A week or so ago I was contacted by a company interested in partnering with my blog for an advertising opportunity. You have know idea how excited I was. I thought, “This is it! I’ve hit the big time now, baby.” I read the first paragraph and felt like I had gotten some kind of congratulatory letter saying, “Your blog is now straight up awesome enough that we want to pay you for it.” No joke, that’s how psyched I was. Then I started reading the rest of the email and started feeling unsure. The company had no relevance to what I blog about. I had never used their services, and I wasn’t likely to use their services in the near future. But, the company was family friendly, and I really did want a sponsor. Instead of responding immediately to their email with an enthusiastic “Heck yes, let’s do this!” I held off and sought the advice of bloggers wiser and more experienced than I am. I got a lot of good feedback and some important things to think about from these blog friends/mentors/celebs that I want to share with you.
1. Your blog space is like your home and if it’s important to you it will show to your readers. The kind of ads or sponsors you have, do say something about you and your blog.
2. Make sure you research or look into the company/sponsor wanting to buy ad space from you. You wouldn’t rent a room in your house to just anyone, right? It’s okay to look at a company’s reputation and image and decide whether or not they’re a good fit.
3. Don’t sell yourself or your blog short. If you are going to work with sponsors make sure it’s worth your time and effort. You wouldn’t rent your home out to someone who wasn’t going to pay you what it was worth. But also, be realistic on the amount of “rent” you’re charging.
If you’ve thought about all these things and still feel comfortable working with the company, then you can take the next likely step to advertising the company on your blog. If, after thinking about those things, you don’t feel comfortable, don’t hesitate to tell the company NO. There is no sense in losing your blog space and the trust your readers have put in you for a few dollars, especially if you want readers to value your opinions and think of you as a blogger with integrity.
Emails with the company I mentioned earlier, quickly hit a sour note for me. I realized this company wasn’t really interested in honest advertising, and definitely wasn’t a company I wanted to be associated with. The best thing for my blog would be to decline their offer, politely yet firmly. I was really glad I could stand up for my blog, show I had integrity, and let a company know their actions were questionable at best, but I still felt a little sting from my illusions of finally “making it” being dashed away.
I learned a lot from this experience, but the most important thing I gained was the fact that I could say NO to the wrong opportunity. It didn’t mean that I wasn’t going to get another offer from another company, and it didn’t mean that my blog wasn’t as cool or as awesome as I thought it was… it just meant that I cared enough about my blog’s image and my readers to not sell out for $20.