This isn’t our typical event design and styling kind of post – but I think it’s a worthwhile discussion to have. Monetizing this wedding blog of mine has been an interesting journey for me since I dove headfirst into it and initially had no idea what I was doing. One thing I did learn early though is that relationships matter!
(before getting any further along I’d like to take a second to thank the lovely Christina Heaston for allowing me to use these engagement inspiration shoot images to spruce up this post with – mahalo!)
There are real people behind each and every advertisement you put on your website, and by and large – those people are absolutely lovely and wonderful to work with. They are just like the rest of us: trying to get by in this world doing what they love.
I recently had a vendor not renew their shop listing and it was somewhat devastating to me in that I took it personally. Now before you go assuming that I’m a super sensitive tearful kind of woman (I’m not) I’d like to add that I took it personally because up until that point a week or two ago I had a 100% renewal rate. And to be frank, I was pretty proud of that. So that little setback really got me thinking – what could I have done more of to better serve that vendor?
I’ve never viewed advertising on wedding blogs as a one-time transaction; I try to think of it as a relationship. Yes, vendors pay us to place advertisements on our blogs, but it shouldn’t stop there for either party. Advertising on wedding blogs should not just be a mutually beneficial relationship, but also a mutually supportive one – an investment from both parties.
Things bloggers can do to support their vendors:
– Recommend and use products in styled shoots.
– Share noteworthy shoots and posts from vendors’ business pages.
– Pin from your vendors’ blogs.
– Create a Facebook group to help connect vendors with each other, and vendors with their blogger for future collaborations.
– Limit sidebar advertisement spots to help combat ad blindness.
– Create a vendor newsletter that shows how you promote their work and encourages creative thinking and brainstorming for collaborations.
From Lily of Behold Designz: “Collaboration seems to be key for me. Readers respond more to posts than ads so if a blogger truly believes in their vendor’s products and can provide content in addition to a sidebar advertisement that has a huge impact.”
“A collaborated post is not simply ‘plugging a vendor’ which comes across as dead, but sparks interest and shows a real partnership between a blogger and vendor.” (see example collaboration here)
“Perhaps another step forward would be for the blogger to orchestrate brain storming and sharing of ideas between vendors. Instinctively vendors don’t want to do this as they want to maintain a competitive edge – especially if they have similar products. However, I think it can be mutually beneficial if vendors share ideas and discuss trends and new directions, ultimately benefiting our customers! Vendors don’t necessarily talk to each other directly – but the blogger can certainly mediate and share the ideas.”
From Gaelan of Uschi & Kay: “I think the best way to support vendors is to have a relationship with them on social media. Not only can you help drive traffic to them by sharing, retweeting, and pinning, but it will help you build a strong business relationship with them and the stronger the relationship you have the more likely you are to keep them on as vendors.”
“I feel strongly though that the engagement needs to be genuine and happen organically; if you are just pinning somebody’s stuff because they’re your vendor or always retweeting someone instead of just sharing the content that is most interesting and relevant to you and your readers, it will come off as insincere and will hurt both you and your vendors in the long run.”
And now for the flip-side of the coin…
Things vendors can do to support their blogger:
– Email your blogger with creative collaborative ideas.
– If you love what your blogger is doing for you – share that! Tell the world that you enjoy working with ‘so and so’ and have seen benefits from doing so.
– Promote your blogger by sharing their blog posts whether it’s about you or not. Pins, Facebook posts etc tend to have a ripple effect. For example: one person pinning one image from a blog can lead to thousands of page views down the road – that’s thousands of more eyes on your advertisement.
From Chelsea of Bit of Ivory Photography: “I would encourage vendors to look at their own website’s analytics. It will help them see what is working in a visual/tangible manner.”
See which blogs are your top referrals and invest more time there. Keep in mind though that click-throughs don’t necessarily mean bookings or purchases – a smaller niche blog might send you fewer referrals, but if your style matches the blog’s those referrals are more likely to be people who will adore your work and be long-term customers.
What are your thoughts on the relationship between bloggers and advertisers? What makes you click on an advertisement on a blog? We’d all love to hear everyone’s ideas on this so feel free to leave a comment or suggestion below!
Further reading: tips for advertising on wedding blogs (see mid-page)