The Right Advertising Strategy to Try First as a New Blogger

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[This is a part of the “Getting Started with Blog Advertising” blog series.]

Advertising on your blog is an exciting new prospect that nearly every blogger considers at one point or another.

If you’re explicitly a “TentBlogger” then you have already considered this for a bit of time and the next step is beginning to execute well on a few of the types of opportunities that exist for monetizing your blog.

But which one of those 10 listed on the “Making Money Blogging” series is the right one to spend the already limited amount of time that you have to actually work on your blog advertising? Here’s where I started and where I think you should start too:

Getting to Know the Advertising Ecosystem and Lifecycle

Direct Advertising Sales is, without question, the first place that you should invest any type of energy and time as you jump into the waters of blog advertising and here’s why:

  • You can set your own rules and be fully in control of how you want to advertise, what you want to advertise, the length of the opportunities for sponsors, and ultimately the pricing.
  • It’ll force you to engage with your blogging platform that you’re using on a more “intimate” level. In other words, you may have to learn about FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and how to upload content to your site. It may challenge you to use sidebar “Widgets”. This is a good thing! The more you know about your blogging platform the better you are in the long run!
  • It helps you understand the entire advertising lifecycle as you solicit sponsors, build relationships, manage the creative (and copy) of the advertisement, groom your eye for curation, and the overall buying/purchasing process.
  • It opens up the door for long-term partnership with selected buyers. This is crucial for your long-term success!
  • You make the most money.

Here’s the bottom line: I learned more about myself, advertising, and my blog as a result of starting with Direct Advertising Sales which directly impacted the amount of money that I began to make as well as the speed in which I began to make it.

In fact, I still use it today and it’s nearly 25% of my current estimated income in a year’s time.

What Direct Advertising Sales is Not

This is such a critical mistake that many new bloggers make that I sometimes feel physically ill when I see it.

In fact, I’m so interested in getting rid of this model and mode of thinking that I had to share something via video so as to best convey my thoughts about it:

[tentblogger-vimeo 17438640]

You see, many new bloggers confuse Direct Advertising Sales with Advertising Networks and it’s not the same thing!

You do yourself a complete disservice by combining the two and completely missing out on the amount of personal and professional growth that occurs when you actively engage and participate in the advertising lifecycle.

You forfeit valuable learning experiences which provide a framework for growth in the long run by going the “easy route” with Advertising Networks.

You also give up a few dollars by using some of those systems. Learn to care a lot about the fees you pay and the money you put into other people’s pockets. Your goal as a new blogger is to keep 100% of all income coming in. Period.

Ad Networks make you incredibly lazy. You also forfeit lessons on how to price correctly.

Finally, you become lazy too and end up simply waiting for someone to casually purchase an advertising spot – Direct Advertising Sales is anything but passive! There’s more to it:

  • You need to learn to “hustle” and work hard for those dollars. Blogging isn’t a quick buck and it’s not a “sprint” to success: It’s a marathon. Review my post on my thoughts after the first week of blogging as well as after the first month.
  • You need to learn how to “sell your blog” and not make any of these mistakes that might be holding your blog back from even being a strong candidate for advertising and sponsors.
  • You need to actively participate in soliciting advertisers. You need to actively participate in providing a healthy return for them. You need to actively participate in managing the system and process. You need to actively work on building these relationships.
  • You need to learn the art, science, and practice of pricing and how it relates to your blog, your content, and your brand. Using advertising networks makes you simply compare your site with other people’s sites which is the worst indicator and metric for pricing.

I believe that you’ll grow so much faster as a blogger that’s bringing his or her “A” game and you’ll make money faster than those sitting in some of those very lifeless marketplaces.

Am I Against Advertising Networks?

Absolutely not! I use BuySellAds for a lot of my income and you can see TentBlogger already has a spot in their system here.

So the question, naturally, is “When Do You Start Using an Ad Network?

The quick answer is that it depends on a number of factors, but the biggest challenge is balancing income generation with the time it takes to manage those sales.

For example, it became painfully obvious that managing all of sales for all of the blogs that I oversee was taking far too much time when I needed to be saving that time for content creation and general business management of my team.

As you can see above, we are making a considerable amount of money through these “direct sales” and we decided that the service fee that we’d incur (25% of initial purchase price) was worth the time saved from having to manage all of those channels.

And that’s the formula and equation that you’ll eventually have to balance:

Service Fees of Ad Network vs Time Saved

Again, you’ll have to decide where that falls in your strategy and the timing but for a very good amount of time you should stick to Direct Sales and save all the money you can!

So get on your hands and knees and perform some of the “manual” labor required to grow your blog financially and get off of the Advertising Networks and start using Direct Sales exclusively. Start learning the “business” of blog advertising and get pumped! It’s an exciting world, that’s for sure!

If you’re more of a seasoned blogger then you can venture into the other ways that bloggers make money but do so with care and with wisdom! Do your homework and it’ll pay off in spades. I’ll definitely cover each of these in more depth in the coming days, so stay tuned and make sure to subscribe to this blog.

Thoughts? What is your experience? Do share!

[This is a part of the “Getting Started with Blog Advertising” blog series.]