By Holly Reisem Hanna
When I got the idea for my blog back in 2007, I knew that I wanted to monetize it. To be able to do this, I had a graphic designer create an advertising tab and page, as well as install a WordPress plugin to accommodate the actual banner ads. I did lots of research to figure out how much to charge, and after 15 months of hard work, I was finally able to launch The Work at Home Woman.
To make my site appear more popular than it was, I filled up all of my ad spaces with affiliate marketing ads. This made it look like I already had advertisers in place, and it gave me the opportunity to make money with the small amount of traffic that I was getting.
While I was eager to make money on my blog, my primary focus was on producing great content. Part of my content strategy was to interview other successful work-at-home women. One of those interviews was with well-established humor blogger, Kelcey Kintner of the Mama Bird Dairies. After the interview was published, Kelcey was kind enough to post a link to interview on her site, which led one of her readers here.
This reader liked what she saw and purchased a banner ad on my site. All in all, it took me a little over two months to get my first blog advertiser. While it may seem like my first advertiser landed in my lap, I will tell you that I was out in the blogosphere commenting, reading, marketing my blog, and soaking up every piece of blogging information that I could get my hands on.
It took a lot of effort to get the word out about my blog, but I was determined to make it work. I also LOVED what I was doing, so it never seemed like work.
Here are some other methods that I have used to get blog advertisers.
1. Make it Known
While I talked about it briefly, this is the absolute first thing you need to do to let companies know that you're open for business. Make sure that your blog is set up to host ads, and that you have a prominent page on your blog discussing your advertising options. To get an idea of how you want to set up your framework, check out other blogs within your niche, as well as your favorites. Doing this step will give you a ton of ideas on how you should establish your setup.
You may also want to create a media kit which goes into more detail about your demographics, web traffic, social media footprint, and what differentiates you from other bloggers. Having these details in place allows for you to receive passive ad inquiries, which requires little to no work on your end.
2. Social Media
Follow businesses that you’re interested in working with and share their content with your audience. Make useful and helpful comments on their updates and interact with them as much as possible. I’ve had numerous companies contact me, because of a RT (Re-tweet on Twitter) or interaction on Google Plus or Pinterest. The more genuinely active you are on social media, the more opportunities you have to be seen by potential advertisers.
3. Email Prospecting
Thoroughly research companies within your niche and email them a short and sweet sponsorship proposal. I’ve done this numerous times with many successful outcomes. They key is to be personal and show the company what you can do for their business; remember this is not about you!
If you’re having trouble finding a contact for the marketing or PR department, try looking on LinkedIn, Salesforce, or do a Google search with the company's name and the words “press release”. If the company at hand has sent out a press release their PR or marketing department contact info will be listed at the bottom of it. You may be able to find another blogger who is willing to share their contacts with you — just remember to build and nurture the relationship first. Otherwise, you'll likely get declined.
4. Put the Ball Back in Their Court
Over the years, I've received a lot of email from PR companies and marketing departments asking me to add links to my site for their clients, spread the word about an article they wrote, write an article for them, or offer discounts or coupons to my audience for free. While being asked to work for free is annoying — it can be an opportunity in disguise.
If I feel like there is a good fit between the audiences, I may send out a courtesy update for them. Then I will let them about my advertising solutions for more in-depth promotions. I would say about 30 – 40 percent take me up on my offer. Remember there has to be a good fit between your audiences.
5. Sign Up For Their Affiliate Program
Let me start by saying this doesn’t happen a bunch, but it can happen. When I find a company that I want to work with, I check to see if they have an affiliate program. If they do, I sign up and integrate the campaign into my content. If they start seeing a decent amount of traffic, sign-ups, or sales coming from my site, they often email me to do further promotions. I have had this happen many times over the years.
Want More Ideas? Check Out How These Bloggers Scored Their First Blog Advertiser:
Stacie Connerty, The Divine Miss Mommy – “I landed my first paying blog advertiser after six months. I had worked with the company a few times, and then I offered them ad space on an ongoing basis. They said yes right away and paid what I asked.”
Tracie Nall, From Tracie – “The first paid work I got from my blog was not something I went after or applied for; it came in the form of an email from a PR company I had never heard of, offering me money to try a hamburger and write about it. They found my blog, and were able to gather all the information they needed to determine I was a good fit before they even contacted me.”
Anna Thurman, Real Ways to Earn Money Online – “It actually took me a year of blogging to get my first advertiser. When I first started blogging, I was hesitant to approach advertisers directly, so I waited for them to come to me — one reason why it took as long as it did. This advertiser approached me because they discovered I had written a review of their company.”
Miranda Grimm, WAH Adventures – “My first advertiser contacted me by email and offered a year contract agreement. It was over a year into blogging. I think it was about 18 months into blogging. It was so exciting and made me feel legit.”
How did you get your first blog advertiser? How long did it take?
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