Ten Secrets for Hyper Successful Blog Advertising

Lisa Jane Photography

February 26, 2013

Kat 25

Advertising on blogs, specifically wedding blogs, is still quite a new and therefore alien concept to many businesses. Not a lot of people really understand it and simply think that flinging an advert or sponsored post up on a wedding blog will instantly conjure a sparkly magic wand that will send a squillion enquiries their way. I’m sorry to burst that bubble, but it doesn’t really work like that. You have to know what you’re doing, you have to have a strategy in place and you have to work and rework at it to keep your marketing campaign effective.

So today I’m going to lift the lid on some of those secrets as well as share with you some of my top tips for getting the best out of your online marketing.

1. Show exactly what you do with the image you choose

This is not the time to be cryptic! Sure it sounds obvious, but I’ve seen many an advertiser get this very wrong. If you’re a photographer make sure the image you choose shows that – don’t pick a pretty shot of a bunch of flowers. To the casual observer it will look like you’re a florist. 

2. Make sure the text is legible

You have a limited space to use so this is even more vital than usual. Use fonts that are easy to read and colour combinations that stand out but don’t assault the eyes. Pick just one or two fonts and two or three core colours and don’t overcomplicate it. Check your spelling, punctuation and grammar – or even better, get someone else to check it for you.

3. Make the advert relevant to the blog

If you’re advertising on an alternative wedding blog like this one, don’t choose an image from a really traditional wedding for your advert. The more colourful, quirky and alternative looking ads always perform better on my site but this is not a uniform rule across the board!

Get to know the blog that you are wanting to advertise on. What kind of content do they post and what kind of weddings or images seem to get the best reaction from their readers? (pro tip: check the comments on the blog and on their facebook page).

Kat 16

4. Stand out from the crowd!

Make your ad as engaging and eye-catching as possible. This is not the time to be shy! Ad spaces are generally quite small so be sure to use the space you have in the best way you can. Fill the space and use a bright colour that stands out from all the others on the site.

Although in saying that, something I’ve noticed a few of my advertisers doing recently is not making the advert square, instead having a circle or differently shaped graphic. As long as the overall dimensions are still within the pixel guideline size this is perfectly OK!

5. Compare & contrast

Take a screen grab of the website that you wish to put your advert on and use Photoshop to see how you ad will a) look on the site overall and b) compare to the other adverts currently there. Does it stand out from the crowd? Does it engage readers? Does it show what you do with a quick glance? Would you click it?

6. Have a call to action

Give people a reason to click. I personally don’t allow animated gifs on my site as I think they’re ugly and distracting, but if the website you’re advertising on does this is one way to go about it. A more subtle way to stand out might be to add a special offer or discount code to entice people in. Again, the space is small you’ll have to be quite clever about how you get it on there. If you are going to have extra text like this, a plain background would work better.

A secondary idea could be to have a dedicated landing page for your ad that’s specific to the readers you’re trying to attract. A few of my current advertisers do this and I think they look really great. You can use them to highlight special offers or speak directly to the kind of client you want to book. You can see the custom landing pages of some of my currently advertisers herehere, here & here!

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7. Hire a designer

For goodness sake, if graphic design is not your forte then hire someone else to do it. Chances are you’re investing quite a bit of money into your ad campaign so don’t mess it up at the last minute by cobbling something together in MS Paint.

8. Track your clicks and referrals

If you haven’t got analytics installed on your website do this immediately. Use it to track where your traffic is coming from and if the amount you’re getting from your advert is significant. Of course people visiting your site is all well and good but these numbers need to transfer into actual enquiries and bookings too or the whole exercise is pointless. Be sure to ask anyone who does send you an enquiry where they found you so you can keep tabs on if your advert is working. 

If you are getting a lot of traffic from your advert but none of it is translating into enquiries or bookings then it might be time for a little self-reflection and tough love. Is your website up to scratch? Is your website and work attractive to the kinds of people clicking through from the advert? Does the branding match up? Are you doing everything you possibly can to attract the kinds of the clients you want? Are you offering those kinds of clients what they want?

I’ve had wedding suppliers who I consider really good friends stop advertising with me because their clicks didn’t seem to be translating into bookings. This is not the time for worrying if you’ll offend someone, this is your business and your money after all! It might just be the fact that the work or product you offer just isn’t right for that particular blog demographic (and yes, we’re all still friends!)

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9. Ask for feedback

If you feel like you’ve tried everything and your advert just doesn’t seem to be working in the way you’d hoped, why not ask the blogger for some feedback or see if they have any advice? After all, its their website and they should know their readers more than anyone. Don’t be afraid to crowd source as well and ask for feedback on your ad graphic or website from your peers. Yes it can be scary, but if you really don’t know what’s going wrong or how else you can improve it’s a really good idea. Just be careful about who you ask – make sure it’s people that you know will have your best interests at heart.

