A few weeks ago, I talked about managing advertiser expectations for your blog. As I was thinking over what to write about for this week's column, I realized that we, as blog owners and writers, sometimes have expectations of our own to manage as well. Inappropriate or misplaced expectations can negatively affect your site in a number of ways – both tangible (such as an unbalanced budget or overdrawn account) and intangible (feelings of bitterness or disappointment which can leach the joy from fashion blogging). Many of my articles here at IFB are things I wish someone had told me when I first started blogging, and this one is much the same. So here are my top three tips for keeping your own expectations in check when trying to work out a advertising deal.
Remember that the deal isn't finished until money has changed hands.
It's easy to get caught up in the moment when you're drafting plans, writing proposals, and working on campaigns. In fact, I'd even call it exciting; I know I love it when I'm collaborating with a brand on something new! However, it's important to keep in mind that ad contracts can fall through for any reason (or no reason) at all. Make your payment terms clear – preferably in your media kit – and avoid the trap of ‘counting your chickens before they hatch' (i.e. spending ad money before it actually arrives in your bank account). Until you've 1) received payment and 2) that payment has cleared your advertiser's bank account, things are still up in the air. Plan accordingly.
Remember that it's not necessarily your fault if the ad campaign falls through.
As I said above, the reasons ad contracts don't work out are many and varied. Sometimes it is you; maybe you and the advertiser just couldn't arrive on a dollar amount or campaign calendar that worked for both of you. However, just as often, it's something completely out of everyone's control. Maybe there was a crisis at the factory, and the money that would have been spent on marketing now needs to be diverted into finding new manufacturers. Maybe the company had astonishingly low sales, and so all adss have had to be scrapped until there's enough cash flow to resume campaigns. Maybe the company had incredibly high sales this quarter and so they feel they don't need to advertise rightnow. Maybe your point of contact had a family emergency or personal illness, and by the time they returned, the window for the opportunity or campaign had closed. There are any number of reasons why things can't, don't, or won't work out. And while you shouldn't expect a detailed explanation if an advertiser falls through, you should be okay with that potential outcome.
Remember to follow up and keep the lines of communication open.
It goes without saying that you should never, never, NEVER badmouth a potential advertiser…even one who dropped the ball at the very last minute. While it may feel gratifying in the short term, over the long run, you'll alienate anyone else who's ever thought about working with you. The potential lost future revenue just isn't worth the temporary buzz. Instead, if talks seem to have fizzled out, follow up once or twice, and then let things be. Don't act angry or disappointed (as I said above, the reason why things didn't work out may have nothing to do with you). Instead, invite your potential advertiser to contact you again if and when things improve. You want to position yourself as someone they can have a long-term relationship with, even if there's a hiccup or two in the beginning. In the same vein, you should always be finding new potential advertising contacts to start communicating with. To continue the chicken metaphor, don't put all your (advertiser) eggs in one basket.
Have you ever been disappointed when a potential ad opportunity didn't work out? How did you manage it? Please share your advice for the fashion blogging community in the comments below!
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