Those of you who are subscribed to my email newsletter would know that I’ve recently taken on a Digital Marketing course here in NYC (hooray!).
One thing I’ve learned since I started the course is that Digital Marketing and blogging go hand-in-hand. Both blog posts and social media can be used as a form of content marketing.
So why am I telling you this? Because if any of you are interested in getting blog sponsorships (I’m talking sponsored posts and free travel here), then you should know that content marketing is a huge deal because it’s quickly becoming one of the most popular marketing techniques used by brands. There are companies out there looking for bloggers like you to showcase their products in your content.
From a business perspective, content marketing is very effective because the people who read/see the sponsored content are more likely to convert into paying customers.
Think about it – have you ever made a purchasing decision based off the recommendation of a blogger? I know I have. And I don’t even care that post is sponsored, because 90% of the time that post has information that is both relevant and useful to me as a reader.
I’ve taken on a number of blog sponsorships in the past (like this post sponsored by HI Boston, or this post sponsored by Grabr) and I have at least 3 more planned for publishing over the next few months.
If you’re also interested in taking on blog sponsorships, I’m going to tell you 3 things that you should do immediately. If you’re not doing the following 3 things yet, you need to start now. Like, right now.
1. Get your blog on social media
If you haven’t opened accounts for your blog on social media, then you are already behind! Sorry to break it to you, but you need to get that shit happening, immediately.
Why is social media so important? Because brands use it to judge your influence. They need to know that if they pay you to promote them, you will be able to reach a wide audience and get their name in front of a lot of people.
I won’t go into detail here, but you can check out some of my other posts on my favourite social media platforms:
- How to be an ace at Instagram
- How I doubled my Pinterest referrals in 2 weeks
- How I got 10,000 social media followers in my first year of blogging
Remember – don’t spread yourself too thin on social media. It’s better to choose one or two platforms to focus on and do a great job with them than it is to try using every platform and be average at them all. My focuses are Pinterest and Instagram, but you can choose whichever platforms you’re most inspired to use.
2. track your stats
Tracking your blog’s stats is super important for monetising your blog – this is how you will prove your worth to potential sponsors. Here’s 3 great options for tracking your stats:
- Google Analytics
This is the first thing you should install, as it tracks loads of important information about your site.
Head here for Google’s instructions to install Analytics. It might take a day for your stats to appear, so be patient. Analytics can be a little intimidating and hard to understand, but if you play around with it you’ll see how useful it can be.
- Jetpack WordPress plugin
This plugin tracks your site stats from WordPress and is really easy to understand (unlike Google Analytics!).
You can check your pageviews, referrers, top posts and pages, clicks, and a bunch of other really useful stuff. I check it nearly every day to see which of my posts are getting the most attention, and how people are discovering my blog.
Head here to download the plugin, then activate it on your site through the Plugins tab.
- Use a spreadsheet to track your social media followers
Every month, I enter in the number of followers I have on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Bloglovin’, and the number of subscribers I have on my email list into a simple spreadsheet in Google docs.
This way, I can track which social media platforms are working best for me, and I can quickly quote my number of followers if I ever get asked by potential sponsors.
3. identify your audience
I know that this sounds like the most boring thing in the universe, but it’s really important that you identify your blog’s audience.
So what does ‘identify your audience’ mean? It means figuring out your ideal reader. Who is it that is reading your blog? Who is it that you’re writing for? We need to know this before we start working with brands.
My ideal reader is a female, twenty-something budget traveller, so I aim to work with brands that are also targeting people like this. Of course not every one of my readers will fall into this category, but the majority will.
By knowing who my audience is, I’ll keep my readers happy as I have them in mind when I accept sponsorships, and the brands that I work with will be happy that I’m getting their name in front of people that are likely to buy their product.
If I targeted a luxury travel brand whose target audience is 50 year old retirees, it would basically be blogging suicide. That partnership wouldn’t be beneficial for anyone.
So how do we identify our ideal reader? Grab a piece of paper, and answer the following questions.
If you’ve been tracking your stats through Google Analytics or Jetpack, you might be able to use those stats to figure out some of your answers.
- Are your readers mostly male, mostly female, or a mix of both?
- How old would your ideal reader be? Do they fit into an age group?
- Which country or continent is your ideal reader from?
- Are they educated? Do they have a high or low income? And do they work in a particular industry?
- Do they have kids? Are they married?
- Do they have any religious or political preferences?
- Which interests do they have? Are they similar interests to your own?
- Do they read any particular newspapers, blogs, or magazines?
Now, take a good look at your answers. Do they give you a good idea of your ideal reader? This should be the person you aim to write for, every time.
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