This week we spoke to the lovely Kylie about her thoughts on blog advertising. Kylie had some great things to say in a recent #BMBchat, and elaborates here for us.
Firstly, tell us about you and your blog.
I am a mum of 2 daughters, an author, freelance writer, public speaker and blogger. I mainly blog about ways to make and save money at KylieOfiu.Com. It started as a way for me to track my goal and journey of becoming a millionaire by 30, but I discovered I have a real passion for finances and helping others find ways to make and save money too. As a result of my blog, I was approached by Wiley Australia to publish 365 Ways To Make Money last year. My blog was also the platform for launching my writing and speaking career.
You mentioned in the #BMBchat that you are much better off since going it alone when it comes to blog advertising. Tell us about that:
I used to have a skyscraper sized ad for a blog advertising company on my blog but after they did a few things I disagreed with and the income was not fantastic, I decided to remove it. Removing it opened up space on my blog I was able to sell to other advertisers for more than I was making from the company.
I also received more emails enquiring about sponsored posts, text and banner links in my sidebar and so on. The opportunities increased a lot after getting rid of the company.
I have often read that when things aren’t working to try something else and find what does work for you. I found that not being affiliated with any one company I became more approachable in advertisers eyes. I was able to negotiate higher rates than the previous company was charging for me and I was able to outsource some advertising to another marketing company which has helped immensely too.
Overall, for me it was the best decision to step away from the company and do it myself.
What are your top tips for DIY blog advertising?
Firstly know your worth. Companies are contacting you because they see value in what you do. When negotiating a price, choose something higher than you expect to receive, but have a figure in mind you will not go below.
Create a generic letter you can use to reply to advertising requests. Alter it as needed, but have your prices and what you do clearly outlined on it. This will save you a lot of time.
Have a media kit. Most companies will ask for it. A media kit includes information about your blog, statistics and why it is fantastic. Know your point of difference – what makes your blog unique and why should advertisers work with you?
Create a ‘pr/advertise or work with me” page. Call it whatever you like, but make it clear it is the page advertisers should use. Outline what advertising you will and won’t do, you can choose to list your prices or just be clear about how they can contact you.
These 3 things have helped me be more organised and negotiate advertising quickly.
Do you have a ball park figure that bloggers should be charging for advertising? Or a magic formula to figure it out?
I didn’t when I started doing it myself. I just plucked a number out of the air and went with it. I started out doing sponsored posts for between $80 and $100, usually starting at $100 so if necessary I could negotiate slightly lower.
I have found it depends a little on the advertiser and what they value as in traffic, Alexa rank, Google rank etc. Some bloggers have a magic formula, but for me I just charged what I felt comfortable with, then added a little extra.
My main tip is do not charge too low. You can always negotiate lower, but if you start really low you have nowhere to go. If you have a great point of difference about your blog, engaged followers and are on social media, most advertisers are willing to negotiate.
What are your tips for approach and negotiating?
When it comes to approach keep it short. The longer it is the less likely people are to read it all. This goes for whether they approach you or you approach them. You have all the information they might need in a media kit which you can attach or send later, so don’t feel the need to outline everything at the start.
Don’t be afraid to approach businesses and talk about what you can offer them. In Australia blogging is still relatively new and many companies do not know how to work with bloggers. Also small businesses often hold great opportunities.
As for negotiating know your prices and do not go below them. If you go cheaper than you feel you are worth you will regret it and more than likely resent it. There are opportunities out there so if a company does not want to agree to your prices, don’t worry about it, something else will come along.
Should a blogger ever agree to advertising for free in the hope that it will lead to paid ads in the future?
I have done work for free which has led to paid opportunities. I think you need to go with your gut feel on things. I do not think bloggers should participate in link exchanges or view everything as an opportunity because there are just as many companies out there looking for a free ride on your blog as there are companies who genuinely want to work with you, if not more.
It is not bad to do some things for free, but you need to know what you are comfortable doing and weigh up how likely it is that this free work will turn into paid work. Do no just do every free thing that comes along or you will burn yourself out and not be making any money.
Value your blog and your readers. Ask yourself – Does this free work provide value to my readers? What are the chances of it turning into a paid opportunity? What am I getting out of it? Am I comfortable doing this? Your answers to these questions will tell you if you should do it or not.
Anything else to add?
I think we are at an interesting time with blogging in Australia and working with brands. Since it is so new to many brands we have the opportunity to work together and show how we would like to work with them, what benefits bloggers provide to brands and pave the way for future bloggers. As such I think we should be careful about how we choose to advertise and what opportunities we choose to do. We are paving the way at the moment and that is a pretty big responsibility.
Thank you Kylie, for sharing your wealth of knowledge and experience with us. I’m sure it will help a lot of bloggers out there.