It happens to every blogger eventually…a brand mentions an “opportunity” that sounds suspiciously like an advertisement, but what they don't mention is paying you. You know the difference between editorial and advertising content, and you also know that what they're asking for matches an ad offering in your media kit. But how can you bring money into this budding conversation without making things awkward or weird?
First of all, it's important to remember that brands are approaching you because they think your blog can help them make more money. Understanding that doesn't mean you're cold or callous; it's just a simple fact of doing business. You still can and still should be congenial and friendly, but don't let flattery or praise lure you into undermining your own value. It's okay to ask for money, and it's okay to negotiate for a fee. After all, if you don't know what your brand is worth, how will anyone else?
That said, introducing your rates into the conversation can be a little hard, especially if you're new to advertising or if you're only just recently put together your ad rates. Like anything else, asking for money becomes easier the more you do it, but I've found these three approaches have worked especially well for me:
1) Ask a brand what their budget for the opportunity is.
This is a great way of finding out what a brand's intentions are. Is it that they simply haven't brought up money yet? Or is it that they never intended to pay you in the first place? Beware of brands that try to offer “exposure” instead of compensation. Ask yourself if you will be exposed to enough people to make up for the investment of your time, energy, and resources. I've found an easy way to phrase this is, “Thanks for thinking of me! May I ask what your budget is this for this particular opportunity?”
2) Point a brand to a similar offering or policy within your media kit.
This is where having a well thought-out media kit makes a difference. Even if you're not currently doing a certain opportunity, like event hosting, it's worth thinking about how much you'd charge for it and why. That way, when you are approached by a brand and you are ready to commit, you're not making a lot of decisions on the fly. A simple sentence like, “Thank you for writing. This opportunity sound very similar to [insert your advertising option here]. I've attached my media kit so you can take a look at it and see if it matches what you need.”
3) Utilize another resource to establish your value.
If a brand is asking you to write and manage their blog for free, for example, it may be worth pointing them to the ProBlogger Job Board so they know what the going rates for a blog post are. The goal here is simply to remind the brand that these services have a monetary value attached to them, and something like the ProBlogger job postings could be a springboard to discussing your own rates. A statement like, “I'd love to write for your blog! Have you thought about your post rates? I'd recommend checking ProBlogger for some ideas,” is enough to get the conversation going.
Of course, the most straightforward way of all is to just give your rates. If you're accepting advertising, then you're a small business, and small businesses can't be afraid of money.
What are your tips for bringing up money with potential new advertisers? Any advice for bloggers new to sponsorship opportunities? Please share in the comments!
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