Saturday, May 8, 2010

Can Writers Make Money From Corporate Sponsorships?

If you keep your eyes sharp, you can spot it on television programs all the time. The family who brings home McDonald's to eat. The cop sitting at his desk drinking a cup of coffee from Starbucks. Jack Bauer hefting a Beretta pistol in his hands.

It's often corporate sponsored, which means a company has paid money to the producers of the show to include products in the show.

It happens in movies all the time, too. Ever notice in a comedy when all the characters are drinking Pepsi products? Or maybe a group in a bar all happen to be drinking one kind or another of Michelob beer?

I just use these as examples, not to be too specific about it.

But could writers do the same thing?

Every once in a while I'll be reading a novel and I'll notice something like this. Once it was a character who ate only Milky Way candy bars throughout the book. Now maybe that was just the writer's prerogative, but maybe Mars candy paid for that inclusion?

Whether a company paid or not, I see some potential here for book authors to make some money. Perhaps the money wouldn't come directly to the author, but would go to the publisher who could then split the funds with the writer. But however it would work, I think there's potential.

As for online writers, there's always the traditional advertising affiliations, such as using Google Adsense, Chitika and other online advertising sources. Then there are specific affiliations such as you can get through Yahoo!, Facebook, MySpace and other online sites.

But it's not impossible companies could also pay online writers to write stories about their products, or to mention their products in articles, possibly even to link to products or to company Web pages. Sure, there are a handful of professional blog writers and such who do this already, but the future might bring even more possibilities.

Just as an example, if Lego offered you a few pennies for every mention of their company or toy products in your articles, wouldn't you write a whole lot about Lego? Or if Burger King was to pay you a few dollars every time you published an article about one of their burgers, wouldn't you at least consider writing a series of articles about them? What if Amazon paid you big bucks to blog daily for them?

I think you would do it. With enough such connections, you might even be able to make a living at it.

But how would you go about this? Does it sound daunting to you? Don't let it be. Simply contact someone at the corporate office for one of these companies. The initial response might be "no," but don't go away instantly. Maybe take a breather for a week or two, then try again. They might still say "no," but that's okay. They might not say "no." They might say, "sure," or "how about we give it a test run" or "why don't you send us some of your writing." If that's the case, you should have at least three samples of your writing ready to send off.

It might not be that easy. And you would probably have to try a bunch of different companies. I'll suggest trying smaller companies first just because they usually have far less corporate red tape to go through.

Just keep in mind that in these days of a tough economy, you have to be a little pushy. Sure, everyone says "don't call us, we'll call you," but honestly, what do you have to lose if you do call them? If they don't hire you or give you that writing job, so what? Odds were you weren't going to get it anyway. But if you've pestered them a little (repeat: a little), then they might just remember who you are and offer you a writing contract or keep you in mind for something else in the future. Keep in mind, however, you don't want to make yourself too annoying.

Of course you could also write articles with a bunch of different corporate links within it and wait and see if any of those companies take notice.

And if you need examples of your writing, why not try out different writing places online such as Triond, Bukisa, RedGage and other similar writing sites to get started? Those sites can provide you helpful writing clips that could help land you a job.

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