Following up on yesterday’s post on how to build a Media Kit, I’m going a little bit deeper with you and will look at the details that any entrepreneur should look at before talking to any potential advertiser/client. Here again, I’m taking my online business as an example but you can definitely apply any of these tips to other businesses or side lines. In fact, you can also apply what you learn here to yourself and prepare to get a better salary raise at work! This is not a “how to build a media kit for blogs” article but more “how to build a promotional kit for anything… including how to sell yourself!”.
The very first thing you want to establish in your media kit is credibility. This can be quite easy to earn if you have some proof to show your advertisers. In the blogging world, here are some questions you can answer upfront in your media kit that will help you gain credibility:
How long have you been blogging?
What is your monthly traffic?
Are you on an up trend in terms of stats?
What are your RSS readers, twitter followers or Facebook fan stats?
Have you been mentioned on any important blogs, magazines, newspapers or major sites?
As you can see, the first page of your media kit should include your unique selling proposition and some facts to back it up. This increases your chances of having the best advertiser-blog fit. Mind you, sometimes you will get great offers from clients that don’t fit your audience. It’s up to you to accept them or not. Personally, I don’t do sponsored posts for this reason, however, I don’t mind having links or banners since they are in specific sections of my sites.
The same reasoning applies to any other type of business or if you want to market yourself and get a better job (your first page of your resume should include most of what has been discuss in the first page of a media kit!).
Here’s the good news; if you have followed step #1, you are halfway done with positioning! You know what you have to offer and have facts to back up your sales pitch. Now it’s time to know what you want and don’t want.
You can play the Nascar blogger or you can be very selective with the type and number of ads. As you can see, I’m trying to slowly diminish the number of Ads on TFB (I’ve already taken off Adsense within posts and took off all ads above the fold). This is because I want my readers to:
a) Read my articles without being distracted by an ad (and worse, clicking on it to leave my page!)
b) Subscribe to my newsletter or RSS feed
I think it is more valuable to keep my readers for a while instead of making a quick buck off them. Mind you, I don’t manage all my sites this way. Some others are made so I can optimize short term money from them. These are all questions you need to ask yourself in order to position your site and yourself as an author or entrepreneur.
Does it mean that you endorse everything you publish on your blog? This is a well debated topic as there are ethical questions to ask yourself. In my opinion, if you publish private ads in your sidebar, your readers should be smart enough to know that these are not your products and not your companies. Therefore, they should know that this is advertising. However, whatever you write about, you should tell them if it’s paid or not. This is where I draw the ethical line on my sites.
You want to make money advertising? Well duh, let them know that you exist! As opposed to many other companies, marketing your blog can be pretty cheap. All you need is usually an advertising page along with a contact form. Make sure that both pages are visible and on the top of your site. This is usually where advertisers will look to contact the blogger.
Okay, now is the time for you to laugh at me! If you look at the TFB Advertising page, I can tell you that I see 2 big problems with it:
– It’s very bad (not much info, short and no incentive for advertisers to do business with me)
– It’s very old (I don’t do reviews any more, my PR is 4, my RSS and traffic stats are outdated… man I really need to update this!)
So what’s to learn from a page like this? When it’s been a while that you have been in business, you forget some important stuff. But since you have been there for a while, you still get clients anyways! Lol! I’ll update my page soon!
However, I don’t always do bad things 😉 Here’s my The Dividend Guy Blog Advertising page. This one is very professional and includes packages that advertisers can pick without me talking to them (if they fill in the form, I get the money via Paypal and the link info at the same time). I usually get one request a day from this page. But because I charge a lot, most advertisers drop the ball as they want me to publish their ads for nothing… This is when we get to the last point…
If you don’t like negotiating, don’t get into business… or have someone do this part for you! However, there are some tricks to overcome time consuming negotiating and get to an agreement much faster: craft your unique selling proposition and have a solid media kit. I can see my ad management evolving into 3 stages over time:
Stage #1: Take everything – the Nascar approach
At first, all I wanted to do is make money out of my blog (I bet you are like me 😉 ). I accepted almost any type of advertising (sponsored posts, reviews, banners, links, etc) and at any price (basically anything I could get from the advertiser with a minimum of negotiation). This was great as I was making money but I was losing in quality and opportunities at the same time.
Stage #2: Negotiate every single deal
After a year or so, I realized that I could negotiate better deal with my advertisers by offering them long term deals (I give a rebate for 6 month or 12 month deals) or by offering ad space on more than one blog (the advantage of running a multiple blog business). However, I was negotiating every single deal, going back and forth a few times and trying to earn the most for my efforts every time. While I was making a lot more money than with the Nascar approach, I was spending a lot of time on my email.
Stage #3: Act like a businessman
Now, I don’t spend much time on negotiating or finding advertisers. I actually give them my rate sheet along with my media kit and tell them that if they want a rebate, they just have to take a long term deal or sign for more than 3 links. No negotiation if you only want 1 link on a monthly basis. This saves me a lot of time and I’m making even more money. Serious advertisers will recognize professionalism and appreciate the long history of my blogs. They know that I’ll be around next year to renew their commitment and that the quality of the blog will remain intact. If they think I’m too expensive, then I know it’s not the right client for me. This is true for any business: once you have positioned yourself, don’t bargain away your soul. If you are a Rolex, you can’t get Wal-Mart’s clients (or very few of them!).
In the upcoming weeks, I’ll be sharing with you my rate sheet and media kit through my newsletter. I’ll also discuss how to price your blog (with real $ you can make and not some “I ask $100 per month” BS). Anything else you want me to include in this future newsletter article?
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