One of the challenges for a new-ish blog and blogger is finding those first advertising dollars, for the first time. It’s tough because you have a lot of competition and you’re most valuable assets aren’t as competitive, yet.
Or is it? I think that selling advertising on smaller blogs and websites isn’t as tough as you might think. I’ve written some good articles already in the Making Money Blogging series and Getting Started with Blog Advertising series but I wanted to spend a little bit more time just talking through some of my thoughts about advertising sales on low-traffic blogs.
The thing is that most bloggers think that you need the following to be successful at selling advertising inventory:
- Lots and lots of traffic.
- Lots and lots of social proof, fans on Facebook, followers on Twitter, etc.
- An experienced track record of advertising.
Naturally, most bloggers who have just started out don’t have these types of things and feel like they are automatically disqualified because advertisers and businesses won’t find them attractive.
But any good advertiser knows that traffic is only part of the equation – a smart and strategic advertiser cares about one thing primarily: Conversion, especially high conversion rates.
What they need are blogs and bloggers who can deliver that value proposition to them with the right type of traffic with the right type of visitors.
The first thing you really need to do is know your own blog as well as you possibly can. The only way that you can do this is use website analytics.
This is the only way that you can really know what you’re actually offering to a business and potential advertiser. If you haven’t set this up then you must do that now and you must wait for a least a month (or two) to make sure that it’s tracking as well as to have a good history of metrics and statistics.
Know Your Visitors:
The second thing you need to do is make sure you know your visitors as well as you possibly can. Either you’ve picked up on who they are over time or you can ask them directly by polling them directly via something as simple as PollDaddy (I used it here recently).
You can ask them who they are, what they like, and even what their purchasing patterns surrounding content that you talk about. Who knows, you could learn a thing or two!
But don’t forget to stay updated via Facebook and Twitter and other social networking outlets that may be sharing your content and/or talking about your blog and brand.
Again, you could probably learn a thing or two. Don’t forget to check sites like Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, and other such sites that might be indexing your content as well.
Find Your Future Advertisers:
The next thing you need to do is to simply find the advertisers that you want and that need your blog (but just don’t know it yet). There are a few strategies that are incredible places to start your search:
- Linked Blogs – The blogs that link to you may have advertisers already and the fact that they are linked to you may mean that the advertisers might want to advertise on your blog too if the content and niche are similar. Perhaps emailing them directly would be a good strategy! You could mention the existing link relationship and how you could serve their target audience as well!
- Your Community – People who comment obviously love your blog and some of them may have businesses (or relationships) that may have advertising needs. Sometimes they just don’t know it yet or the thought hasn’t really crossed their mind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pinged someone and they said “Wow, I never thought about that…!”
- Research – You probably already know your niche pretty well and the other blogs within your space, many of which you look up to and admire. These blogs, with similar content, have advertisers and make sure to note who’s spending money!
- Intuition – You instinctively know what businesses probably would like to advertise on your blog. Make note of these as well and even drop them a line and see what their advertising needs are.
These are some of the very easy ways for you to engage advertisers even if you don’t have a super-duper-mega-popular blog!
Now, the next step is taking advantage of some of the other posts that I’ve already written on how to engage a potential advertiser:
- 10 Tips to Create the Best and Most Effective Advertising and Sponsorship Page Ever
- Crafting a Simple Blog Advertising Contract or Agreement [Examples Included]
- 5 Guiding Principles that Will Help You Choose the Right Advertisers
- 10 Practical Tips on How to Handle Your First Advertising Sale
You’ll definitely want to check out these posts!
It Never Hurts to Ask:
The bottom line is that you, too, can start advertising if you engage properly and wisely. And, as my father taught me, it really doesn’t ever hurt to ask by pitching to these advertisers and contacting them directly.
Honestly? You have very little to lose! Advertising on a smaller blog isn’t too difficult if you do it wisely. Of course, try multiple different methods and approaches, track your progress and provide them the most information possible. Go above and beyond and you may end up with a sweet return.
And good luck!