Top Tips for Getting the Most out of Monetizing Brand/Blog Relationships

Posted By Stacey Roberts 2nd of March 2015 Blogging for Dollars 0 Comments

Working with brands on blogs is big business, and for one blogger making a full time living through advertising and sponsorships, there are 100 more who’d like to.

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Louisa Claire has been blogging for nine years and runs Brand Meets Blog, where she connect brands with bloggers and trains bloggers on how to work professionally with brands. Having worked with leading brands including Qantas, Kellogg’s, and The Heart Foundation among many, she is passionate about helping brands and bloggers make authentic connections that deliver great value for bloggers, readers, and brands alike.

She’s been around since the early days of brand work on Australian blogs, and has seen the struggles and wins on both sides of the fence – where brands were tentatively taking this leap into new advertising waters, and bloggers realised they had platforms that could become careers.

I recently spoke at the ProBlogger Perth Training Day about the various ways you can monetise your blog (slides and links here, for those interested), and picked Louisa’s very knowledgeable brain about how to get your blog brand-ready. The topic was so large, and her advice so useful, I asked if  we could go into more detail here on ProBlogger. Thanks Louisa!

If you’ve just started moving toward this income stream (or even if you’ve got some experience under your belt), then read on – there’s plenty of tips for you to implement today to get the most out of collaborating with brands (read on for a discounted rate on her brand/blog ecourse!).

*Further reading: Make Money on Your Blog by Partnering With Brands 

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Working with Brands on Your Blog: What You Need to Know

What are the benefits of working with brands on blogs as an income source?

Speaking personally, the positives for me have been huge – I have travelled interstate and overseas as a result of brand partnerships, been paid to write for brands, judge brand competitions and so much more. Just in terms of the experiences and opportunities I’ve had, it’s been fun! For me, fun is huge!

It’s also given me great flexibility as a Mum to be able to juggle little people and school drop offs, upset tummies and all the things that come with parenthood and I’m so grateful for that flexibility. And it helps pay the mortgage, so that’s good too! When I speak to fellow bloggers a lot of these reasons also resonate for them and drive their desire to find a way to make it work for them.

Why do you think it’s such a popular way of monetising?

Because it’s a natural extension of who we are as people! I think that we all love to share the things we love with the people we care about and what better way for bloggers to do this than to partner up with the brands they love and bring them to their readers? It just makes sense!

What are brands looking for when working with bloggers?

Sometimes what brands are looking for at a big picture level is different to what they actually want.

What I mean by that, is that often brands start out looking for reach – this means how many unique views a blog has or more plainly, how many people will see a blog post. What they mostly (really) want is for readers to be moved to act – whether that’s clicking on a link, commenting, visiting their site or more directly, making a purchase – they almost always have a goal that goes beyond simply “how many people will see this blog post.”

The job of the blogger is to help brands see how working with them will lead to that second activity – by showing them that whatever your audience size is, you are able to connect with you readers on a personal level and encourage them to act. For example, you might have a blog with 10,000 monthly uniques, but 85% of those are Australian (or American or UK) readers who have a direct interest in your blog topic. Another blogger might have 50,000 monthly uniques but 50% of their traffic is international and they blog on 3-4 topics so of the Australian (or US or UK – wherever you live) audience maybe only 25% are going to be interested in the topic.

Your job is to be able to explain to brand why your 10,000 uniques are just as useful and relevant to them. (My point isn’t that blogs with big traffic don’t have the same deep relevance as smaller, niche blogs but that the smaller blogs sometimes don’t know how to demonstrate to a brand why their smaller number is actually really good.) Because your goal is to move readers to action, it’s essential to only work with brands that you can truly, authentically endorse and who your readers would genuinely be interested in. It can also be a good idea to consider longer term brand partnerships or a clear focus in the type of brands you work with.

How important are media kits and what would brands like to see on them?

Media Kits are a great way to showcase the best things about your blog in a short, concise way to any interested brand or agency. That makes them an incredibly useful tool for bloggers!

