Blogging Bootcamp: Advertising, Giveaways, & Product Reviews


 
How’s it coming? Did you enjoy week 1 of Blogging Bootcamp?
Miss it? You can check out Getting Started right here

Can you make money blogging? Yes… but if you’re in it for the money I wouldn’t bother. I make enough off my blog to buy some occasional craft supplies and treat ourselves to a date night every so often. I love blogging, so anything I earn is just a cherry on top:) I also don’t want blogging to become a job, so I’m not really that concerned with how much I make. Some people make a living off their blogs, but I wouldn’t count on it.

***With that let disclaimer let’s get started! Because it is nice to be able to fund your addiction:)

Advertising
1. Getting Started Right Away
  • Pay-Per Click: Pay-per click ads pay every time someone clicks on your ad. I use Google Adsense for 1 ad on my sidebar. You can choose to do only image ads and Google does a pretty good job of matching the ad to the content of your blog, which is really important to me. I don’t want to clutter up my sidebar with things that don’t interest my readers. There are quite a few options for pay-per click advertising. 
  • Pay-Per Lead: Pay-per Lead advertising gives you money every time someone signs up or buys a product (depends on the site). I’ve used Parent Media Group in the past for the free canvas deal. I know Shabby Apple, Chunky Bling, and Say it on the Wall  also have affiliate programs. You just display their ad on your blog and if someone buys something you get a commission. I had quite a bit of success with Parent Media Group, but I wasn’t ever patient enough with the other affiliate programs to see if it was worth it- after a week or two with no sales I decided to take their ads down. You never know though- you might have better luck
2. Sponsors



Sponsors pay up front to have their ad displayed on your blog for a certain amount of time (1 month is standard). The standard ad size is 125×125 pixels, but many blogs offer other sizes and prices as well. 

I started offering sponsor ad space on my sidebar when I had a 250ish followers. However, it was free! I found this was a great way to get my blog out there and give people a chance to try it out. Even with free advertising you might need to contact people- lots of people with etsy shops won’t know what you’re offering unless you tell them. I contacted a lot of etsy shops that I loved and offered them the chance at free sidebar advertising and the chance to do a giveaway or product review. A good way to find etsy shops that like to advertise on blogs and do giveaways is through other blogs! Just check the sidebars of some of your favorite blogs and use that as a starting point in your search for sponsors. 
***This worked great for me, but if you go this route I recommend giving people at least 1 month of free advertising or they’ll feel it’s not worth their time. 

Once I hit 500 followers I started charging $7/month and I offered discounts if they booked an ad space for longer. But… there is no magical price for ad space. I tried to look at other blogs advertising options to get a feel for the “going rate.” No one wants to be your first sponsor- when people look around for ad space they naturally assume that a blog with a lot of sponsors must have the best rate. Not necessarily true, but I think it helps to “prime the tip jar”. A good way to do that is by offering free trials and swapping ad space with blogs who have a similar number of followers. 

Make it easy for people to find out what you charge by setting up an Advertising tab on your blog and displaying a “your ad here” link in your sponsor section

2. Giveaways
Everyone loves free stuff! Giveaways are a great way to boost your readership and draw in sponsors.
***The Key: Don’t be afraid to ask. I’ve lined up almost all of my giveaways. Sometimes a shop approaches me, but for the most part I’ve done some recruiting:)
When you’re first starting I recommend not charging a fee for giveaways and setting the minimum prize amount fairly low ($10 or $15).
Ready to contact some shops? Make sure you include:
- Why you like their company and why it’s a good fit for your blog
- Your blog name and address
- Your Stats: followers, page views, etc.
- Your Audience: you might not know for certain who this is, but I generally take a stab and describe my audience as “young mothers who love to craft”
- What your giveaway fee is (I charge $5 or they can become a sponsor for $7 and get sidebar advertising)
- Some possible dates
Fit in all of that info. but try to keep the email succinct. I like to list my stats and key info. in bullet form so it’s easy to find.
Don’t feel bad if you never hear back- just keep trying:)
Keep your giveaway fairly short so people don’t forget about it, but also leave time for people to enter: I do 1 week, but 2 weeks is fine too. When it’s over I pick the winner using random.org
3. Product Review
More free stuff- a blogger’s dream:) I do the occasional product review, but you don’t want to be a beggar:) Generally when I contact a company for a giveaway I also let them know that I do product reviews for no fee if they’re interested.

***Warning!
Do not over commercialize your blog. I hate it when I come across a blog that is filled with irrelevant ads. People understand that you need sponsors to keep you going and don’t mind the occasional sponsor spotlight (especially if a discount is involved), but don’t over do it. In my personal opinion I don’t mind blogs that have a lot of sponsors b/c I like to support home based business and I actually enjoy checking out etsy shops, but I really don’t like to see a blog that is dominated by pay-per click and pay-per lead ads. So… be careful!
Phew…longest post ever! Let me know if I forgot anything:)
***I’m in Maui, so you may not hear back for awhile
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Amy is the founder and owner of Peek-a-Boo Pattern shop. She is a wife and mother to 3 children. Amy loves to sew, read and spend time outdoors.

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Comments

  1. 10

    says

    This Is such a great series! I really appreciate the info. This may be a stupid question, but is there anyway to see who is reading your blog through email? Thank you again for this valuable information!

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