Friday, March 5, 2010

Three Things You Need to Know About Finding Advertisers

Cheeky Secret #14
Three Tricks to Make Private Blog Advertising Work
So you've seen the notes on other blogsites, "Interested in Advertising? Email me for rates" and you're wondering what the secret is? How do you get people to email you, ask for rates, and start raking in an advertising profit for your blog? If only it was as easy as posting a note. The secret is, finding private advertisers usally isn't so simple. But, it's not neccessarily hard, either. Keep in mind these three simple tips, and you'll be on your way to making cash through private ads in no time at all!
(1)Remember, this is business. Appear professional.
Never, never, never post a note on your sidebar inviting readers...
"Want to Advertise? Email me at"
Yeeps! The very thought makes my spine cringe.
If you were looking to hire a realtor and could choose between one who arrived at appointments in old-school basketball skiviies and a sweat band, or one in a slick grey suit with sassy red heels, I'll bet you twenty bucks I know who you'd choose.
Likewise, if you want to earn advertising money through your blog, you've got to get your professional game on. You've got to look the part of a serious business gal. Since you'll rarely meet advertisers in person, this means need to get a simple, professional looking ad site which details your ad rates, ad dates, and contact information. I've done this by linking readers and potential advertisers from my site to a totally different blogsite. (CLICK HERE to see it.)
Don't hesitate to post your actual ad prices on your ad site. If I'm an advertiser looking to spend my money, I want to see the prices. If the prices are within my ad budget, I'm significantly more likely to contact you than if I hop on your blog and see a note that says "Doing laundry and wiping kids noses. Call me when you're ready to advertise." Uh, no thanks.
(2) For the most part, you'll find your advertisers. They won't find you.
The sooner you see yourself as a salesperson, the sooner you'll start making bucks from your blog.
Business owners are busy people. They are managing money, books, products, customers, websites. Very few of them have time to troll the web, find your blogsite, figure out if your writing style and theme compliments their company, contact you about advertising, negotiate a price, and maintain an account with you. Which means that YOU get to be the one to find your advertisers. Search them out, hunt them down, email or call them, tell them why they need to advertise on your site to your specific audience. Sell yourself to them and they might just buy.
One "secret" I've used to hook potential advertisers is to contact them and let them know how genuinely I enjoy their products. I tell them about my blog, let them know my site stats, and then ask them if they'd be interested in sponsoring a giveaway in exchange for a month of free sidebar advertising. Sometimes they are not interested, and that's okay. But, sometimes they are actually VERY interested and wiling. These are the companies worth building and maintaining relationships with.
Because they've shown an initial interest in your blogging endeavors, you can feel assured that they are a company interested in (1) advertising, (2) joining forces with you, (3) testing the success rate of your readership with their company. Keep in touch with them! Email them, send them special ad offers, let them know when you have a post of particular interest to their cause then invite them to be an advertiser for that post, send your gratitude, check in with a hello or note of appreciation. Thoughtfulness and professionalism can will take you far in business.
(3) Larger advertisers are attracted to larger audiences.
If you have to start small, don't be discouraged.
As you look for advertisers, look for companies that are equal in size to your reader following. If your blog is seeing two hundred hits per day, a major corporation is highly unlikely to be interested in sponsoring you. However, that doesn't mean other, smaller companies aren't looking to increase their audience and profits.
The real key to success here is to seek out privately owned websites who ship their products. These companies are constantly looking for online saavy consumers because online is how they hock their products. So, a small bakery, clothing store, antique shop, or craft venture is significantly more likely to join you as an advertiser than a toy shop with a storefront in your hometown.
The best news? There are so many online companies! Get googling! Start Emailing! Pick up the phone and call some contact numbers! The sooner you start selling yourself as a professional, legitimate, success-driven blogger, the sooner you'll start being that very thing.
Which Cheeky Secrets are working for you?
Have you been putting the Cheeky Secrets into play on your blog?
Has one of them proven successful for your site? If so, I'd love to hear!
Email your successful blogging stories to
and you might be featured in an upcoming post.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Blog Advertising

Hi Brooke,

I am currently using Google Ads. I have signed up to use BlogHER ads but have never heard back from them. There is not a clear person to contact..and i am not certain if I will ever hear back. Google Ads scare me a bit--sometimes my earnings amount is there--sometimes not.

