5 Knows of Advertising on Blogs

A few weeks ago I share this post on Aimee’s blog, but I thought I’d post it here in case you missed it. I’m thinking about doing a “5 Know’s” series…. would you be interested in reading it?

I thought’d I’d touch on the 5 Knows of Advertising and then give you a few helpful tips on what to look for.

Sound good?

Yay, so here we go.

1. Know your Budget

This is SO important as I often see people who want to sponsor blogs, but don’t have budget put together.

First of all if you are a blogger who offers free ad space on your blog, you need to figure out where the money is going to come from to pay for those sponsorships.

  • Do you have a handmade business where you can set aside money from your net sales to use towards sponsorships?
  • Have you or you and your spouse put together a budget for this each month?

Once you have your budget but together you can then begin to look into sponsoring blogs that fit into your budget. For example, if you want to spend $100 on advertising your blog each month, then figure out if you would rather spend $10-$20 to advertise on 5-7 blogs or if you want to put a greater portion into sponsoring a larger blog and then work to network with other bloggers who do ad space swaps and/or offer free advertising as well. Keep in mind that this budget should include not only ad sponsorships, but be aware of additional costs that coincide with doing giveaways on said blogs.

Ok, let’s talk about sponsorship budgets for bloggers who charge for ad space. When you charge for ad space on your blog it’s important for you to then sponsor bigger blogs than yours, but also ones that will drive traffic to your blog, which in turn drives traffic to your sponsors blogs. With that said you may need to be open to having sponsoring less blogs and shelling out more dollars for each sponsorship. Here are some things to think about when putting your budget together.

  • On average how much are you making in sponsorships each month, on your blog?
  • From that dollar amount how much do you pay yourself for the time you spend working to promote those sponsors?
  • How much is left after you pay yourself that you can use towards sponsoring other blogs?
  • Do you have other sources of income that you can include in that marketing budget as well.
Here’s an example, if I charge $40/mo for a large ad space and I sell 6 of them. That equals $240.
  • I then take out $10/hour for my time
  • If I spend 10 hours a month working for my sponsors, then I have $140 left to go towards sponsoring other blogs. Make sense?
The reason why I bring up paying yourself for your time is because your time is valuable. For every minute you sit at your computer supporting your amazing sponsors, you’re taking time away from your home, spouse, kids, etc. If you wouldn’t go work outside of your house for FREE, then don’t work from home for free either. You’re not doing yourself any favors.

Bottom line: Create a budget that works for you and stick to it!

2. Know Your Niche

It’s important that you understand what kind of blogger you are. Are you a DIY blogger? Craft blogger? Fashion blogger? Faith blogger? Where is your niche? If you’re not sure if you have one, maybe go back through the last couple months of posts you’ve written and be aware of topics you speak about a lot. If you talk about faith and using your blog for good a lot, great, you’ve just found your niche. It doesn’t mean you always talk about that subject on your blog, but it comes up often and is therefore close to your heart.

Once you figure out where your niche is, find other blogs that align with that as well to sponsor. If you’re not a fashion blogger, maybe sponsoring a fashion blog (unless you have a handmade business that includes fashion or accessories) may not be the wisest choice for you. I say this because people who visit fashion blogs are looking for fashion inspiration, if they don’t find that on your blog, they won’t continue to visit it and therefore you’ll notice a decrease in traffic from that sponsorship.

Sponsoring is all a trial and error and it may take a few months to figure out what kinds of blogs to sponsor that will help drive traffic to your blog and/or shop. For me personally, I have a couple blogs I sponsor every month and then I take the remaining budget and try to sponsor different blogs each month and I feel like it’s helped me reach more people.

3. Know What You’re Getting

When you get ready to sponsor a blog, be aware of what comes with the package you purchase.

  • Does it include a giveaway?
  • Option to guest post?
  • Social Media Mentions?
  • Pinterest promotion?

I try to keep a separate document each month that keeps track of who I’m sponsoring, the cost and what it includes. That way if it gets to the end of the month and I haven’t gotten any information about a giveaway or guest post, I know to contact the person I’m sponsoring. You want to make sure that the money you are spending is being put to good use and it’s working for you.

