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Five Tired Tactics for Blogger Outreach


If you’ve seen Christmas Vacation, you know the scene. Clark Griswald has been anxiously awaiting his bonus. Then it arrives, but instead of cash he gets enrolled in the Jelly of the Month Club. So yeah. He loses it.

It is just as appealing for bloggers to get paid with stuff.

Yet many companies and firms doing outreach to bloggers avoid cash like it’s infected. It doesn’t even make sense from a bottom line standpoint. How many man-hours did you (or your firm) waste reaching out to hundreds of bloggers to get just a few nibbles? Did you pay your firm thousands, none of which actually reached a blogger?

Firms, are you including a component of paying a blogger when you propose an outreach campaign? I will no longer handle any blogger outreach campaigns unless there is pay for the bloggers. Let’s just say I haven’t been doing much blogger outreach.

I recently submitted a query on Help a Reporter Out seeking firms and companies that have paid bloggers cash in any fashion (advertising, spokesblogging, sponsored posts or writing posts for the company, consulting, whatever), offering to highlight these case studies on my blog. Usually, when I submit a query there I get bombarded with replies. I received three replies, and one wasn’t directly paying bloggers (it was a forthcoming pay per click advertising type of program).

Here is the secret to wildly effective blogger outreach: pay the bloggers actual money. This isn’t a new concept. I hear it repeated at every blog conference I attend (in fact, it was the subject of my panel at the recent Blog World Expo), I see bloggers posting about it, I see active conversations about it on Facebook and Twitter.

Still, I see the same pitches repeatedly in my in-box offering nothing, little, a possible chance to get stuff, or stuff in exchange for advertising and promotion.

I keep witnessing the same tired tactics for blogger outreach:


I want to first say a couple of things. One, reviews are editorial and I don’t believe a company should pay a blogger cash or anything beyond providing the product to test in order to get a review. It ceases to be a true, unbiased review at that point. It can be sponsored content and disclosed as such, but it shouldn’t be called a review.

Also, I am not suggesting companies stop seeking reviews from bloggers. But the lion’s share of pitches I receive are seeking reviews. It should just be one piece of the pie. It has been so overdone, despite the fact that many bloggers do not do reviews and many lack the time it takes to properly do many, if any, reviews.

Sure, seek out reviews as one part of the blogger outreach. It shouldn’t be the default. I wonder how the PR+advertising investment (time, energy and money) into seeking reviews compares from traditional media to new media. I’m betting there is a huge disparity.


Blog contests have become so over-saturated in the space. Unless the prize is high dollar or highly appealing, these contests can just become part of the noise. Beyond that, it takes an awful lot of time to run, maintain, promote, follow up and do all the demanding tasks that a contest requires. Also, a contest is a promotion. Perhaps if you will seek out contests as part of blogger outreach, offer an outstanding prize and pay the blogger for the work and promotion.

What’s even worse is pitches asking bloggers to promote a company’s own contest, not even offering a contest hosted by the blogger. Unless a blogger runs a site about contests, I can’t imagine a reason for them to do it.

Payment in Gift Cards and Products

I’m sorry, but what is the deal with this? It seems pervasive lately. Why pay in gift cards or products instead of cash? I know that many times, providing the gift cards or products is cheaper. Even if that is the case, consider offering bloggers the option of cash (even less cash) or the gift card or product. No one wants to get paid with the Jelly of the Month Club.

Ambassador Programs

I am generally fine with the concept of ambassador programs and spokesblogging. What is less appealing is that these programs often offer very little for the blogger, but ask for promotion on social networks, blog posts and badges (ads) on their sites. Sometimes, the best that is offered in return is a link from the company’s site (sometimes a new microsite that gets no traffic). It is great to create ambassador programs, but pay your ambassadors.

Payment in Contest Entry

This has to be the most boggling of all of the tactics I’ve seen. The blogger writes a post in exchange for the possible, perhaps, maybe chance to get something (not cash, of course, but a prize of product or gift card). I’m not even sure what else needs to be said about that tactic.

