Through my blog coaching services, my free blogging course, and now Launch That Blog, I get a lot of questions about how exactly I do what I do. While there’s not an exact formula to follow, I tell my students what’s worked for me, and I’m always on the lookout for new tools, products, and services that can help all of us bloggers.
That’s why I was really excited when I heard that my good friend Michelle Schroeder-Gardner was launching a new course called Making Sense of Sponsored Posts with her sister and fellow blogger Alexis Schroeder. I bought it immediately, went through the class modules, and have been anxiously waiting to share my thoughts with you.
One of the things I hear the most from all of the bloggers I’ve worked with over the years is:
“I’m interested in sponsored posts, but I don’t know where to start, and I don’t want to be a sell-out.”
I wish I had this course when I started doing sponsored posts a few years ago because I had the same concerns. I’m pretty sure this course would have helped me find better partnerships and earn more from the get-go. And because I was focused on keeping a good relationship with my M$M community, I tried my best to only focus on things that would improve the lives of my readers.
Michelle and Alexis place heavy importance on always putting one’s readership first and only promoting products and companies that help them. In other words, you work for your audience, but you’re paid by others. As long as you keep your readers in mind, you’ll make the right choices about your sponsored posts.
The M$M Making Sense of Sponsored Posts Course Review
The bloggers behind Making Sense of Sponsored Posts
The creators of the course, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, and Alexis Schroeder have been very successful in monetizing their blogs with sponsored posts. While they are sisters, you’re learning from two people who are at different points in their blogging careers, have different audiences and monthly page views, and are both crushing it.
You are probably familiar with Michelle from M$M. She’s legitimately one of the coolest and nicest people that I know (don’t tell her that I said that though). She started Making Sense of Cents in 2012 as a side hustle, eventually quitting day job as a financial analyst, and she now lives on a sailboat with her husband Wes.
Making Sense of Cents is an award-winning personal finance blog that has earned Michelle over $3 million in the past two years alone. While affiliate marketing is really her jam (in just one month, she earned over $180,000 from affiliate marketing alone), she’s also consistently done really well with sponsored posts. On average, she earns around $10,000-$20,000 a month from sponsored posts.
She’s also managed to do this while growing her readership. In other words, she’s doing sponsored posts well and not putting off her readers. This is one of the key points that you’ll learn in Making Sense of Sponsored Posts.
Alexis of FITnancials is Michelle’s younger sister, and I’ve been lucky enough to get to know her a little better this past year – she’s just as cool as Michelle 🙂 Alexis started her blog to document her journey to better health and wealth – i.e. a 60-pound weight loss and how she left her day job to blog full-time.
It’s been two years since Alexis quit her day job to focus on her blog, and in just that time, she’s managed to ramp up her blogging income, earning an average of $15,000 a month with around 50% of that coming from sponsored posts. Simply put, Alexis and Michelle are killing it.
What you’ll learn from Making Sense of Sponsored Posts
The Making Sense of Sponsored Posts course has five different modules:
- Module 1: What Are Sponsored Posts?
- Module 2: How To Find Sponsored Posts Opportunities and How To Apply For Brand Deals
- Module 3: Money, Money, Money
- Module 4: Rules For Sponsored Posts
- Module 5: Strategies To Get More Brand Opportunities
In total, there are over 20 lessons that cover everything from teaching you the basics to finding your first opportunity and maintaining good brand partnerships. All of the lessons in Making Sense of Sponsored Posts are text-based, which are well-organized, each lesson building off of the material you learned in the last. They’re written similar to blog posts and are focused on what you came for – sponsored posts.
The sections “Money, Money, Money” and “Rules For Sponsored Posts” are especially helpful. These modules cover topics like making sure you’re not charging too little (even in the beginning), determining whether to use a contract, and keeping everything on the up-and-up legally speaking. I honestly didn’t think about most of this stuff when I was starting, but these details are core to having a higher level of professionalism.
Making Sense of Sponsored Posts also has an entire section dedicated to creating a media kit, which bloggers use to present themselves to potential brand partners. Michelle and Alexis offer real examples from a variety of different bloggers. Again, this is the kind of stuff that’s easy to overlook if you don’t have someone guiding you along the way.
Side note: I have to admit that I was a little nervous taking a course that was written by two different people. Is it going to feel disjointed? Is it going to be obvious who wrote which parts of the course? But, Michelle and Alexis work so well together, and their contributions compliment each other, adding depth to the course content.
