Bloggers tend to believe that more exposure will help monetize their blog however, it’s also true that some exposure can actually drain your income.
What are those situations and how can you respond?
Here are 5 ways that you are hurting your chances of blog monetization:
Income Drain #1: A Big Company Wants You to Share Their Product for Free
A big company discovers that you match their demographic and reaches out, asking you to share news about their product.
When small, new companies approach bloggers this way, both sides may be able to build a profitable venture.
However, when a major brand does this, they may be looking for free publicity. These companies most likely have budget for social media marketing; they are just not willing to spend it on you.
Best Response: Pitch Back
Most companies will ask you to share a product, event or link without mentioning costs.
You should respond with your pricing and media kit. Even new bloggers should learn what to charge for a sponsored post and how to pitch.
Be warned that they still might say “no,” so don’t pitch your best ideas until you know they are interested.
Instead, show enthusiasm for their product and let them know you’d like to discuss some your ideas for spreading the word about their product.
If It Fails:
If they say no, just let it go and make a note of it for when you come across this brand in the future.
Income Drain #2: Blogging on Spec
Recently, I was offered to enter a contest in exchange for writing a piece. I was surprised at what seemed a frivolous offer, until a friend reminded me that this was merely writing “on spec.”
Working on spec means you do all the work and the client pays you after they see the work – if they want to.
When I made the transition from web designer to blogger, I was familiar this term. It is the kiss of death for any serious professional. In the blogging world, the requested “result” may be social shares, page views, or other stats that come under the title of “key performance indicators” (KPIs). – Gina Badalaty
Best Response: Politely Refuse
In my eyes there is only one good response to working on spec: “no.”
This type of offer means that your potential client sees no value in the work you are doing – and make no mistake, blogging is work, no matter how many people see it. Even revenue share is a better practice, because in many cases you are actually getting at least paid a low flat rate as well.
A professional blogger needs to understand the value of his work, be it writing, photography or influence, as well as the value of his blog’s ad space. None of those things should be granted for free. Keep in mind, that a post will remain for the life of your blog – quite a lot of advertising for no pay.
If You Are in a Spec Project Now:
If you are currently involved on this type of project, I recommend attempting to negotiate some type of fee for work done already or in the future. If not, carefully consider whether you should proceed with the project and the risk to your reputation if you do not complete it.
Income Drain #3: Bartering
Bartering is one of those ideas that sound wonderful in theory but often falls apart in practice.
Even with a contract in hand and a trusted client, things don’t always turn out as planned.
Best Response: Avoid Barter Altogether
I advise you not to get involved in this type of exchange. The last one I entered came fell apart when the client postponed her project for a year – meaning I had the debt of her services hanging over my head while my own rates had increased.
Even without such a delay, you can find difficulty over valuation, services provided, or unforeseen problems that expand the project requirements. If you are set on doing barter, make sure to have a deadline for both parties to submit services or products and revisit after a short time, no more than 3 months.
If You Are in a Barter Exchange Now:
If you are already in a barter exchange and feel it is not working out, determine how much you owe in terms of work, not money, then complete and submit the work, if possible. If for some reason, you cannot (for example, social shares for a project that is on hold), offer to work on another project right now instead.
Income Drain #4: Helping Small Companies Too Much
While helping a new company grow can build your reputation, after they grow, they should provide you compensation.
However, the owner may have gotten used to your services as a matter of fact and won’t pay you.
Best Response: Educate Them
Educate your client on the work involved and quote what others pay you for sponsored posts as well as market rates. If they cannot afford your full rate and you enjoy working with them, you can negotiate different terms, such as reducing your blog post word count.
If It Fails:
If, however, they offer too low a fee or something besides compensation, you might be wise to quit this project.
Tell the client that you cannot afford to work for them at this point in your career.
Make sure to leave on good terms so that you can ask them for a testimonial and use them as a reference.
Income Drain #5: Guest Posts That Don’t Help
In the early days of the blogosphere, guest posts were great for traffic building.
I used to accept guest bloggers, as they would sometimes have a larger following than mine. However, as my blog evolved, guest pieces no longer fit but because I no longer had contact with the author, I did not feel right altering their writing. Eventually most guest post requests came from people wanting to put their work out there, regardless of whether it fit my blog.
While the pro’s and cons of guest blogging for someone else are hotly debated, many people still use this technique to build authority.
It can help but it’s also true that blogging for someone else rarely brings traffic. That’s because no one clicks your links or bio, which may be shuffled down the very bottom of the post, after advertising
Best Response: Create a Policy
If you’re still interested in either hosting or writing guest posts, create policies that reflect your brand.
On Your Blog
Act like a professional editor when considering guest posts. Use a form email to reject unsolicited requests, and set up a page on your blog where people can apply to guest post. (Make it clear this is unpaid work.)
Create a framework of topics that guests can blog about, and recruit top tier guests that are in line with your brand and values, and that you know. They can be big name celebrities in your niche, or a regular crew of bloggers who align with you.
On Other Blogs
Begin pitching blogs that have proven track records growing blogger traffic and will take already published content, like the Huffington Post, Life Hack, or Build This. Additionally, try to work link backs to relevant content into your post, rather than just your bio at the end.
Learn how to run a better guest blogging campaign.
If It Fails:
If you still get lots of requests from strangers, simply send them to spam. If you’re struggling to find quality guest posting gigs, keep at it. The best blogs for guest posting have a lot of competition, so getting chosen for a pitch may take some time.
These 5 issues are some of the many ways you might be killing your chances of blog monetization. These solutions will go a long way to help.