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Finding Advertisers for Your Blog

Reader QuestionsAlistair asks – ‘Having a niche blog means that I will never have the same amount of visitors as some of the larger technology/media blogs. This means that advertisers such as blog ads will not allow me to use their ads as they see me as having lower visitor numbers. Traditionally manufacturers in my niche are wary of the internet even though they have websites – I have contacted a few and state my visitor numbers etc but still they are unwilling to even trial. I think it is because my blog is “personal” but in my niche I can get away with that as it is classed as a diary. Any advice?’

Tough one Alistair. I could write a lot on this (and have actually asked Chad, b5media’s Ad Sales guy to write some posts for me on the topic too) but here are a few tips that come to mind. I hope you don’t mind me compiling them as a list as they’re somewhat random ideas:

1. Show them what they’re buying – one of the most powerful strategies I used in my early days of selling ads to people was to show them how I ranked in Google for their keywords. Compile a list of words that you rank for that you can pull out next time you’re talking to an advertiser. If when people search the web for information on products that they sell they end up on your site you have a key selling point.

2. Traffic is a Powerful Motivator – there’s no getting around it – to many advertisers traffic numbers are key. I hope that this trend is changing (what I saw at ad:Tech in Sydney recently confirms this as advertisers are looking to get more niche in their focus) but in the mean time it does count. Keep working to build traffic and be ready to share your numbers and back them up with graphs/tables etc.

3. Collect Demographics – every ad agency I ever spoke with about buying space on my blogs asked about the demographics of my audience. Do some surveys and collect this data as it’ll help sell your case.

4. Start with Small Advertisers – when I first started trying to sell advertising on my blogs I aimed too high. On my digital camera blog I went for Canon, Adobe etc. Of course I failed. So I decided to go to the opposite extreme and started approaching smaller digital camera stores and websites. The tactic worked – they bought up ad space at reasonable rates quite quickly. In time however traffic grew and the bigger campaigns started to appear – having advertisers already on board helped convince the big guys though.

5. Put together an Advertiser Pack - compile your stats, rates, advertising options (ie what you offer) reader demographics and any other relevant figures into a professional looking document that you can email to interested advertisers. Include your contact details and references from other advertisers if you can get them.

6. Sell the Niche Angle - the fact is that most of us will never compete with the broad publications that are out there – so don’t compete with them by trying to fool advertisers into thinking that you’re bigger than you are – sell the fact that you’re different and that you can reach a narrow and targeted group of people that makes the money an advertiser spends much more effective. ‘Spend $1 on a big site and you might reach a lot of people who are mildly interested in your topic – sell $1 on our site and you’ll reach people who are obsessed with your topic….’

7. Key Influencers – do other bloggers read your blog and pick up on what you write? If so – sell this too. You’ve got influential readers – not just passive ones!

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. KC TAN says:

    I think scarcity and time pressure works here as well… One can always start with small advertisers like what Darren has mentioned before approaching the big companies. With the existing ads in place, approach the bigger companies with all your sales package offer and reply deadline. Of course, this only works if you have certain amount of traffic and niche.

  2. Brian says:

    What about just giving them a free sample (works for Costco)? They obviously don’t think you’re going to send them traffic, so make an ad campaign, run it for a few days, show them what they’ll get, then ask again.

    Alternatively, you could just suggest they set up an affiliate program. That way, they’re not out any money if they don’t get any sales.

  3. Cigar Jack says:

    I’m in the similar boat and on top of that since I discuss tobacco I’m banned from AdSense/AdWords. To encourage direct sponsorship I traded product for a sponsor listing and also I link to them when I review the product.

    I’ve also found a couple affiliate programs that I’m currently testing to see if it produces better results than Chiktia which is my biggest money earner.

  4. Rangga says:

    as new and niche blog, maybe you can try your search from affiliate ads program from affiliate network — I think that the easiest and toughest at the saome time, but at least you get some ideas if you and your blog “can sell”. I’m sure problogger has few tips about this kind of program.

    when you have a strong voice and readership; people (including advertiser) will start liking your blog… you don’t even have to ask, they will come to you!! yeah because there are not so many blog like yours

    good luck =)

  5. This is one I’ll be working on as my traffic improves as well. Sales have never been my strongest trait so I’ll definitelly need some trackable numbers over time to share with potential buyers.

