There is a myth around the blogosphere that bloggers should not spend money on advertising for their blogs. It is founded on the success stories where established bloggers affirm that they achieved thousands of dollars in monthly revenues without spending a dime on advertising or other marketing techniques.
While those stories are obviously true they do not reflect the situation of the majority of the bloggers out there. Those successful bloggers usually started blogging many years ago and they basically created their own niche. Now a days the blogosphere is crowded. As a consequence it is much harder to make your blog stand out, regardless of the quality of its content.
Marketing is the name of the game
One of the solutions for this problem is called marketing. Most bloggers do have a marketing strategy (even if not clearly stated), but they focus on the free methods to promote their blogs. Free marketing techniques include leaving comments on other blogs, using online forums to spread the word about your content, article directories, blog carnivals, social bookmarking sites and so on.
Why do bloggers focus almost exclusively on those free methods? Exactly because they are free, you might say. That is true, but only partially true. The other half of the answer is connected with the fact that bloggers and other online publishers usually fail to perceive the value that a paid marketing campaign could create.
It is like saying “Hey, why don’t you invest $100 to advertise your blog?”. That is the questions that most people elaborate, and the common answer is “No thanks, I would rather use some free promotional methods”. What if we complete the question to “Hey, why don’t you invest $100 to advertise your blog? It will create a value of $500 for you!”? Now the idea is more interesting. It is the second part of the sentence that bloggers fail to grasp, and that is the fact the paid marketing might actually create value beyond the initial investment.
Value not money
Notice that I am using the term value and not money. While promotion might end up generating money for you it is not the only benefit that it will bring. Actually that is the reason why people fail to perceive the value. Not all the benefits coming from a marketing campaign can be measured with dollars. Below you will find 5 reasons (some tangible and some intangible) to actively market your blog, hopefully they will clarify why investing money into promotion might be a good idea:
Traffic: traffic is the most used currency on the Internet. Whether we talk about a blog, an online forum or a business website traffic is one of the most important factors for success. While free promotional techniques can also bring traffic paid solutions offer more consistent results. A couple of hundred dollars should generate thousands of highly target visitors for your website. Provided you have good content part of that paid traffic will also convert into regular readers.
Direct revenues: if you increase the traffic on your website you will also be increasing the monetization potential. People running Pay-per-Click programs like Google Adsense or Pay-per-Action affiliate programs will directly increase their revenue with promotional campaigns.
Branding: when I think about sportswear I think about Nike. Why? “Just do it!”. Marketing campaigns allow you to deliver a specific message to customers (readers in the case of a blog). After they see that message for three or four times they will end up associating the message with your product or blog.
Credibility: investing money in marketing can improve the credibility of your blog in several ways. If readers see that you are actually spending money to promote your blog they will know that you are serious about it and that you are pretty confident on the quality of your content. Secondly when you promote your blog on respected websites the readers will unconsciously think that the authors of that website endorse your blog.
Indirect revenues: traffic, brand awareness and credibility will also indirectly generate revenues for your blog. They might make easier for you to find potential sponsors or partnership agreements. Moreover if part of the paid traffic convert into regular readers they will contribute to your Adsense or affiliate program earnings even after the campaign is concluded.