Ok, so you have been thinking about blog sponsorship. You have even read an article or two on SocialWebCafe. But, you are not sure that you really have it. Are you already doing it? What is it that you should be doing? Fortunately, the questions are probably more complicated than conquering this topic, one step at a time.
What Does It Mean to Conquer Blog Sponsorship?
What we are talking about is for you to understand, in a little more detail, what blog sponsorship is. Also, our goal for this article is to digest enough of the topic of blog sponsorship to understand it.
Granted, we already covered it, but that goal in the first article was to cover the overview. At the same time, we didn’t want to leave you clueless about the topic, so we referenced quite a bit of information that we will be breaking down in the articles that follow (including this one).
Reviewing the Types of Blog Sponsorships
As we discussed in our first article in this series, Blog Sponsorship: The Surprising Reasons Why You Should Include It, there are many types of blog sponsorship packages and blog sponsorship opportunities.
Chances are, as a blogger, you are already doing it.
I have an exercise for you. Instead of using the phrase, “blog sponsorship,” replace it with “monetization.”
See? What we are talking about in this series is how to monetize your blog! Breaking that down into simplistic terms, it is a question of earning money with one’s blog.
Exclusive Sponsorship and Dealing with Companies that Sponsor Bloggers
It is easy to think of blog sponsorship as more complicated. This conjures up the idea of exclusivity, with a company that sponsors our blog.
Yes, that is blog sponsorship, but as we mentioned in our introductory article, there are other opportunities, too. These other possibilities may also be considered sponsorship as well. Remember, our “monetization” word.
So, what fits in the category of monetization?
And, if we do decide to go exclusive, what is involved in doing so? How do we work with brands and how do we understand the ins and outs of the process before we get too involved? Fortunately, we will be covering those in more depth in the upcoming articles.
For now, we are focusing on those types. For some, that can be confusing in and of itself! That is what we are here to cover today.
Ok, so we got the exclusive blog sponsorship. Now let’s talk a little more about the other types. Keep in mind that you do not have to implement all of them at once (and shouldn’t). More importantly, you are finding the one that appeals to you at this time.
Onward and upward, eh?
Text and Banner Ads
The example, above, is the banner advertising. Yes, banners have been around for ages, and it is easy to forget to include them on a list like this one.
Keep in mind that there is some level of control that you can exert with this type of sponsorship. Yes, you can put banners in place at will, for things like affiliate marketing (below), but you can also charge specifically. You can choose where to place the banners and offer different prices for different placement locations on your site. Also, there are some sites that specialize in selling ad space on your site, if you are accepted. The disadvantage is that many times the amount of profit is on the lower side, but if you have quite a bit of traffic and a couple of ad spots open in your site layout, this may be a way to augment your monetization plan.
Differing Perspectives on Banner Advertising
Some people hate banner advertising and claim that it should not be used any longer. This is the point of the article, Banners Must Die. Yet, as quoted in that very article, there are others who still believe in banners used in marketing. An example of that is the article, “In Defense of Banner Ads: Everybody Hates Them, but They Work.”
We all have perspectives, right? I mean, I could be unkind and say that I do not care for the low-resolution image, let alone wondering about the copyright issue of a particular article. So, I may think it is not very professional to use a picture which may not be available for public use or public domain. Does that mean that they should change the article? Not necessarily. I am one person. I may have a unique perspective. Or, it may not be unique.
Now, when we are delving into these sponsorship ideas, it is all about YOU learning the list and learning about the types with a little more than just the name of the type. In other words, we are digging a bit deeper on the discussion of blog sponsorship types. At the end of the day, it is YOUR decision. It is not decided by two articles on the internet and not decided by this article. You decide it, and what YOU feel comfortable doing with your site.
Personally, I lean toward the second opinion because the idea is that the stats/analytics demonstrate that banner advertising is working for him. I think that the banner advertising success has a lot to do with the visual appeal (or lack thereof) of the banner itself.
What About Ignoring Banner Advertising?
I agree that more and more people ignore banners. Hey, I ignore them! But, by the same token, if there is a particularly impressive banner, that grabs my eye, I will pay attention, and if the message is interesting, I am likely to click on it. So, that is to say, that banner advertising works for me. However, visually speaking (probably because I taught Adobe Photoshop to professionals), if I saw a banner that was as low-resolution as some pictures in articles that we have looked at today, I would do the opposite. I would think that since there is so little time spent on ensuring the image is professional, that that is the same thing as whatever is being advertised by the banner.
To each, his own and we can all make mistakes. But, those are our decisions to make, eh? Am I right? 🙂 So, claim it, baby. It is YOUR decision on a thumbs up or a thumbs down on the banner advertising sponsorship type and whether you will offer it.
