RSS twitter youtube

How to get sponsored for conferences.

Mon, Sep 13, 2010

MizFit Muzings

Check this brand ambassador out!

Dizclaimer: This is what Ive found works for me and is in no way a definitive primer on how to secure sponsorship. Please to share your experiences in the comments so we might git closer to that aforementioned primer. We’re a tribe. A team. Lets help each other out.

At least once a week I get a phone call, text, email or tweet asking me about sponsorships.

These interactions increase in direct relationship to conference announcements (hello Fitbloggin!) or my mention of MizFit sponsorship (MUCH LOVE to Attune Foods).

Ive resisted blogging about this topic  *not* because I want to keep the proverbial cards close to my (lack of ) vest -but because Im no expert in this arena.

All I know is what Ive tried and what Ive found success with.

In addition, by virtue of your emails/tweets/calls/texts, Ive learned that tactics which did not work for me resulted in sponsorship for some of you.

So I ask, as always, you view this post as only the launchpad for our COMMENTversation.

My thoughts here. Yours down there.  Ill be joining you.

When it comes to life conference sponsorship Im a firm believer if you dont ask there’s zero chance youll get what you want.

So I ask.

But I ask in a careful, pre-planned, tactical way.

Who do I approach?

  • P.R. reps with whom I already have a relationship or companies with whom Ive worked before. While this does NOT preclude the fact I need to remind them of my “reach” or influence I do at least know Im on their radar.  These relationships arent necessarily “deep” (it can be a company with whom Ive merely exchanged tweets), but 99.9% of the time the first contact I have with a company is not a request for money/product.  Part of MizFit’s mission statement is forging bonds/netoworking with like minded brands.  This ‘connecting’ has nothing to do with money changing hands.
  • Brands or companies whose overall mission statements are in alignment with mine. These individuals frequently have no idea who I am (yet), but the fact their brand is a good fit for my blog is always readily apparent to us both.  Think about what immediately comes to mind when you think about your brand (fitness, weight training, yoga, foodie, parenting, personal development, healthy living etc) & seek out companies whose products/missions match those words.

How do I approach them?

  • Twitter.  I do not tweet out the general Hey companies! Want to sponsor me for XYZ conference?? DM me!! Ive nothing against the approach it simply does not work for me.  I will, however, direct message companies inquiring about contact names or, if they do not follow me, I will tweet at them please follow me back so I can direct message you. I have a question and wait to see if they respond.
  • Email. This is the approach which works best for me & I always keep the first contact short.  I tell the company briefly about the conference (links can work best) and why I believe know it would be beneficial for them to sponsor me.  If I do not have a previous relationship with the company I typically use the main email address listed on the website and wait at least two weeks to follow up.

What do I include in my contact email?

  • Information on my brand. Even if we’ve worked together before I pretend the company knows nothing about MizFit (& if it has been while since we worked together frequently things have changed).  I attach a brief bio and my blog one-sheet (this contains information regarding my social media reach/platform, where you can find me, speaking engagements, blog-accolades etc).  For some bloggers this might take the form of a resume or media kit.
  • What Id love to do for their brand pre, during and post-event. This is your chance to get creative.  Think about the company.  Mull their product(s).  Ponder what YOU love about their product/brand.  How might you best spread the word about them given the venue (what kind of conference do you want to attend? what sort of sponsor limitations are there? etc)?  This is your opportunity to show companies the uniqueness of your brand.

What dont I include?

  • Money. I never seek a specific dollar amount in the first contact.  This is about a relationship for me.  Once we’ve established there will, indeed, be a relationship forming then we can talk  money-specifics.  How much? This is up to you & also depends on the size of the company.  Be realistic but dont undersell yourself.  For me it is never about making money —-only about seeking sponsors I already love to help me cover some of my costs.

What do I do next? (or I have a sponsor-now what?)

  • I remember Im acting as brand ambassador from sponsorship announcement to conclusion of the event. Im opinionated on this one.  Im a woman who, if I offer to do XYZ for a company, tends to do everything I promised and much much more.  (another reason it is crucial you authentically adore a company whom you agree to represent)
  • I learn as much as I can about the company. Dont forget they are paying you to act as their representative at the conference.  Be prepared for questions from conference-attendees.  For a few weeks (or whatever youve agreed upon) this brand is now part of your blogging-job.
  • I follow through on my commitment. To the very end. Id like to imagine this goes without saying yet am certain at least once a company has sponsored a blogger who started strong (with that pre-event post) & fizzled out (follow up.  post-event blog or simply sending a thank you email to the company).

