You can choose to monetize your blog any number of different ways. Starting with ad networks like Google AdSense is a very common practice, as is promoting a variety of products and services through affiliate marketing. As your site continues to grow, you may be able to attract another revenue stream, one that can be both a lot of fun and potentially very lucrative.
Working with Companies for Fun and Profit
Whether you call it sponsored content, co-branded collaboration, or brand ambassadorship, you can partner up with companies and organizations on a one-to-one basis for private advertising opportunities. This form of “native advertising” is increasingly common among blogs in a range of niches.
Bloggers get invited to special preview events, for example, or they may be offered new and exciting products to sample and review. This can be accompanied by a social media campaign using a particular hashtag, sometimes in tandem with other bloggers in the same or related verticals.
The assumption that many bloggers have is that they need to boast very impressive numbers in order to get on the radar of PR departments and PR companies. They assume that they need tens of thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram. While it certainly doesn’t hurt to look popular and to demonstrate the size of your audience, numbers aren’t everything.
Looking Beyond Follower Counts
I had a conversation with a public relations professional the other day and she offered a very important insight for any blogger who wishes to get on these lists for free trips, free product samples and potentially lucrative sponsorship deals. In addition to the number of fans and followers, two other criteria are arguably even more important.
First, the PR company (or the PR department of a company) could be interested in reaching a very particular demographic within a specific niche. Even if someone has a relatively smaller audience, but that audience is exactly the demographic the PR company is trying to reach, you could be a very attractive candidate.
They might be looking for stay-at-home dads in California, for example, or food bloggers who specialize in Japanese cuisine. This is why it is important that you know who you are (and who you aren’t) in your role as a blogger. You need to know how to position and how to market yourself (and your blog) to these companies. If you can demonstrate the right “fit,” you can get on their radar.
An Audience That Cares
The second, and perhaps even more important characteristic, is engagement. PR professionals want to see that you have an engaged audience, one that likes, comments and shares your content. This helps to further extend your reach to a secondary audience: the people who are the fans and followers of your fans and followers. Readers that care and engage are far more valuable that passive followers who keep on scrolling (or who might be non-human bots).
The company that is looking to extend its brand presence and to boost its brand awareness in the marketplace is far more interested in the blogger with 1,000 engaged followers than the blogger with 10,000 followers but no likes or comments. In this sense, it is still a numbers game, except you should be thinking in terms of percentages rather than the raw number of followers.
How engaged is your audience? How many likes or retweets are you getting? Are you getting comments on Facebook on a regular basis?
Keep an eye on those Facebook insights, work toward creating more “viral” content on social media that increases likes and comments, and remember that you are not too small of a fish for companies and brands to care. You just need to position your blog and show that your audience will really appreciate and “like” the co-branded content.