These websites offer a place to apply for sponsored post opportunities in an easy way. While you may only secure a few of the many opportunities you apply for, it can be a great way to get your foot in the door with sponsored content.
What is a blogging network?
A blogging network acts as a middleman of sorts – they help brands manage sponsored post opportunities. The network is usually responsible for handling the application processes, initial (and sometimes final) influencer selection, and ensuring those working on the campaign meet deadlines.
Networks vs. direct pitching
Direct pitching refers to reaching out to one specific brand and pitching an idea to them. This can be a bit more difficult than applying for opportunities through a blogging network, because it requires finding the correct brand contacts and reaching out to them, sometimes without knowing if they work with bloggers or if there’s any budget in place for work right now. From there, you either need to develop a stellar cold pitch, or starting to cultivate a relationship with them to pitch down the road.
Blogging networks make this process much easier, because you know the brand is definitely looking for work and the opportunity to pitch a good idea is literally right in front of you!
There is one downside to blogging networks though: the pay is typically less.
You’ll usually make more money working directly with a brand compared to working with the same brand through a blogging network. This is because they network (responsible for managing the process and technology) takes a cut of the brand’s budget. That’s completely normal of course – they deserve to be paid for their work – but it is just a fact to consider.
At this point in my blogging career, I’d generally rather work directly with a brand than go through a network for that reason. But if I see a good opportunity with a brand I’ve been hoping to work with pop up in a network, and the pay is decent, I’m certainly willing to apply. In the past year, I’ve gotten quite a few great opportunities through networks.
15+ Blogging Networks
There are a lot of blogging networks out there, and I’ve tried to round up most of them here. After you get through this list, be sure to read up on my complete guide to sponsored posts which will give you tons of tips about pitching, setting rates, FTC guidelines, and more.
Activate offers a large number of potential partnership opportunities, with new ones added regularly. There are both blog and social opportunities. Some opportunities offer a flat payment rate up front, while others will ask you for a quote for your work.
Keep in mind that some of the opportunities on the platform can be “non-cash” opportunities, which can include either “goodwill” charity opportunities or product-only partnerships. These may or may not be the right fit for you, but it’s important to carefully assess each to see if this is the case so you don’t accidentally apply for one if you’re not interested.
Once you apply, you’ll be notified if you were accepted or declined from the project. Note that Activate gives you the ability to customize a digital media kit right within the platform, so brands can see a visual representation of your style and past work when evaluating you as a potential partner.
If you’re at the point in your blog where you’ve got an agent representing you to pitch to brands, Activate also offers a Talent Management Tool. This allows your agent or manager to pitch and negotiate on your behalf.
Examples of brand clients that Activate has worked with include Reebok, Tinder, H&M, FabFitFun, and more.
2. Aspire IQ
When you sign up for Aspire IQ, you’ll find a bunch of opportunities in your dashboard that you can browse. You can click on each opportunity to learn more and apply. Brands can also “like” your profile or express that they’re interested in working with you.
For each opportunity on Aspire, you’ll see if they’re offering product, payment, or both. Most campaigns are compensated, though there are a few product-only ones. When you apply to a campaign with payment, you’ll pitch the amount you’d like to make.
Aspire uses a unique review system, where brands can give you up to a 5-star rating after working with you. Before you get your first review, you’re limited to applying to five campaigns per month (though if invited to apply for a campaign by the brand, that doesn’t count against your limit of five). Once you receive positive reviews (4 or 5 stars), you’ll no longer be limited in the number of brands you can apply to work with.
Some of the brands that Aspire IQ has worked with (per their website) include Bed Bath and Beyond, Marriot, Walmart, LL Bean, and more.
Clever offers a number of blogging and Instagram opportunities. They span a wide range of topics, including food, parenting, household, lifestyle, and more. I do see more food opportunities on there, but the other niches do pop up regularly.
When you log in to the platform, you’ll see an initial overview of the opportunities on the screen, which includes the brand name, campaign type (i.e. IG vs blog vs YouTube), start and end dates, and payment. I like this setup as you can quickly skim through and then click on any that seem appealing to get a more in-depth look at the campaign details and requirements.
Clever doesn’t currently appear to have any minimum follower requirements that they advertise, though they do ask if you are active on at least two social media platforms. They process each application, though, so it’s a possibility that there are certain factors they look for which aren’t mentioned – I’m not sure at this point.
Examples of brand clients that Clever has worked with include California Closets, Clif, Rescue Remedy, Kimberly Clark, Lenovo, Bobs Red Mill, and more.
Influence Central offers sponsored opportunities for both bloggers and social influencers. This blogging network operates a bit differently than some of the others, in that they only display opportunities that they feel are a fit to your profile. For this reason, it’s key to fill out your profile completely and make sure you’ve connected all your social properties. Having accurate info there will ensure that you’ve got the best chance at seeing opportunities.
To give you some personal experience, I’m a member of that platform and I generally see around 2 to 5 opportunities each month. Not all are a great fit, but good ones come up for me fairly frequently. Some bloggers probably see way more opportunities, and some see less – it’s all dependent on your niche, numbers, etc.
