Speakers: Jennifer James, Heather Solos, Janice Croze, Wendy Piersall
Session: How to Make Real Money From Your Blog
Date: Wednesday, May 25th
Location: Jacob Javits Center 1A14
… by Janice Croze (@5minutesformom)
How Saying “No” Can Save Your Blog
I have a problem saying, “No.”
Whether it is letting my kids stay up too late or agreeing to write a post when my schedule is packed, my people-pleasing/non-confrontational issues sometimes win over my better judgement. I avoid the conflict, say “yes,” and feel my blood pressure rise.
But, when it comes to my blog and my relationship with my readers, my integrity is everything. So, I routinely make myself type, “No, thank you,” and “I am sorry, but we will have to pass this time,” in response to PR pitches, interview opportunities, press junkets, advertising opportunities, etc.
The key to maintaining your integrity while making money blogging and creating a blog that is worthy of your readers’ time is learning when to say, “Yes,” and when to say, “No, thank you.”
So how do we know when we should accept and when we should decline opportunities, pitches and jobs?
- Keep to your mission
Whether you have created a formal mission statement, or whether the goals for your blog are fluid and evolving, most of us have an understanding of what we have set out to do with our sites and what we want to stand for. (If you don’t have some sort of mission or goals, now would be a great time to decide what you want to accomplish with your site.)
Ensure that everything you agree to falls in line with those principles. Some offers can be so tempting, but approach decisions like a discerning CEO and do what is best for your blog in the long run.
- Provide value
Five years ago, companies had begun sending products for review to “mommy bloggers.” Since our site was about promoting the online mom community and bringing the best of the internet to our readers, reviews fell within our mission.
But, after publishing a few, we decided we wanted to “reward” our readers for the time they had taken to read our posts. So we requested that companies send two items, one for review and one to giveaway.
This new concept took off and giveaways soon became the norm in the mom blog community.
But we have always worked hard to continue to push ourselves to provide as much value to our readers as possible in our posts, whether they are giveaway posts or personal stories, link ups, interviews, how-tos, etc.
The site who is offering their readers the most value wins.
- Be honest and transparent
The FTC brought disclosures into the foreground of blogging. It is no longer an option – one must disclose all forms of compensation, including review products.
But many of us bloggers were frustrated with the attention the new rules brought. We had already been taking great care to be open with our readers. We valued those relationships and wouldn’t have risked damaging them. We didn’t need the FTC to tell us how to blog!
But whether one was disclosing in the past or not, now there is no question – we must disclose. Yes, the FTC may be watching. But more importantly, so are our readers.
- Sprinkle don’t slather
It happens. The pitches come in, washing over our inbox and, if we aren’t careful, taking our blog away with them.
Unless your site is purely a review or giveaway site, you do not want to be inundating your readers with too many reviews or giveaways.
And with sponsored campaigns and promotions, a blogger must choose wisely. When I go to hire a blogger for an outreach program I am planning, I avoid blogs that have the majority of their posts promotional.
Some weeks and months you may have more promotional content than others – there are no hard and fast rules here. But strive for sprinkling rather than slathering.
- Support the community
We started 5 Minutes for Mom because we wanted to help moms find and support one another online! We figured, if a mom is going to buy something, why not buy it from another mom?
When I am going to buy something online, whether it is software or a handmade item, I would rather a fellow online mom or site that I appreciate earn from that purchase.
So, when I see affiliate links or ads, I don’t begrudge that blogger for monetizing their site – I applaud and click!
There was a time when monetizing was like wearing a scarlet letter in your sidebar. But, fortunately, the community and readers are evolving and embracing the fact that bloggers deserve to earn a living from their work just as much as anyone else does.
So, support your fellow bloggers. Click those ads, leave supportive comments and tweets about their sponsors, and share their posts and campaigns.
Nowhere is it more true than the blogosphere that, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”
I am thrilled every time I hear of a blogger making their living online and I love to share what we have learned about making money with your blog.
If you want to learn more about how top mom influencers are profiting in the blogosphere, make sure you check out our session, How to Make Real Money From Your Blog. Because it happens — real blogs, real bloggers, real money.
Janice Croze and her identical twin, Susan Carraretto, are the bloggers behind 5 Minutes for Mom. Janice and Susan began working online in 2003, developing two successful ecommerce stores and starting 5 Minutes for Mom in the beginning of 2006. 5 Minutes for Mom has been ranked as the Top Family Blog (Technorati) and 2nd Top Parenting Blog (Technorati and Wall Street Journal), along with being recognized on numerous lists of top blogs such as Cision’s Top Ten Most Influential Bloggers and Babble.com’s Top 50 Facebook Fan Pages for Parents.
great advice Janice!!!
Bravo – I love this post! I have been saying “no thank you” quite a bit lately, just to keep me sane mostly. I also love the idea of buying something on a blogger’s affiliate link. We spend so much time and effort on blogging, we definitely should be able to earn a little money while doing it!
Great post Janice… I think a lot of people forget about number 5 and it’s a good reminder. Number 4 needs to be shouted from rooftops now a days. It seems like giveaways are taking over blogs… bloggers that I used to love and check in on daily have been bitten by that Giveaway bug and the content I used to love is no longer there….
Thank you for this post. Although my blog is just over a month old, I’ve already received some offers in regards to advertising. Although I might have the right audience for them, they simply aren’t the correct productto fit in with the blog. Giving it careful consideration before I say yes to any of them.
Those first few pitches are hard to turn down, even if they’re not a good fit. Thankfully, I’ve gotten a lot better now at figuring out what works for me, and what doesn’t. And I agree that being discerning is key.
I watched you today at blogworld… and I must say that you are really full of yourself. You constantly interrupt other bloggers on the panel, you talk about gatekeepers and deleteing emails because “so many people reach out to you” but then you close the session by saying “connect with me I want to answer all your questions. You were the topic of conversation during lunch and I even overheard one of your panelists say “she always does that”. Even when you were in other people’s workshops, you tried to steal their thunder.
You need to really get over yourself, you 15 minutes are almost up.