Selling advertising on your sex blog
An area of sex blogging I get asked about a lot is selling advertising. How? When to start? How much to charge? How do I ‘live the dream’ and make money from writing about sex? This is a huge subject and to be honest, as one of and quite possibly the first sex blogger in the UK to sell on-site advertising to the adult industry I’ve made it up as I go along. There, I said it. There is no rule book to refer to, no dos and don’ts. All I can give you here is my own experience and suggestions based on that – these may also work for you but there’s nothing to say you can’t also find a successful path building your own strategy.
Let’s get started. How do you get your first advertiser? Firstly, please don’t expect to sell any adverts on your blog if it’s very new (usually under a year) or if you don’t receive much traffic. The reason businesses will advertise on a blog (or any website) is because of traffic you can refer to them – so your own blog needs to be established and receive a good amount of traffic which, in turn, may click on an ad and visit your sponsors’ website.
Let’s say you have been blogging for a while, definitely over a year, and you feel you have a decent amount of traffic. How much should you charge? It’s a good idea to have your rates firmly in mind before you even approach sponsors. This is business now, you will need to have a friendly but firm approach otherwise you’ll risk being persuaded to sell advertising space on your site for less than it’s worth. Rates are a tricky area – when I started selling advertising I started lower than I actually thought they were worth – not silly cheap, but attainable and alluring for businesses – so that I could successfully sell the space to a couple of advertisers.
Ok I’m going to risk putting some actual numbers down now to give you an idea of how I work. Please note this is just my opinion based on experience and your mileage may vary! I believe that if you have a minimum of 1000 visitors to your blog a day you should not charge less than £30 per month for a home page/global (throughout your blog) advert, and not less than £20 per month for sidebar only (not on your home page) advert. This is the cheaper end of the scale and should secure you your first sponsor if you have retained good connections with people you wish to advertise with you – namely the adult industry at large (heh. Large.)
Once you have secured your first sponsor (or two, if you’re lucky) you can place an ‘advertise here’ slot near them which is linked to a page on your blog all about your advertising rates and what you offer investing businesses. When getting that all important first sponsor, think about who you get on with in the adult industry, in terms of businesses, who it will likely be easiest to persuade to advertise on your blog. They will have a measure of your worth in terms of traffic referral, visibility in the blogging community, presence on the internet, and hopefully will be moved by a well worded email from you to back up those beliefs by becoming your first sponsor. You could even offer a special one-off introductory rate (hugely cut price) as they’re such a great connection and you’d love them to sponsor you (aka: you’d really like to have a first sponsor on your site as a springboard into the professional and business side of blogging). Not that I did this, of course, but you know. You could. If you wanted. *cough*
With the first advert successfully sold and placed on your blog you can move towards being more vocal about the fact you have advertising space available. Write a blog post about it. Shout it on social media (but not all the time, no one likes to follow a billboard). Get in touch with other companies and casually drop in that company x is advertising with you, would your company like to join them? You can offer [insert your readership and potential referred traffic here] which is why advertising with you is a great move.
As a side note, if you’d like to sell advertising on your blog it’s probably best to clear off the majority, if not all, the affiliate banners from your home page and sidebars – at least at the start. Most companies, when approached about advertising on a blog, will take a look at your site to see who they would be advertising next to. If you come across as a blogger who places affiliate tracked banners on their blog, there is a very real risk that instead of buying advertising they will instead just try to get you to join their affiliate scheme. You want real money not promises of pennies from referred sales (unless you don’t, and affiliate schemes are great for you, in which case go ahead) so make sure you make some good decisions about what’s in your side bars and on your home page before those would-be advertisers check you out.
As I’ve mentioned, this is business. Businesses will try to test you out and knock you down on price. Remain firm. Don’t be so overwhelmed with panic and impatience that you will agree to any price and terms in order to secure a sponsor. It may mean that the journey is longer, but in the end you will have the respect of your peers – as long as you’re firm in a friendly, approachable and professional way – rather than being known as someone whose rates sheet really means nothing in real terms. There are many occasions when a company has approached me about advertising but wants to knock down the price but I politely reply no, those are the prices. As they can see, I have other advertisers on the blog and it would be unfair to them to allow another company to purchase the same space for less – even if they weren’t to know. I need to retain my integrity, be fair to all companies and keep my prices as they are. Many times I have found that although a company may initially respond with an ‘oh ok we won’t advertise then’ several of them do end up coming back and purchasing advertisement in the end.
Make your blog somewhere businesses will want to advertise. Blog regularly. Be interesting. Be fair and ensure that when discussing adult industry products and projects that you’re doing so from the point of view of a professional blogger who is/will sell advertising space to companies in this industry. You have a duty of care to your advertisers to maintain an engaging blog with regularly updated content and, ideally, this will be supported and advertised itself through well managed social media accounts.
In the interests of being a sex blog which advertisers will want to sponsor, I personally believe it’s important to be unique, not a clone. I see many bloggers who obviously model themselves on prolific sex bloggers in the business but instead of merely taking inspiration, they step it up into full scale mimicry. This isn’t such a good idea.
Once you begin looking at your sex blogging peers, it is (and may remain) tempting to model yourself closely on high profile, popular sex blogs. While you can pick up numerous helpful tips from those who are sex blogging successes, it’s essential that you cultivate a unique approach. Be different! Bring something new to the scene. There’ll be no reason for people to return to your sex blog – or to advertise on it – if you’re simply a clone of an established website. It’s likely the blogger you are copying from won’t be too impressed either, giving you a less than positive reputation in the sex blogging community and adult industry.