Here’s the thing. Companies and firms probably don’t know when their pitches are tired. Most bloggers don’t reply to the bad pitches to tell you what’s wrong. Instead, companies hear from the few bloggers who do reply and get the illusion the outreach was successful.

This really isn’t rocket science. If you want success getting promotion in new media, the money needs to trickle down to the bloggers you want doing the promotion.

Kelby Carr has been social networking online since 1984, building web sites since 1994, blogging since 2002 and tweeting since 2007. She runs an annual blogging and social media conference, Type-A Parent Conference (formerly named Type-A Mom Conference). She also runs an online hub for digital moms and dads, Type-A Parent, is reinventing journalism at Investigative Mommy Blogger and blogs about social media at KelbyCarr.com.

Why Big Advertisers Avoid Your Blog … (The Ugly Truth)


… by Scott Fox, ClickMillionaires.com

Are you praying for big name advertisers to show up to make money on your new blog? It’s not going to happen.

I recently had a Private Coaching Call with an entrepreneur who is starting a blog to serve the needs of the parents of kids with special needs. It’s an admirable cause but her business model strategy was way off.

Why? Because her assumption was that advertising from the major drug companies would be her primary revenue stream.

Unfortunately for her that’s not likely to happen, at least not yet. If you are like her, counting on advertising revenue to support your blogging habit, here’s a smarter way to plan your advertising sales strategy.

Big Brands Spend More On Advertising Than Your Blog Can Handle
It’s a nice fantasy to think that your niche-targeted blog can attract advertising from Fortune 500 companies. Big companies seem to be your “dream advertisers”. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to attract more customers. Why wouldn’t they be interested in reaching your audience, too?

Why Aren’t Big Companies Advertising on Your Blog?
Because it’s too much work! If your blog targets a niche audience then your audience is probably too small to interest corporate advertisers. The time it takes for their media buyers to find your site, verify your traffic, contact you, negotiate a deal, track the ROI, pay you, etc. is likely too much trouble for a small ad buy.

Big Brands Usually Buy Their Ads Through Media Buying Agencies
Multimillion dollar corporate advertising budgets are handed out to a variety of media buying agencies. Each ad buyer is in charge of attracting new customers through a specific “channel”. So a Ford Motor Company, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, McDonald’s, T-Mobile, or Apple Computer, might give $2,000,000 to a TV buying agency, $1,000,000 to a print buying agency, $500,000 to an online ad buying agency, etc.

In most cases the budget allocated for online advertising with niche audiences like yours is a very small percentage of those overall budgets. That means that the attention and time invested in such ad purchases is often handed to a junior account representative at a small agency that gets less attention than the bigger buys for TV or print ads.

So What Happens Next?
Just as you would do if you had her job, that junior account rep does her work as quickly as possible. That usually means spending the money allocated for niche online ads in as few ad buying transactions as possible, probably with an ad network that makes placing those ads fastest. Unfortunately, 1 or 2 ad buys with Google Adwords, Facebook, or a similar advertising network can spread their brand messages more quickly and efficiently across the web than working one at a time with small sites like yours.

Your Little Blog?
Until your blog gets enough traffic to demonstrate a real “return on investment” for the media buyer’s time and their clients advertising budget, the big companies are likely to skip over your web site. (And if you do see ads from big companies on your competitors’ blogs, those ads are likely affiliate ads, not directly purchased “real” ads.)

So How Can You Make Money from Ads on your Blog?

As I told my coaching client, don’t start your new blog expecting the “big boys” to show up and advertise right away. Advertisers large and small are simply seeking qualified potential customers. If you earn their attention by building an audience and traffic appropriate to their brands, they will actually start calling you as your traffic grows.

Today you can get started by focusing on publishing quality content, growing an audience, and earning ad revenues from smaller advertisers first. That is the foundation for a successful advertising-based business model.

For more details on these online advertising strategies, watch my video “How to Make Money with Banner Ads”, and see my next Guest Post “How to Start Making Money from Ads on your Blog” which will post NEXT WEEK.

