What is your blog worth and how much should you be charging for ads and post? From what I can tell, these are the burning questions on the blogosphere. While you make be thinking of your Thanksgiving shopping list, I'm dreaming up ways for you to make more money. You can thank me later!
What are you worth?
In previous posts I have spelled out ways to monetize your blog and ideas for making the most of time devoted to your budding business.
This week I've set aside the topic of putting a price tag on your blog. First, let's tackle banner ads. You should off at least two different sizes. The most attractive of which is a leaderboard or an ad that is at the top of your blogs landing page. This should be the highest priced spot you offer. If you look at Momtrends right now you'll see that the wonderful folks at www.dabbawallabags.com have purchased this prime real estate for November. This is the highest priced ad on most sites. I won't tell you what they paid (a girl needs her secrets) but I will tell you the first leaderboard I sold about 18 months ago went for $250 and it was the bargain of the century. I learned quickly I was selling my brand short.
Other common sizes include skyscrapers (long and narrow 120x60)
and button size 175x175 square.
Depending upon placement--the higher the better--these should be priced in a sliding scale by size. You can pick whatever sizes you want for your advertising, but for the sake of design, don't go too wild. Stick to 3-4 sizes max.
The timing: Charging for adspace normally happens when you start hitting around 10,000 pageviews a month.
That's great but how much?
What the market will bear. Sorry. I can't get more specific. The only way to find what your blog is worth is to see what brands and companies will pay. Get a number in you head on how much ad revenue you would like to make in a month. Then conjure up how many ads you think you can sell.
For example, say you are a newish blogger and aim to make $500 a month and you have spots for 6 ads. Price the leaderboard at $300 the skyscraper at $100 and the 4 small button banners at $25.
Take action: Put together a media kit and start sending it out to your business contacts. If after a few months you get no interest, lower the prices or cut multi-month deals. Here's an example: Offer the leaderboard for 6 months at a rate of $600 or 50% off.
Alternatively if your ad space gets snapped up 1,2,3, know you are charging too little. Honor all the ads you have already sold and raise your rates by 10%. So that leaderboard just went up to $550. Keep doing this until you get pushback--then you know you are priced right.
But wait don't stop there: As traffic grows, increase the ad costs. Ideally you would adjust your rates on an annual basis
What about sponsored posts?
There isn't a price where I will cut and paste a brand's message on Momtrends. But you may have a price. If California Pizza Kitchen wants you to sing their praises on a daily basis you better charge a lot. Think about how every agreement effects your messaging.
That being said working with brands to send a message can still make you money. This is what I like to call "sponsored content." Let's say Lexus contacted me about test-driving a car (which they haven't but they should as we are in the market for a new family vehicle). The hypothetical pitch didn't include any compensation.
I woould politely reply in an email thanking them for the opportunity but explaining that facilitating this story would require video footage and travel. My expenses would total $150 and I would need those covered. This, in essence, is now a sponsored post, but I am covering my costs and now the experience make sense.
I can write about the car in my own style and not feel beholden to the brand. Figure out what it is worth to you to work on a specific campaign.
Super, but $150 a post isn't going to pay my babysitter. What else have you got?
Well, I'd go back to Lexus after my excellently worded review and offer them a series of six posts on classic American drives. This time I'd put a fee of $500 per post in the proposal. You get the idea. Start small and build.
What about contest?
I don't think contests are that effective. A well-written feature is much better. If a brand is desperate to post a contest charge them a minimum of $25--even if your blog is tiny it's a lot of work to run a contest. I know, I know, you want exposure. But folks who enter contests are not the same as your core audience. Sure I love to reward my readers with contests, but I really love to reward them with compelling features. Make sense?
Let me know your other pressing questions and I'll try to cover them in this Blogging for Business series.
Momtrends was not paid for this post (but we really should be given a book deal for all this wisdom we are sharing)