That said, even if opportunities are displayed, it doesn’t mean you’re automatically granted them. You still need to apply for each, and the network/clients have final say over the influencers they choose to work with.
When it comes to selection, Influence Central does say in their FAQs “Client criteria plays a role but so does our history with you! We love working with people who have an authentic writing style, are reliable when it comes to timing and who we know we can count on to go above and beyond for our clients.”. This is a great reminder to do a kick-butt job on any work you to obtain through the network, in order to get the best chances and more work.
Payment on the network opportunities is typically set up front.
Examples of brand clients that Influence Central has worked with include Green Giant, Starkist, Eat Smart, Barilla, and more (additional clients found on their homepage).
Social Fabric is a blogging network that has been around for a while – I joined it back in 2015! On this platform, you’re shown different opportunities that you can apply for. They lean a bit heavily towards food content, but there’s other opportunities that come up too (there was recently a dog food brand opp, and I’ve seen lifestyle type opportunities too).
There are some membership requirements for this site. You need to reside in either the US or Canada, and post original content. You also need to have at least 1000 followers on a social platform – either Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or YouTube. You cannot sign up (as of now) if you only have a blog without a social platform that meets the 1000 minimum.
While the rates used to be a bit low on this platform, when I recently logged in I was surprised to see more competitive rates. There were fewer opportunities shown when I logged in that I remember in the past though – but that could also be because it’s mid-summer right now (often a slower time for sponsored content). If you haven’t checked in a while, definitely give it a look.
Examples of brand clients that SoFab has worked with include Walmart Auto Care, MaraNatha, Smithfield Pork, and more.
Sway is another influencer marketing platform that’s been around for years. They seem to offer a broad range of opportunities, including brands in categories like food, health, parenting, and more. Each opportunity lists specific influencer requirements and an outline of the campaign.
I’ve been seeing more Instagram-specific opportunities on Sway lately, so that might be great for those of you who don’t have a large blog following but have a major Instagram following. I personally have a moderate Instagram following for my main site, and I know they look for a lot of engagement (which I’m working on!) – so I have a feeling that’s part of the reason I haven’t personally gotten many opportunities through them.
Keep in mind that Sway (like some other networks) often builds licensing into their brand applications. In other words, sometimes brand is often granted a license to use your content on their website or social platforms, in perpetuity (aka forever).
That may work for some people and not work for others. I generally charge for licensing, and I try to avoid contracts that include licensing in perpetuity as it could limit my brand work with other companies. However, this may not be a concern for others (and occasionally, I’ll take on an opportunity like this if the pay is right and it’s the type of brand where I’m not likely to have issues with it limiting other work).
But there is always a contact listed on the applications, so I’d encourage you to reach out if there’s one that appeals to you and the licensing is an issue.
I personally worked through Sway on a campaign for Aroma Joe’s coffee, and it was a great experience.
The Mission List is run by Women Online, a company that focuses on blogging and social media activations that achieve social good and make positive change in the world.
The campaigns through The Mission List are emailed out occasionally – there is no platform to log in to in order to check for them – so keep an eye on your inbox. While there are far less campaigns offered compared to other blogging networks, the types of opportunities offered may appeal to bloggers with a passion for accurate and helpful information surrounding public health, education, and parenting. For example, there have been campaigns about vaccination, adverse child experiences, sex education, and more.
One thing I like about The Mission List is that the paid opportunities seem to offer pretty competitive rates. Sometimes the rates are up front, and other times they’ll ask you to pitch on what deliverables you can offer for a set fee. In other words, they’ve asked “what could you do for $X? A blog post, an Instagram share, a FB live, etc?” This can be a nice way of working on a campaign in a way that is feasible for you given the budget.
There’s no minimum requirements for followers to join this network, so I’d recommend getting on their email list.
Ahalogy has a unique history. They actually started out in the Pinterest space, acting as a partner for Pinterest and offering one of the very first scheduling systems out there. (I used it back in the pre-Tailwind days!).
Now, they focus on “trend-driven influencer content and social media marketing.” They use their proprietary product called “Muse”, which looks at influencer data, trends, and audience insights to guide their brands in campaigns.
When you login to your account with Ahalogy, you’ll see a dashboard of open opportunities. They’ll also email you opportunities too, so you’ll know when something new arises. The application for each opportunity includes campaign requirements, though starters, and the ideal demographic they’re trying to reach with the sponsored post.
One very important note – their sponsored content agreement (which is publicly available when you go to apply) includes the following:
“The Custom Content shall be considered “works made for hire” and Ahalogy is the “person for whom the work was prepared”. As between the parties, Ahalogy is the author and/or owner, as appropriate, of the Custom Content for purposes of patent, copyright or trademark law… You acknowledge and agree that Ahalogy may, among other things, sell the Custom Content to the Brand or grant the Brand the right to use the Custom Content without attribution for which the Creator has been retained. The Brand may also be granted the right to use the Custom Content in perpetuity for future advertising in any and all medium.”
