Perhaps the most overwhelming part of running a successful blog is the business of blogging. Pitches that come to you, pitches you make to brands, sponsorships, ambassadorships if you’re fortunate, and the myriad of other advertising possibilities can start to pile up. How you manage these opportunities while balancing your personal brand will make or break your blog in the long run. There are two essential things all of you bloggers must do in order to navigate the seas of selling yourself (without selling out): know your worth, and choose your partners wisely.
Knowing Your Worth as a Blogger
Yes, current marketing climates are relying on influencers and bloggers more and more. There are more opportunities than ever before, and there are many well-intentioned people out there telling bloggers to know their own worth. Unfortunately there aren’t as many people actually explaining how to calculate it.
You must not only be confident enough to ask for what you are worth, but you must also be able to demonstrate that value to a brand accurately. Do brands need influencers? Yes. Does that automatically mean they need you? Not necessarily. Not every influencer is the perfect fit for every campaign. Just because you have a voice doesn’t mean you have the right voice. You must know yourself, and your audience. That means your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Be willing to assess and adjust often. Once you have evaluated these strengths, create a media kit (we recommend a single page, like a resume) and keep it updated. You should tailor it to each pitch just as you would tailor a resume to a particular job you are seeking.
Questions Bloggers Need to Ask Themselves
Ask yourself these questions before beginning any new campaign with a brand partner:
- How much traffic does my blog get? What are the unique hits vs. total pageviews?
- What’s the bounce rate of my blog? And number of returning visitors?
- What category of my blog gets the most visits?
- How many followers do I have on my social platforms? Are any of them fake?
- When I post, how many comments, likes, or shares/retweets do I get? And are they real?
- How much money do I invest back into my brand? Do I boost my posts with a budget to gain more exposure?
- Do I have additional skills that make me stand out above the crowd?
- Do I have additional education or professional experience that differentiates me from other potential brand ambassadors or partners?
- Do I focus on a specific niche that sets me apart from other blogs?
- How often do I work with brands?
- Is this campaign special, or just one of the many sponsored posts I’ll be publishing in the near future?
Choose Your Blogging Partners Wisely
When faced with a potential new partnership, you should always ask yourself “am I passionate about this brand?” If the answer is no, move on. When you aren’t passionate about a campaign or brand, it’s painfully obvious to other brands and your readers. If you remember nothing else from this post, take that with you.
Choosing the brands you partner with is kind of like picking which your lunch table in school. Good or bad, the friends you associate with give outsiders a certain impression of you. It’s similar with brand partnerships. Case in point–if there’s a brand on your “bucket list” that you are dying to work with and their main competitor pitches you, you should probably pass. Never forget that your participation in campaign is your endorsement. Also like school, you don’t want to be “that blogger” who is a little too friendly with all the brands. To be blunt: don’t be a brand floozy. When too much of your content is sponsored, it loses its impact. Evaluate each campaign that is presented to you very carefully and determine if it fits within your brand’s voice.
Remember There Are Other Ways To Make Money Blogging
If you’re feeling pressured to take more sponsored posts because you need or want the extra income, remember there are other ways to make money from your blog. Consider:
Teaching/Mentoring Other Bloggers – If you have skills that other bloggers need, you can monetize that in the form of classes, workshops, and consulting.
Affiliate Networks – Affiliate networks allow you to make money from products you’d normally be mentioning anyway. Some of the most popular ones are Amazon, Conjunction Junction, Rakuten, and ShareASale.
Display Advertising – If your site gets a lot of traffic, brands may wish to buy advertising space in the margins or footers of your blog, which is a relatively low maintenance way to earn some extra money from your site. Networks such as Google Adwords are also a possibility, but income from them varies.
Speaking Engagements – Many organizations are looking for experts to participate in panels and other speaking engagements. Putting yourself out there for these opportunities may be a way to earn some extra money indirectly from your blog.
The business of blogging may not be fun to talk about for some. In fact, money can be a downright taboo subject. But the reality is blogging is very much a business these days, and must be thought of as such. Every blogger is an entrepreneur, and your voice is your brand. Taking good care of it is taking care of yourself. It’s easy to get caught up who gets what product, or who attends what event, but just try not to. In the long run, bloggers who do take on too many sponsorships are not the ones who last. They end up losing all credibility. Staying honest and true to yourself is the best way to make it in the blogging world.
For a condensed guide to the tips above, check out this convenient infographic. Pin it for later!