You’ve done it. You’ve created a great new widget. All your friends and family are impressed and they are encouraging you create more and sell them. You give it a try, and find that there is a market, so you start production. Now it is time to market your creation. You could purchase ads on television or in the newspaper. You could hire a sales staff to call on potential customers. The problem with those methods is that they cost money and right now, that is in short supply. Is there another choice? Yes, you can use online self-published journalists, a.k.a bloggers, to help you get the message out about your product or service (if your widget is a service rather than a product).
Find and Approach Bloggers Who Look Like Your Target Customer
Most bloggers have a “contact me” or “work with me” button on their blog, but before you click it, take a few minutes to read a few posts. If there is a blogroll (list of blogs the blogger reads) click on a few. Look at the sidebars. You want to make sure that your product is one this blogger might use and would consider endorsing. A blogger who writes about organic foods probably isn’t going to want to promote your new artificial salt flavoring. If your widget is improved knitting needles, find blogs about knitting.
Pick the Right Size Blog
There are bloggers like Pioneer Woman who have large audiences and have grown their blog into a full-fledged business with a range of products. Working with someone like Pioneer Woman is like placing any other ad – you are paying for eyeballs, and she knows the value of those eyeballs. On the other end of the spectrum is the cooking blog with the obviously amateur photography which, as far as you can tell, gets no visitors. In the middle are thousands of blogs which have regular readers, which participate in various blog link-ups or other social events, and whose authors would be thrilled to work with you to market your product.
Make a Proposal That Benefits Both Parties
Hopefully your widget costs a lot less to make than what you charge for it. Most small-time bloggers would be willing to write a review in exchange for a review product. While many will not promise a positive review, most will honor a request not to publish a negative review. Remember, the FTC requires that bloggers disclose that they received a free product for review. Bloggers also like to run giveaways, often using a service like Rafflecopter., because they draw readers to the blog. Usually you will be asked to send the prize directly to the winner. If the retail price of your product is between $10 and $50, there are a lot of bloggers who would do a review and/or giveaway and give you over 100 page views. Many bloggers are open to sponsored posts – posts they are paid to write which, while they do not review the product, mention it or tell how to use it. If your widget is a kitchen gadget, a sponsored post might be a recipe that calls for its use. Finally, a way in which bloggers frequently monetize their blogs is by accepting ads on their sidebars or between posts. Be prepared to provide the image for the ad, along with any address to which you want it linked. In all of these cases, blogs with higher readership will command higher rates of pay (or more expensive review products).
If you are nice to bloggers they can produce good results at relatively low costs. Remember, even when those blog posts are not at the top of the blog, there are still there, and Google can still find them.