I am not sure of the best resource for ads, and that's why I'm asking you. I know I'm still a new blogger, but I have installed a stat counter (invisible) and the data shows me I have a consistent and loyal following of repeat visitors that return on a daily (sometimes more than that) basis. A large percentage of "first-time-visitors" stay a long period of time. This data gives me confidence I'm doing something right, and I know that developing a following with a certain niche of people just takes time---BUT, in the meantime, I want to be on the right track with ads.

Any suggestions?

Warmest regards,
Caroline Urdaneta

Cheeky Secret #13
Blog Advertising Options that Work!

Oh, darling Caroline. I feel your pain! In the early days of blogging, I was so incessantly baffled by blog advertising. I simply couldn't figure out how to get advertisers, keep advertisers, and make money off of blog advertising. Well, good news! I've since gotten a lot of experience, and learned a LOT of secrets that will get your blog profitable in no time at all. And, I promise to spill every last one of them in the coming weeks. For now, here is a brief advertising overview (aka. a few of the biggest options, and a few of the easiest ones).

NOTE TO READERS: If you've discovered a secret to advertising success, please feel free to email it to me, or leave it in the comments section. The more input we get on this subject, the more we all benefit!

(1) Google Adsense. Money is made through Google Adsense everyday based on your site traffic, the types of ads placed, and how many of your viewers click on the ads themselves. It's possible to make a small amount of money (as in pennies), if none of your viewers actually click on the ads, but you really have to see more than 1,000 site hits a day for pay-per-view pennies to register. That said, the secret to truly successful Google Adsensing is to get your Google ads placed in very strategic (read: sneaky) locations. If you're really interested in making money through AdSense, be sure to place your ads in extremely noticeable locations: above or below your banner, as close to the top of your sidebar as possible, or between your ad posts. Until you get a steady flow of traffic through your site, you'll likely notice your Google ad account numbers rising steadily--but very slowly. Which, of course, means that you'll simply have to work overtime to get your blog noticed (more on this later). Of course, I happen to think that if I can make nothing a day for doing a hobby, or ten cents a day, I'd definitely take the ten cents. Yes?

(2) BlogHer. If you are a woman blogger this is a well-established organizations that can bring in some extra spending money. Acceptance into BlogHer seems to be increasingly elusive, not to mention the vast number of rules and stipulations you agree to follow as a BlogHer gal. I know several bloggers who make a couple hundred dollars a month through the BlogHer ad system, however most of them created a firm following for themselves before getting the BlogHer network interested enough to accept them into the network. My advice on this one? Keep applying and be patient. You never know when they might accept you. In the meantime, just like Adsense, these ad networks are all business. They pay you for YOUR hard work. If you're serious about making money through your blog, then you've got to be all business, too. Keep your blogsite well updated, well edited, and work constantly to establish your identity and audience. As you continue to create your own empire, you are certain to attract companies willing to support you in your endeavors.

(3) Foodbuzz. If you are a regular recipe poster, and accepted as a FoodBuzz publisher, you may just be able to pocket a few extra pennies each month through their ad program (you make $2/day per 1000 impressions on your page). Interested parties have to create an account, and apply for the FoodBuzz Featured Publisher program. Just like blogger, there are specific regulations to heed if accepted (including restrictions from selling private advertising on your site.) Be sure you read through and understand the contract fully before signing on the dotted line.

(4) Affiliate programs. Many companies are picking up on the trend of blog advertising, creating "affiliate programs" for interested bloggers. The idea for companies is to access loyal readers who have shown a proven interest in your theme/style of blogging. The idea for you is to connect these readers to a company whose products complement your particular blogging flavor. This is usually done through a widget on your sidebar. When your readers click on the link, sign up for an account, and make a purchase on the company site, you get a small commission off of any purchases your reader's make. Amazon offers several slick, quick options for affiliate marketing. My favorite is their "Amazon Store" option, which allows you to piece together your favorite Amazon products, create a customized widget for your sidebar, and start making a percentage of money for each store sale. Of course, monster-sized websites aren't the only ones offering affiliate marketing to bloggers so don't be shy about buzzing an email to your favorite tiny company, asking about any affiliate options they offer. You might just be pleasantly surprised at what a gift your blog advertising can be to business owners, as well as to your pocketbook.

(5) Private Ads. In my opinion, the best and most consistent way to make money through blog advertising (without having some middleman take a huge cut from your earnings) is to offer private advertising to your readers. Be warned. This is NOT the easiest road. It takes a lot of effort and salesmanship on your part, but it does allow you full and complete control over your blog advertising.

