Balancing Advertising & Quality as a Social Blogger
You’ve actually started making money from your blog.
Congratulations! You’ve been pounding the keyboard for months and have finally started to attract interested parties for advertising with your blog. After all that unique content, awesome photography, and endless moments waiting for a few measly dollars from Google Adsense, it’s time for you to start making some real returns. Heck, yeah!
While exciting, this is also where your blog could crumble. In the hunt for monetisation, how do you plan to keep your authenticity? Your readers love you for you, after all. That does not mean this affirmation will naturally extend to your new favourite income stream.
There's a stark difference between advertising your blog and advertising ON your blog. Whilst a social media marketing agency will propel your social reach to greater heights, the problems start to arise when you become a viable advertising platform yourself. How can you balance sponsored advertising with quality? Read on to learn more about the perfect blend of advertising and genuineness as a social blogger.
Staying true to you.
As above, it all starts with authenticity. Your blog by now will have a distinct tone of voice and most likely an alignment with certain morals. You’ve stated in one article that obesity and fast food are the scourges of the 21st century, but then have surrounded this with other media promoting the new McDonald’s value meal. Who have you become?
You are going to get a lot of interest from agencies that care less for you and more for fulfilling their clients’ orders on time. Therefore, whilst the money may be tempting, be sure to align yourselves with brands and advertising agencies that allow you to stay true to you. After all, a few hundred bucks for a single promotion which results in flaming comments from your followers - or a mass exodus - is not really worth it.
A picture still paints a thousand words.
As a natural extension of aligning yourself with companies that allow you to drive the conversation, the same goes for your use of images. All good blogs have a certain style and aesthetic style about them. The last thing on your to-do list will be to ruin your looks with poor quality product images. In particular, on social, your images are what ultimately drive the engagement and initial interest. Slapping down cruddy images and promotions from brands that take minimal pride in their own public image is a sure-fire way to look cheap.
Funny. You’ve actually started making money from your blog but now you look cheap?
Be as gentle as a lamb.
When it comes to advertising as a social blogger, over-selling is cringeworthy and really not necessary. Your media agency or advertising brand will tell you to milk the hell out of the promotion. But nobody drinks lambs milk and you need to be as gentle as a lamb when promoting third-party products or services. Remember, your audience follows you religiously. Therefore, you have influence.
It’s a different type of influence from your typical Instagram influencer as the loyalty for social influencers who also blog is much stronger. Yourreaders are taking the time to sit down, look at your social posts and then educate themselves on what you have to say via your blog. As such, you don’t need to hammer home the message too strongly.
By staying away from words like ‘must-have’ (unless it’s actually true) you will keep your authenticity, whilst also ensuring careful product placement. Support this with actually using the product or service with a real-life case study and boom - instant credibility. The benefit of this is that your audience is more likely to follow in your footsteps and purchase the products themselves.
Slow and steady wins the race.
Another great way to blend advertising and quality as a social blogger is to also mix your post schedule. The problem with sponsored articles or social posts is that, well, they are sponsored. Therefore, you will have strict guidelines to follow from the buyer. These guidelines may not 100% align with your own as at the end of the day, they are paying for your service. By mixing your content and media to blend any sponsored promotions alongside your own unique content, you will soften anything that screams “I’ve been paid for this post”.
Speaking with Ricky Sam, founder of Forksake (and home to 52,000 Instagram followers), when asked about blending advertising with quality, he stated:
“I have advertised via Forksake for over 2 years now. At first, my blog was purely my own adventures into local restaurants and cafes out of sheer love for food. However, through a handful of PR agencies, sponsored work rapidly picked up. Sometimes, when a potential job came through, even if I needed the money I had to check myself. I only support brands that care about their community and offer something genuine or unique. Therefore, when your everyday run-of-the-mill brand came knocking, although it was tough, I turned them down. What I didn’t realise at the time was that this allowed me to spend more time on my own content which has resulted in a much larger following and even bigger opportunities presenting themselves.”
The perfect blend of advertising and quality.
When it comes to the perfect blend of advertising and quality as a social blogger, the ultimate question really is ‘what is this blog to you?. If the thought of quick cash is too compelling then go forth and conquer by taking every opportunity that presents itself. While the risk of losing followers and credibility is real, you’re clearly not doing this for the long-term, so why not?
However, if you are at a stage where you have invested a significant amount of time to build your following and are not ready to lose it, you can still monetise your blog by perfectly blending advertising opportunities; whilst retaining quality. By following the steps below, you will be well on your way to making some income and still growing your fanbase:
Stay true to your tone of voice and morals.
Learn how to say ‘no’ to bad opportunities.
Understand your readers and followers; what do they want?
Keep on top of your public image.
Remain true to publishing quality images and content.
Always focus on investing back into your blog.