What questions or suggestions do you have about this strategy?
Have you had luck recruiting big name advertisers to new blogs?

Please watch for Part Two of this post next week. I’ll discuss how to start making money from online advertising today if you have a small or niche web site like my friend above.

Scott Fox is the host of the online marketing success coaching community ClickMillionaires.com. He is a serial startup executive, podcaster, and author whose e-business strategy coaching helps solopreneurs, small business owners, and corporations make more money online. He is the best-selling author of two books: Internet Riches and e-Riches 2.0: Next Generation Online Marketing Strategies. Visit http://www.ScottFox.com for free email newsletters and http://www.ClickMillionaires.com for a free trial of his personalized coaching community.

Want to Make More Money as a Blogger? Step One: Stop Blogging.


One of the presentations that I made a point to attend while at BlogWorld Expo 2010 was “Treating Your Blog Like a Business” with David Risley, Lisa Morosky, and Nathan Hangen (and moderated by Jordan Cooper). This topic is especially important in my opinion and where a lot of bloggers seem to fall short. You can blog and blog and blog until your fingers are bloody little stubs and not see a dime from it. If your business model is “blog as much as possible,” you’re not going to be able to afford groceries. Why? Because you’re running a blog, not a business.

“You can’t feed yourself on comments and retweets.” – Nathan Hangen

As these four made abundantly clear at their panel, step one of making more money from you blog is to stop blogging.

Ok, so I’m not suggesting that you never write another post – I don’t think that’s what they meant. However, have you ever noticed that the most successful bloggers don’t post more than once or twice a week? Sure, some have built empires on frequent updating, but I think it’s been more than proven that you don’t need to blog your butt off to have an audience. It’s about quality over quantity.

You need to get away from blogging as a business model and instead think of your blog as just a part of the package. If you blog, you can build a community, but if you have no call to action, does it really matter? Not if you’re trying to pay your rent this way.

So what’s your call to action?

  • Support my sponsors
  • Buy my product
  • Join my private membership community
  • Buy stuff through my affiliate links
  • Sign up for my mailing list

Or maybe a combination of the above…or something else entirely. The point is this: if your blog is just a blog, not a marketing tool, I’m not sure how you expect to make money. Great, free content is just the first step to making this a viable business. There’s nothing wrong with blogging for the love of writing, blogging to get your ideas heard, etc…but if you want to make money with your blog, realize there’s a lot you need to do beyond writing great posts to make that possible.

Thanks to Jordan, Nathan, Lisa, and David for a great BlogWorld session!

Paypal Reveals Micropayment Option to Allow Purchase of Digital Goods


Paypal has unveiled their new product, ‘PayPal for digital goods,’ which will allow for micropayments of digital goods across the web at a much reduced rate to merchants. The new fee schedule is 5% + 5 cents for payments under $12 (so $.10 on a $1 purchase, compared to the current $.33).

Perhaps of even more interest than the cost, PayPal offers merchants the ability to allow customers to complete the transaction in two clicks, without ever leaving their website. It is touted as an “in-context, frictionless payment solution that lets consumers pay for digital goods and content in as little as two clicks, without ever having to leave a publisher’s game, news, music, video or media site.

The decision to purchase digital goods and content usually happens on impulse, so the act of paying needs to be as quick as that impulse,” said Sam Shrauger, PayPal’s vice president of global product strategy. “PayPal for digital goods is an ideal solution for game developers, newspapers, bloggers, media companies, and anyone who is looking to monetize premium digital content around the globe.

My questions to you:

  • Are you currently accepting payments for digital content on your blog/website? If so, how are you doing it and would you make the switch to PayPal?
  • If you currently don’t offer digital content, will PayPal’s new pricing and implementation encourage you to do so?

The Step Between Friends and Customers


When it comes to social media, we have friends whom we know personally and we have customers who we can always count on to buy our products. But how does that jump from friends to customers happen? Declan Dunn presented “How To Turn Friends Into Fans And Customers” at BlogWorld 2010, and he made some super important points about how we categorize our interactions with others. This is the new media game.

