Direct Advertising is a great way to monetize your blog. It simply means that there is no intermediary between you and the advertiser: you are contacted by the company or their PR firm for product reviews, sponsorship or advertising. That means it's up to you to be the blog that gets contacted.
How can you make that happen? You won't be able to do this right out of the gate. This step is for bloggers who have the following:
- A blog with a minimum of 1000 page views per month and great engagement,
- A large and effective social media following,
- A clear and focused niche,
- Superior search engine positioning for your niche,
- A professional presence and appearance for your blog, and
- A clean blog design with balanced space for advertising and content. Keep in mind that you want users to read and click but you do not want them to be so overwhelmed with ads that they stop visiting.
If you’re not there yet, read Jerry's guide on how to grow your blog traffic. Once you are ready, here are my tips to attract advertisers to your blog.
How to Attract Direct Advertisers to Your Blog?
Create A Media Kit
A media kit is a concise guide that will help prospective advertisers get to know your blog at a single glance. It should include the following:
- General blog traffic statistics such as pageviews and number of monthly visitors
- Links and measurement of all your social media followers
- Available advertising slots on your blog and their rates
- Information about your audience
- Industry statistics about your niche
Ideally – pack these info into a one-page PDF so you can print and share it during offline events.
Start Charging Something
Run your blog like a business and start charging as soon as possible. Even if you are nervous about charging fees for advertising, you can start as low as $1/month for a 125×125 banner ad.
Getting your first advertiser will give you confidence and build your credentials.
After I saw this advice, I put out my first offer for advertisers at $5 / month for a 125×125 ad. I had a few bites, and then did my next round for $15/month. Eventually I had well known printing company pitch me for 1 year for $150 – a pretty solid offer only a few months after I started offering advertising.
Join Local Bloggers Groups
I can't tell you how incredibly important it is to build relationships with bloggers, both inside, parallel to, and outside your niche. In addition to the support, advice and blog building that you can do with an intimate community of bloggers, you can also get to meet advertisers. Bloggers need when opportunities come up that they cannot fulfill or that require a large group. Building a strong relationship with a core group will allow you to be a possible go-to source in that event. One of the philosophies of a good blogger group is to do unto others as they would do unto you. Join in and help everyone that you can in whatever way fits your values and your brand.
Bloggers outside your niche are great for passing on opportunities you get that do not fit your brand. Bloggers in your niche may ask you to cover for them. This week, a national brand that I work with invited me to an event I was unable to attend. I reached out to my local group and found someone in that area that was thrilled to jump in and help. This was a win-win for everyone involved.
Meet the Brands
Helping small local mom & pop businesses that need a hand and have a small budget is a great way to find your first advertisers. Expos, conferences, business events, mixers, toy fairs – all these places are where business owners and advertisers gather, expecting to engage with bloggers and vendors. In addition to events open to the general public, being a member of a quality blogger group will allow you access to smaller invitation-only events.
Find out who will be there and get to know their product and history in advance, emphasizing why your blog is a good fit. You may initially be engaged for a product review or to write for them.
If that goes well, you can offer them advertising that fit their needs.
What Can You Sell?
There are a variety of standard ad sizes for web. The bigger the ad, the more you should charge. Typically, advertising is sold on a month-to-month basis. Find sizes that work for your blog. You don't want to commit to a large leaderboard at the head of your blog right away and then find it's driving visitors away.
The most common ad sizes (in pixels) are 125 x 125, 150 x 150, or 300 x 300 but there are lots of other options. Keep in mind how much real estate your are willing to give up on your blog, ad position, and length of run.
What if I’m new to this?
If you've never had an advertiser or worked with a brand before, don't think of this as a setback. In order to work with a bigger brand, you'll need to start with smaller brands.
A great way to start is with blogger networking clubs. I'm a member of several clubs that work with major brands: MomCentral, Clever Girls Collective and Double Duty Divas – to name a few, many of which I learned about at blogger conferences. You may also want to start with affiliate marketing or product reviews while you build your reputation. Make sure you are targeting your niche and continually working to grow your influence and, in time, success will come.