**mops brow & runs to the kitchen for a protein-rich snack and some water**

(and yeah. that was the short version!)

Now you.

I know many of you out there have employed different tactics & found them to work.

I also know many of you out there STILL have questions (I edited out some stuff which addressed emails youd sent).

Please to hit the TRIBE up in the comments—Ill meet you there.

Pin It

Tags: , , , , ,

61 Responses to “How to get sponsored for conferences.”

  1. Laura says:

    Thanks so much for this Miz!
    I know what struck me the most is how you view your blog as a brand.

    I am just about to start blogging.


  2. Renee says:

    I wonder if companies ever sponsor writers who do not yet have blogs/write for other outlets?

    And idea of this, Miz?

  3. Marisa @Loser for Life says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I’ve often wondered how this process works!

  4. Lucy says:

    Oh you are sent from heaven, you really are.

    I am in the process of dithering over whether or not I should pitch for a sponsor to take me to the inaugural AMB conference. (Aussie Mummy Bloggers)

    And the company I am most keen to work with fits all the criteria you suggest.

    And all the things that you say have worked for you are already in my draft email. Phew.

    Far out. I might just go hit send on my draft right now.

    You are a legend. This post of yours simply could not have come at a better time! THANK YOU! xx

  5. A running blogger says:

    Quite frankly I’d not thought about it in this organized or professional a manner.

    Thank you MizFit.

  6. Natalia says:

    Thanks for this info! Great tips. BTW whatever happened with Austin Fit Mag? I saw a LOT of votes for you…..


  7. shauna/dg says:

    Fantastic post and really valuable to hear about the WORK that goes into these things.

  8. Joanna Sutter says:

    I have never asked for a sponsor but if I ever do, I totally appreciate the guidance.

    I work with some amazing brands and bloggers are ALWAYS asking for free items/giveways/sponsorships and let me tell you there are some interesting approaches. I call these people “beggin-bloggers.” With affection, of course.

    A brand reputation takes time to develop and only seconds to tarnish. A business needs to know that their brand is in good hands so if you’re seeking a sponsorship it’s important to demonstrate that you are worthy, trustworthy and responsible enough to be a brand ambassador.

    Can you tell I’m a marketer?? ;-)

  9. Helen says:

    Honestly? I’d never thought when I dmed you that other people did too.

    Thanks for the answer.

  10. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman says:

    This is really interesting. Thanks for letting us in on your secrets!

  11. Kel says:

    I don’t blog and this is one reason.
    I do not think I would have the motivation to concoct a brand and find sponsors.

    What I adore about you is how you willingly share and step up to help create a tribe.

  12. Ryan @NoMoreBacon says:

    I think the piece that often gets overlooked (which you clearly focus on the most) is the “RELATIONSHIP” piece.

    Asking for sponsorship without some kind of relationship as a base is kind of like walking up to a girl and asking her to be your boyfriend without knowing her name first. For crying out loud at least learn her name first!!! If you do find a company (girl) that says yes without the previous contact, you either got extremely lucky or you’re dealing with something sketchy (in both cases).

    I think the only thing I would add is to act quick! There are a lot of bloggers on the lookout for the same sponsorship you are. You’re never going to land the girl sponsorship playing wallflower ;)


  13. MizFit says:

    MOST IMPORTANT, in a way, IS SIMPLY BEHAVING AS YOU WOULD IN REAL LIFE (she shouts and then realizes that perhaps some may do this in real life and if SO just carry on :) )

    would you want up to someone and ask them for money before build the foundation of a relationship?


    Successful sponsorship seeking IMO is no different.

  14. Lynn Haraldson-Bering says:

    You’ve given me the determination to go after youknowho again for FitBloggin’ :) This time I have more time AND I’m more knowledgable about how to approach them, thanks to your great advice. Thank you thank you!

  15. Ben (@benjamteal) says:

    I just want to say 1) very nice post, and I agree with Ryan (I seem to do that a lot) - it’s all about relationships, and 2) I was there when that picture was taken! Woo hoo! Famous by proxy, I am! :-)

    Nice post Miz, as always, you rule big time.


