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The Complexity of Advertising on a Blog

Are you a media buyer or seller that wants some work? This might be a good post for you to read to the bottom of.

One of my biggest frustrations as a single practitioner blogger is that I have to get my head around multiple areas of expertise. I’m a writer, an editor, designer (I do outsource a lot of this), PR person, marketer, tech person (I outsource some of this) media seller, search engine optimizer and strategist – all wrapped into one.

I’m becoming more confident in most of these roles but am aware that I have a lot to learn in most of them – particularly in the area of selling advertising space on my blogs.

I now have a blog that is attracting semi-regular requests from large companies, ad agencies and media buying groups about advertising with me. This is both an exciting prospect (the money involved in these transactions is great) but also incredibly frustrating and stressful. You see I have little experience in selling advertising on this scale.

The most recent of these requests was for a two month campaign, the figure I could quote up to was five figures, with a large multinational company. I was dealing with a media buying company who were very encouraging. However the negotiations broke down simply because of my inability to get my head around the complexity of what was require to make the campaign happen – to put it most simply it was out of my league.

It was complex on some of these levels:

- firstly it was a technical nightmare to think through (targeting IP addresses, ad formats, scripts running within scripts, servers talking to servers etc)
- secondly pitching for the campaign was terribly complicated (the media plan I had to submit had 28 elements for each ad including screen shots of proposed ad positions, a powerpoint presentation etc – to do it properly would have taken me two or three days)
- thirdly it was complicated by the fact that the site of the proposed campaign was a blog and not a traditional website (the media buyer really struggled to understand so much about how blogs are set up)
- fourthly it was complicated by the fact that I don’t really understand what is a reasonable figure to charge a multinational company for such services and still remain competitive
- fifthly it was complicated by the fact that I live in a different time zone from the people I was dealing with and every email interaction we had seemed to take 12 to 24 hours depending on the time of day

After days of trying to get it right (and putting a lot of my daily updating of blogs on hold to do so) and becoming more and more stressed in the process I’ve unfortunately just had to email my withdrawal from the race to win the campaign.

This frustrates me but also motivates me to be in a better position next time such an opportunity arises.

Tomorrow I’m meeting with my business coach to help formulate a business plan for my blogging business which to this point has simply evolved without much long term strategy. One of the elements I need to incorporate into this plan is a strategy for these larger advertising campaigns.

At this point I am leaning towards outsourcing some of this process and would be interested to talk to anyone who has experience in the buying and selling of advertising on websites. They would have a good understanding of blogging and be willing to work on a project by project basis (freelancing) for a negotiated percentage of any advertising that they sold and managed. I’d be open to them doing some proactive selling as well as responding to the requests that I get).

If this is you or if you know of someone who fits the bill please contact me so we can chat about how it might work out well for us both.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. I’ve been thinking about this one myself. There is surely room for a site that brings together ad sales reps and bloggers on a one-to-one basis???

  2. Jim Kukral says:

    Um..cough.