“Fans are people who raise their hands and say ‘I want more.'” – Declan Dunn

When you meet someone new using social networking, it is easy to become fast friends. “Oooo, he replied to me on Twitter!” “Wow, someone liked something I said on Facebook!” “Yay, he wants to connect on LinkedIn!”

The problem is that often, people don’t foster that relationship and instead hit people with a hard sell. Woah there, buddy. I just met you. I don’t want to buy your product yet. Relationships take time.

This is where Declan has come in with the concept that you have to move friends into the “fans” relationship level before they can become customers. Fans are people who are opting in to support you. This might mean a literal opt-in by signing up for your mailing list, but it could also be another kind of opt-in.

  • Friends who refer you to others are opting to become fans.
  • Friends who become a part of your blog community through comments, forum posts, etc. are opting to become fans.
  • Friends who promote your stuff on social media, without prompt, are opting to become fans.

That still doesn’t mean that they’ll buy something from you – but what it does mean is that you can approach them without worrying so much about offending them. Defining your fans means a lot less work to chase down those dollars. If you try to sell something to friends, few will make the purchase. They aren’t emotionally invested in supporting you or in need of the information you’re selling. They just like interacting with you. Fans, on the other hand, do want to support you, which often grows from a strong need for the information you’re selling.

The bottom line is this: If you try to sell your products to friends, you’re going to do a lot of work for little reward and possibly even offend a few people. If you try to sell to fans instead, you’ll see much better results.

Thanks, Declan, for a great BlogWorld presentation. His session covered a number of other topics, of course, and if you missed it or opted not to attend BlogWorld this year, consider picking up a virtual ticket to see his session.

Jonathan Fields Talks About Manifesto Product Launching


“In the greatest crisis, you can find the greatest opportunities.” – Jonathan Fields

Jonathan Fields has used manifestos as a way to create a sales funnel, which is a completely different type of product launch tool. At BlogWorld 2010, he spoke about what a manifesto is, why this is a good way to launch a product, and how you can go about doing it. Let’s take a quick look at his steps to create a manifesto:

  1. Manifestos need to be heavily designed, both outside so the readers pick it up and inside so it remains attractive and easy-to read.
  2. Pick a a killer headline.
  3. Give it heft. A manifesto isn’t a glorified blog post – some of the most popular manifestos are 20, 30, even 100 pages. Says Jonathan, “”There’s such thing as too long. There’s only such a thing as too damn boring.”
  4. Make it a pattern interrupt. You want to disrupt a person’s mindset, give them something new and perhaps even shocking.
  5. Tell stories. A manifesto is all about connecting to tell people about your ideas and stir up emotions, and the best way to do that is with personal stories.
  6. Highlight a big problem in the lives of your community members.
  7. Agitate the problem. Again, you want to stir things up.
  8. Share high-value resources and action steps. You showed people the pain, and now you want to relieve it.
  9. Hold back the hardcore “how.” If you intend to launch another product, like a source or book, using your manifesto, you need to give them 75% or even 90%…but also give them something to buy later.
  10. Include a call to action. At the end, while someone is emotionally attached, give them a call to action – subscribe to your list, buy your product, whatever. Don’t lose them.

This was one of the best speakers I saw so far at BlogWorld Expo, so I highly recommend checking out Jonathan’s site to learn more.

Monetization Super Panel: John Chow Ad-Free Blog But Still Make Money!


In this two hour super-session, monetization experts offered the secrets of their success! Led by Jim Kukral, the speakers included Anita Campbell, Darren Rowse, Jeremy Schoemaker, and John Chow.

John Chow showed us how to have an ad-free blog but still make money!

He started off by giving us a glimpse at the Average Blog Business Model:

  • Produce content. Add Google AdSense
  • This business model doesn’t work
  • It requires too much traffic
  • The ad rates are too low

The main issue – when someone clicks on an ad, they leave your blog!