Want to get your private ad campaign work?
Be sure to stop by next week for details!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Become An Expert

Cheeky Secret #12
Become the Go-To Expert In Your Field by Going To the Experts

Did you hear about the time when I was the featured guest on the Saucy Sisters radio show? It wasn't because I am an expert on Oktoberfest, their topic of the day (indeed, no I am not. Having never sipped e'en a drop of ale, and hailing from the wide provinces of the American west, I am actually the farthest thing from an Oktoberfest expert). It wasn't because the Saucy Sisters spend all their spare minutes trolling the web waves for a bright, perky doll of a baker like myself (though, indeed, if they were looking for such a thing, I'd hope they'd consider me as such). It wasn't even because I knew a sister of their sister or a friend of their friend.

The way I became a radio guest on the Saucy Sisters radio program was HARO. Created by the high-energied PR guy, Peter Shankman, HARO stands for HELP A REPORTER OUT. It's a way for reporters to access potential sources for magazine and newspaper articles, radio shows, and television shows. It's free to join. Once on the list, you can expect three emails a day M-F from Mr. Shankman indicating all of the days source needs. Most submissions on the daily email list will include:

(1) The name of the publication they are working for or hope to submit the article to.

(2) Specific needs the reporter has for the article/show

(3) Clear details about the type of people/experts/sources needed. This can include anything from teenagers with a long third toe to techno-bloggers who reside in Tahiti. If you are a stay-at-home-mom blogger who thinks HARO is a waste of your time, don't be too quick to write HARO off. Just because "experts" are needed for many articles, doesn't mean highly educated well-traveled gals in the workplace are the only ones being saught. Au contraire. I happen to know a stay-at-home-gal who just so happened to appear on the Saucy Sisters Radio show. (wink.wink.)

(4) Email and/or other contact information for the reporter. Don't go hog wild, emailing every reporter your resume and headshot, but don't be too timid here, either. If you find that you can satisfy most of the reporters requested needs, then reply as quickly as possible to their HARO ad.

Your reply should be bold. It should clearly and concisely express your interest in being a source for thier article. Your email reply should indicate a detail or two about yourself, as it pertains to their article. Sell yourself. Tell the reporter why you will make the best source for their topic. Never, never diminunize yourself. Don't respond to a professional reporter with sentences like, "I just got started into blogging and only my Aunt Kay actually likes my cooking" or "My little blog is really cute. You should see it. Five people follow it."

Rather, select wording which relates your greatest strengths (even if they, in actuality, aren't too terribly strong)... "I come from a rich background of food and family, and feel confident that I can share my experiences in a unique and interesting way" or "As a relatively new blogger, I've already begun to make my mark on an increasingly crowded scene. With a growing number of blog followers, I believe you'll find that I can relate to your audience as both a new blog writer, and one who is finding success through the medium."

Thousands of people are part of the HARO network, so don't be discouraged if you don't get a response from a reporter right away. Continue to hone your methods, your passions, and your writing. After all, one of the greatest secrets to success is to work tirelessly to get past barriers and get yourself on the scene. But, of course, any reporter will tell you that.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stick to the Schedule.

Congratulations to Coco-Ono, of The Coco Cafe for winning the blog header redesign!
And, thank you to all who entered the contest! We'll do another giveaway soon!

