Sometimes growing your readership requires a monetary investment so one way to break even is to offer sidebar ads on your website. The concept of blog sponsorship seems easy enough; however, it can be a tricky thing to grasp. If you’re doing it right, it’s time-consuming. You need to give every single one of your sponsors the attention he/she paid for and this means scheduling social media shout-outs, sponsor spotlights, individual guest posts, and monthly giveaways. Some months your giveaways might get more entries than others, and this also goes for readers clicking on sidebar ads. It can be frustrating when some weeks are more successful than others, but it’s important to not get discouraged and to keep giving your sponsors attention. It’s not your fault your readers are more “click happy” on certain days of the week, and you cannot do anything to control this.
If you’re considering sponsorship on your blog, here are a few of my top tips:
1. Start out small.
I used to receive lots of emails from bloggers wanting advice on starting sponsorship. I always told them to start out small so they could get used to devoting their time to blogs other than their own. Open up a few different sized ads in your sponsorship shop and don’t dive into giveaways right away. My ads didn’t start selling for a while, so I gave away a few to blogs in the same niche (or my blog friends) so I could practice. I think this made all the difference!
2. Use tools.
I send a Google Doc to all of my sponsors asking them to fill out questions for their sponsor spotlights. All of this information goes into a spreadsheet I can check off when that times comes. This helps me stay organized. I also keep a sponsorship notebook to keep track of which bloggers have completed their Google Doc questions.
Social media shout-outs can get time-consuming so I use the Buffer App to schedule all of these ahead of time. Buffer does my dirty work and publishes tweets throughout the day.
3. Don’t disappear.
I’ve seen this before. A friend buys an ad on a blogger’s sidebar and said blogger stops posting for a month. Not cool. If you’re offering sponsorship, you need to continue to crank out interesting posts to generate traffic to your site. That’s the only way your sponsors will get clicks, right? If you know of a vacation/wedding/other commitment ahead of time, ask friends to guest post while you’re away.
4. If you have a bad month, offer free ad space.
Sometimes life gets in the way of blogging (because it should) and I might feel like I didn’t give certain bloggers enough attention. This is when I will write an apologetic email and offer a free month of ad space. Usually they’re surprised, but it makes me feel better and makes my “brand” seem more professional.
5. Overwhelmed? Get rid of ad spaces.
Sponsorship got overwhelming for me so I started slowly getting rid of spots in my PassionFruit shop. Because I was offering less ads, I also increased the prices. I don’t want to feel stressed because I have to promote a ton of bloggers, and I want to give everyone a unique sponsorship experience so I think it’s a win-win for everyone! I think individual attention is very important and I want to improve on this.
6. Have fun!
Sponsorship gives you the unique opportunity to meet other bloggers and develop awesome relationships. I’ve met almost all of my blog friends through this — so have fun with it!
Any other concerns? Feel free to leave questions in the comments section. I’m also offering one-on-one blogger workshops to help grow your readership.
Filed Under: Blogging, Blogging Advice