Create a Target Audience
If you're going to advertise your business, you first need to know who you want to advertise to. Are you targeting mostly females? What age group? Moms? Fashion enthusiasts? Crafters? There's no set formula for finding a target audience, but you should have some kind of idea that's more specific than "people."
When you have your audience pinned down, you need to think about what kinds of blogs reach your target market. It's really easy to just reach out to blogs you read and maybe blogger friends, but it's super important to reach out to blogs that actually cater to your target audience. When I first started sponsoring blogs, I only sponsored blogs that I read. Unfortunately, I was trying to promote a shop with kids' hats and I neither have kids nor read any blogs that are geared toward parents. This doesn't mean that I didn't reach ANYONE who might've been interested in what I had to offer, but my sponsorship dollars could have been spent more wisely if I had found some mom bloggers to promote my cute little hats.
Are you promoting a blog? A shop? A different type of website? Maybe you're promoting a whole brand that encompasses a few different websites, but unfortunately you can only link your button to one of them. So which do you choose? I don't think there's one right answer here, since every brand is different. I'm a big fan of ads that link to blogs though, because I think it gives people a lot of different ways to keep up with you (assuming you including subscription links and links to social media sites on your blog). I'm also more likely to subscribe to a blog right away than I am to buy a product I found through an ad. Of course, if your shop is on Etsy, people can heart your shop (and you can/should also include links to your social media sites on your shop page). I just feel that more people have a google account/way to keep up with blogs than those who have an Etsy account. Again, the choice of which site to link to in your ad is not the same for everyone. So you have to think about which site you use the most and what fits best with your business goals. But really think about it rather than just choosing your shop because you think it's what everyone does.
Talk to Friends
While it is important to be intentional when it comes to choosing blogs to sponsor, it also can't hurt to talk to your blogging friends and arrange some ad swaps. I'm a big fan of these because not only can it bring you some extra (virtually free) traffic, but it can also help you build relationships with people who have similar interests and business goals. You never know when there will be other times you can help each other out, and it's just always good to make new friends.
Expand Your Network
If you find you're always sponsoring the same blogs or even different blogs that have similar readerships (it sounds odd, but you know many bloggers have other blogger friends and those friends tend to share much of the same audience), then it might be time to branch out. Find new-to-you blogs through google or just go surfing around people's blog rolls. You may find new blogs to sponsor and I'm sure you'll find many new blogs to read as well!
Don't Exclude Anyone
It can be tempting to just save up money to sponsor large blogs, and it can definitely be worth it. But don't count out smaller blogs just because they're smaller. Blogs that don't necessarily have a huge readership can still have a devoted readership. Some also tend to promote their sponsors more through blog posts and social media, which is really valuable to you. So if the price is right, you can get just as much (if not more) bang for your buck buy sponsoring a small blog. Again, what's right for you may not be right for others, but at least explore different possibilities and find what is right for you.
Sure, button ads are great, but you can get so much more out of your sponsorship dollars if you find other ways to promote your brand. Sponsor a giveaway, send an item for review, send an item for a fashion blogger to include in an outfit post, write a guest post. Many bloggers will allow you to promote your brand in plenty of different ways, aside from just a little button on the sidebar. Take advantage of these options or you're not getting the most out of your sponsorship dollars.
I feel like I learn more about sponsoring blogs each month, so I know there are probably many other valuable tips out there. Do you have any other advice to share?
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