  16. Jayna @ Healthy Living Bites says:

    I love this post! This is some of the stuff that I’ve wondered about in reading and now writing my own blog. I do not feel I’m ready for this step (yet) as I don’t reach enough people to be able to offer a company much of anything. . . but I hope to one day :)

  17. Annie says:

    I am a reader without a blog and wanted to add that this post is about more than sponsorship.

    It is to me about self-confidence.

    It was only when I finally grew confident in who I was that I possessed, as you do, the ability to not be threatened by and willingness to help others.


  18. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    Great info Carla! I have not gotten to this point but this is so very helpful! Thx so much!!!!

  19. Deb says:

    Great post. It’s something I will have to consider down the road.

  20. charlotte says:

    As always, very informative and thought-provoking. I love it when you pull the curtain back on the blog-as-business world!! I’d love to go to FitBloggin’ but there are so many obstacles (and not just monetary - life gets tricky with 4 tiny tots that need constant care) that I’m thinking it won’t be this year. Still though, thank you for the information! You have taught me soooo much.
    Your Grasshopper

  21. Lori (Finding Radiance) says:

    This is such a cool post! I get lots of emails about reviews, but never anything about sponsorship.

  22. JourneyBeyondSurvival says:

    You are the BEST ambassador. For bloggers to companies. For companies to bloggers. Really, you are fascinating as a specimen and empathetic as a woman. I admire so so much about you.

  23. Miz says:

    Thank you. Thank you.

    Made my day.

  24. Fit Chick in the City says:

    Thank you so much for this information and for starting the conversation. I’ve often wondered how bloggers get sponsorships to conferences.

    Also, I loving all the good info in the comment section.

  25. Fit Chick in the City says:

    Thank you so much for this information and for starting the conversation. I’ve often wondered how bloggers get sponsorships to conferences.

    Also, I loving all the good info in the comment section.

  26. Katdoesdiets says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I’m nervous, but going to try it.

  27. Savannah says:

    Fantastic post Miz.

    Thank you for not just giving lip service to the fact we need to help each other.

  28. Steve says:

    When I see people ask on Twitter I usually direct them to you, because, well, you are 100% pure Awesomesauce.

    I’ve contemplated seeking sponsorship (for races, conferences, etc…etc…) but I’m scared. I’m hardly a big player like a lot of others, my weight loss efforts haven’t actually amounted to much yet, and I don’t think I have a large enough readership to really be able to warrant a sponsorship.

    I may see how the few months go and give it a try. I’m going regardless, but I think sponsorship could be a cool opportunity.

    Thanks! :)

  29. Miz says:

    after almost ten years of blogging Steve I’ve learned that it is NOT always about the size of your blog/brand—-its how you conduct yourself.

    Define your brand.

    Always stay on message.

    Build relationships.

    I think you will….I KNOW you will find it works.

  30. MsGigglepuss says:

    Great post! I always wondered about the whole sponsorship thing. I’m not ready to try it myself, but I’ll remember these words for a bit more down the road.

  31. Shelley B says:

    Great information - I am just now learning to ask certain companies that I love for products to review. I can’t imagine asking for sponsorship, but who knows? Some day. I like the idea of building a relationship first - very good advice.

  32. Dave Grotto, RD says:


    Great stuff, as always!

    Thought I’d share a few of my thoughts on the subject and what has worked for me.

    When I wrote 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life, I was commended for the marketing genius behind the book. “OMG. You have 101 potential partners!” someone said to me after the book just released. “Brilliant!”, they also added.

    Truth be told? I wish I was that smart. I wrote that book from the soul and from years of experience in the trenches as a dietitian - never from “Gee. I wonder what sponsorship opportunities will come from this effort?” And what’s come out of writing from the soul has been amazing… Anyway, here are a few thoughts on how to secure sponsor partners…

    Stick to your core values and mission statement:
    I wrote about only those foods that I thoroughly researched to have health benefits and also ones that my fanily and patients eat. THAT’s what has fostered great and lasting partnerships with many of the commodities and brands that I have partnered with. I only align myself with what serves my family and readers best.