John’s Ultimate Blog Profit Model that he uses on JohnChow.com:

  • Capture the lead!  Get the email first and foremost (RSS, Twitter, Facebook are secondary).  Get leads with free incentives and start the list from day one.  John obtains leads by collecting newsletter subscribers and encouraging people to purchase his Free Ebook via a one-time Lightbox Popup and the Ultimate Footer Ad.
  • Build the relationship.  Have an automatic auto responder and then set up a series of emails to send out as a tie in to your free incentive.  Establish trust by building yourself as an authority.
  • Put the lead through a sales funnel.  Find targeted products to recommend (could be your own products or affiliate products) … but recommend … DON’T SELL!

Monetization Super Panel: Jeremy Schoemaker Shares His Strategies


In this two hour super-session, monetization experts offered the secrets of their success! Led by Jim Kukral, the speakers included Anita Campbell, Darren Rowse, Jeremy Schoemaker, and John Chow.

Jeremy Schoemaker (ShoeMoney.com) provided us with details on how he began making money and grew his income to over a million dollars annually.

Getting Started:

  • Don’t Expect to Make Money!
  • What’s Your Passion?
  • Focus on Building Your Content!
  • You Don’t Need Google!
  • Don’t Kill Your Site Before it Starts!

John says that he thinks his success is due to his connection with his audience by being open about his personal life!

Ways to Monetize:

  • Contextual Ads: Use Adsense as a starting point
  • Donations: Many people ask for/accept donations for hosting, etc.
  • Subscriptions: He collects emails and provides premium content/videos
  • Physical Goods: Selling products, books, e-books, etc.
  • Affiliate Marketing: Jeremy uses Amazon for any book/video links and a variety of other affiliates depending on the topic or email.
  • Direct Ad Sales: How do you determine a price for your ads? Jeremy says to start off by just charging $1! Nobody wants to be the first advertiser. If a site already has advertising, others are more apt to join. If you know who your target advertiser should be – just grab their banner as an affiliate marketing link.
  • Text Links and Paid Posts

ShoeMoney.com Income:

  • 30% Direct Ad Sales
  • 50% Affiliate Commissions
  • 20% Misc

Jeremy’s blog income for 2010 (as of October 1st) 1,832,342.23!!


  • Prepare a media kit
  • Make it easy for advertisers to contact you
  • Follow up with everyone who is interested in advertising
  • Provide as many sizes and pricing as you can handle!

How To Write a How To For Your Blog


How To Write a How To For Your Blog
BlogWorld 2010 Speaker: John Hewitt

Friday October 15, 2010
11:00AM – 12:00PM

@ Tradewinds C/9

My name is John Hewitt, and I am a terrible blogger. I post sporadically. I rarely respond to comments. My site resembles a white t-shirt. My SEO skills and commitment are mediocre even on a good day. My domain name, poewar.com, means nothing to anyone but me. My niche, writing about writing, often makes people laugh and my monetization strategy can best be described as controlled random chance.

Despite all this, I’ll make about ten thousand dollars off of my blog this year. I haven’t posted for almost a month and my blog traffic is up 55%. StumbleUpon sends me at least 1000 visitors every day and my site ranks number one for almost 100 Google search terms.
The key to my constant stream of traffic is evergreen content that continues to bring in readers for years after the initial posts. One of my articles, How to Write a Query Letter, has earned over $5000 in AdSense revenue over the past four years. Almost all of my top fifty most popular posts either tell you how to do something, provide a list of tips, or explain concepts and define terms.

My BlogWorld presentation will give you a roadmap to creating your own evergreen content, specifically in the form of How To articles. How to articles help readers accomplish tasks and reach goals. They provide advice, step-by-step instructions, options and component information. I will take you through the creation process as well as cover style tips for language, grouping, order and supporting materials.
Here are five good reasons to attend my presentation:

• Evergreen content is a great long-term strategy for your blog
• Writing How To guides is easy once you learn the basics
• I have absolutely nothing to sell you. My only eBook is a book of poetry
• There are only four content presentations. Shouldn’t you go to at least one of them?
• It will be a nice break from all those monetization and social media presentations

I hope to see you at BlogWorld!

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