Affiliate Marketing is not necessarily one of the types of monetization that comes to mind with the blog sponsorship topic. However, it is like having a sponsorship by a certain product or service by way of YOUR selection process. So, in this case, you are choosing an affiliate product that provides a certain commission when readers choose to click on it and purchase it. You have chosen to make that affiliate product/service(s) the sponsor of your particular blog post (or your site).
Some of the newcomers (sites that broker affiliate opportunities) include JVZoo, which also has its built-in community, which offers support in the area of how to High-Converting Done-For-You Recorded Webinar (affiliate link). This includes an opportunity for YOU to become the one who is looking for affiliates! Hey, now you can sponsor your own site with your own product/service that is also advertised by your affiliate team. But, that is another topic 🙂
Fortunately, you can begin affiliate marketing at any time in your blogging career and tailor your approach over time.
Sponsored Posts (and Reviews)
Another type of monetization is the sponsored post. This can be a post (even one that already exists) that mentions the company, brand, product, etc., along with a link. It can also include (although it is technically another type) a review of a product or service. It can also include feature posts (similar to a review, but on the informational side) or an editorial (with a focus on the opinion). Any of these types could fit into the category of sponsored post.
I make it a rule to ask myself, “Would I write about this company or product even if they did not approach me?” In other words, is the only real reason that I have not mentioned them previously because I didn’t know about them? Is it something that I would normally mention? By asking myself these questions, I can ensure that I am honest in my writing. But, at the same time, the right thing to do, to remain transparent for your readers, is to disclose that it is a sponsored post.
There may be some cases where you are not able to do so, and you are between a rock and a hard place. If that is the situation you find yourself in, ensure that either 1) you can honestly say that you would write about them regardless of the sponsorship (my example questions); or 2) don’t participate in this type of sponsorship. The second option may very well be the best option, especially since disclosure is a requirement based on regulations by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Years ago, before the time of blogging, eZines (or newsletters) ruled the earth. Ok, maybe not ruled the earth, but they were the primary means for people to share their articles and content. The websites were not as easy to manage, requiring a knowledge of raw HTML in order to maintain one’s site. There were very few platforms for site design. It wasn’t like it is today.
And, of course, one can install WordPress on their site. So, even if you are not a blogger, you have a means to manage the content on your site. Some of us may have maintained the knowledge of HTML (and still use it), but most of the world was prime for a better solution (which we now have in things like WordPress).
Anyway… newsletters still exist. The term “ezines” is the label given to them in the past. It stands for electronic magazines. Even if that is not the come label, you are still able to find it online (under a few inches of dust. lol).
Nowadays, newsletters tend to be shorter and more to the point. They often tend to point to a longer version online. Sometimes, they are simply a concise version of the newest posts on the site.
So, What About That Newsletter?
If you have a newsletter, or you are planning to start one, it may be an opportunity to use sponsorship of the newsletter. In ages past (and one of these days I should link to an online version for you), we would often have one featured sponsor for a newsletter/ezine issue. Then, at the end, we would include classified ads. I should know because I was one of the top five authors, globally! It was a case of being requested so often, as an author, that I could not keep up with the requests!
The sponsorship of these newsletters is the same process of sponsorship in general. It can include a sponsor who pays to be the featured sponsor or even rekindling the idea of classified ads at the end or middle of the newsletter. It can also include affiliate links and affiliate marketing if you so choose. This gives you another opportunity for monetization and applying what you are reading in this article, about types.
Other Blog Sponsorships / The Sky is the Limit
There are other types of monetization, as well. You can collaborate with partners (a.k.a. joint ventures) to develop unique campaigns that meet the needs of everyone. As with many things, one of the keys to having success in this area is to ensure open and effective communication.
You can advertise your own products, webinars, ebooks (maybe created from your blog posts on your site), etc. Hey, the sky is the limit!
Accomplishing Your Goal
Now that you have realized that the conquering of something is two-fold, what is your next step?
I’d say that we need to review what that two-fold thing is all about, so we get it in our head. That also allows us to apply it to other situations.
First, there is that pesky fear that holds us back. In this case, it is the fear of not knowing what blog sponsorship entails. Then, in this case, the second part is the conquering, which is the knowledge of what the blog sponsorship is. Oh, yes, there are best practices and procedures, methodologies, etc. But, primarily we are looking at knowing what it is.
And, what did we say? We said this in the first article on blog sponsorship, as well. There is a good chance that you already knew what blog sponsorship was. So, armed with that knowledge, I’d say you have already accomplished this goal, and there is not that much to fear, eh? You have conquered it!
P.S. Don’t let all of those terms scare you when you have come this far, but, if you are ready for things like process, be sure to include the following (recommended as an affiliate) in your blogging process:
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