    YOU are the new influencer:
    Many brands are looking to gain greater presence through social media and are always looking for opportunities. They also understand who are the “new influencers” so don’t feel that if you don’t have a degree in fitness\nutrition, they won’t be interested in you. You have an audience? They are interested…

    Size Matters?
    Sure…numbers are important but the quality of your influence may be more important than the quantity. Racking up numbers without having a relationship with your readers isn’t quite the depth that sponsors are looking for.

    Take the MizFit approach:
    What I loved best about what you mentioned, Miz is to think about “What Id love to do for their brand pre, during and post-event.” Exceed their expectations! Be the value-added blogger\spokesperson. That comes naturally if you are passionate about the brand\product and THAT’s the stuff that builds long relationships instead of a couple of “one-offs” that have limited value.

    Say it loud and say it proud:
    Lastly, let the brand that you’re interested in working with know what you have been up to and spell out the reasons why they should partner with you! I always send out posts\clips of mentions to make sure they’ve seen it.

    Happy hunting!

  33. Lynda says:

    Your blog was down. I panicked ;)

    You’re back. I’m glad.


    Worth waiting for Miz.


  34. Yum Yucky says:

    Miz Fit should write a book about ALL that she has learned. I smell bestseller.

  35. Denise says:

    So, I’m that brand person that evaluates whether or not we can (or should) sponsor folks. Your approach is spot-on-I wouldn’t change a thing. Instead, I’ll give some more perspective from the brand side.

    I agree with NoMoreBacon-it’s about a relationship. And that relationship needs to be based on honesty and depth of knowledge about the other party. But, ultimately, understand that you ARE ASKING TO BE A PART OF THE BRAND’S ADVERTISING EFFORTS. Sure, it might be deeper for you, but that is the brand’s perspective and how the committee will evaluate you.

    As such, here are some things the brand wants to know about you:

    -Who is your demographic? Age, gender, interests, regions? -How do you measure it?
    -Is this conference/race “major”-about how many “impressions” will I get? (This is the standard for buying media like TV and magazines) Something like “I’d expect about 500 Southern runners to see me in your shirt and shoes” could be a great detail.
    -Are any of my competitors sponsoring this?
    -Are you asking to be a long-term or short-term part of my brand?
    -How efficient are you with your network-are you a Twitter-only celeb, or is your blog the bomb? Do you master 3 social networks?
    -And finally…(This one is more implicit) How much of my time will you require? Do I have that time? When balanced against the brand payoff, is this a good investment of my time and money?

    Insightful and on-target as usual Mizfit!

  36. MizFit says:


    It really does take a tribe to make a primer ;)


  37. Sagan says:

    Very useful information! Nice to see all the helpful comments, too.

    I have yet to ask directly for a company to sponsor me, but I’ve learned a lot about marketing and communications and the value of the brand from experience and from my university degree in Rhetoric. Presentation and genuinely wanting to get to know the people in a company are very important.

  38. Cammy@TippyToeDiet says:

    All excellent tips and ones I’ve employed in the past, without success (yet)! I’m hoping my recent flurry-ette of publicity will serve to make up for lack of big-blog status. :) And if not, I’m still doing what’s at the forefront of my blog (and personal) mission statement, which is interacting with fellow seekers. Win!

  39. Fitarella says:

    I love that you share all of this and are always helping others :-)

  40. Leslie says:

    Thank you so much for this, Miz. I often wonder how I can go further with blogging or what it takes to get noticed, and you’ve gererously provided valuable information as always. I guess first I need to get closer to goal weight! But even if I do nothing else, it’s interesting to read about this.

  41. Loretta says:

    Know what I liked most about this post?? Your generous spirit. The way you share what you know with the rest of the Tribe.

    You live your life open-handed, giving. Not going through life with a closed fist.

    My respect for you (which was already up there) just grew.

  42. juliejulie says:

    This is good stuff,and it’s funny how many amazing bloggers fail to recognize the obvious - you are worthy of sponsorship, people! Even if you don’t have a huge following, if you are passionate and professional, brands are lucky to align themselves with you. And don’t forget local businesses! You can leverage the relationship building between you and other local business to generate some nice press that helps everyone. The other phrase I like to throw out when I talk to brands and local businesses is “Partnership” - we can work together to spread the love and build the community we seek to create.

  43. Grace says:

    I echo what Loretta said and hope you receive as well as give.

