Got your attention? In the past week I had three specific opportunities to touch on this topic. First, I teamed up with Beth Feldman (aka Rolemommy) on one of her PR365 seminars. Beth and I talked to bloggers about ways to build a brand that is compelling to advertisers.
Have a blog worth reading
No advertiser will want to be a part of your blog if it doesn't have fresh, interesting content. If you want to make money, you've got to conistently post and keep it interesting.
Build a community
Nope, your parents and co-workers aren't enough. You've got to find other members to build your readership. The best ways to do this? Offer up your services as a guest blogger. It's an especially good time to do so as we go into the summer and bloggers take vacations. Help them by writing a post--you'll get a link and nice exposure. Become a commenter. I love all the readers who weigh in on the fashions at BonBonRose--Kristin gets hundreds of commenters and you know what? She visits everyone who visits her--all good blogging karma and a way to build readers..
Show your worth
Have your stats ready in a handy-dandy media kit. This is a document that tells a potential advertiser:
- who you are
- who reads you
- what advertising options are available (i.e banner sizes, text ads, paid posts, dedicated emails)
- your rates
Join a network
Start small with google ads (if you have the patience to master them) and affiliate ads. Affiliate ads come from spots like Linkshare and Shareasale. You get paid if one of your readers clicks a links and shops. It makes sense to match the affiliates to your site. For instance I would not post and affiliate ad for Bass Pro Shops since I don't hunt or fish, but I would post a link for Diapers.com since I do have readers who buy diapers. Here is a list of affiliates.
Large ad networks deliver ads that generate revenues by clicks and page views. The more views the more cash you earn. You'll usually need to have a bit of traffic (say 5,000 views a month and up) for these: Lifetime Moms, RGM, BlogHer and Juice Box Jungle. Bloggers like Heather at Dooce, earn six figures off of these gigs--because they have great communities and great content.
Don't put up junk
Try to pick ads and affiliates that blend with your blog and actually enhance the reader's experience. Want to see a site that has beautiful integrated ads? Check out Gabby's Design Mom. This is what we should all aspire to.
Later in the week, I attended a MediaBistro event titled "Make Money Blogging." Sadly I didn't have any new revelations. It was all pretty much the same information I hear again and again--Create a good blog, market yourself wisely and most importantly, be in it for the love of the work, not the big bucks.
There was one great tip from Jauntsetter: Feature a well-known blogger (someone with a huge audience) on your blog. Dorothy McGivney wanted to make a splash with her 2008 Jauntsetter launch. She contacted Dodai Stewart of Jezebel.com. Dodai has a huge following. On the day the interview with Dodai posted, Dodai ran a link on Jezebel and Jauntsetter got 5000 visitors in a day. Pretty nice, free way to drive traffic and attract advertisers.
I found it interesting that the rate has not changed much for blog posts. Most bloggers still get $10 a post (that's the rate at curbed and urlesque). No you won't make much money this way, but you can gain important knowledge and get exposure for your own work. So paid blogging gigs can often make sense.
Finally I wrapped my week up promoting a virtual trunk show with Polarn O. Pyret. I've been working with the brand for about six months. It started out as a feature, then built into an banner ad, now I am partnering with them on events. This, my dear readers, is the best way to make money blogging. Promoting brands you love and trust. It's a win-win. I want Polarn O. Pyret to have a great US launch because it is high quality and high style. They want to advertise because my readers value fashion and style. They created an ad just for Momtrends. Then we build on our relationship and co-hosted an event. I earned a portion of the proceeds from the four-day shopping extravaganza, my friends got great clothes at a 20% discount and Jennifer got new customers. Ca-ching.