  6. Matt Wardman says:

    This article set me thinking – thanks.

    I have some points to add to those that can be used particularly well by smaller blogs. They will work especially well in a niche, and give the little guys a competitive advantage.

    The key principles are: exploit your flexibility and use your size to develop close relationships.

    See my article here:

    http://www.mattwardman.com/blog/2007/04/10/blog-ad-sales-a-competitive-advantage-for-the-little-guys/

    Matt

  7. Shane says:

    What I take away from this, though, is that it’s a lot of work to demonstrate value to advertisers where the value isn’t apparent or where there actually isn’t much value at all. That’s not surprising. After several years in this space, I can tell you that most advertisers still aren’t very sophisticated and don’t look at the nuances of what you’re offering. Most of them are interested in eyeballs and demographics. That’s it. If you can’t give a compelling story there, you’re usually wasting your time.

    If you’re a one-man shop, I think it’s a lot more advantageous to spend all that time and effort creating real value instead of trying to sell what value may or may not be there. Concentrate on content, not advertising.

  8. Karen says:

    Thanks for all of the helpful tips above. I have been thinking about approaching certain companies to sponsor my blog or place an ad. This gives me some ideas of how to start my approach.

  9. Agreed. I’d add these 2 also.

    1 – Price. Set the prices ofr your ads IN the market not sky high just because you’d love to sell sky high. On the long run, market always win.

    2 – Place. Advertiser paid to be seen and often click. No hope to sell an ad somewhere at the bottom of your blog, that someone could one day may be see if scrolled ten times down.

  10. I love Brian’s idea (#2 in the comments). I’ve just begun talking with people and making offers like this (I’m going to begin a series on songwriting in May, and several companies are willing to give me a “trial run” and some free stuff too.) I’ll keep you posted on how it goes!

  11. Maria Palma says:

    This is a great post, Darren. In my own experience with getting advertisers for my websites and blogs I offered a “buy 1 get 1″ type of deal in which I gave them 1 year free if they bought 1 year of advertising. This allowed me to acquire initial advertisers and then other advertisers started to take notice.

    I also use Linkworth.com to get advertisers. You have to pay them a 50% commission, but they can help you get exposure to advertisers.

  12. jhay says:

    Interesting points. I’d like to see a ‘how-to’ guide on making an advertising pack or “advertise here” page for blogs.

  13. Alistair says:

    Hi Darren,

    Thank you very much for answering my question it has certainly given me food for thought.
    One thing that has changed since I posted my question is that I no longer ask companies to actually advertise on my blog – I now ask for products to review, a bit like sponsorship which you have already mentioned. In my niche (fly fishing), products often look great on paper but when you actually use them you find they do not actually work as expected, bags don’t sit comfortably and boots fall apart after a few sessions. The manufacturers often send their products to the well known paper magazines who review them but to be honest I always question their impartiality as they are counting on the manufacturer continuing to advertise with them. What I stated to a recent manufacturer was that I would post my initial impressions and then continue posting about the product as I used it. This I think might be a bit of a poisoned chalice as a lot of my shop bought gear fell apart after what I would call “fair use” and I am now have pretty high rankings for those products in search engines – although what the reader is looking at is how fast something fell apart rather than a “glowing” review. I suppose if a manufacturer takes up that challenge and sends me something then they must have good faith in their product – which can only be a good thing!

    I suppose if I get the odd product to review it will keep me more than happy as the product more than covers the cost of the hosting – it is almost like a wee bonus for doing something that I greatly enjoy. Saying that though, I like the idea of an advertiser pack – what kind of format would you recommend and what kind of proof could I provide – I have detailed logs – could I just cut and paste my logs?

    Alistair

  14. Cutie says:

    Thanks for the information Darren. My site is still small and only have few visitors now. Maybe by the time passed, My site’s rank will be higher and I can market my site…

    I love this blog and I found it’s great to the one who just learn how to improve the blog/web like me

  15. There is quite a lot of common sense and a great topic we all should focus more on .. yet, totally meaningless to 99.9% of us out here .. which probably explains why most of us are not as successful as we could be.

  16. Jon says:

    Yeah i think this is really Gay..

