Where and when to begin?
This was the hardest part for me. After doing a bit of research, I realized there was no “magic” number- start when you think you can sell ads! I read a few blog posts on the topic and the suggested number of “500 followers” seemed to pop up a lot, so I waited until I at least had that many. I have purchased many ads where the blogger had less than 500 followers, but knew they’d do an exceptional job promoting. I personally waited until I had around 700 on Bloglovin’ and 400 on Twitter.
When dreaming up my own ad options, I considered what I’d loved from blogs I’d sponsored in the past: what worked? What didn’t? What brought me the most traffic? How did they promote me? Why did I buy THEIR ads? I also considered time: how many sponsors can I manage effectively? I settled on six and decided to offer two of each of my ad options per month. When sponsoring other blogs, I loved the ones who put time and attention into reading and promoting my posts and that was important for me to emulate. Each of my ads comes with Twitter promotion of new posts and I promote the archives of those who purchase the On the Rocks or Old Fashioned ads. I also set up a group Pinterest board that sponsors can pin to throughout the month, and I schedule their pins through BoardBooster as well. To make sure ads weren’t just a face on my sidebar, I host a sponsor introduction and spotlight at the beginning of the ad month. There are also guest post and interview-style options, as well as the option to join a bi-monthly giveaway, with On the Rocks sponsors receiving one free link. I try to make it worth your money!
And don’t bite off more than you can chew. Accepting 20 sponsors a month might be great for your wallet, but can you really manage that number? If you say you’re going to promote and read and engage, you need to follow through. Get familiar with social media scheduling and managing your time. This will take trial and error.
There are many ways to do this, but those options worked best for me, and, most importantly, I think they provide my sponsors optimal exposure throughout the month.
Again, I looked to other bloggers. I knew how much was too much for me to spend, and compared prices to similarly-sized blogs. That’s my best advice. I did raise my prices last month as I’ve grown in followers across the board, but I’d like to always keep my ads under $20. Blogging is an expensive hobby and you should always get your money’s worth.
Once you’ve settled on options and pricing, you need to post the options on your site.
First things first: you need an advertising page. Pages are simple to set up on Blogger and WordPress. You will need a place for your sponsorship options to live!
There are hundreds of posts dedicated to the two most popular ad sites: Passionfruit and Adproval. I have only used Passionfruit for my blog, and am a satisfied customer! The setup is incredibly simple and they do everything for you. Their customer service is fantastic. And they use PayPal which is my preferred method of purchasing. I am more likely to buy an ad from a blogger who uses Passionfruit because of PayPal. My only complaint with Passionfruit is the cost: $9 per month and they take a small percentage of each ad you sell. I’d be happier if they did one or the other, but both seems overkill.
But… they do walk you through installation. Once you setup your ads the first time, you won’t have to do it again! New ads start automatically once approved. The ease of use is worth the cost.
Once your ads are installed, you need to communicate with your sponsors. I send an email to each sponsor at the beginning of the ad cycle with expectations and information. I also include a Google Doc with every email requesting archive and social media links. I try to check in during the middle of the month and make sure I’m doing what I promised and keep communication open in case the blogger wants something specific promoted.
Your Advertising Page
I won’t walk you through setting up a page, but I there are a few things I think are important to include:
- Blog Stats
- Testimonials (you can’t add these right away, but should ask your sponsors to write one at the end of the ad)
- An elevator speech. Tell everyone what you will do to help their blog or business.
- Where the money goes. This isn’t for everyone, but I like to for those who sponsor me to know that I’m working to promote myself, too. The money I make on ads goes right back into marketing my blog.
Are you considering starting a sponsorship program? What questions do you have?
I’m still offering 25% off all ad spaces using promo code “Blogging Basics”!
Go check out what Anne has to say about starting a program! She has fabulous options and offers the best advice.
And make sure to enter this chic Kate Spade Wristlet giveaway!