Purchasing Advertising From Bloggers

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.

Advertising on Blogs: A Small Business Persepective

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 from Harmony Fine ArtsBarb 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.

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Dealing with Blog Guilt

Most bloggers begin blogging as a hobby — an outlet of expression or a way to stay in touch with far away relatives. But as that hobby grows and consumes more of your energy, the blog can take on a life of its own. Sometimes it even seems that the blog is demanding attention that you never anticipated investing.

Before you know it, you are dealing with blog guilt.

Obligation to Blog Readers

As your subscriber numbers grow, so can the feeling of obligation to your readers.  You begin to be concerned that your readers will worry about you if you do not publish your normal three posts a week.

You imagine your readers impatiently waiting for the next installment in your blog series.

You don’t want to disappoint your readers, and guilt sets in.

Answering Comments

As much as we all love comments, there is a point in the blogger’s life when comments can evoke tremendous guilt. When there were three comments on a post, it was joyous to reply to each one both by email and on the blog post.

But when comments increase to twenty, fifty, seventy, or one hundred, personally acknowledging them becomes a tremendous investment of your online time. You face the choice of replying to comments or creating more content.

That is a terrible place for a blogger. And the blog guilt washes over you.

Obligation to Sponsors and Advertisers

If you have formed partnerships with companies you love, there can be an added pressure to keep churning out posts even when the muses are not whispering to you. After all, that advertiser wants eyeballs. No new content means no new eyeballs on his ad.

In the excitement of scoring another paying ad slot, you may have agreed to publish sponsored posts that later (once the money is spent) don’t excite you at all. Now it’s time to deliver what you promised. But your heart isn’t in it, and you feel guilty about that.

Meeting Your Own Goals

Guilt can also stem from your own unrealized goals. Maybe you had lofty new year’s resolutions about blog traffic, editorial calendars, social media interaction, and SEO. Now that the year is almost finished, you realize that  virtually no advances have been made. It feels like you are spinning your wheels and that you are a blogging failure.

You can get bogged down in the guilt of not following through on your personal blogging goals.

Measuring up to the Expectation of Your Online Peers

Online networks can be a powerful force of encouragement. But if you feel that you are not measuring up to their expectations (real or perceived), the sense of community is marred by guilt.

You want to support all your blogging friends by reading their posts and promoting them via social media. But as your network grows, it becomes clear that there is no way you can read their blogs and maintain your own as well.

You fall into the pit of guilt over your failure to give back to your online peers.

Answering Blog Guilt

Everywhere you turn, there is potential for blog guilt. It can transform a pleasant hobby into a nightmare of duty and never measuring up.

Here are two easy steps to nixing the blog guilt and restoring the joy of blogging.

1. Regain ownership of your blog

Your blog is yours, not your readers’ and not your advertisers’. It belongs to you. So what you do with it is your choice. You are not under any obligation to meet the expectations of your subscribers or commenters. (In fact, most of your readers probably do not have those expectations anyway. You may be creating all of that in your mind.)

Set limits for yourself — realistic limits — and stick to them. You may even want to share them on your blog so that your readers are crystal clear about how much of yourself you are offering online.

2. Learn how to say no.

While you should be careful not to succumb to a false sense of obligation, you also must guard against promising things you cannot fulfill. It’s flattering to be invited to guest post, contribute to a group blog, run social media for another organization, and join a special group of bloggers. But if you are worn so thin that you cannot do anything well, you are going to feel guilt. And rightly so.

Saying no means you can say yes to the things you are truly passionate about and prevent the guilt of not following through. Learn your limits and stay within the guilt-free boundaries of them.

I’d love to hear what areas of blog guilt plague you and how you tackle them.

You are invited to learn more about blogging and social media at BEECH Retreat, January 31 – February 2, 2013. Soak up wisdom from keynote speakers Michael Hyatt and Crystal Paine. Implement new blogging strategies in hands-on workshops in the luxurious South Seas Island setting of Captiva Island, FL. Your ticket includes resort lodging, all meals, and airport transfer.

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Three Reasons You Want Search Engine Traffic

Are you a blogger who is intimidated by search engine optimization (SEO)? Does it seem cold and technical or maybe even a bit manipulative?

It shouldn’t.

Search engine traffic is a must for the serious blogger.  It is not about being sneaky but about speaking the language of the search engines so that they can determine what your blog is about and direct the right people there.

Here are four reasons why you should invest in learning about SEO and work to get more search engine traffic.

1. You Have a Limitless Readership Base

You have your loyal readers who subscribe to your posts, visit your blog, comment, and share. But that number is a mere fraction of the possible audience online.

Dream big. Think beyond your own subscribers. What if you could reach twice as many people? Three times as many? Ten times?