That said, I’d hate for a blogger to be put off responding to a pitch or not initiating a conversation with a brand because they don’t have one – if you can put your key information into an email then that works too. The biggest mistake I see bloggers making with their media kids is making it too long and too hard to find that key information like audience profile and stats.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Media Kit.

What are the best ways to make contact with brands?

Bloggers are in such a great position to do this right now because of their experience and comfort level with social media. With more and more brands trying to carve out their own space in social media, bloggers can get in front of them through simple things like sharing their content, commenting, engaging and striking up a conversation. I think if bloggers can keep in mind how they connect with each other then they are on the right track!

Are there particular niches you think work better than others with brands?

At certain times different niches will be “hot” and that will make it easier – health and wellness has been huge recently and it definitely helps if you’re in that niche at the right time.

That said, I don’t think it’s necessarily easier if you blog on a particular niche other than it might be more immediately obvious to you which brands suit your blog. What I think makes a bigger difference is if you have a really clear understanding of who your readers are and what they are looking for because even if you blog on a niche you’re going to have a few core angles that you take on that niche that will impact who you should work with. Your best opportunities lie in working that stuff out.

How can someone who isn’t in an “easy” or “hot right now” niche work with brands?

Gosh, so many ways! Don’t get put off if you don’t have a niche, because in fact you do. Your passion is your niche! And your passion is what your readers resonate with.

Done carefully, your passion can tie beautifully in to working with brands in ways that benefit you and your readers. One of the participants from our course Brandlicious: Your Step By Step Guide To Making Brands Fall In Love With Your Blog, Danielle from Keeping Up With The Holsbys actually identified this for me recently when she said “Brandlicious made me analyse my blog, and who my readers are to best ascertain who I should be working with. It was less about me, and more about my readers. It made me look at things in an entirely different way!

I get really excited when I see bloggers uncovering this and then seeing what it means for them and the brands they could work with and brands pick up on it too!

What mistakes do you see bloggers making who would like to work with brands?

A couple of obvious ones stand out. The first is making it hard for brands to get in touch with them – sometimes I will find a blogger I’m keen to involve in a campaign but am on a tight timeframe and because I can’t find their name/email/other relevant contact information I have to skip them over. It’s always a shame when a blogger misses out on something that could have been great for them for a simple reason like an email address.

The second is when bloggers inflate their stats or don’t look closely at what their stats mean. If you tell brands that your stats are something more than they are then the brand will almost certainly be disappointed by the results. You’re much better off being upfront about your stats and giving examples of how readers engage with your blog and with other sponsored content so that they can have realistic expectations and end up thrilled with the result!

Where do you see the blog/brand relationship headed in the future?

I don’t think there is going to be one path for brand/blogger relationships but some of the things I expect is that brands will look at long term blogger partnerships and ambassadorships.

I also think that bloggers who know how to present like a business and consider the brand objectives and ROI as part of their approach will be in a better position to seriously monetise.

Already we are seeing that brands are interested in Facebook and Instagram as part of a blogger’s community, and that they are also looking at users who are influential on those platforms even if they don’t have a blog. These will be things bloggers need to consider in terms of what they focus on and how they could partner with brands in future.

Louisa has offered ProBlogger readers a discount on her new online course Brandlicious. Head here for the reduced price, and to read more about how to get your blog brand-ready.

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Stacey is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama or be entertained on Facebook.

About Stacey Roberts
Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama, follow on Pinterest for fun and useful tips, peek behind the curtain on Instagramand Snapchat, listen to her 90s pop culture podcast, or be entertained on Facebook.
Comments
  1. Great tips, thanks!
    I’d lije to know if there’s a ‘magic number’ of unique views you nneedto reach before starting to approach brands? 10,000 feels a long way off for me!!

  2. Heads off to you Stacy for post and research. these are tonics for blogger and the way to become successful. your posts are providing road-maps.Thanks
    Regards
    ebijayashanti

  3. great and well researched post Stacy. you have discussed a lot about the benefits of monetizing a blog with popular brands. it’s a dream for every blogger to make his blog brand ready. every blogger wants to earn a handsome income through his blog and I think these tips will act as a road-map for me and fellow bloggers.

