How to Get Brands to Sponsor Your Blog
Growing a significant group of followers is one of the biggest challenges of becoming a prominent blogger and influencer. However, recent research has shown that the majority of large Instagram influencers’ visitors and followers are either fake or not engaged (see this article posted by Digiday in November).
This has prompted many brands to become more selective of the types of bloggers and social media influencers with which they are willing to work, which means it is more important than ever to know how readers are interacting with your material and to prove your audience is legitimate.
How To Prove Your Audience Is Engaged
One of the best ways to acquire information about your readers’ engagement is through display advertising, as display advertising rates and the amount you are paid for ad rates directly correlate to your audience engagement.
Brands will increasingly advertise on your blog as your revenue and popularity rise. Once big brand advertisers are advertising on your blog, you can begin to reach out to those brands directly and discuss putting sponsored content on your blog.
The quickest and most advantageous way to increase engagement in your blog is to understand what your audience wants and continue creating similar content. Once your audience engagement is high, your blog will attract more natural brand advertising programmatically through display ads, resulting in a revenue boost.
What Is My Best Content?
One of the best ways to discover your top content is to see which posts are giving you the highest amount of revenue by word count. This can be determined by looking at your page revenue, or RPM, by word count.
If you currently use Google Analytics, this can be calculated by seeing what your top pages are and then utilizing a word counting tool to calculate words per page for those pages. Your current ad network should then be able to provide you with the RPM of those pages.
If you’re a current Bloomly user, all of this information is already calculated for you and is available in your dashboard.
In this example, posts 250 words and under only have an RPM of $3.83. However, when the word count is between 250 and 500, the RPM almost doubles, and is almost triple the amount if a post has over 1,000 words.
Looking at these results, this particular blogger wouldn’t want to write anything under 500 words, as it would be substantially less valuable.
Showing Brands The Engagement That Makes Them Notice You
It is valuable to understand how all of your traffic sources perform by studying your site’s page views per visit, average visit duration, and bounce rate. If your highest source of traffic is producing poor engagement, then your audience is telling you something about your content or blog.
Brands are increasingly looking for engaged audiences, not large audiences.
For example, if the majority of your traffic is from Pinterest but there is a high bounce rate with low session duration time, it would be valuable to investigate why your visitors are leaving so quickly.
It could be something as simple as when a user clicks on a recipe of yours on Pinterest, the recipe isn’t at the top of the page.
Additionally, learning about your traffic by device type is currently more important than ever, as the majority of blog readers are doing so on a mobile phone.
Particularly, you should pay attention to the average visit duration and bounce rate by device.
In this example, 63% of readers visit on a phone, so it would be beneficial to pay close attention to how your site appears on mobile.
If bounce rate, visit duration, or page views per visit are particularly low for mobile, look at some of your top landing pages to see if there is something that needs to be altered for mobile devices:
- Do all of the menu components and comment section work?
- Are viewers not getting to the substance of your blog quickly because the content isn’t the first item on of the page?
- Is your mobile version of your page hard to navigate, not as well laid out, or not as well designed as your desktop site?
Increase Your Content Viewed Percentage
Another metric to consider is the content viewed percentage, as it allows you to see how far down your pages readers are scrolling.
Although this is not available through Google Analytics, Bloomly users are able to see this in their dashboard. Other resources, like hotjar.com, can also provide this information.
These tools allow you to see, on average, how far down the page readers reach before bouncing, how much time they spent on the page before bouncing, how much money you’re earning from ads, and RPM.
As most blog visitors are not actually reading, but skimming, it is beneficial to you and to readers to break up your content — it will encourage readers to continue further down your post and result in better engagement metrics.
Oftentimes, bloggers will have huge paragraphs with no headings, images, or breaks. By adding a substantial amount of headings or images, readers can easily know what topics or themes you touch on. Images help keep readers engaged because it breaks up the monotony of rows of text and provides an interesting visual aid.
Wouldn’t it be helpful to know where your readers stop reading your articles?
What if you could immediately figure out why (i.e. right after a recipe, or when there are no more images)?
Also, breaking up paragraphs into even one or two sentences can make your post easier to read and act as a simple way to point out important content within the post.
If you have a very low content viewed percentage–less than 50% scroll–you will want to look at how you can break up content and make it more engaging.
Returning Versus New Visitors
Another component to consider is who your visitors are, specifically if they are new or returning visitors; as both behave differently.
It’s nice to think that as bloggers and influencers, we have a dedicated following that returns to our content to see all of the latest updates.
But, even the most popular influencers can have a really low return visitor rate. By observing your traffic’s behavior, you can learn more about what type of content you should produce:
- Are your new visitors bouncing more than your returning visitors?
- What are the session duration differences?
- What are the main traffic sources for each type of user?
- Am I expecting people to be familiar with my content or new to my blog?
For example, if a significant amount of your traffic is coming from Google Search, it is likely the majority of your audience are new users in search of topics relevant to your blog.
If this is the case, it is important to ask if you are giving these new users the content they are looking for.
In this example, new visitors earn almost double as returning visitors, so it would be beneficial to cater more of your content towards newer users to see how it performs.
Attracting Brands and Sponsored Content
After studying your content’s metrics and engaging your readers through the objective use of user experience data, you can start to attract really prominent brand advertisers.
Once big brands are advertising on your site, you will want to see which brands are making the most revenue and target them for sponsored content.
If a brand is already advertising a lot on your blog, it is much more likely they will want to partner with you with sponsored content if your engagement data is promising. For this blogger, Best Buy would be a great target to contact for sponsored content.
If you’re a blogger who is particularly interested in sponsored content, Bloomly offers sponsored content opportunities directly with brands that advertise on your site.