When you make the big decision to start monetizing your blog, figuring out how to balance paid content with editorial content can be a bit tricky. To be honest, when I started, just getting a sponsored content was a big deal. But once the ball starts rolling, if you don't have a clear set of guidelines your “ball” can roll out of control. The benefits of taking everything that comes along is that you can make some cash, the downside of taking everything that comes along is the risk you lose your credibility and your readers.
One of the reasons why bloggers shy away from talking about business, partnerships and how they monetize their blog is because they are afraid of losing their credibility. But more often than not, readers understand that a blogger needs to sustain themselves, and what they really want is transparency. They want to know what they are looking at.
The 80/20 Rule
The Pareto principle, better known as the “80/20 Rule” is “for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.” Examples of the 80/20 Rule is that 80% of your income comes from 20% of your work, 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients, 80% of complaints come from 20% of your customers, etc. It can be applied to your blog as good rule of thumb to balance your editorial content with your advertorial content.
- When you write 5 posts a week, then for potential clients, you have one post open for sponsored content.
- For selling ads… 20% of your blog's real estate can be used for advertising.
- For every 5 newsletters you send out, you have a spot for a dedicated newsletter.
This sets a clear precedent and rhythm for your readers to understand that your blog is a business, but you have boundaries with what quantifies sponsored content and editorial content.
The Advantage of Scarcity
When you set boundaries with your content, you create scarcity. Not everything you do has to be for sale. You can negotiate, especially if you have a clear product to negotiate. If you're finding your advertising slots sell out consistently, it's time to raise your rates. This is good, because then you're getting paid more for doing quality work rather than stretching yourself too thin by doing quantity work.
Blogger burn-out is one of the biggest reasons why bloggers quit, trying to be all things to all people will burn anyone out. Be flexible, but don't be afraid to be a little scarce. You'll be surprised what that does for your business.