Sometimes I blog about nothing too!

It’s absolutely pouring down rain outside right now, the kids are playing NickJr on our other computer (which has great preschool age games by the way) and I have a moment to catch up on some work.  I especially have a lot of blogging to be done but the same dilemma plagues me day in and day out…what to blog about?

So I headed online to FaceBook, because we all know that when you have work to do the best thing to do is just space out while staring at your Facebook news feed.  So I started perusing the Facebook scene and I saw a post from one of my mentors, Michelle Shaeffer, who recently started a new blog called Daily Blogging Ideas.  At first I assumed that none of these blogging ideas could possibly apply to anything I blog about, but I was wrong. You’d really be surprised at the ideas that just pop into your head when reading other peoples ideas.

Like this post for example.  On Daily Blogging Ideas I saw an idea about how you could actually blog about NOTHING, and so here I sit, writing away about a nothing.  Although it has turned into something it seems.

So the moral of this post about nothing is to look for inspiration in unlikely places or places that flat out are likely places, like sites that give you blogging ideas! lol

Try blogging about nothing, I swear, you’ll get into it!

Attracting Blog Sponsors, Part 2: Too many animated banners on your blog? Does it help or hurt you?

Banner swaps, Are they too good to be true?

So you’re trying to get the word out about your blog, you have a banner and offer to swap with your bloggy friends.  Next thing you know your blog is lit up like the Las Vegas strip.  Blinking, Blinking, Blinking…

Have you ever wondered if this helps or hurts your chances of attracting readers and/or sponsors?  Well you should.  Consider the pros and cons and see if there might be a way to achieve the same affects but with a much more streamlined and organized approach.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself…

Will sponsors like all the blinking and flashing ads? My opinion is…No.  Being a sponsor means that I want to know that when people visit your blog to enter a giveaway that I have sponsored or to see an ad I have paid for on your blog that they might see my ad or link and visit my site.

The more ads you have the less chance my ad has of being clicked or even seen by your readers.  Also, let’s say a customer is going to enter a giveaway and right next to my link is a HUGE blinking banner advertising my competitors site and their “Free Shipping” promo, etc.  That’s a total deterrent.  The less competitors of mine that you advertise the better for me.

Do all the blinking ads give you credibility? In one of my previous posts I mentioned that sponsors want to know that your readers actually trust your opinion.  They want to believe that if you say XYZ product is your favorite and everyone should try it, that your readers might actually try it.  Sponsors aren’t just giving out free product for reviews and giveaways for the fun of it, they hope to get something in return, customers!

I’ve visited many blogs and I can’t tell you how many times I have seen ads that give a contradictory opinion or referral. On one hand your reviewing a cloth diaper and referring readers to a natural parenting website and on the left side of your blog is an ad for how cheap you can find Huggies on Amazon.  To a sponsor this should be a red flag.  To a reader this would tell me that I can’t necessarily trust your advice.

Does it make your blog look good? This might be news to you but not everyone uses the same computers or web browsers.  What looks good to you might be all messed up to another person.  I’ve seen blogs with ads on top of other ads, broken links, pages that take forever to load, and content that is just all over the place and obviously not where it is supposed to be.

Try double checking the way your blog looks to others by using a website like BrowserShots.org.  Simply enter your URL and wait a couple minutes for the results.  They’ll give you screenshots so you can see just what everyone else is seeing.  There are always bound to be some that look a little wonky but at least you’ll be able to tell and verify that the readers who use some of the most popular browsers should be able to view your site as you want it to be seen.

How can you still advertise others without hurting your chances with new sponsors? There are a multitude of things you can do to help streamline, simplify and organize.

  • Keep a special section just for sponsors and make it clear that those ads are just for your sponsors.  Limit it to a certain number or certain time.
  • Consider adding a special page for link and/or banner swapping.  Blogger has a new feature that allows you to add pages to your blogs and this would be a perfect place to have a link swap.  You could have a whole page dedicated to all the blinking and flashing banners of all your friends.  Banners you’ve added from entering giveaways, past sponsor ads, etc.
  • Use code that allows for rotating ads within the same space.  There are tutorials all over the web, this is just one that I have found.
  • In general, just make sure that the benefits to being a sponsor are greater than the benefits to those with whom you are just link swapping with or advertising for free.

