This session was captured by Paola Osorio of Runnin’ Paolar Bear.
Speaker: Dan R Morris, founder of Blogging Concentrated, a nationwide blogging workshop series for advanced level bloggers, has been working in the online space since 2004. His career began in the infomercial world helping convert traffic driven from TV and radio spots into online customers. He has since worked with hundreds of bloggers on perfecting their online revenue strategy using social media, SEO and web copy.
No matter how much traffic you have, it doesn’t really matter. The idea is the sponsor needs to be in front of their audience. If you don’t have the audience/community, then we can’t really do for them what they need us to do. They can pay us for sponsored posts but we need to provide for them. If you are all looking to go out for Nike, we’re totally missing the boat. Because there are smaller companies out there that would love to work with you if they just knew what you did.
For example, who signs up for a marathon?
Audience: “Crazy People”, room erupts in laughter.
For the most part, a marathon consists of people who train. Marathoners are all interested in Dry-Fit material. As a general rule, marathoners re interested in superior products to assist them in their race completion. Sometimes that means, joggers for their babies. Nike would know that once you’ve committed to 13 miles, you are more serious about running than the average Joe. Now you are someone that Nike needs to me in front of. The marathon itself is a filter for the people they need to be in front of. They can use a billboard to advertise on a billboard but how many people would that resonate with? But if you spend the same amount of money advertising in the marathon advertising through swag bags, emails, it’s a much higher concentration of the right audience. What we need to do, we need you to be your own filter.
Who loves Howard Stern? (Two people in the audience raise their hands) Great, this is a perfect example! Howard Stern has perfected this craft. He has perfected his craft. Since he has been doing this, he has a loyal following that is receptive to his message. So if 100 people tune into Howard Stern today, 93 people will never come back. But 23 years later, 7% of his audience, becomes 50million people. That is radical. His fan base is exactly what his sponsors want to be in front of. The moment he opens his mouth, you get to decide, on the spot, “Am I going to be a fan or not?”. If when you write a blog post, when you speak or come to a conference, if the person cannot decide immediately if following you will benefit them, then to some degree you have made it harder for yourself to grow.
One of the things that we will challenge you to do is to think about how your blog or site is set up. We read a lot of twitter descriptions and we get some that are not very specific: “I like to run, I shop at Whole Foods and I’m’ a Mom”. That is not a very specific description like, “I lost 45lbs and I encourage other people to do that same”. Does your description match with your message? On Klout, you are influential in and I would hope that yours would say Fitness or Blogging. If it said knitting, the message is not matching with what you are looking at. That gives a filter and shows you what you are speaking out in the Social Media world.
It must get easier, through leverage, momentum, because we all have families who are sacrificing time because we are on the computer. They are our shareholders. If we can’t create a return for our SH, we are abusing their time. We are saying, I am wasting my time as opposed to saying: I am trying to create a return for our family.
How long does it take to setup a twitter description? Maybe, 2 minutes. But how many times does someone see it through the course of your blogging career. If the time you spend on the computer doesn’t become a tool to build your audience, then those 2 minutes becomes a waste of time. We can’t just accept anyone into our following. We need cheerleaders: runners, people that need motivation. Are they going to do things that build your worth? The sponsor is looking for that, they want the community.
We don’t want you to rely on FaceBook, Pinterest or YouTube because you don’t own them. You do own your list and your site. These are platforms that will help build your community to bring in sponsors and get those cheerleaders. If we allow the angst of Facebook, Pinterest or YouTube, we are not working on building our list and not serving our leaders. I want you to find every Podcasters that talks about fitness, wellness or your niche, sort them into categories and put together 4 pitches and pitch them all. While our Twitter account is helping bring people in, “Sam” has a podcast and he talks about people that lost weight, how did it and it helps people. He is his filter for his audience. If his audience is your audience, he has already done the work, so why don’t we become a guest on his show? Why don’t we become a guest on all of them? In the end, what we want to be able to show a sponsor that everything that we do is filtered in the right direction. We begin to build filtered traffic outside of Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube that become the cheerleaders that we want.
Leading them home:
We can’t spend our time bringing the traffic unless we can bring them back to where our home is: website, podcast or primarily our email list. If we can’t bring them back, then how do you expect to reach them? If you spent yesterday building traffic and you can’t reach them today, what use was it? There has to be a number of those people that we engage or join our world, then yesterday did not make today easier. We can’t go on “Sam’s show” without a point. We can’t go on there and be naked; we have to give them somewhere to go. You get exposure but exposure doesn’t pay the bills.
Do you know that on YouTube you can use annotations? YouTube is the second largest search engine. There is a feature on YouTube called annotations. You can put a link in a video directly to your website or to another video. And guess what, your audience just divided themselves by their own interests. That gives you an opportunity to take them to a printable item on your website. We have to bring them back because when we go talk to a sponsor we should be able to explain how traffic comes to our website. We must be able to describe how we bring people into our community and what kind of people we attract. Everyday and everything we do should be strategic.
A lot of times we get stuck in thinking we need to grow our numbers and get more traffic so fast. We really believe that 5,000 or 1,000 super focused fans and followers are better than followers that we accumulated through giveaways. Those people are not really invested in our community. We want to look at how are you getting the traffic, are the people clicking like or follow really invested in your message? The people filtered themselves because you were on “Sam’s show” or the ones that clicked your annotations link on YouTube, are all the same people. You need the people that are ready to grasp the message.
Building a community:
Once we have the community we know we’ve filtered in the right people. When you start using the term like HIIT only training people understand. We know that the rest of them don’t get it. When they start saying, they are not one of us, then you have a community. They just identified themselves with what you do. Now you have something to bring to sponsors but more importantly, you have a responsibility to guard that community. You will get opportunities that you will turn down because they don’t match with your message. If you agree to them, you lose credibility amongst your followers.
How do we after sponsors? This is the easy part. Use a survey system to ask your followers what magazines they read. Under every magazine website there is a link that says “Advertise with us”. When you click on that, you have access to their media kit. That tells you the demographics of the people that read that magazine. Then you know the demographics of whom you are reaching. You can go to each magazine to pull demographics and see what they like. Every single advertiser in that magazine is going after the same audience you want. We approach the sponsor with good hard facts. As a blogger, you can do better than an ad in the back of the magazine. You offer the sponsor an opportunity to begin a dialogue with your community. The sponsor can see what people are saying about them through one of your blog posts. We can build a community, talk to our community and find out who will be our sponsors. If we fall in love with the people that can to be our sponsors, more than we fall with our audience then we won’t make it. When does the serving begin and when does the self-serving stop? Your readers love your story that you share and that is what sponsors love. There’s so much more power about sharing your story and having readers connect to you.
“Be the biggest small dog you can be”
It’s all about relationships. How can you bring value to a company? If you are small and can provide value for a small company, get a testimonial and go to a bigger company. The CEO of a small company will be very happy to talk about how you helped grow and change their company. These testimonials will give you the leverage to continue to grow and go for bigger sponsors.