    Thanks for sharing such a huge article!

    Gaurav Heera

    • Stacey Roberts says: 03/06/2015 at 10:05 am

      I hope it’s useful to those who are looking toward this kind of monetisation on their blog :)

  4. As ebijayashanti said that your post provides a road-map for successfully blogging. I agree with the text. But on other hand; how a brand become more popular on web is entirely based on user experience that’s but their reviews about the brand or we can say what your audience talk about you in their circle, community and market. Are they happy with your services or not? What you are offering unique and valuable material to your audience than your competitors. How you can build more new audience? Its only depends how much you are aware about caring of your exiting audience than your competitors. But your customer expect more from you? Are you hearing from them and giving importance them or not. These are the few important tactics that those helps you to make popular in your competition. For this purpose ORM (Online Reputation Management) and your presence/availability on social networks play a valuable role to get connected with the audience.
    Regards
    Mandeep
    Twitter: @_MandeepSingh_

  5. Thanks for a another outstanding post. Building relationships is very important and if you do it right, you can benefit from it.

  6. Nice article Stacy! It helped me a lot/

    Regards,
    Mike

  7. How do you go about keeping the brands happy and not over advertising on your blog? How do you find the line?

    Also what kind of return can be expected per 10k uniques? Would it not be easier to just promote an affiliate product?

    Awesome topic, just wondering on those two things!

  8. You have brought up a really fantastic point. Thank you for sharing your article about this Top Tips for Getting the Most out of Monetizing Brand/Blog Relationships. Great!

  9. Useful tips i liked very much.

  10. Such a great article.I prepared myself for my website to get those things and performs it better.Such a big relation between monetizing and brandblog .

  11. These are absolutely helpful tips I will consider doing soon. Just proves that building relationships goes a long way especially for us bloggers.

    Thank you for sharing these awesome tips!

  12. Awesome! Some people have their own strategies, including you with your brand. You also have long for 9 years of blogging and 4 years running your brand.
    Thank you for sharing. This is an additional insight for me

  13. Building meaningful relationships through affiliate marketing and blogging will help anyone best monetize their site quality advertisements and earn good revenue from affiliate programs. and, one thing a lot of bloggers don’t know is that the last ads they have on their blogs, the more money they can make as an affiliate-blogger. Don’t you agree?

  14. Thanks for giving useful tips

  15. Hi Stacey,

    I dig the note of the whole reach/act thing. Very neat, very true. Brands want brand ambassadors. People to spread the word. People to act. If your audience acts, if you have a loyal community, who’ll support you, and will buy your products, and will listen to your recommendations, well a brand can’t go wrong with that type of audience. Brands want bloggers with clout. Real clout, not some social metrics. The clout that means if you recommend someone, or some brand, that your audience, largely, will trust your recommendation and will become a follower of buyer. That’s real power, and that’s what brands really want, even though the reach thing comes into play too.

    I see many travel bloggers make the mistake of thinking they can score brand bonds, or build them quickly, before they have clout. Looking for ad revenue, and sponsored posts, is all well and good, as is the good old 1 on 1 work with brands but in the end, people should focus on creating valued and fostering bonds with their communities, then the brands can come a knocking after you have impressed the hell out of them.

    Then when they do knock, you will have the posture and authority to see if you have a match or if you don’t have a match. All on you, and if you are clear on your direction, and on your intent, you can be picky about brands you work if. Even if you have little clout you can still be picky. Aha! The power of clarity.

    Stacey, excellent points here.

    Patience, persistence, sharing value and building bonds give you the reach, the influence, and the trusting clout that brands are looking for.

    Tweeting from Bali.

    Ryan

  16. This post has more tips than I can absorb in one sitting, but it’s great! I bookmarked this for referral later!!
    Thank you!!

  17. @digitalpayout:disqus

    This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work…
    Thanks for sharing this post
    Regard