We are going to spend a solid hour on the panelists’ expertise and leave 15 minutes for questions.
What is the proverbial “they” looking for?
A brand has an umbrella that includes PR, marketing, public affair, communications… and under that, there are the agencies that work for them. There are a lot of department heads and agencies for any given brand. As bloggers, know that PR is not where the money is. PR people do not have budgets. Marketing people have budgets.
Earned media is when someone asks you to do a review. Paid media is advertising, sponsored posts, etc. PR is in charge of earned media. It’s the marketing department that is in charge of paid media. But you can form a relationship with the PR people, and once you have that relationship, they may hand you over to the department with the money. You don’t form relationships with marketing people, though, because they are focused on money and results. They are only interested in ROI, the clickthroughs, the leads generated. If you can’t speak the language of ROI, they’re not going to give you money.
There can be huge overlap between PR and marketing in smaller companies or agencies, so don’t treat people badly.
How do your stats affect your value?
When a brand goes to make an ad buy in a traditional publication, they have detailed demographics about their readers. The more you know about your audience, the more you are able to sell yourself. You can get some of that information from tools like Quantcast, Compete, and Alexa. And like it or not, brands are also looking at Klout. Look into Kred and PeerIndex, as well. Different industries look at different metric tools.
Know what people are reading on your blog, what they are commenting on. Don’t just go for the brands you want to work with; you have to go for the brands that meet your audience demographics. And don’t lie about your stats, because you’ll get busted.
Small blogs, don’t despair. First click attribution is becoming a big thing, and brands are learning to telescope out to look at the long tail of sales. You may have influence with only a small group of people, but you may be a rockstar to those people. “Even if you have a readership of 1,500 you can still show ROI.”
You can use PicMonkey to create a fast and dirty media kit. Cecily has a great tutorial on MomCrunch.
Readership and Engagement
Are you engaging your readers? If you have a ton of pageviews each month, but you don’t have a presence on Facebook or Twitter, and you aren’t getting any comments, are you really engaged? Spam comments don’t count. (If they did, I have tens of thousands of comments! That Akismet hid and deleted so I don’t have to deal with them.)
Where do you put engagement on your media kit? How do you indicate that? You can use TweetReach, Hashtracker, Facebook Insights to get the numbers for your kit. I like Sprout Social for tracking my reach. (My Twitter reach hit over 1.1 million tweeps yesterday when my conference tweets were amplified. Woot!)
You’ve got to make your audience feel comfortable with you. “You have to be Justin Bieber.” (Cecily says, “I’m not going to be Justin Bieber.”)
Cecily asks a lot of questions on her blog, and she responds to all of her comments. Ask people for feedback. Have a comment policy. (“I love comments, but I hate assholes,” she adds.)
Be a resource. Don’t just push links. Become a resource for your audience so they can want to learn moer about what you have to say.
How do you know when to start charging?
From a PR perspective, review products and screenings are considered payment. (Yikes.) From a marketing perspective, you have to prove your worth for ROI. Have examples to show why they should spend money on you. (“When I blog about luxury items, this is what my readers say about these luxury items. This is how many people bought those Louis Vuttons I posted about.”)
If you want to work with a specific brand, and you know they’re working with other bloggers, pay attention to your competition. Look at their stats. Ask people if they’re willing to share information. See if you’re on that level to approach the brand. You may be above, below, or just right. Find out what the brand’s budget is, and make sure you fall within that range when you value your services.
Added value is something companies get from traditional media buys. Are you part of a network? (Latina bloggers? African-American bloggers? Hair bloggers? Special needs bloggers?) That’s part of your added value.
You have to decide what you’re willing to do for free and what you’re not. You have to value your services if you want other people to value your services. And if you want someone to treat you like a professional, you need to be worth it. Figure out what it is about you that makes you stand out from the crowd. You have to own it, and you have to sell it. Know your focus, and know what your audience wants to hear. Know what sets you apart from everyone else. If you want your blog to be a business, you have to treat it like a business.
What other services can you offer besides blogging?
Freelance writing for other sites. Social media consulting – but know what sliver of knowledge you have in that. Don’t offer more than your personal expertise. Brand ambassador – but only if it’s a brand you want to be associated with.
Figure out a flat rate for a package. Determine your desired hourly rate and figure out how long the packaged services will take you to complete. Or determine your rates for being on retainer. Also balance dollar value versus prestige for freelance writing gigs.
Know your added value: what networks you’re a part of, what else you’re willing to do. Match your brand to the brand you want to work with.
Know your product, why its superior to other products, and know what the market value of your product is. And if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Consider different pricing strategies, from hourly to tiered pricing. Price so that it hurts a little; too many people undervalue themselves.
SBDC.com will have a lawyer look over your contracts for free, but you have to schedule the time for them to do it.
Tags: blogging, conferences