It is a personal preference whether to accept work if these are in the requirements. For me, this would require a very large contract, as the brand could throw your content up on a billboard 10 years later without any additional payment. Others may not care about it.
The good news is that you can set your own rates with Ahalogy in your settings, so you can adjust your pricing accordingly to make it worth your while if you’re OK with the terms above.
PS – From what I’ve heard around Facebook, they apparently love great photography and showing that you can incorporate their campaign goals and demographics into your pitch. Also, be sure your pitch showcases how you can benefit the brand and serve your readers. (Which is good advice no matter what network or brand you’re pitching! You can find more tips on pitching for sponsored posts here).
9. Kitchen PLAY
Kitchen PLAY is a network dedicated to food opportunities. Once you join the network, you’ll receive occasional emails with opportunities. You can then fill out the application for that opportunity.
There are not as many opportunities on Kitchen Play as other blogging networks. Generally, I’ve seen around one opportunity every 1 to 2 months. However, the opportunities I’ve participated in have been paid fairly, and the staff there is really responsive to questions or feedback. I also like that they’ve had some health-focused food campaigns, as opposed to some of the other networks with more standard food opps (i.e. snack foods, tailgating, etc.).
Past clients of Kitchen PLAY have included Whole Foods, Lindsay Olives, Avocados from Mexico, and more.
Linqia is unique in that most campaigns are offered on a pay-per-click structure. In other words, you might create a blog post, but you need to get X number of clicks from the blog post to the brand’s website in order to earn money.
That model can be difficult for bloggers to achieve organically. It can result in some bloggers panicking and using not-so-legit click through threads in order to meet their minimum (despite it being against the TOS). That’s obviously not ideal for the blogger or the brand.
That said, there are some people who excel at these kinds of campaigns. For example, if you have a large Instagram following with the swipe up feature, you may be able to do well with this model. And occasionally, they do offer flat rate campaigns too, which can be well paid.
I’m not personally a fan of the pay per click model, so I haven’t taken a campaign from them in a couple years. However, I’m including it here because I know others may find it helpful. To join, you must be located in North America and have at least 2500+ followers on a social platform or visitors to your blog.
Examples of Linqia brand clients include U by Kotex, Foster Farms, McDonald’s, and more.
Mavrck offers brand partnerships in a variety of niches, from lifestyle to travel to food. I’ve gotten emails from them for a while with campaign opportunities (I can’t remember how I got added!) but it also looks like you can directly join their influencer index.
If you’ve been around the blogging scene for a while, you may have seen some Facebook chatter about rates for campaigns run in Mavrck. However, rates vary a LOT. While some campaigns may be too low for you, they also have plenty with higher rates. You can also always reach out to them directly if you feel you’d love to be on a campaign but the rate isn’t right for you.
Since Mavrck is local to me, I’ve been lucky enough to participate in a few events with them, and their staff is really wonderful in-person (I know sometimes it’s hard to get that vibe via email).
Some clients Mavrck has worked with include Reebok, jetBlue, Godiva, Quest Nutrition, and more.
Acorn is another network that only sends opportunities to the members that it feels are the best fit for a campaign. I joined a few years back, and haven’t received many emails with opportunities. That said, I realized I had some missing information in my profile, so that could have been why. (Make sure you fill out all that info completely).
Many bloggers I’ve spoken to seem to really enjoy Acorn, because it tends to have competitive payment rates.
However, like always it’s important to read their terms of service. It includes a paragraph (similar to Ahalogy) that indicates they own your content created for campaigns. Moreso, they also claim use for your name and likeness in perpetuity.
Here’s some excerpts:
“Influencer hereby acknowledges and agrees that Acorn shall be the sole owner of all right title and interest in and to any and all Influencer Content and all intellectual property rights therein or related thereto….Acorn shall have the right to publish, repurpose, create derivative works of and further use the Influencer Content for any purpose without any further assignment, license or authorization and shall have the right to license and sublicense the Influencer Content at its discretion. Further, Influencer hereby grants to Acorn the nonexclusive, worldwide, sublicensable, fully paid-up, royalty free right and license to use, reproduce, modify, copy, publish, display and distribute Influencer’s name, nickname, username, likeness, image and photo in connection with the Influencer Content, in whole or in part, edited or otherwise modified, alone or with other materials, for the purpose of promoting Acorn, Advertiser and/or the Campaign.”
As a dietitian, I’m very careful about name and likeness these days as that can really limit my other brand work, so I’d pass on any opportunities unless I was able to get a contract specifying otherwise. However, this may not be as big of a deal for other people. It’s important to understand all this up front, and then make a decision if you’re comfortable with it.
Additional blogging networks:
This list just scratches the surface, but are networks I’ve personally been a part of (either now or in the past) so I’m familiar with how they work. Here are some of the other options out there too:
- Soapbox influence
- SheMedia (though I believe they give preference to those that run ads with their platform)
- Moms Meet
- The Motherhood
There you go! I hope this overview of blogging and influencer networks was helpful for you as you start to apply for more sponsored post work. Cheers to making more money in the rest of the year!
Share: What’s your favorite influencer network?