The Making Sense of Sponsored Posts course is full of free bonus content
The bonus content was one of the best parts of Michelle’s other course, Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing, and both Michelle and Alexis don’t disappoint here.
Here are the six pieces of bonus content you’ll receive:
- Access to the private Making Sense of Sponsored Posts Facebook Mastermind Group. This is valued at $200+, and it’s where you can connect with other bloggers who have taken the course (and Michelle and Alexis!) to get feedback and learn even more.
- How to Increase Your Page Views. This bonus lesson will help you grow your pageviews to increase your chances of earning more from your blog.
- Editing and Writing Strategies That Will Change Your Life. This bonus comes from my editor Ariel Gardner (I have to share her with Michelle), and it’s full of tips for improving your writing, which will help engage your readers and give you a more professional style and tone.
- How to Grow Your Traffic With Google SEO. Learning SEO will help you grow your page views through organic traffic, and this lesson helps you get started. At this point, learning SEO is basically a necessity for bloggers.
- How to Blog With a Full-Time Job. This bonus is from another amazing blogger Natalie Bacon. She shares the strategies that she used to balance her life as a full-time attorney while growing a six-figure blog.
I really think the Facebook mastermind group is probably going to be one of your favorite pieces of bonus content. It’s seriously a great way to network with other bloggers and lets you learn from a diverse group of people, who blog in different niches and with varying levels of experience.
Also, anything from Natalie Bacon is going to be great. She’s an incredibly driven and motivating person, and she shares that on her blog and podcast. My wife Coral is such a big fan of hers that she often starts sentences with “well, Natalie says…”
The Making Sense of Sponsored Posts course is for social media influencers too
I’ve seen posts on Instagram and Facebook that have #sponsored somewhere in the caption, but it wasn’t until I took this course that I realized those influencers use some of the same strategies that I do on M$M. There are the same legal issues, similar approaches to finding brands, and so forth. Michelle and Alexis make what’s covered in Making Sense of Sponsored Posts accessible to both bloggers and social media influencers. I could see this course being really helpful if you’re both a blogger and influencer and want a course that covers it all.
The cost of Making Sense of Sponsored Posts
I think Michelle and Alexis did a great job pricing this course… seriously, this is a tough thing as a course creator. You can purchase the course for $159 or in two installments of $88. Considering the number of lessons that the course includes and the additional bonus content, it’s worth much more.
If this course helps you land just one brand partnership, you have earned your money back. And sure, maybe you could have done that on your own, but sometimes the extra motivation and additional expertise are needed to help us get there. At the bare minimum, the course offers exactly this, but Making Sense of Sponsored Posts offers so much more.
Click here to learn more and to sign up for Making Sense of Sponsored Posts through my exclusive link.
Will Making Sense of Sponsored Posts really help my blog?
The cool thing about sponsored posts as one of the blog monetization methods is that you don’t need nearly as many pageviews as you do for affiliate marketing. I kind of think of it as somewhere between affiliated marketing and display ads. That means this course is great for new bloggers, who are looking forward to the next step, but the modules covered are great for seasoned bloggers as well.
I did quite a few sponsored posts when I was growing M$M, but I let them go a bit this past year to focus on my courses. I didn’t miss the income too much, but taking this course reminded me that sponsored posts are still great monetizers for bigger bloggers, who earn money from affiliate marketing and course sales. The course encouraged me to go ahead and say yes to one of the only brand partnerships I took on this year, which has gone really well.
I wish I had some real downsides to share with you. I hate when reviews are all “this is amazing… this is great,” but that’s exactly what I did, and it’s also all true. I guess if anything, my only critique is that I’d like something more than just text-based lessons.
Final word on the Making Sense of Sponsored Posts course
For all levels of bloggers, Making Sense of Sponsored Posts reminds you that as you monetize your blog, you always have to keep your readers in mind. Don’t alienate or hard sell them. Share the things that they want to hear about – products and services that will actually benefit their lives. It’s important for all bloggers and influencers to remember this because without your audience, you’re nothing.
Also, good resources like this are invaluable to new bloggers, and spending some money to grow your blog every once in a while is usually a good thing. Putting money into your blog is an investment in yourself and your business. It’s taking things seriously and helping you get to work.