I frequently talk about how entrepreneurs should create multiple sources of revenue to ensure stability. This is especially true for us “bloggers”. This industry has ups and downs, peaks and valleys in terms of revenue and opportunities, so to ensure you have enough coming down the pipe to fill your pond, you need to vary your sources. If you rely too heavily on just ONE, chances are it may dry up.
So. . . what do I REALLY mean by that?
Sales specific, you should be playing in each of these “catchments” to ensure a continuous feed of opportunities.
1. YOUR AD NETWORK
Your ad network SHOULD be a source of consistent income to you. This is the organization that you commit your ad traffic to for a period of time, via a contract. Your network will publish ads to your site in your leaderboard, Big box sidebar and (usually) skyscraper sidebar.
**YOU CAN ONLY BE PART OF ONE AD NETWORK***
(caveat: unless you are signing with a location based one: i.e.: assign your canadian traffic to 1 network, and your US/Global to another)
If you pageviews are small your revenue from this source may also be just a trickle, unless you have the opportunity to sign with a network that has a high volume of sponsored posts. Usually these posts pay out at a premium value and are a welcome addition to your income.
Here are a few Ad Networks you can check into:
Sheblogs Media (canada traffic only)
SavvyMom (canadian traffic only)
OpenX (not Exclusive – can be an additional ad network to your site)
Pad Square (not Exclusive – can be an additional ad network to your site)
2. PR NETWORKS
There are multiple groups online that you can join to get information regarding sponsored posts. If accepted, you will get the opportunity to apply for sponsored content to publish on YOUR site as it becomes available. You can be part of ALL or some of these networks as there is no conflict supporting many, but be aware that they all have different pay scales and requirements for reporting.
TapInfluence – worldwide, must have over 10k in total social followers
Yummy mummy club (canada only)
Tribe113 (canada, USA)
PTPA (Canada & USA)
Acorn Influence (Usa mostly, but will work with Canadians)
Influence Central (Can & US division)
Massive Sway (SITS) (mostly US opportunities)
Social Fabric (canada)
Social Fabric (USA)
Clever Girls Collective (mostly US)
Blogdash (although I find their rates low)
AOL BeOn Publisher
There are more. . . always, and as every day there are more bloggers being created, every day a new network is trying to be born! My best suggestion is to not just JOIN these networks, but also build relationships with them. You not only need to be vetted and approved, you need to stay on their radar. Do this by supporting them socially (add them to your twitter list?) and being available to support campaigns as they become available. . . oh, and read this post “10 Ways to Rock a Blogging campaign” for tips on how to be one of the “chosen ones”
3. YOUR SALES FUNNEL
Lastly, you need to be creating sales opportunities directly.
a) Network with others in the industry. There are a ton of brands and influencers who are expanding their reach (and revenues) and offering sponsored campaigns. Connect, build relationships and make it known that you are interested in these opportunities.
b) Be continually filling YOUR sales funnel and creating sales opportunities directly. Use the tips on this post to learn HOW to pre-qualify and work your funnel, and be sure to always remember to drive your OWN sales, not just rely on opportunities sent to you. Not only will this expand your income, you will also start to grow in terms of what you are offering as a product/service. Your upsell will include new skills, expanded proposals and suddenly you will spend more time selling OFF your blog than ON it.
c) Work with PR agencies who are running campaigns and programs directly. As your site gets recognized, or “word gets out” (either via the internet or by direct contact at conferences and events) your name may be added to PR agencies contact lists. Press Releases will arrive first, and as relationships grow you may be offered opportunities directly from these sources. The best news is if you perform well (i.e.: do a good job), chances are you will be on the top of the list for the NEXT program they run, and suddenly you will have more opportunities landing in your inbox than ones you need to search out!
The whole objective here is to create STABLE income. Imagine being able to run your blog as a home based business that you LOVE, with little to no expenses and actually be able to BUDGET your revenue for the month. . . stable, consistent and viable! What a concept!