How to monetise your blog (part 1)

Apr 12, 2014 by
How to monetise your blog (part 1)

One of the most effective ways of monetising your blog and expanding your readership is through sponsorship. Be warned, however – it’s not an easy task and is only recommended for writers who have serious commercial ambitions for their blog.

If your blogging ambition is merely to express your thoughts on a subject you are passionate about to a relatively small audience (and there’s nothing wrong with that), then trying to get a sponsor may not be worth the effort for you. However, if you do have commercial aspirations for your blog, acquiring a sponsor can provide you with a steady income as well as provide genuine value to your readership.

Make your blog attractive to sponsors before anything else

LaptopFirst things first: before you even think about sponsorship you need to be producing high value content, regularly and frequently. If you’ve just created a five-page site last week and are hoping to earn a four-digit income per month from a sponsorship deal, you need a reality check! But your blog is about a subject that you’re truly passionate about, right? So it’s not going to be a chorecoming up with an abundance of great articles.

Provided your blog is properly formatted and optimised for SEO, the quality content you’ve been producing will attract a loyal readership. Once you’re confident that your articles are read and appreciated, you’re in a position to demonstrate the tangible benefits you can give to a company if they choose to sponsor you. You’ll need to keep a close eye on your traffic stats (with Google Analytics or another tool of choice), as a potential sponsor will want detail here. Not just how many unique visitors you attract per month, but how engaged they are and how often they come back.

Let your desire for sponsorship be known

If you’ve already managed to generate a solid amount of traffic for your blog, there is a good chance that potential sponsors have already seen your site. It pays to have a page dedicated to sponsorship information, with a link overtly placed on the main page of your site. On the sponsorship page, you should have all the key information a potential sponsor would want to see, such as: traffic, readership demographics, methods of payment, a downloadable media pack and perhaps a list of several hierarchical sponsorship packages all with different services. The key factor here is demonstrating that you will go out of your way to make the deal profitable for sponsors, even if this means giving more than you get back in return!

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Remember, the purpose of the sponsorship page is as follows:

1) Make the benefits of sponsorship overtly clear

2) Make it incredibly easy for potential sponsors to make a payment then and there, or alternatively get in contact for negotiation.

If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad…

It doesn’t hurt to take a more proactive approach in your search for sponsorship. Including your desire to find a sponsor in blog posts (so long as it doesn’t distract from the coherence of the article) or via social media won’t do you any harm. When approaching a company cold, remember always to discuss the proposal from the point of their interest, not your own. If they are skeptical as to whether to give you a chance, you can always offer them a sponsorship position on your blog free of charge initially, to win their trust.

Having a sponsor on your blog will give you valuable feedback from your readership, but may also encourage other advertisers to jump on the bandwagon due to the social proof factor. Also, providing a free trial gives you the opportunity to go out of your way to show your appreciation for your sponsor – if you talk about their products in your blog posts, mention them in your well-read newsletter and position their logo overtly on your page, they will have tangible proof of the benefits of a long term relationship with you. Be careful here, however – don’t undersell yourself and make the terms of any deal clear, even if it doesn’t involve any money initially.

Don’t sell your integrity!

If you’ve established a loyal readership, it’s probably because they enjoy your content and appreciate the ethos of your blog. Resist the urge to sign a sponsorship deal with a company that contravenes your blog’s ethos, even if it’s lucrative – the short term paycheque isn’t worth betraying your audience and making them lose faith in your motivations. In the same vein, avoid accepting payment to write a positive review on a product that you don’t believe in; it just isn’t worth it for your blog’s longevity!

In part 2 I cover several of the other options available to writers seeking to monetise their blog.

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