- Make sure you've already branded your blog (this applies to your online shop as well, if that's what you're advertising!) The main goal of sponsoring other blogs is to get traffic AND see some conversion! People won't subscribe to your blog if they don't know what it's all about, you need to offer something to make them stay.
- Invest on a great design. People will just click the exit button if your design isn't visually appealing. Give them a reason to look around. Remember: people have short attention span!
- Build interesting posts. Great content is a MUST before investing on ads! If you have no content to offer to your potential audience, you're wasting money and time. Think of it this way: If you read your own blog, do you feel like you're already able to convey your message to your readers? Do you think they'll know that you're a lifestyle blogger? fashion? beauty? If yes, then great! If not, work on it. Be patient.
- Set a monthly budget. During the first few months, I strongly suggest that you sponsor blogs that offer affordable rates. Don't jump in to "big" blogs right away!
When I sponsor other blogs, I would be lying if I said that the number of followers doesn't matter. However, that's not the only factor that I consider when I'm about to pay someone to advertise my blog. Here's a quick checklist of mine!
- Does the ad offer a sponsor spotlight? (giveaway, guest post, interview, q&a, social media mentions, etc)
- Is the blogger well engaged with the readers? Does she reply to tweets, comments, etc?
- Is she present on other social media sites as well?
- Look for trends. Does she have repeat advertisers? (That says a lot!)
- Will people see my ad? Is her sidebar well organised?
Other things to consider:
- Advertise within your own niche - Imagine that you are selling housewares, would you advertise on Seventeen magazine? Of course not! Seventeen's target market are teenagers and young adults, they are reading the magazine for some love/sex advice, not a frying pan! Same goes with blogs; If you are a fashion blogger, maybe you want to reconsider the food blog that you want to sponsor. That food blogger's readers are people who want to see recipes and special ingredients, not the latest trends from Modcloth!
- Make a nice blog button - Ensure that your blog button is attractive and one of a kind. There are other ads on the sidebar as well, it's like a competition! People don't have all day to click the ads one by one, so be creative (or hire someone!)
- Advertising doesn't always involve money - There are a lot of bloggers who are looking for contributors and guest posters! There are ones who even allow their readers to host a giveaway on their blog for free (hello??? jump in!!!)
- Social media is your advertising bff - #hashtag, retweets, mentions, etc. Those are free but effective types of advertisement. If you are having a giveaway, ask your friends to help you spread the word around! I'm pretty sure there are a lot of people who are willing to lend you a hand with those types of stuff. Don't be afraid to ask (do it nicely though!)
- I started paying for ads when my blog was about 3 months old.
- Personally, I would rather buy the 'feature' or 'large' ad than the tiny ones. Yes, it costs more, but in the long run, I believe it's a much better investment. If my little ad will just sit on the sidebar without any features, I feel like I just wasted money. Go big or go home!
- If the ads offer guest posts, I make sure that my guest post is relevant to the blogger's content. I would never dare make a post filled with filthy language and green jokes if I'm sponsoring a family friendly blog. On the other hand, I would not talk about my goals and aspirations and other professional stuff if I'm guest posting on a humorous blog. Yeah, you get the point.
Hope this series helped you in some way!
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