Blog Advertising Part II - Advertiser Tricks

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So last week I discussed how some bloggers aren’t being completely honest when accepting blog advertising. I was a bit worried about negative reaction to that post, but I think there were only a couple people who weren’t in agreement. Hopefully those people didn’t think I was specifically talking about them. That was not the intention. I know some of my blogger friends use some of those tactics.

Really some of those strategies aren’t even all that bad, but it’s a little different than what advertisers would naturally expect. Think of whether you’d use tactics like that with any other kind of business transaction or personal sale.

Anyways, that was just my opinion as an advertiser myself. You’re free to do whatever you want with your blog, but beware of potential causes and be honest with yourself.

If you’re new to this series, check out some of the previous blogging tips posts:

It isn’t fair to just pick on the blogging community for being less than honest with blog advertising. The other side can be just as deceptive if not more so. Still I wouldn’t use that as an excuse to not give them courtesy.

Blog Advertiser Tricks When Pursuing Blog Advertising

Since I am both an advertiser and a blogger I really see both sides of blog advertising. This has really opened me up to various tricks that each side sometimes plays in an attempt to get more benefits than the other side. Call it business if you want, but both sides need to consider long term relationships and their own personal integrity.

Let’s get down to it and discuss some specific ways advertisers try to take advantage of bloggers…

100% Free Guest Posting Requests

This is by far the most common trick you’ll see advertisers using. If your blog has half decent stats, you probably have received this kind of e-mail although you may not have realized what it is.

Basically it is marketing professionals trying to get free advertising for their clients in situations where they really should be paying money. The format of the e-mail will vary greatly, but in the end it comes down to an attempt to get you to link to their commercial website for free. The ironic part is that many of those requests stress that they aren’t charging you any money for their content. Gee, thanks!

As a website marketer myself, I spot these requests from a mile away. The most obvious sign is that they do not list their blog url and a lot of time don’t initially mention what site they want to link to. They don’t want to risk their client’s reputation by making them look like a spammer. If they were just linking to a personal blog I usually have no problem accepting a free guest post. Some of the especially sneaky marketers do mention a separate blog they run to get their foot in the door. You might not find out they want to link to a commercial website until they send you the post. I’ve had a couple even try to link to their blog in the author bio and then just happen to link to commercial websites with obvious targeted keywords.

Another big sign is that they make generic compliments about your blog and claim to have been following it for a while now. A smart marketer will at least properly customize their e-mail and add some personal touches related to your blog. Still, they are after the same thing…free advertising.

So if you get a request boasting about free, quality content, be very skeptical of what they’re really after. Their post may not be promotional in nature, but it is the SEO-friendly link they are after.

Unreliable Payment Habits

There are a lot of advertisers that pay promptly after an ad goes live or sometimes even beforehand. That makes the transaction go a lot smoother and prevents unnecessary stress. After all, who wants to be left waiting for payment several days after an ad goes up. You start to get paranoid that they aren’t going to pay at all.

With most advertisers payment within a day or two is pretty standard. Then there are the ones who claim that they have a finance department that handles all payments once a week. That may be the case, but then they should plan their ads accordingly and not have ads that go through just after the cut off date. That just leaves the blogger waiting up to a week wondering if their payment will show up.

I’ve even heard of advertisers who take months to pay. They spin some lines about needing to complete the full campaign before their clients pays. Taking months to send out a payment may work with traditional offline business arrangements, but in the online world, that is outside of the norm. When an arranged ad can go live within hours or days, the payment delivery should be as quick as possible too. There’s no need to pull the accounting tactics where it’s a rule of thumb to delay payments to collect more interest on their money.

Indecisive Advertising Requirements

This blog advertising situation happens a lot less than the others, but it is still quite frustrating when it does happen. You and an advertiser might come up with a certain agreement. Then when you follow those directions exactly, suddenly something isn’t good enough.

They might have a valid problem such as a link not working or the wrong keyword being used. There’s nothing wrong with that since they’re just trying to get exactly what they paid for.

It is a problem when those requested changes go beyond your initial agreement. You shouldn’t have to change anything about your blog structure or current blog setup. That kind of stuff they can see from the start. I’ve heard of an advertiser telling a blogger they want comments turned off. That was after the post was already up with several comments. They do not have a right to ask for something like that.

In another case I heard of an advertiser assigning a specific advertisement, but then trying to change to something completely different at the last minute. When the blogger had to write a post to fit that initial ad, an advertiser can’t just go and change the agreement.

When dealing with advertisers, be prepared to be firm on your agreement. Be aware of what changes they have a right to request. Some advertisers will just walk all over bloggers if given the chance.

Lowball Price Offers

There are really two classes of blog advertiser. The upper class represent a single website or have high paying clients. These ones will usually pay a blogger’s asking price unless the price is a little unreasonable. Then there are the ones working for marketing companies that are extremely concerned about their profit margins. Maybe they just charge their clients low pricing themselves, but more likely they are just trying to get higher profits.

What class an advertiser belongs to shouldn’t be your concern though. Just because an advertiser is being cheap, it doesn’t mean you need to put your blog at risk for extremely low pricing. There are general pricing levels that exist in each niche depending on the stats of your blog. Ask around to find out what advertising on your blog should be worth. Then decide what pricing you would accept, but consider quoting a bit higher to test the waters.

A particularly cheap advertiser will actually straight out say that your pricing is way too high. They’ll claim that they placed ads on blogs with similar stats for less than half your price. Perhaps they did find someone who undervalued their blog, but more likely they were advertising on a blog with low traffic or other stats that were lower than yours. Or sometimes they use that lowball offer to try to meet halfway to make it seem like they are going out of their way for you.

Summary

It’s your blog and you ultimately decide which ads you accept. There is nothing wrong with saying no to some advertisers or sticking to your guns. Only accept what you are truly comfortable with. You even have the choice of not accepting any direct advertising at all. You should know that there are some risks involved, including a certain search engine that doesn’t want you doing this.

If you do accept direct advertising though, remember who is in control. Don’t be afraid of losing some advertisers as there are plenty more out there. Some are just not worth dealing with.

Have any of you come across any other blog advertising tricks that advertisers pull? Or is there a tactic listed above that really gets on your nerves?

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