10. Stick with it

One advert for one month is rarely enough to transform someone’s business. Research shows that people need to see you online at least three times before they will think about engaging with you. Many blogs will allow you to book your advertising on a rolling monthly basis but I’d advise at least a three month stint before you can really assess any results.

Another thing I encourage my long-term advertisers to do is to regularly change their ad graphic – not so often that you’re not giving each image a chance, but maybe once every six months. We all get ‘banner blindness’ if we see the same advert over and over again so if your clicks are going down, a refresh of the graphic might be just the kick in the butt the blog readers need to notice you again.

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And as a little Brucey bonus…

11. Submit content!

Don’t just wack an advert on a blog and leave it at that! Readers are more likely to emotionally invest in you if they see your product or work within the editorial of the blog as well. So submit real weddings and photo shoots but also try and come up with some creative ideas and concepts to get featured (note: contests and giveaways are usually sponsored – aka paid for – features).

Work on your own blog content too. Update it regularly and make sure bloggers are aware of anything you’ve posted that you’re particularly proud off. Many blogs do a weekly round up of links to other sites (like my Thursday Treats or Business Bites) so even if something might not be suitable for a full feature, they may well link to you in one of those.

So there we have it. See, its not that scary at all is it? If you have any further questions regarding this topic, please hit me up in the comments. I’d love to help if I can!

Suppliers

46 comments

  1. hey Kat, just curious what blogging platform you started with? I have wordpress and it is really really difficult to put ads on there? (or maybe I’m not doing it right…)
    I changed it to a .com but need to buy my website and dont want to do it if wordpress isn’t a great platform to use.
    thanks in advance chick, loved this article!
    Louise

  2. Post author

    Louise mcg – i use wordpress.org. if you use wordpress.com (which is the free one) it’s limited as to what you can do with it (customisationa and such) Good luck!

  3. Very interesting info! Thankyou for sharing this so much! One of the reasons I’m such a fan is you are so honest! This is great! As a reader I do trust you! 🙂 Great job on this blog as always and very useful info! X

  4. Behind-the-scenes peeks are the best…thanks Kat! We are planning on going the direct advertising route starting in June, as I have similar feelings about ad networks. They serve a purpose, but not a very big one!

  5. Wow! What a great post- thankyou for sharing your thoughts. I particularly like the line, “A blog will not make you money. Your blog is a vehicle for you to use to start making money.”

    It can all be a fairly confusing sort of blur for us ‘blogger newbies’. I started my blog because I love to write- but I’m more passionate about fostering positive self image, boosting self confidence, and I’m also a makeup artist.

    Time to sit down with a notebook and start brainstorming, I think… thanks Kat! Xxx

  6. Post author

    MJ: Just read the blog post you linked back to my about page. Just wanna say good luck with your blogging and I hope we get to meet at a blogcademy soon! Glad you found this useful 🙂 Are you in london?

  7. As always, Kat, your articles are so inspiring! I write a blog too but I never thought about making money out of it! My object is showing my native region in Southern Italy,make people love it, and hopefully organise their wedding there!! But, everytime I read one of your post I feel I can do much more and in better ways! Thanks Kat!!!! Anna x

  8. Great post! I was recently contacted by Dove Deodorants- basically (as usual) they wanted me to blog about them for free. When I responded (in a classy way) with my media kit they said they had no money for advertising – ummm seriously!? Can you smell that BS too? Their parent company is KILLING IT this year- like highest profits ever. Needless to say I (unfortunately) got pretty unclassy pretty fast. How
    do you deal with companies who you know can pay but still view blogs as third world nations -what I really mean is how do you ‘keep it classy’ when you get this kind of shit on a daily basis?

  9. Post author

    Sara – I just politely say thanks so much for thinking of me but no thanks and wish them luck with their campaign!

  10. This is great advice but I have a couple questions. Firstly, you can’t make any money if you have no audience and many brands and ad agencies wont collaborate with you until you have a substantial audience, I know as I am still under 10,000 visits per month despite having my blog for two years. I would like to know how to build a large, dedicated and passionate audience that I can leverage for a living.

    Secondly, if you don’t ever blog about things you wouldn’t actually buy or use, why do you need to disclose that you have been hired to blog about it? I don’t see it as duping your audience if you already believe in what you’re promoting.

