big deal blogging

Have you put a value on your blog’s brand?

Nikki ParkinsonLife 27 Comments

There are just 40 days until the Digital Parents Conference.

As I was skyping this week with Maria Tedeschi, the session coordinator*, I cast my mind back to 12 months ago. And specifically what the Australian blogging landscape looked like then and what it looks like now.

And I thought, WOW. So much has happened in such a short time.

New bloggers have blitzed onto the scene, offering fresh takes on every niche. Existing bloggers have built new levels of reader engagement and traffic.

On the other side of the digital fence, many brands – big and small – have dipped more than just their big toes into our little sector of the digital world. They are working with bloggers and valuing them for their influence and reach. That’s paying off for the clever brands, which are seeing good returns on investment for this new word-of-mouth marketing. And it’s paying off for bloggers, who are seeing a financial return for the blood-sweat-and-tears investment they’ve each made in their blog.

As other brands watch these partnerships and collaborations unfold from the sidelines, more are taking off their business shoes, rolling up their tailored pants and stepping into the big bloggie pond. Some of them are doing perfect dives, others performing more of a canon ball or belly flop manoeuvre.

In less than two months this year I’ve been lucky enough to receive some incredible approaches that will see me working side by side with a number of huge brands in 2012. (I can’t wait to share those with you. You know how hard it is for a blogger to keep quiet about anything don’t you? It’s like someone’s gaffer taped my Twitter account!)

Yes, I’m humbled and I’m blown away in equal measures because with these collaborations comes clarity around my brand and my business.

It’s helped me to have confidence in the value I put on my brand. And not lose sight of that confidence when offers from brands, framed as “opportunities” and “content” for my blog land in my inbox.

Overall, it’s helped me to have confidence in my abilities as an independent publisher – because that’s what we all are – and to set my own publishing guidelines. Guidelines that I’m very comfortable with.

It’s not about looking over the bloggie fence and following what someone else might be doing. It’s about you. And what works for YOU. YOUR blog. YOUR rules.

You see, what works for me, my not work for you. What I say yes to, you might not go anywhere near. What I say no too, might be perfect for your publishing guidelines.

big deal blogging

Click on the image to find out where you can buy this print

If you don’t have any guidelines in place and are wanting to build your blog into a business, it’s time to do that now.

To help you set your own independent publishing guidelines – or rules – and get clear on them, here are 6 key questions you need to think about BEFORE you send off that sponsorship proposal or put together a media kit. Or  even BEFORE you respond to that doozy of an “opportunity” that’s sitting in your inbox.

Ask yourself:

  1. What is your niche?
  2. What sets you apart from others in that niche?
  3. What are your current traffic statistics?
  4. How many followers do you have on social media networks?
  5. Do you have more than just numbers – do you have engagement with your readers?
  6. Do you have influence through that engagement?

Can you easily answer these questions? And explain those answers easily when asked.  Are you ready to stand behind your blog and your brand?

If so, you’re ready for the next step: putting a monetary value on your blog’s brand.

This goes beyond calculating the price you would put on your blog real estate through sponsored posts and banner ads (have a read of Nicole Avery’s brilliant post on this).

And yes, the “going beyond” bit gets tricky. But it’s a worthwhile process as it’s the value that YOUR brand – your readers, engagement and influence – can bring to another brand, that can make it super attractive.

It’s all such new ground for Australian blogging.

For me, I really thought about those six questions above. I talked to other bloggers and I talked to people outside of blogging who do similar things with their brand in other media.

I set my value. I wrote it down. And I’ve stuck to it.

While I was at it, I changed my mindset.

This was the key.

This year I’ve had some semi-attractive opportunities sent my way – and some downright unattractive ones too – but I turned them down because I would be offering more of my brand than they would be offering me in return.

I had to be able to walk away from brands which didn’t place the same value on my brand that I had. And I had to do that without regret. Without thinking about whether I would be missing out on things other bloggers were doing – and tweeting about!

And I have.

And you know what? It feels REALLY good.

Are you clear on your own publishing guidelines? Have you put a value on your brand and your blog? Are you confident to stand firm on your blog’s value? 

* I’m moderating the Blog to Business session at the Digital Parents Conference. Joining me on the panel are Renee Mayne, Laney Galligan and Emma Ashton. We’ll be offering you key action points to position your blog (and brand) as a business … should that be something you’re keen to do, of course!

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Comments 27

  1. Gosh… I’ve only just dipped my toe into the blog advertising world of nuffnang… but other than that, I’m still working out exactly what my blog is. I’m not a mummy blogger (my kids are too old), not into fashion or travel or craft or cooking… I guess I’m just a random. Is there a niche for that? 😉

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      That’s the beauty of blogging … you can morph with your blog. My blog – and how I blog about my topic – is completely different from when I started 3.5 years ago. I’ve changed and grown as I’ve worked out what I like writing about most and what my readers most want to read.

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  2. I have written a blog plan not unlike a business plan. It’s less than 2 pages and keeps me on track. I think it’s also about knowing yourself as well.

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  3. Great post Nikki! Hope it will be a wake up call for many other bloggers and brands too.
    I’m 100% agree with you and so far have been following my own publishing guidelines just fine 😉 as I tweeted earlier – our time will come.
    Looking forward to seeing your projects / collaborations in action!

    xx

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      Thanks Maria – it’s so important to just set your guidelines and stick to them. And our guidelines do not have to be the same. We just have to be comfortable with them. Then you can say yes to some offers and no to others with confidence.

