Earlier today I posted about using paid advertising to Promote Your Blog. In the research of that post I interviewed a fellow blogger who I’ve seen use Advertising very effectively to launch numerous blogs. I asked if he’d be willing to speak publicly about his experience and he said he’d do so if he could remain anonymous. He blogs in a couple of quite competitive niches so wanted to keep his tactics under the radar for competitive reasons. I’ll call him ‘Bob’ below:
Darren: Why do you use Advertising on your blogs?
Bob: For me it’s purely as a kick start to a new blog. I find that the hardest thing about getting a blog going is finding the first readers. I’m confident with my ability to write engaging content that will grow the blog through word of mouth – but when you have no one reading your blog to start with it most difficult to start a word of mouth thing happening. Advertising brings in an influx of initial readers to kick start the blog.
Darren: What advertising methods do you use?
Bob: I used to exclusively use AdSense which enabled me to target specific search terms and other sites in my niche but have also started using both StumbleUpon (great for a quick influx of traffic to content that you feel is suited for social media sites) and most recently Facebook (good for targeting local traffic and interest groups).
Darren: What kind of budget would you put into an Advertising Campaign to promote a blog?
Bob: My campaigns have all been under $300 across all ad platforms.
Darren: Do you advertise your blogs beyond a launch period?
Bob: I have tried this but found that the most effective time to advertise was for the week or two around launch. After that I find that a more organic blog growth starts to kick in as your current readers start to pass on word of your blog to others. I do follow up the launch campaigns on occasions when I have a particularly good post for social media by running small StumbleUpon Campaigns but I would only really spend $20 or so on these. I do occasionally also target other blogs in my niche with AdSense which can help with brand awareness – but most of my efforts are around launch time of a new blog.
Darren: Do you have any tips on how to write effective ads?
Bob: Well with StumbleUpon the actual site you link the ad to is the ad itself – so make it great quality content. With Facebook and AdSense you need to target a key need or benefit that someone will be motivated by. Make your ads ‘active’ and where possible ‘personal’. Personal ads are particularly effective on AdSense where you can actually target the readers of particular sites with a message that will catch their attention and drive a response. Also you need to think about the landing page for the ad and how you’ll capture the visitor by getting them to subscribe to your blog.
Darren: What impact has advertising your blogs had in terms of traffic?
Bob: I would not launch a blog these days without some sort of advertising. As I mentioned above, the hardest part of establishing a readership is getting your first readers. By spending just a few hundred dollars on advertising I managed to get the readership of my last blog up to around 300 daily visitors and 500 RSS subscribers (this was the figure a few days after I stopped my campaign). This was partly as a result of one of my StumbleUpon campaigns ‘tipping’ into an organic rush of traffic (the real beauty of SU campaigns over others). Since that time the blog has continued to steadily grow (a few months later it’s now double those figures) and I’ve now broken even (and some) on the initial investment.
Darren: Any last tips?
Bob: Yes, one very important thing that I know you’ve mentioned in your own previous posts about advertising and that is to not spend your money all at once. You can blow money very quickly with advertising by setting up a campaign in any of the ad options I’ve mentioned and expecting it to work first time. They rarely do and you’ll burn through your money in an hour or so and not see any real benefits. Start with a $20 campaign, test how the ad performs, track how many people subscribe and then tweak your ad and the landing page. Run another small campaign and see if the results improve. Tweak it again and run another campaign. If something simply isn’t working – stop doing it. If something does work – keep tweaking til you perfect it and then do it some more.
PS: If you’ve got tips to share on how you’ve advertised your blog effectively feel free to add them in comments below. Also if you’re looking to advertise with StumbleUpon check out my tutorial – Run a StumbleUpon Advertising Campaign for Your Blog.