With SEO you can. If your valuable content on topics that people search for is properly optimized for search engines, you will be discovered by hundreds and thousands of people who otherwise would never land on your site.

2. You Can Survive Periods of No Posting

If you are relying only on your loyal subscriber base, you will have traffic mostly when you publish a new post. But what about holidays, vacations, or family crises when you don’t publish new posts? Your traffic will fall off, and you have to keep churning out the content to hold up your numbers.

If you have a steady stream of search engine traffic, your blog will still be getting hits even without fresh content. Remember that there is a limitless audience out there. You have the potential of reaching the entire world if they are searching for what you write about.

3. You Do Not Have to Rely on Social Media Promotion

If you have steady search engine traffic, you don’t have to work so hard at attracting visitors through social media. When you take a break from Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, your numbers don’t bottom out. People are still accessing your helpful articles through the help of search engines that direct them there.

Are you convinced yet that search engine traffic is advantageous to your blog? You increase your audience potential and remove some of that pressure to constantly crank out content and promote it on social media. Once you build up a base of search engine optimized, evergreen content, you can coast smoothly on a consistent traffic base, growing all the while.

You are invited to learn more about SEO, blogging, and social media at BEECH Retreat, January 31 – February 2, 2013. Soak up wisdom from keynote speakers Michael Hyatt and Crystal Paine. Implement new blogging strategies in hands-on workshops in the luxurious South Seas Island setting of Captiva Island, FL. Your ticket includes resort lodging, all meals, and airport transfer.

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Why You Need Multiple Income Streams for Your Blog

If earning money is one of your blog goals, you should consider multiple income streams.

Why?

The Internet is unpredictable. For that matter, life is unpredictable.

Multiple Income Streams

Affiliate Commissions

If you are an affiliate, you never know when the terms may change, excluding you from the program. Even if you do stick with a program, you will find that affiliate income is not stable or predictable.  Booming sales from one month could slow to a trickle or disappear altogether in a matter of weeks.

As an example, I am an affiliate for a company that has earned me as much as $600 in a single month. But as I’m writing this post , my monthly commissions for that same company are sitting at a measly $3. (This is over half-way through the month. It’s going to be a lean one to say the least.)

Each affiliate program has its own payout minimums and dates. Even when you are earning commissions, sometimes you have to wait up to ninety days to actually get that money into your bank account.

Ad Networks and Ad Space

Placing ads on your blog is one of the least time consuming ways to earn extra money. But just like affiliate sales, you never know when the bottom might drop out. We have all heard horror stories of people losing steady ad income after being banned from a major network over a mysterious  violation of terms.

Advertisers may opt to invest their dollars elsewhere if they are not seeing sufficient return on investment. You are left scrambling to fill the slot with another suitable company. Meanwhile, that income is gone.

Your Own Products and Services

Even the income streams that are in your direct control, such as selling an eBook, freelancing, or speaking engagements, are susceptible to the fluctuations of seasonal buying.

I have found that I sell far more eBooks at the beginning of each academic semester because my niche is in education. Other months, when no one is thinking about school, are less exciting in terms of income.

Freelance and consulting work also tends to come in waves.

You may have the time to invest in a certain money making plan that becomes unrealistic when life situations change. Maybe you have a baby or someone becomes ill. You just never know when an income stream may slow or dry up.

For a part-time work-at-home-mom, a stable income can be elusive. Multiple streams of income are the answer.

Multiple Income Streams

Even if you are pleased with the income you are now earning, you never know when the bottom may drop out of your moneymaking project, leaving you disappointed and scrambling for other options.

This is exactly why your blogging goals should include multiple streams of income. Resist the urge to become complacent with a single, profitable money maker. Instead, diversify your income so that if one area is lean, another component can make up for the shortage.

If you have a handful of monetization strategies, you will be better insulated from fluctuations. As an added bonus, when you try different money making projects, you will discover what is most profitable for you and what you are most skilled at. Sticking with a sole method not only limits earning potential but also your satisfaction.

Before I started doing consulting work, I had no idea how rewarding I would find it. It was a huge step to move from affiliate sales to offering my services as an expert. But I have found interacting with clients one of my favorite work tasks. If I had never broadened my view beyond affiliate links, I would have missed out on the enjoyment (and profit) of working with companies to build their social media strategy.

You are invited to learn more about blogging and social media at BEECH Retreat, January 31 – February 2, 2013. Soak up wisdom from keynote speakers Michael Hyatt and Crystal Paine. Implement new blogging strategies in hands-on workshops in the luxurious South Seas Island setting of Captiva Island, FL. Your ticket includes resort lodging, all meals, and airport transfer.

Subscribe to BEECH Retreat by Email