***Featuring Stephanie Agresta (Internet Geek Girl), Kristen Hammond (owner of Baby Brewing), Lynn Truong (WiseBread), and Dana Loesch (mamalogues).
We walked into a packed session - attendees sat on the floor and lined the back and side walls.
The session began and ended with one question: How Can I Make Money From My Blog?
Questions were asked and advice was shared.
Following you will find a transcript of the answers that were provided by the panelists.
One of the panelists began the session by pointing out that, "There isn't one method. Just as your blog has a distinct voice, you have to know what your niche is and what you want to accomplish with your blog."
HOW TO JOIN AN AD NETWORK
There are many ways to find and join an ad network. Two to consider are the BlogHerAd network and Chitika. Or you can google "ad network" and a whole bunch of them will pop up. Consider your audience and your goals before selecting one.
HOW TO GET ADVERTISERS "ON YOUR OWN"
- If you're doing independent advertising (not through an ad network)...ask yourself: What businesses do you frequent every day? What coffee do you drink? Where do you get your nails done? What are five products that you're obsessed with? Advertising should reflect your tastes and your personality.
- After you determine the advertisers that reflect who you are, approach them and ask if they're interested in advertising or partnering with you! Companies are eager for the "buzz." Kristen pointed out that, "You never know unless you ask. It can never hurt you to ask."
- It can help to look a little bigger than you are. You could put up affiliate buttons to start. Advertisers are more likely to advertise if they see that other people are advertising.
- If an advertiser is hesitant, offer one month of sponsorship/advertising free and then see if they're interested at the end of the month.
- Remember that the number of comments you have doesn't necessarily mean anything. If you can show that your readers are loyal, that's just as important as numbers.
- DO have a way to track your statistics.
- DO know the "demographics" of your audience. Do an informal reader survey.
HOW TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ADS
Go to a few advertising conferences: adtech, Affiliate Summit, etc.
HOW MANY ADS TO PLACE ON YOUR BLOG
One panelist shared that she chooses to place no more than three ads on her blog at any time. "The reason people go to a blog is for the content," she pointed out.
WHAT TO CHARGE ADVERTISERS
A standard rate is $2/CPM (cost per thousand impressions). You could also look at two other sites are comparable to yours to see what they are charging.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
Here are a few good websites for people who want to learn more about the basics of search engine optimization. SEOmoz.com is one good site for learning about the industry. You can also check out the Search Marketing Gurus blog. Google FAQs is also a great place to go for an easy introduction to SEO. Remember that key words, titles, and categories are super critical for getting good representation on google.
AFFILIATE MARKETING 101
Affiliate marketing is essentially a system where publishers and advertisers work together. The best way to get started is to sign up with the networks. You could start with Commission Junction
. Or you could sign up with the Amazon Associates Program
, a hugely successful affiliate program that was started in 1995. Another option is to sign up with advertisers that are targeted directly to your audience (HerRoom
was given as a example).
Remember that the public offer (affiliate fee) on the website is the starting point. Most companies will give higher percentages to people that produce. Go to them and say "I would like a higher percentage." Affiliate managers really care about having bloggers onboard. Another approach is to ask for a small monthly flat fee.
The conclusion wrapped up with one of the panelists stating that "Monetization isn't for everyone."
Another panelist said, "Be yourself. Be authentic. That's the most important thing."