    I would like to see more talk on how to build a dedicated audience, thanks 🙂

  11. Also, for your readers, blogging has made me realise what I am really passionate about, my blog has evolved and I now know that I really love lifestyle journalism. My new goal is to use my blog as a sort of CV to get hired to write about events and places, so as Kat says, you won’t make money from your blog, but you can use it as leverage.

  12. Post author

    Hi The Dame Intl – so its quite difficult for me to answer your first question about building an audience in one short comment… theres not quick fix answer i can give you really. you’ll have to come to The Blogcademy I think! BUT you can still give affiliate links and google ads a go with a small audience. theres no minimum traffic you have to achieve to sign up for them.

    As for your second question – its just about being honest really and if youre in the US it is the law that you have to disclose if you’ve been paid for something…

  13. Hi Kat,
    I too have recently started a fashion blog in Australia and am keen to explore how to monetize the site. So thanks for your great advice. Cheers

  14. Hi Kat,
    I too have recently started a fashion blog in Australia and am keen to explore how to monetize the site. So thanks for your great advice. Chee

  15. Finding ways to earn a passive income online is much easier these days than back in early 2000. There are dozens of opportunities to choose from. You just have to know where to look or know the right people who can provide that information in their newsletters.

    Here’s a quick way to get started earning your first passive income stream.

  16. I think that showing integrity by disclosing that you are being paid for affiliate links or are reviewing a product you’ve been given as a freebie is a great point to make. In fact, it’s now a legal requirement to do so.

    It’s an important point so I’ve shared it on blogbods for the newbie bloggers. If you write anything else insightful about blogging do share it with us there!

    I also loved your comment about it not being the easiest job in the world – but it’s the best. Couldn’t agree more.

  17. Hi kat

    A really useful article. I will take your advice. Your site is great and what beautiful photos!

  18. i just started an Entertainment, gossip, gist,new and events blog about African news. i have been thinking of monetizing the blog but no idea.
    Thanks cause this has enlightened me the more about blogging

  19. Hi Kat, Awesome article and really gave me some good idea’s. I just wondered if you could take a quick look at my site and tell me the best options to get most out of it, Do you think i should create a “Hire Me” tab for reviewing products or writing articles for other companies/sites? As this is what i love to do i love to write about game/tech and cant think of anything else it is i would like to do. Thanks for any help you can give 🙂

    Regards.
    Chris.

  20. Am from Nigeria and I really gained alot from your article. I think i really need to brainstorm so i can be able to monetise my blog because am yet to get a penny. I love writing about the entertainment industry but with a touch of humour and maybe wanting my audience to learn from people i talk about

  21. Hi Kat,

    I blogged for a couple of years before but I did it purely to try and make money. My mistake was not writing about what I loved, I wrote only about topics that would generate traffic.

    If you don’t love it, you won’t last. Lesson learned.

  22. Hi Kat,
    Interesting article, thanks. I have two websites – one is just a general interest site, the other is a Science Fiction site. The general main one gets between 80,000 and 100,000 hits a month but makes about a dollar. I just have adsense on it right now. Maybe I should do more. I am learning coding so I can make it look better but not sure what else I should do.
    You article made me think I should be getting a little more.
    Maybe join an agency?
    Thanks,
    Jason

  23. Very informative article. My above blog is new, so right now I am using only Adsense Ads and Affiliate Marketing-Amazon links to sell their product, which is one of the best Affiliate programs. I am having 1-2 and even sometimes like in Christmas times more sales.

    Thanks for the information.

  24. I have to say that from all the articles I have read on how to get profit with a blog, yours is the best. It is A M A Z I N G how helpful this article has been for me. I started my blog because I really felt the need to talk about art and to share art around me, however I am looking forward on implementing some of this strategies.

    urbanartblog.com

  25. Just got self hosted 2 months ago and it has been a slow climb. And I have noticed that many PRs emailing will try to get you to lower your ad/sponsored post rates. Is it wise to decline? Or when do we make exceptions?

  26. Very helpful advice! I been thinking about it myself but at the same time its weighing on me if this is something I would want it to be come! I’ll have a think about it but thank you for the advice!

  27. I came across this article while trying to read more about blogging. Got self hosted just 2 weeks ago. For now it’s not all about the money. I just want to create some awareness about natural African hair/ products/ beauty back home African (Cameroon) precisely. This natural hair movement seem to be moving around Europe and USA with little or no impact in most African countries. Thanks for the advice. Your honesty is what made me to drop a word.I will definitely need tips to your article some time soon.

  28. Thanks for the advice! I have a new blog and making baby crafts also. I have plans of selling my creations in my site but haven’t think of affiliate ads yet. I might consider this tip once I have enough daily visitors.

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