Cheeky Secret #11:
Post regularly
Oh, crimeny. I know there is great irony in my dropping this hint when I've been absent for two long weeks. Absent without sending you a single hello, a hint of when I'd return, a clue to my wherabouts. It's been a rather harried holiday season already, and I'm wickedly sorry for my lond delay in posting. Especially when I've more tip to get your blogging of the ground than I could carry in a tipped over tee-pee.
Muse upon your mornings for a moment. You've paid for a newspaper subscription. You plan on it's delivery each day at dawn. You rely on the perusal of advice columns and classified ads to get you through your morning bowl of Grapenuts. Then, one morning, you wake. Don slippers. Open the front door. Peek upon your threshold. And there discover nary a sign of the newspaper. Frantic, you call the delivery man.
"Wherfore art my paper?" you cry.
"I dunno," he replies, "Guess the writers got tired of writing, so there was nuthin' ta print this morn."
Well, that sort of a scenario wouldn't work at all, would it?
There's certainly plenty to write about.
There are certainly plenty of advertisers awaiting their paid-for hocking.
There are certainly people to read the writing.
In fact, there are people whose days depend upon the delivery of the paper.
(Can you imagine a Monday morning without a clean list of home listings to look over, or a Friday morning without the printing of movie times? Pshaw! and Pfooey! The very idea is absurd.)
When it comes to blogging for money, it's vital to put yourself on a schedule and stick firmly with it. Your readers will come to depend on it. Your advertisers deserve it. You will discover that you are more likely to get more done when you place yourself on a scheduled pattern of posting.
There's ever so much more to say on this topic, but for now, may I suggest a few tips to finding your best, most successful blog schedule:
  • Always post a new blog late Sunday night or early Monday morning. With weekend chores and such underneath their belts, and the fresh canvas of a new week in front of them, your readers are much more likely to check in on Monday's that on any other day during the week.
  • Blogsite visitorship peaks slightly on Thursdays, then falls on Fridays and through the weekend. If you're interested in a 2-day per week posting schedule, consider posting on Mondays, and again late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning to ensure the highest number of site visitors possible. Mondays and Thursdays, then, are also the days when any important announcements or giveaways ought to be mentioned on your blog, to ensure maximum readership.
  • The ideal 3-day posting schedule (in my mind) is M, W, TH. This posting schedule allows you to evenly spread your posts throughout the week and weekend, while ensuring that your posts are being replenished on days when the highest numbers of reader's will likely visit your site. Ideal four day? M-TH.
  • Take the weekends off. You deserve the break, and the site visitor numbers dip so significantly during the weekend that I don't think it's worth the time and effort to post.
  • Post late at night or early-early in the morning. There are some early risers among us. Get your posts up for morning visitors, lest they stop by and see the same stale post they gandered at the week before, and brand you as a non-regular poster. Ee-gad! No one wants that brand to be seared upon your blogsoul.
  • Consider yourself a business. Because, if you're attempting to make money off of your blog, that's precisely what you are. A business. Therefore, it's vital that you appear organized, prompt and dependable in every aspect of your blog-keeping, but most especially with your posting.

Now onto your regularly scheduled posting...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Power of a Pretty Hello

Cheeky Secret #10
A Good Blog Header is EVERYTHING.
The other day, while walking into my children's school, I walked past five different women. The first tossed out a muffled hello as I walked by. The second glanced my way. She may have nodded her head slightly in my direction, but then again, she could have just been stylishly tossing her hair off of her forehead. Ladies number three, four and five didn't even bother to glance in my direction as we crossed paths.
By now, I'd reached the front door, stretched my hand out to open it, when a hand grabbed the door before I could and a cheery voice said behind me. "Here! I'll get that for you. I have to tell you, I saw you walking from all the way back there, and that necklace your wearing! It just caught my eye! It's gorgeous!" Stunned, I turned around and caught myself staring right into the face of some woman I'd never met. Her eyes were lit with happy energy, a smile donned her cheeks, her teeth stood tall and straight, saluting a friendly hello. Instantly, I warmed to her. I loved this woman. We had to be friends. Following her into the school, we chatted back and forth with comfortable banter until we moved our routine ways--me feeling significantly better about my day than I had just moments before I'd run into her merry little soul.
Your blog header is your greeting. How is it saying hello to your readers?
When new visitors arrive at your site, your blog header is the first greeting they get.
It tells them the tone of your blog, the content, the style, the personality.
I believe having a professional looking blog header is as important to attracting new readers as having a smart marketing plan. Of course, you've got to have rocking content and graphics to permanently hook a reader. But, that vital first meeting can be VERY swayed by the power of your header hello.
Here is an example. For several months, I've been in contact with a lovely Tongue-N-Cheeky reader, Patti. She's been the dear of all dears, emailing me often with words of support and encouragement. It's always a pleasure to hear from positive people.
Patti runs a really great blog with a really great title, "Anatomy of A Dinner Party." Doesn't that just ring in your heart? I was instantly impressed with her concept. The title was fascinating, it grabbed my attention, made me want to see what she was up to. But, when you visited her blog, the graphics suggested that she was fresh to blogger, learning her way around the program and posting. (Which is OKAY, we all have to start somewhere. That's for SURE!) Wanting to give her an extra boost with her fantubulous blog, and knowing what a difference a few good graphics make, I offered to create a header for her.
Notice the different ambience each header creates.
Anatomy of a Dinner Party
Patti had worked diligently to set up her blog with a nice looking blogskin and a well-organized posting format. Her header consisted of a nice photo of a lovely dinner party (LOVE those centerpieces!) However, the photo was rather large, with the color being somewhat muted. Wouldn't it be nice to have a graphic that evokes all the refined splendor of a dinner party? Something that truly expressed the sound of "Anatomy of A Dinner Party" in a visual way? I played with a few ideas, then sent Patti a potential blog header, pending her approval. She was gracious-as-can-be upon recieving it, and put it in place immediately.
Here is the Anatomy of A Dinner Party AFTER the header makeover....