With that said, if you’re sponsoring a blog and you get an email about a giveaway or guest post, make sure you respond in a timely manner so you can participate. If you miss that opportunity, then you miss out on getting your chance to be featured by that blogger. That’s a big part of what drives new traffic to your blog.

4. Know When to Say No

I guess this one can go hand in hand with Know Your Niche, but here are a couple of reasons to say no:

  • There are times when I will email a blogger about sponsorship on their blog and when they email me back it might be out of my budget. Don’t be afraid to email that person back and let them know that it’s not in your budget now, but hopefully you’ll be able to contact them again in the future. They get it! They’ve been there too at some point. You don’t need to feel bad, after all the point of sponsoring other blogs is to grow your own blog so that you can someday charge for ad space on your blog and be able to afford to sponsor that bigger blogger.
  • A blogger reaches out to you letting you know how much they love your blog and/or shop and want to know if you’ll sponsor them. If you aren’t familiar with their blog, it doesn’t fit with your niche or your marketing dollars are all spent, don’t feel bad if you need to say no. You can always revisit the sponsorship option at a later date. I’ve had to say no to sponsoring bloggers who contact me simply because I’ve already maxed out my marketing budget.
  • This last one indirectly ties into sponsorships. There are times when bloggers reach out to me that love my handmade shop and/or blog and would love me to participate in a giveaway they’ve got going on. While there are times when I will break my own rules, 90% of the time I need to stick with my budget and doing that means saying No to this person if I’m not sponsoring them. And here’s why. If I’m sponsoring 5 blogs that means that I’m giving away either a shop credit, item from my shop or a large ad space 5 times that month, which costs money. It’s directly tied into my budget. If I then do a giveaway on a blog I’m not sponsoring essentially I’m now loosing money because I’m going over budget to do that giveaway.

It’s important for me to say that it’s ok to say yes instead of no to some of these scenarios I’ve listed above if you really believe it could benefit your blog and the potential gain is greater than the loss. I just thought I would give you some reasons to not be afraid to say No when it’s necessary. Having a blog is a wonderful thing and so is being a part of the blogging community, but if you go broke doing it you’re going to end up might sad and even frustrated.

5. Know your Google Analytics

Have it tied into your blog. Check it each month to see which blogs you are sponsoring are driving consistent and even great new traffic to your blog. If they are, great, keep sponsoring that blog. If they aren’t, then maybe you need to go back to switch it up a little. Personally I like to see the blogs I pay to sponsor in the top 15 referrers in my Google Analytics alongside sites such as Facebook, Twitter, my shop, Pinterest and StumbleUpon.

Let your Google Analytics help drive some of the sponsorship decisions you make. There have been times when I’ll notice referrals coming from a blog that I’m not sponsoring and it will encourage me to become a sponsor to keep that traffic coming. On the other side of that, many of my large sponsors pay to be my large sponsors because I’ve mentioned them at one point or another in a post and it continually drives great traffic to their blog.

So Here are some things to look for:

  • Sponsor blogs you are familiar with and even love! You know why because if you’re a loyal reader and commenter, you’re aware of what they’re already doing for their current sponsors and you’ll know what to expect from your sponsorship.
  • Look for blogs that offer great sizes in their ad space. It’s so much easier to create a button that is more of a square shape than rectangle, so I try to sponsor blogs that give me great sizing options.
  • Look for how engaging the blogger is with their readers.
  • Is the site clean? Easy to navigate? Does it take forever to load?
  • How often do they post?
  • Are they doing a good job supporting their current sponsors?
And really quick before I sign off, if you’re going to sponsor someone’s blog, please create a blog button that is click worthy. If you don’t put your best foot forward in that small space you’ve paid for, it doesn’t matter what the blogger your sponsoring says to her readers, people may not be intrigued enough by your ad space to click on it. Remember, that’s the first thing their reader see’s that represents you and so how you present yourself is so important.

Please feel free to email me and ask me any questions you might have.

ragstostitchesblog [at] gmail [dot] com