  4. I have NO idea about blogging as a business.

    In fact, for many years, I thought the only way to actually make money from blogging was by selling advice on how to make money from blogging. 🙂

    But perhaps this is not the case.

    To be honest, I don’t even really understand the world of impressions, page views etc.

    I’ve only ever really had a few dodgy offers of links from people who don’t include their actual websites or anything.

    I also don’t have a particular niche, which I think hurts my work – it’s rarely consistent in content!

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      Not everyone wants to turn their blog into a business, Girl Clumsy. And that’s very ok! Increasingly Australian blogging is following what’s happening in the UK and the US and bloggers are becoming attractive to advertisers and brands who want to work with a blogger’s readership – to tap into that engagement.

      There’s a long way to go and we are just tiny drops in the digital media ocean – but things are happening. I’ll have some news this week.

      The link offers are dodgy – I delete those! And your niche is YOU – you’re a personal blogger – people connect with you because they like what you have to say.

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  5. Thank you so much for this post Nikki. I have recently dipped my toes into the world of brands. It is tough and I never know quite what to ask for or how to approach it. Blogging as a business (or writing and working with brands) is a bit like working in sales – and sometimes I wish I had more experience at this.

    Blogging is hard work and the internet is a gigantic place so it’s hard to get noticed. You are really fabulous at writing well and working with brands, and I really look up to you 🙂

    This week I’ve sent a number of proposals off for BlogHer sponsorship. I’ve been thinking about what will work for me and what will allow me to maintain my authenticity (which is so important to me). While I am disappointed that the brand I thought most suited my blog is not able to work with me, I am really excited that a publicist for a media company found my blog from a review I wrote, offered me some giveaways for my readers and through some emailing, is happy to consider advertising on my blog!

    More importantly (to me), a company who does work for people with facial differences and disfigurements found my blog and asked me to do some work for them, and have invited me to go to England to potentially speak at their conference. What an amazing opportunity to come from blogging!

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      You know what I’ve taken from your comment Carly? That you had a company ask you to do work for them … and invite you to England??!! See, that’s what I’m saying … the things that are meant to work for you and your blog … and your values … and YOU … will be EASY. They’ll come to you more easily and you’ll feel easier about working with them! Stoked for you!!

  6. I find I often debate with myself over some of these points. I’m not sure if my blog has a very defined niche. I think of it as a plus size fashion lifestyle blog, but really that does cater to a whole range of topics.

    I’ve sat down and updated my media kit, which means I had to think a lot about my blog & what direction I want it to go in. I’ve had a few offers in the past few months, and while the $$$ was a nice incentive, I declined because I didn’t think it was in the best interest to my blog and my readers.

    It’s funny, when I started my blog, it was just as something to do, and now, it’s become so much more and it’s very much my child. I love it, I nurture it, but it can be mighty time consuming and frustrating.

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      Natalie, you are so on the right track … being able to say no to things that just don’t sit right with your blog and your readers is such a huge step in the right direction. You probably have more of a firm idea on your blog’s niche than you know. Remembering too that your place in a niche is all about YOU – it’s the person behind the blog that your readers want to connect to. If you’ve got that going on then you have your position within a niche sorted!

      Plus, it’s really ok to morph and change as you, your blog and your readers do. That’s really what I’ve done over the past two years since I’ve been seriously blogging – and I know it’s not a finite process. It’s something I’ll continue to do!

  7. Spot on. Ready for me to read, digest and move forward. You have truly been, for me, the right person in the right place to share your messages, thoughts and beliefs. In particular I see that your recognition of the VALUE & WORTH of what you self- publish is paramount. Setting the standards means saying no to “the half interested” proposal, keeping your on-line and professional presence consistent.
    My journey in the year from March 2011 to DPcon 12 has been along roads which became conjested & resulted in too many blog themes which confused readers. Since hearing you speak in July 2011 & failing the “can you describe your blog in so many words/ seconds” test changes made to my on-line presence have been niche-focussed.”
    ” Denyse Whelan blogs about education, using her experience as a principal to guide parents & businesses.”
    Looking forward to your session at DPcon & the NEWS you can’t tell yet
    Denyse x

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  8. Likewise, love the print. Have pinned it, in fact (only just started my account, so it’s my 2nd pin!).

    Thoughtful and useful post, Nikki. I’ve made a note of your 6 points and will use them as a framework to direct my effort in growing my blog – even to the point where I’ll be sending off a sponsorship proposal one wild day!

    I am clear on my publishing guidelines. I worked in book publishing for years and now I’m the editorial director at an online company – so that part comes naturally. Building engagement and influence . . . now, that’s hard.

    Congratulations on your exciting, yet-to-be-revealed offers. You deserve your success. You’re a shining light!

    Jill

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      Oh, thanks Jill. And I’m excited for you as you grow your blog. Your background plays a very important part! Knowing and being clear on your guidelines actually helps you to build a readership as you’re not changing your direction – you’re just building on your base.

  9. I chop and change on my opinion of this more times than you’d see outfit changes on a Kardashian! Hopefully after the blogging conference I’ll have more of an idea what mine should be.

    Congratulations again on all your successes – so very deserved as you are one of the hardest working bloggers about x

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