How to get brands knocking on your blog door #pbevent

Hello from Melbourne. I do get a buzz out of attending blogging conferences. And this year’s Problogger Training Event is the biggest in Australia to date.

Having two days to not only take in some pretty amazing and engaging information but to also network with some of the best bloggers in Australia makes this blogger very happy indeed.

Today, I’m putting all my OMG-I’m-On-Stage-With-Sarah-Wilson nerves aside ready to interview her about how to work with mainstream media to boost your blog and blog’s profile. I have my chartreuse shoes at the ready for good luck.

Yesterday, I moderated a panel close to my heart. A panel with my closest friends in blogging and my agent.

If I had a dollar for every time I was asked how to work with brands … well, I probably wouldn’t have to work with them. Kidding.

Navigating the blogger-brand paid relationship is something that bloggers in Australia will increasingly be doing. There’s still so much education to be had on both sides of the equation. We are learning and tip-toeing through this potential minefield.

I hope these notes below from yesterday’s panel give you some tips. Don’t forget you can still buy a virtual ticket of ALL the sessions (audio and slides) at this year’s Problogger Event. There is always something new to learn …

#pbevent Nikki Parkinson, Styling You; Eden Riley, Edenland; Lorraine Murphy, The Remarkables; Mrs Woog, Woogsworld

Moderator: Nikki Parkinson, blogger, Styling You @stylingyou | Panelists: Lorraine Murphy, bloggers’ agent, The Remarkables Group @theremarksgroup | Eden Riley, blogger, Edenland, @edenland |Mrs Woog, blogger, Woogsworld, @woogsworld

Value your blog

  • Every blog has a value.
  • Your blog is your real estate and your readers help set your market value.
  • There is no set rate card for blogger/brand involvement but there is a sliding scale of fees that brands and agencies are paying in Australia right now.
  • That sliding rate of scale is based on readership statistics.
  • To set your rates you need: Google Analytics installed – this is the universal stat counter that brands use when looking at the digital space.
  • From Google Analytics you need to track two key stats: UNIQUE VISITORS (UVs) and PAGE VIEWS (PVs). Brands are also interested in the return visitor % 

Options for paid brand work

  • Banner advertising
  • Sponsored posts
  • EDM (email newsletter campaigns or inclusions)
  • Ambassadorships
  • Event sponsorships
  • Social media placements
  • Television commercials
  • Print advertising campaigns
  • Point of Sale images
  • Appearance fees
  • Writing on a brand’s website or blog
  • Television
  • Keynote speaking

What about PR agencies?

  • PR agencies have been engaged and contracted by brands to garner FREE editorial coverage. They are unlikely to have a budget to share with you in regards to sponsored posts.
  • PR agencies can be the conduit to working with their client, the brand, especially if you are talking to them at a time when that PR agency is preparing their pitch to retain that brand as a client
  • If a PR representative is based in-house at the brand they may have more scope to source a budget for sponsorship

Working with marketing departments and digital agencies

  • Most large brands outsource their digital marketing budget to a media agency.
  • Bloggers are starting to get a slice of that digital marketing budget.
  • You may also work direct with the marketing team within a company.

How to get your blog noticed

  • Talk and get to know brands and PRs via their social media networks.
  • Attend events hosted by brands or consultants who are paid to bring bloggers together for an event.
  • Monitor Source Bottle, an online site that connects journalists with credible sources for their stories. Coverage in mainstream media does get you noticed.
  • Enter credible industry-based blog competitions, which are judged on your writing.
The Sydney Writers' Centre's annual blog competition is well respected

The Sydney Writers’ Centre’s annual blog competition is well respected

Pitch your blog

  • Approach as you would a job application.
  • Pitch your blog direct to a brand or brands that you love. Get on the phone and find the person who you need to email your media kit and intro letter to.
  • Keep this short and sweet – brand managers are time-poor so they just won’t have time to read a six page proposal.  Tell them upfront who you are and what you’re looking for – just as you like to be pitched to.

Which brands to work with?

  • This is where bloggers have it all over a mainstream publisher. If you publish a magazine, for example, you’re not going to knock back anyone’s money.
  • When it comes to your blog, however, it pays to be selective.
  • YOUR brand depends on the brands you associate with.
  • Is it a brand you know and love? Is it a brand your readers know and love?
  • Can you tell a story about the product?
Mrs Woog travelled to BlogHer '12 with sponsorship from Garnier

Mrs Woog travelled to BlogHer ’12 with sponsorship from Garnier

Your media kit

  • The key blog business tool is your media kit.
  • A good media kit is short and succinct.
  • Get your point of difference across on the front page.
  • Know your reader demographic (Surveys and Facebook insights)
  • Include up to date stats across your blog and major social media networks.
  • Don’t be misleading about your stats.
  • Include prices for sponsored posts and any banner advertising you might offer.
  • Include ways that brands can be involved in giveaways and other editorial (free) opportunities.
  • Include your contact details.

How to get paid

  • If you want your blog to be a business, treat it as one.
  • Get advice from an accountant.
  • Register your blog’s name as your business name. There is a new National Business Names Registration System.
  • Get an ABN: this can be done online via the ATO. Make sure your “entity name” matches your registered business name as some large company’s accounting systems will not pay you if these don’t match.
  • Consider using cloud-based accounting software such as Freshbooks, Xero or MYOB live online. Otherwise create an invoicing system using excel or word.
  • Keep ALL expense receipts.
  • Register for GST – and charge it on your invoices – when you know your turnover is going to exceed $75,000 a year.
  • Outsource if words are more your thing!

