Since Jason and I both work at a Louisville advertising agency and are both also bloggers, we have kind of an interesting perspective on blog advertising and sponsorship. Â
On the one hand, we understand firsthand how hard it is to build up a quality blog. Â From finding or creating the right design, to crafting compelling content, to going out there and hitting the trenches of social media promotion to build an audience, developing a good blog is a lot of hard flippin’ work. Â (Which is why I laugh hysterically whenever someone tells me they’ve decided to blog as a “get rich quick” scheme.)
However, over on the advertising agency/client side of things, I also understand how hard it is to sell blog sponsorship and advertising to a client. Â Clients expect things like hard traffic numbers, average clickthrough rates, and demographic information–and often bloggers don’t provide that information.
So in an effort to help both sides of the equation help each other, may I respectfully offer the following suggestion? Â Bloggers, if you’re serious about attracting sponsorship, get serious about providing good, solid, third-party data on your audience to potential sponsors. Â
It can be as simple as toodling on over to Quantcast, and adding their code to your site. Â Crowd Science is another service that’s currently in open beta that offers demographic profiling for blog audiences. Â If anyone knows of other similar offerings, feel free to chime in on the comments.
I can say from hard experience, selling an advertiser on a placement on your blog is infinitely easier if I can honestly argue “their audience may be small, but they’re passionate, engaged, and exactly the demographic you’re looking to hit–and here’s proof from a third party.” Â Truthfully, for advertisers with a local focus, or better yet a hyperlocal focus, you have a good shot at being a high-value, low cost option, even if your traffic numbers don’t rival Techcrunch. Â
Smaller, hyperlocal blogs are typically less cluttered with ads than bigger local sites. Â For a nice case in point, check out your local television station or newspaper’s site sometime. Â They also connect in a much more personal way with their audience, which gives even display ads the appearance of a certain amount of word-of-mouth personal endorsement. Â In fact, smart bloggers only accept advertisers they do personally endorse, and in addition to the ad-space, they mention their advertisers in their posts when it’s appropriate and relevant. Â
If you’re absolutely opposed to collecting or providing demographic information on your audience, then the next best thing is to have at least a good solid knowledge of what your traffic numbers are, be willing to provide at least summary analytic data to back up your traffic data, and craft a statement about what audience your content is targeting (and hopefully hitting.)
Interest in blog sponsorship is growing in the corporate sector. Â By taking the single, fairly simple step of having good data to provide to potential advertisers, you make your blog a lot harder to resist.
img courtesy of nookiez on sxc