Isn't the difference remarkable?!
Before, Anatomy of A Dinner Party appeared to be a nice-looking operation.
Now, Anatomy of A Dinner Party looks like a high-end, finely stylized approach to blogging about truly sumptuous, thoughtful parties. (Which, by the way, is exactly what it is! Go Patti!)
So, how do you go about getting a fabulous header of your own?
First, Create one.
There are many programs that will allow you to create a nice-looking graphic, but I'd suggest using my favorite, free software PHOTOFILTRE.
Second, Hire someone.
Many blog design companies will customize blogskins and blog headers, but (in my experience) such services will run you more than $100 a pop. Which is why I'm excited to announce that, for a limited time, I am creating customized blog headers for only $35!
A good blog header is too important to have, and not easy enough to come by. I simply can't bear to insist of the importance of a nice blog topper, without offering some sort of feasibly affordable option.
If you are interested in having me design a header for you,
please email me at
and Ill start working on your header immediately. The turnaround time for a custom header is about 1 week. Yayhoo! That means you're only seven days away from look blog-fabulous!
Three, Win One.
That's right! Win! Win! Win!
Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win one free
Cheeky Secrets Custom Blog Header
for the blog of your choice.
*Header will be designed and emailed to you in jpg. and/or gif format, which you can then upload into your blog account. I'll do the designing, you do the uploading and we'll all do the happy dance!
Happy Blogging!

Monday, November 16, 2009

On Getting Your Work Noticed

Owner of Valeriote Design, Melissa Valeriote has used a clever combination of online tools and social networking sites to build a storefront for her business. With a little business saavy and lot of hard work, she's also found tremendous success as a crafter and blogger, having recieved national media attention for many of her creations. So, I just had to know if she'd willingly share any of her secrets. Turns out, Melissa Valeriote is just as gorgeously wondrous as her delightsome art.

Melissa, you amaze! You've had your art published in magazines and on multiple websites, you've even been spotlighted in Martha Stewart's website. However did you turn your art into a successful venture that gets noticed?

Marketing yourself and your business is vital for every small business entrepreneur. Scheduling time for marketing is just as important as scheduling time for creating art. I spend 20 minutes every morning marketing on my blog, FaceBook, and Twitter. I'd suggest that you take full advantage of all the free social networking sites and research magazines, shows and companies that compliment what you create. Then make the call or send the email. Keep refining your mission statement and your presentation. Every contact is a potential customer. Be positive, be yourself, and present your best work.

You can read more of Melissa Valeriote's secrets to success, at her Decor-Medley interview, which can be found HERE.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Photo Fantastic

Cheeky Secret #8
Get Fabulous Photos...for Free
The very best blogs are a perfect combination of sharp visuals, sharp writing, and sharp wit. Feel like you've got the chops to write and wittify the world, but falling short in the photography know-how department? Never you worry, my sweet. You're just a few clicks away from accessing some of the worlds most stunning stock photography. Best yet, you can do it without spending a single dime.
SXC, or Stock.Xchng is hands down the finest free stock photography sites upon our living planet. Through it, talented artists submit their photographs or graphic designs to the website, offering thier work for download. Most of the photos are gigantically large, downloading with such glorious detail and clarity that even the nearsighted can toss their glasses whence they take a peek.
Do be sure, when using the website, to offer your feedback to the artists via the COMMENT box on each photo. Many of them are looking to improve their talent, or waiting to be discovered and a kind word of feedback is always welcome. Some artists also ask that you send them the link wherein their photos have been used. Keep your eye on the PHOTO DETAILS section (this box will appear in the upper right hand corner once you've picked on a favorite photo) to stay on top of the usage options.
Now go. Find photos that astound and amaze and get blogging your happy heart out.
Sooo many more secrets to come...