Rates

  • Nicole Avery addressed what rates are being charged and paid for in regards to sponsored posts in Australia in the session following ours.
  • Bloggers can be paid on a scale ranging from $200 for an email newsletter inclusion through to $15,000 for a print advertising campaign.
  • Readership numbers are important but marketers also want to know who’s behind the “eyeballs”.

Key points

  1. Value what your blog and your blog’s readership offer a brand.
  2. Have the professional tools in place to be a business.
  3. Know the difference between PR and marketing.
  4. Build your blog’s profile outside of your blog.
  5. Choose to work with the brands that are a right fit for you.
  6. Don’t forget to have fun.

The slides from this presentation are available to view here. The audio for our session as well as others can be purchased as part of the virtual ticket option.

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Share your blogging know-how

Thanks so much to everyone who plays along with my Saturday blogging linky. Sharing your blogging knowledge with other bloggers and potential bloggers really is how this blogging world best goes round. It’s a bit like having a mini online conference here every week.

Remember if you want to join in, just add your link below. The link needs to be to a post ABOUT BLOGGING (all others will be deleted). Please fill in the box where it says “name” like this: BLOG NAME: Blog post title. That way your blog gets a plug and if you include the title of your post, you’ll attract readers interested in the topic.


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  • http://twitter.com/opshopdiva Op Shop Diva

    Thanks for these valuable and informative tips Nikki. Am currently blogging on a WordPress platform and I find carrying banner ads on WordPress are hard. Am still trying to find more information around this, probably need to speak to a WordPress whizz. Argghhh!!

    Kamini xx

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Are you on wordpress.com? If so then, yes, that’s difficult. If you’re on self-hosted it’s super easy. I now have mine all automated through Passionfruit ads.

  • Jennifer Kelly

    Thank you so much for sharing your amazing knowledge. I am working on getting my blog my out there and finding the right audience and style.
    It is so inspiring to see people like you doing well (working hard) and sharing what you know.
    Thank you Nikki

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Thanks so much Jennifer x

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  • http://twitter.com/JohannaACastro Johanna Castro

    Such an informative session. Your advice was sage, to the point and without a hint of waffle. Learnt so much, thank you :)

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Thanks Johanna … that’s really lovely to get that feedback. x

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  • http://www.theparentingfiles.com.au the parenting files – tahlia

    Thankyou so much for this advice? Having not been able to attend the conference, such posts like this Nikki are invaluable. One question on sponsored posts. I have been pitched to write a ‘sponsored post’ from what i believe is an SEO generated company… all about SEO rankings and not brand. Your advice? Stay away from them? thanks heaps xox

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Mostly these are very low paying offers – if payment is offered at all. I’ve been pitched a few times of late by a very large online fashion company (well the SEO agency for them) and they offered me $50 a post. Not on your life was that worth any time or effort on my part. And I know this company has fashion blogger ambassadors here and around the world.

      • http://www.theparentingfiles.com.au the parenting files – tahlia

        Thanks Nikki. I have been offered a nominal amount. The fact that they request specific anchor text makes it looks very ‘sponsored’ and i know some readers don’t like that. Maintaining the integrity of ones blog is the most important! x

        • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

          Certainly is and this is not typical of a sponsored post where you might be given a link to include but the post is written in your own voice around key messages.

  • http://twitter.com/jenseeya Jenny Clift

    I still struggle with these concepts being a personal blogger. But there’s some definite food for thought here. Thanks.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      You don’t need to struggle if you’re never wanting to make an income from your blog. It’s not saying you have to … just showing that it’s possible. Without an blog income, I would not be blogging to the extent I do here.

  • Maxabella

    While it’s hard to go past your warm, approachable way of interpreting fashion for me, or your solid beauty advice that I have often taken or even the charm and friendliness that radiates through everything you do, I think that what I still love about you the most is your wonderful generosity and sense of community.

    Nikki, you are really such a fabulous ambassador for Australian blogging, whether a blogger is into working with brands or not.

    Thank you. x

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Oh Bron, that is such a lovely thing to say. I truly believe in sharing what we know … makes the world go round!

  • http://www.figandcherry.com/ Christie Connelly

    Fantastic post Nikki! I am putting a very similar list together at the moment as I am speaking at Eat.Drink.Blog (food bloggers conference) in Adelaide next month about this very topic! Many of the points are the same, just with a food-centric twist :)

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Oh brilliant Christie … so much happening around this topic at the moment and it’s good that we’re talking openly about it.

  • Jess

    Thanks for this Nikki. I’m slowly putting my feet in the water in terms of monetisation, but it can be so hard sometimes to know when you’re being fair, or when you’re selling out.

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      I don’t count any of it as selling out because without income on this blog I would not be blogging and providing the content that I do so regularly. Same as a magazine not surviving without advertising!

      • Jess

        Ooops! Wrong phrase! Didn’t mean to say selling out, meant selling yourself short! For the companies who offer you a measly amount and you’re not sure if it’s reasonable, or they are trying to be cheap. I certainly don’t see it as selling out either! Hey the more money we can make doing what we love, the better I say! :)

        • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

          Ahhh, yes! You need to come up with rates that sit well with you and your blog’s value. Then you’re not selling yourself short, you’re making good income!

  • http://www.athomemum.com Bronwyn

    Thank you for putting some notes up from Problogger. I wish I could have come down. I think I am going to need to get one of those virtual tickets .. hmm

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      Worth every sense Bronwyn!

  • http://profiles.google.com/craftymummy2 Crafty Mummy

    Thanks for your session, Nikki (and Eden, Mrs Woog and Lorraine). There was lots of info I needed in there! I’ve already been surprised by my numbers this morning now that I’m looking at the key ones!

    • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

      That’s so good to hear, Tonya … lots for you to think about going forward!