Web marketing wisdom has it that running blog is a great way to build exposure and a loyal following for your product or service.
But what if you don’t have a blog? Or what if your blog is inactive and hardly visited by anyone except comment spammers?
Does this mean that the promotional power of blogging is beyond your reach?
Anyone can tap into the power of a popular blog, simply by hitching a ride on the coat-tails of successful, active bloggers with a large readership among your target marketing.
Let’s take the example of Rachel. She is selling a kosher nutritional supplement.
“Yes, yes,” says Rachel. “I know I should write a blog about health and nutrition in the kosher community. I’ll get round to that some day. In the meantime, I want to promote my product NOW. I want to sell these vitamins TODAY, not just in six months when I have some people reading my blog.”
So what should Rachel do if she wants more immediate results from blogging?
She should contact the people behind popular blogs with kosher consumers, ideally in the health, food, shopping, and women niches. She should make them an offer where they will promote her product TODAY in exchange for some benefit to themselves.
But this is where it gets a bit sticky. If Rachel is like most people, she may go about this in the WRONG way, and instead of gaining exposure for her product, she will earn herself the annoyance and/or scorn of an influential blogger.
That’s because if there is one thing that bloggers hate, it’s people who try to use our blogs for their own blatant promotional purposes. It takes countless hours of hard work to build a popular blog, and there is absolutely no reason why a blogger should let you hitch a ride on their success, unless you make it work their while.
Think of it this way: Imagine you pay a visit to the office of a local radio station and ask to meet the manager. You tell him: “You have 24 hours in the day of broadcasting to your listeners. I’m sure you won’t mind if I take just 30 seconds today to talk to your audience about my incredible new product: bubble-gum flavored frozen schnitzels. And as a way of saying Thank You, I’ll give you this free sample pack of bubble-gum schnitzels. You’ll love them!”
Would you expect that approach to be successful?
Here are some ideas for how to make the most of the publicity power of someone else’s blog, without making a nudnik of yourself:
8 Guidelines For Marketing on Someone Else’s Blog
- No to Free Rides: Never, NEVER contact an unknown blogger via their blog and ask them to promote your product, service or event for free. Couching the ask in vague terms of “cooperation” and “joint venture,” when it is quite clear that there is nothing you can offer the blogger that they want, does not make this approach more successful.
- Yes to Free Rides: Networking with bloggers is a good idea for anyone really invested in web marketing. You can connect with them at live events and on social media. After a genuine relationship of mutual sharing and helping has been established, your blogger friends will likely be more than happy to promote you to their community, even for free. But if your only goal is to tap into their community, it’s CHEAPER and EASIER to pay them a few bucks to promote you than spend 3 months pretending to be their best friend.
- Freebies: Many people ask bloggers to promote them in exchange for freebie samples of their product and service. Some bloggers welcome these offers. But even though the Freebie offer is one of the most common ways that businesses approach bloggers, it doesn’t always work. You may think: “My New App is Worth $29.99 RRP. This blogger can take just 10 minutes to write about me to earn that!” However, unless the blogger would have bought your app anyway, this freebie is worthless to them. On the other hand, if the blogger decides they want your freebie, they may accept it, in exchange for giving you some free publicity.
- Reviews: Some businesses ask the blogger to publish a review in exchange for the freebie. This is better for you and (in some ways) worse for the blogger. It takes the blogger time to read and write a review for your book (or other product). Sometimes it takes them hours of their time. It is only worthwhile for them to do this (in exchange for a free copy of your book/product) if: (a) they happen to be your biggest fan and would looooooove to read and review your book; or (b) your book is of great interest to their audience and a review of it will attract a lot of interest and discussion among their readers. Unless that is the case, it is polite to offer payment in exchange for an in-depth review.
- Giveaways: This is a promotional idea that often works well. The business allows the blogger to give away product samples as prizes to readers, in exchange for a brief mention of the product on the blog. Many bloggers like giveaways that will excite their readers and lead to more traffic and engagement. Other bloggers don’t like giveaways, because they feel that the buzz generated by a giveaway is not significant enough to justify the time it takes them to promote it. Offering payment for their time in promoting your giveaway will certainly smooth the way for productive cooperation.
- Sponsored Posts: Many bloggers will accept sponsored posts where you write about the problem your product/service solves, including one or two links back to your site, in exchange for payment or another benefit. The sponsored post should be informative more than salesy. If you want the blogger to write the sponsored post themselves, expect to pay extra for their time.
- Affiliate Commissions: Some businesses ask bloggers to promote them in exchange for an affiliate commission for sales that they refer. Bloggers may be interested in these kinds of offers if your product is truly awesome and a good fit for their audience. It also helps if you have a great website that will do the job of closing sales. Unless the above it true, savvy bloggers will not promote you on a commission basis simply because it is a waste of their time. They will not make any sales or any money (for you or for themselves).
- Advertising: I know bloggers who do not accept paid ads on their blogs. Like maybe two . The rest of us will gladly accept payment to publish banner and text ads, and even email blasts, assuming we don’t hate the product and the price is right. Feel free to reach out and ask!
A Rule of Thumb: Any promotion you do with a blogger will go most smoothly if you offer to pay the blogger in exchange for the promotion or if you have a relationship with the blogger through networking.
Aside from that, there is no such thing as “Something for nothing.”
How Much Should You Pay a Blogger?
As a potential advertiser, this not a simple question. The more established bloggers will often have a price list. Other bloggers are pulling numbers out of the air when you ask. There is a danger that you could overpay. One blogger asked me to pay $700/month for a banner ad on their blog, even though their traffic was only about 10,000 views a month. Bloggers don’t necessarily understand the real value of advertising. It’s your job to understand it.
First of all, you should ask them how many people will see your ad. If it’s a banner ad, don’t pay more than $10 per 1,000 views. If it’s a promotion within the content, the price will vary depending on the impact you can expect. If the audience is truly your target customer, you should be happy to pay $20 or more per 1,000 views.
Remember: the success of any advertising campaign depends on many factors, not just the number of people who see your ad. You also have to sell your product well.
For bloggers with smaller audiences or non-monetized blogs, quality freebies and giveaways are often acceptable payment. They are worth a try.
Whatever you do, don’t commit to six month’s worth of advertising right away. Start off with a single promotion and see what the results are.
How to Find Bloggers to Promote You?
The key is to identify who your target customers are, and what sort of blogs they are reading. Then you can easily find popular blogs of that type.
Many people reading this blog target the Jewish market. As a service to my readers, I am creating a list of Jewish women’s blogs, which I will be publishing very soon. This list will make it dead easy for potential advertisers to find blogs in this niche. If you have a blog targeting Jewish women that you would like to add to this list, click here.
I also work with clients doing business in many other niches. Time and again, I have seen that partnering with popular bloggers is a great way to get instant, targeted exposure for a business.
If you do it right, it can work for your business too!
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