Last weekend, my wife and I had a discussion about my pants.
Some don’t fit right now. When I wear them, it looks like the button might burst off and shoot through an innocent bystander like a bullet. I’ve probably put on 12 pounds in the last 6 months and I need to do something about that.
That is a weird way to start a post about blog advertising, but there are two things I recently realized. The first is that I haven’t done a great job clearly explaining why I’ve selected the Stuff Christians Like sponsors I selected and lots of folks have had questions. And the second is that over 300 people took me up on my offer to help with their blogs. One of the issues we’ll discuss is blogs and advertising.
There are a lot of great ideas out there on this topic. My opinion is simple, writing SCL is my job now. I didn’t have advertising for two years or so because it wasn’t my job. I worked full time for AutoTrader.com. Now, it is my job. So if I want to pay my mortgage, feed my kids, etc., I need to find honest, smart ways to work with sponsors.
So how do you do that? How do you find sponsors for your blog? I have four ideas:
1. Find sponsors that fit your life.
As previously stated, I need to lose some weight. I need to eat smarter and better. Queso is apparently not a vegetable. I’ve started working with a trainer and going to the gym a lot more, but changing my eating habits has been hard. So when the chance to work with E-Mealz came up, I jumped at it. Not because I had to or was forced to, but because I wanted to. I want to eat better, they help you eat better. Done and done. Internet Safety was the same way. I’ve talked on this site a number of times about the toxic nature of porn. Internet Safety makes a software called “Safe Eyes,” that filters the Internet. That one was a no brainer. If Internet Safety made accounting software, they wouldn’t be on SCL. If E-Mealz made candles scented like the Red Sea, they wouldn’t be on SCL.
2. Find sponsors that fit your family.
It wouldn’t make sense to work with sponsors who can help pay for my family needs, but are radically different than what my family believes in and cares about. I love the faith and hearts of the E-Mealz team. I believe Internet Safety is doing important work that I have personally seen help dozens of guys. And in a less dramatic, but equally important way, I like that we’ve partnered with a game company. I’ve mentioned before my family’s love of Skip-Bo. My 5 year old is guru of UNO. Playing games is one of our “media off” moments that is important to my family. So partnering with the folks who make the game “Oh, Really!” made a lot of sense. I have no problem at all recommending that as a Christmas gift you can get at Family Christian Stores. (Particularly when I realized the company had a Veggie Tales game out.)
3. If possible, meet your long term sponsors.
I’ve had breakfast, lunch and dinner with the E-Mealz team. My wife and kids were with me two of the times. I hung out with one of the guys from Internet Safety too. Whenever possible, I try to personally know the people who are going to sponsor SCL. I didn’t spend close to three years building this site to mess it up with a sponsor who doesn’t fit. Now clearly, if you’re going to run a small banner ad for a book or something, you won’t get a chance to meet the sponsor. But if you’re talking about a long term sponsor relationship, try to connect in 3D at some point.
4. Say no. A lot.
Last week we said no to 15 different potential sponsors. We will say no to hundreds in 2011. Why? Because money isn’t worth wrecking the SCL community. So if your product or company is out of line with what’s going on with SCL, it won’t ever be featured on this blog. Be hyper careful about who you work with when it comes to sponsors. Say no. A lot.
Those are four of the ways I look for sponsors. And regardless of if you’ve got a massive blog or a small blog that’s just looking for that first sponsor, I think these ideas are true.
Most of this is new to me, and I am bound to make mistakes. I apologize for not explaining my sponsors in a clear manner until today. I’ll hopefully get smarter and even better at this stuff in the future. Thanks for being patient and gracious with me while I figure this all out.