    Places like vibrant media, kontera, intellitxt, wont even touch you unless you have like a BILLION visitor a month its not nobish

    The very fact that I willingly approach them and offer to let them advertise on my site whether thats 1000 visitors a month or 100,000 is me doing them a favor.

    im helping them not the other way around.

  17. Jay Wilson says:

    This post could not have come at a more perfect time. I was just speaking with my girlffriend about what I could do to attract true advertisers to my blog. But I have a question – is there a “minimum number” of page views that one should expect to reach before seriously approaching a potential advertiser?

  18. Starfeeder says:

    Very informative post, when ever I launch I’ll post up an example of what my advertiser pack looks like here for a critique before I send it off to advertisers…

  19. Cynthia says:

    Very informative I am new at this and trying to find sponsors, I appreciate your comments, feel free to send me more information.

  20. Julius says:

    A great example of advertising on your blog. This way people will come back always to your blog and find a great tool of marketing ideas. And also they will join or purchase of what you offer to them because their is a circle of trust between you and them. Taking the step to learn and enjoy of what you love to do is first tool to be successful in life. Find out now to my blog by visiting to my blog.

    http://jojoorias.blogspot.com

    Julius Orias
    Internet Marketer

  21. Neccia says:

    One very effective way to promote your blog as well as get free traffic to your blog is by writing short articles when you post in your blog on an article site like squidoo.com then pinging them to the major search engines as well as social bookmarking them as you update.

    Squidoo allows you to write short or long articles about almost anything including your blog posts and you can add in links below your article (as many as you want) that lead to your blog or affliate link sites. This has helpled me with free traffic and I think will help you too. Happy blogging!

    http://juicycelebnews.blogspot.com/
    http://beautydiscounts.blogspot.com/

    Neccia Celli

  22. Very good!
    “You’ve got influential readers – not just passive ones!”
    +1

  23. This is an extremely helpful post. I was trying to figure out how to put together a media package for my blog and this post gave some great insight. So I have a question:

    How do you go about conducting a survey if you’re not that popular. (Or if it appears that you’re not that popular?)

  24. Cris says:

    I am interested in selling my own ads on my site. How do you report the earnings on your taxes. Should your advertisers send any 1099 forms?

  25. Every advertiser small or big wants to advertise on good traffic site. What I feel if your site have few visitors but most of them are coming from search engine traffic then advertiser maybe interested in advertising on your site as they can expect your are getting original traffic and original visitors are viewing there ads.

  26. iwebie says:

    I am looking for Blog Sponsors, Advertisers/Marketers for my blog (http://www.iwebie.com). I am looking to negotiate some

    private sponsorship deals that would be mutually beneficial.

    The Sponsers have varied options like text link placement, banner placement, ezine mention, plugs, product reviews etc.

  27. Daniel says:

    what types of advertising you recommende me to promote my site? http://friends87.page.tl

  28. Dominique says:

    I too am looking for new sponsors/advertisers.. need to push up readership 1st though :)

  29. Definitely I agree in starting with small advertiser since big fishes would likely follow. Where small ones dwell, the shark seek them.

  30. How many visitors do you need to have before advertisers will take an interest in advertising on your blog?

  31. Slayo.com says:

    I have good traffic and good profit from adsense, I am looking for advertiser on my blog http://slayo.com My blog have some benefits like in the Google Top Ten always for keyword targetting and each of post I posted less than 24 hours will be the google top ten and having about 2000 visitors / day. But very difficult to find advertiser, could you recommends me some idea?

  32. shannon says:

    great information. i’m really going to look into this…starting smaller and working my way up sounds like great advice.

  33. This series is incredibly timely for me. Guess what I’d been thinking about last weekend?

    Several people asked here in the comments about how much traffic you should have before looking for advertisers. That’s the very question I was asking and I found an answer here on Problogger. Here is one of the articles that was helpful to me:
    Finding a Sponsor
    it links to several others that are helpful.

  34. Team Nirvana says:

    Phew! I always had a notion that finding advertisers and making them buy the ad space was hell of a task. But, after reading this post, I suppose, all that depends on is, finding out the right niche to write on, writing quality content, increasing the traffic, and contacting the people then.

    Thanks for this post.

  35. Bonunsa says:

    Great Post…This is one I’ll be working on as my traffic improves as well. Thanks for all of the helpful tips above.

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