  44. Leah @bookieboo says:

    I would like to add since I work on both sides PR and blogger, as PR person, it’s REALLY nice when bloggers can provide for you a ROI report (return on investment). Basically, the results of things you have done in the past for other brands if you have this. If not, make sure to include in your pitch that you will provide reporting on statistics from your sponsorship: amount of tweets, RTs, hits on post, bit.ly link clicks, facebook info, etc. Tell them what they got for their money AFTER it’s over. They need to get that info to their boss anyway, so you are doing them a favor.

    Peace out!

  45. Vee says:

    I liked your post, but I’m curious. I don’t have a brand and I don’t have many readers. Why would anyone be willing to sponsor me at a conference if very few people know about me or my blog?

    Vee at http://veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

  46. Brittany Mullins says:

    Thanks for this post Carla. I have employed several of the tactics you’ve mentioned, but there are a few I have yet to employ so I’m excited to get started!

    As always the comments by other readers are helpful as well. ;)

  47. Janell says:

    Great suggestions. Look for my email soon! (asking for your sponsorship.)

  48. Patrick says:

    Build relationships, got it… excellent, yet oddly under utilized, advice for so many aspects of our lives. Networking is such an important necessity these days.

  49. Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul says:

    What I took away from this post (which I adore, by the way) is that it’s all about relationships and confidence. I love that you recognize your blog as a brand and treat it respectfully as such. I’m a believer that if you have passion and belief in yourself (read: blog), others will too. Great post with awesome tips!

  50. FatFighterTV says:

    Nice pic. And great tips, too. :)

  51. Austin says:

    Intriguing, guide marked, thanks a ton.

  52. Yoga Blogger says:

    I have to add here that I’d never thought of the need to focus on my blog as a brand.

    Thank you for getting me thinking as always Miz.

  53. Jenn says:

    Thanks for posting this. You have such a generous encouraging spirit! I love it!

  54. Rita @ The Giggly Bits says:

    (Ryan’s comment was just cute and spot on.)

    I think what is missing for so many of us in the beginning that even without a logo or selling something, your blog IS your brand, YOU are your blog. If you can stay on point and be consistent, then you’ll be a million miles ahead of the game. Knowing that from the get go can help navigate through the crazy sponsorship/business/PR waters.

    Great advice.

  55. HealthyLoserGal / Jan says:

    Miz, you lifesaver, you! Thanks so much for this primer! I get emails and tweets often about whether or not I’d like to represent companies but don’t know what the heck to think of it all! Now I have some sort of sense of what to do and consider. THANK YOU! Love your relationship / sponsor / sponsoree advice… it is about building friendships first, that much I know! :) You’re the best! You really are! :)


  56. kate@thighsandofferings says:

    oh i would kill to go to fitbloggin! probably not the best way to get sponsorship, though, right? hey, sponsor me or i’ll kill! :)

  57. Annelies says:

    Hi. It’s Annelies from attune foods, Carla’s sponsor for the Type A Mom’s Conference. I thought I would briefly chime in here. Carla is right on in her explanation of how to get sponsored. Really, it starts first with a relationship and then after that comes down to some of the semantics Denise and Leah brought up in their comments. We were excited to partner with Carla as our brand ambassador for Type A because a.) we like her b.) she walks the walk and talks the talk c.) she has an infectious energetic and generous spirit that will communicate our brand well to people who have never heard of us before.

    Our tagline for our foods is “What matters most is what’s inside” and Carla has true inner beauty and wisdom in spades! One other detail I might add as you consider promoting your brand to companies is to consider what kind of local presence/reach you have in your city.Companies might be doing regional marketing rather than national and then can be an important detail of note.

  58. Greta says:

    Thanks for this post! I have read it before but it helps to read again. I’m so intimidated because you are SO wonderful and who WOULDN’T want you to be their spokeswoman? Need to think more about this and maybe make a plan to look for sponsors but want to be able to do something fun and cool for them that will make them stand out.

    Thanks, Carla! You’re an inspiration!

  59. Tara says:

    1) Can you please start a company so I can practice these skills.

    2) I can’t wait to squeeze your face in September.

    3) By face I mean full body hugfest.


  1. Body Loving Blogosphere 09.19.10 | medicinal marzipan - September 19, 2010

    [...] MizFitOnline, How to secure sponsorship for conferences [...]

Leave a Reply

try { } catch(err) {}