thoughts from the summit (part two).

I attended Alt Summit last week and will be spending a few days recapping my favorite nuggets of info. You can read Part 1 right here.

I mentioned yesterday that my panel with Liz and Maggie was all about advertising, which is a pretty divisive topic. And if you know me at all, you know I hate making waves. So… this was a toughie.

I was thrilled that the panel was so well-received and learned that whether you love advertising or hate it, everyone appreciates a bit of transparency. Which is awesome, because transparent is my middle name. Super.

Speaking of transparency, here’s a breakdown of my segment of the panel, which includes 4 tips to rock out advertising and sponsored content:

[Image Credit: DescribeTheFauna]

1. Re-invent the wheel.
Get creative. This dude Jason rents out his torso every day. And we all remember the Million Dollar Homepage genius. Brainstorm ideas that are sure to surprise and the benefit is twofold: (1) your sponsors have something new and shiny to embrace, and (2) buzz will generate into other industries you haven’t yet reached.

Not sure how to brainstorm? Throw a resource party. I’ll talk more about this tomorrow.

[Image Credit: The Darling Child]

2. Test the waters.
Sponsored content and managing sponsors requires balance and a pretty intense time commitment. Rather than jumping in with a full-blown, massive project (like, say… an entire home renovation – ha!), test the waters with a few choice sponsors on a smaller scale. Bonus? You’ll introduce your readers slowly to the idea of sponsored content and you’ll better learn your value.

[Image Credit: Eleanor Hardwick]

3. Know your strengths.
If you’re not gifted in the realm of project management (read: me)and negotiating (also read: me) working with sponsors is going to be a rough ride. Find someone who is skilled in this area that you trust, and barter with, learn from or hire them to assist you in this project. Sometimes we need to suck it up and admit that we’re not gifted in every single area of our business.

[Image Credit: Jesper Christoffersen]

4. Less is more.
Because I post all the time, I have more wiggle room with sponsored content. In short, I like to keep my sponsored content at 5% and editorial at 95%. But, this is my personal choice. There are no rules (only suggestions!) with sponsored content, so its important to be gracious if other bloggers choose to run more advertising-related posts than you’re comfortable with. It’s a personal choice, so let’s all be friends about it, OK?

So. That’s a quickie rundown of my segment of the panel. Tomorrow we’ll talk about brainstorming awesome ideas for generating income, sponsors and ideas on your blog. Stand by!

p.s. Update: I just realized that since we’re talking advertising, it’s high time I thanked my sidebar friends over there. Go say hello!

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