How to Build Relationships with Adult Companies
So you want to make money writing about sex, through your blog, or by selling a ton of erotic fiction, right? Welcome to the smut club! Most, if not all of us, start writing because we have thoughts we want to express, views to share, or words floating around in our brains we need to get out. When you write online and can get near immediate feedback, it’s not long before you realize you want more. Is this a potential career? Is there money to be made? The answer is: Maybe, if you work for it.
You already know you need an audience to help you make money, but here’s the other part you need: companies willing to pay you. The relationships you establish with companies are different than your relationship with your readers but not by much.
Never thought about building relationships with a sex toy company or an adult marketing firm before? From personal experience, I can tell you that it’s these relationships that have allowed my income to stay fairly stable and even grow over time.
Do What You’ll Say You’ll Do
A relationship thrives through mutual respect. That means neither side should pull the rug out from the other in the middle of negotiations or after the deal has been set. When you’re new to making money from your writing, you’re going to fumble through this a bit. You may even realize later you could have set better terms for yourself or asked for more money. That’s a lesson learned for the next company. Right now, do what you said you’d do.
When you communicate with a company, be honest about what you’ll provide and what you want. Decide how much compensation you expect, how many words you’ll write, and when you’ll get it done. It’s okay to negotiate and accept less money or write a longer piece. Once the details are set, keep your end of the bargain. If you want a company to return with more money later, they need to know that you’ll do the things you promise to do.
Remember Both Sides Must Benefit
When an adult company reaches out with an offer for a sponsored blog post, an affiliate program, or an offer to pay you to tweet something, they’re not doing it out of the kindness of their smutty heart. They’re running a business and have expectations for a specific outcome. Clicks to their website, branding, and connecting with someone they consider an “influencer” in the world of sex writing are just a few.
The money they’re offering may sound good (or not, depending on the rates you’ve set) but they’re not running a charity. They expect to get something for their payment. It’s okay to offer a free week of advertising or a lower rate as a test to show the company that you can deliver what they need. If you’re new to them or you approached the company, this can be a great way to get your foot in the (virtual) door. Deliver the clicks, name recognition, or shares, and you’ve given the company incentive to pay you more later.
Go the Extra Mile
In early 2017, Mystery Vibe, the company behind the Crescendo vibrator, put me in touch with a company they partnered with for a promotion. This was an ecommerce company that was trying to use social media to find a wider audience (aren’t we all?) among sex toy users. We arranged for a few tweets and other posts on social media for a big live video Crescendo event they planned. On the day, I sent out my social media posts while they went through the nightmare that all companies deal with online – tech issues.
They couldn’t start on time and had to get the word out (again) at a later time. I could have declined to do more on social media because I’d already fulfilled my obligation. Technically I could move on, but I didn’t. For no additional compensation, I promoted them a second time. Why? Because when a chance like this comes up again, I want to be remembered as the blogger who helped them out. It costs nothing to be a decent human being and often pays off in ways you can’t imagine.
Set Standards for Yourself
Not every adult company is one you should work with. I’ve promoted some sketchy stuff for the promise of a few dollars (I’m looking at you, cheeseburger ballgag). The promise of money can lure you in – I get it. But not every brand is a good fit for you, and not every company is a decent one. How do you figure out who the good ones are? Trial and error and demanding payment for certain things upfront.
The other thing you can do is set standards for what companies you’ll work with. Decide what companies or brands aren’t a good fit for your audience. Research a company with a quick Google search or by asking with bloggers you know and respect. Get the details of an offer for compensation before you say yes. The sketchiest companies usually don’t give a bunch of details. Set your rates and stick to them (most of the time). And expect payment upfront for banner ads, sponsored posts, and other one-off projects. Does this mean you’ll sometimes decline to work with a company? Of course it does. It will be worth it in the long run.
Being Ethical Attracts Ethical Companies
Some of my standards for anyone who wants have a link on my personal blog – through banner ads or sponsored content – include upfront payment, editorial standards, full disclosure, etc. One rule I don’t waver on is that all paid links are “no follow” links. If I’m caught breaking this very important Google rule, I could be taken out of search results and see my traffic plummet. That means making money in the future becomes more difficult if not impossible.
When I receive an email from a company that asks for a “do follow” link, even when they offer to pay “any amount I require” I still say no. Why? Because no amount of money I make today will help me tomorrow if my traffic dries up. I politely say no and move on. The companies I work with the most understand this. Our relationship is supposed to be mutually beneficial, and they get that. While it’s my responsibility to know the rules and ethics of advertising on my website, it’s their responsibility to respect that I follow them.
Building Relationships with Adult Companies
For many of us, our first opportunity to make money as a sex writer or blogger occurs when an adult company reaches out to us. If you’re like me, your first thought may be, “Is this for real?” quickly followed by, “MONEY!!!” Slow down and don’t say yes too quickly. Make sure the company is a good fit, and that you’re comfortable providing what they want. Get the details, the amount you’ll be paid in writing, and the money upfront. Once you work with the first company, you’ll start to learn what works for you and what doesn’t.