Consider what you can do for your sponsors more than just what they can do for you!

31 Days to a Better Blog Challenge! I just signed up, will you?

Sometimes you just have to go out on a limb and not over think things.  There is always work and often cost involved in growing your business and even your blog.

I just signed up for the 31 Days to a Better Blog Challenge which is being partially put on by a wahm with whom I have worked for the last four years!  Michelle of CreoCommunico!

I’m really looking forward to what this program has to offer.  I’ll report back with how it turns out!

Having trouble getting sponsors for your blog? Read my advice! Part 1

In this post I’d like to discuss how to be successful at attracting sponsors to your blog.  I’ve been a sponsor and in many ways, through my clients, I still work with bloggers and sponsor giveaways, reviews and more.

I know if you’re a new blogger or just wanting to get into the market of hosting reviews/giveaways on your blog it can seem like daunting work trying to get a sponsor.  You send numerous emails and you probably get very few responses, even just to say no.

What you need to remember is that sposnors/retailers/manufacturers get tons of emails a week requesting to do a giveaway or review.  If I had to guess I’d estimate 20-30 emails a week and that’s being conservative, for the really popular brands/stores it’s probably much more.

So you have a lot of other bloggers to compete with.  This means that the sponsors have to be super selective and try to determine which blogs would be more beneficial.

Things that sponsors take into consideration…

  • Number #1, how was your email to them written?  Make it as personal as possible.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten an email and it’s obviously generic, the blogger even forgot to change my sites name or product name out with the last person they sent the email to.
  • If you make it past number one…They check out how many blog followers you have. Which means you need to make sure that information can be found on your blog or you need to include it in your emails.
  • They look at your FaceBook Page if you have one and see if you promote your giveaways there, how many fans you have, etc.
  • They look at your blogs content besides just giveaways and sales announcements.  Remember they want to know that people trust your opinion and will read your reviews, possibly even click through and buy their product because you recommended it.  No quality content means that your followers might not actually be reading your posts and might just be there for the free stuff.
  • They check out your design.  It’s not just all about who has a nicer design but a nice presentation for their product or store is important.
  • They look at your past giveaways and reviews.  Did you thoroughly review products or just post a couple sentences and get on with the giveaway.  Did you include your own personal photos of the products you review? This is very important.  Or did you just grab stock photos and descriptions from the sponsors site?  Did you promote the sponsors throughout the post with links and make sure that you’re sponsors are promoted in the various ways to enter the giveaways?
  • How many entries did you get for your previous giveaways?  If a blogger has a thousand followers but their giveaways are only yielding 50-100 entries then something is wrong.  Either it wasn’t promoted properly or was too complicated to enter.

What to do if you don’t have enough experience or are a new blogger?

  • Practice reviewing products on your blog by reviewing things you already have!  It’s free and it will make your blog look good.  Review a cloth diaper you already have, or your favorite laundry detergent, blender, book, etc.
  • Take nice photos of the products you review, don’t just use generic pics you grabbed off the internet.
  • Consider doing a video review for your blog and share it on youtube! Sponsors love this.
  • Hold some giveaways on your own! You don’t always need someone to sponsor.  If you got a Buy 1 Get 1 of your favorite lotion then write a review and host a giveaway.  Get some practice under your belt and have giveaways for future sponsors to take a look at.
  • Offer benefits to your sponsors.  In addition to a giveaway, which benefits you just as much or more than it does them, offer to advertise their site on your blog free for a month when they sponsor.
  • You don’t always need one product for yourself.  Sometimes sponsors are way more inclined to sponsor your giveaway when they hear “I love your XYZ product and will be reviewing it, I was wondering if you’d like to sponsor a giveaway?” Keep in mind that having a giveaway gets you new followers and often the manufacturer or store promotes YOU on their FaceBook Page, Blog or Website.  Take one for the team!  To get some experience under your belt consider skipping the part where you ask for something for yourself.
  • Be creative!  There has been quite a boom in the review/giveaway business. You need to find ways to set yourself apart from the rest and make sponsors stand up and take notice of what you have to offer them that others don’t.

So that’s it in a nutshell. A quick rundown of what I think works and where I think a lot of bloggers go wrong.

I’d love to know what you think of this post. Please share your comments here and also become a Fan of SheThinksMedia  on FaceBook!