As the owner of a small homeschooling curriculum business, I look for several things in a blog when I am looking to buy ad space and work with that blogger. My advertising budget is limited and I hope to find places to broaden my market in a way that makes sense and helps spread my brand name. This past year was my first year to actually purchase advertising and I am happy with how it has helped grow my customer base and make my brand name, Harmony Fine Arts, more recognizable.
Yes, I look at numbers when I am considering a blog as an advertising partner but the numbers all by themselves are not the most important thing. If I have a relationship with that blogger, I am more apt to advertise with them. That relationship can be built as they purchase a product from me and they use it and blog about it. They could be frequent commenters on my blogs. Bloggers who participate in my blog carnival or contribute to my newsletter also draw my attention. I also notice bloggers who write and share in other carnivals that I read like the Weekly Wrap-Up, the Homeschool Showcase, or Collage Friday. Good writing and a personal relationship will always trump numbers in my world.
Relationships-Well Written Blogs-Passion
I look for bloggers like Maureen at Spell Outloud . She has wonderful content and consistently delivers relevant and practical tips for her loyal readers.. Her blog is well organized and her media kit was readily available when I asked for more information.. Before I placed my ad with Maureen, I read her other reviews and I could tell she actually used the product and talked about her actual experience with the product. I look for advertisers that offer more than just an ad on the sidebar. As part of Maureen’s advertising cost she includes a review, mentions in social media, and is active on Pinterest which are important to me as a growing curriculum business.
Another blogger that I purchased advertising space from is Amy at Living and Learning At Home. Amy reached out to me and asked if I would be a part of her Trivium Tuesday Link-Up. After reading her blog, I began to participate in her link-up and we have grown a relationship through that venue. She has a wonderfully practical and well written blog that she consistently posts to each week. Her blog is well organized and pleasant to look at and read. She may not have the big numbers but that means that I can purchase an ad space for a small amount to the loyal readers she has built up around her excellent content. She is also enthusiastic about Harmony Fine Arts (read her review here) and that shines through when she talks about it with her readers. I am willing to grow with Amy.
Choosing Blogs From Databases
Homeschool Blogging has a data base where bloggers of all sizes and homeschooling companies that are looking for ad spaces can link up. When I view the list there it is a little overwhelming and I can’t spend a lot of time digging for places to investigate.
- I eliminate blogs that don’t seem to have completed all the fields in the sign up process.
- I then look for blogs that seem to match up to my product which is a Charlotte Mason/Classical styled art and music appreciation program. If they list either of those things in their description, than I check out their blog.
- I look for blogs that are posted to consistently, that are organized and appealing, and blogs that talk about homeschooling. In other words, at first glance, would this blog be a good match for me as an advertiser and bring me a new audience? If not, I move on quickly.
- When I do find a match, I am going to look for a button or tab that says, “Advertising” or “Promotion”. I want to quickly find out a little more about their advertising strategy and cost. The more information I can glean easily from a blogger, the more apt I am to contact them for more detailed information.
What About Small Blogs?
Even if a blogger has small numbers, as a small homeschooling company I would welcome bloggers who would approach me and pitch me for an advertising space or campaign. I have grown my company slowly as my homeschooling years have wound down and I am still learning the ins and outs of promotion myself. I would gladly pay a smaller passionate blogger to help me spread the word about my business. If you have a few hundred loyal readers and consistently write quality blog entries, you will catch my attention. I can build a relationship with you and we can help each other grow and provide for our families.
My best advice is to overcome the idea that you are too small to start selling advertising. Work on building a loyal readership by consistently providing excellent content that is well organized. If you want to be seen, be active in social media, write for blog carnivals, and reach out to companies that are a good match for your homeschooling style and have products you can be passionate about.
Barb McCoy (also known as Harmony Art Mom) is the owner of Harmony Fine Arts , a growing art and music appreciation curriculum plan for homeschoolers. She hopes to share her passion in the fine arts with other homeschooling moms and inspire them to keep art and music appreciation as a regular part of their homeschooling week. She blogs as at Harmony Art Mom and Handbook of Nature Study. She will be attending the BEECH Retreat this January and hopes to build relationships with bloggers who will help carry Harmony Fine Arts even farther around the world.