How To Market Your Sex Blog to Advertisers
So, you’ve got yourself a hot sex blog. You’re reaching a decent audience each month, and you’ve worked out roughly how much you should be charging to advertisers to get their shiny products and services in front of your hungry users. But so far you haven’t been inundated with emails offering you cash in exchange for your services. What gives? How do you market your sex blog to potential advertisers?
How to market your sex blog advertising
The first thing you need to do is get a page up on your website letting potential advertisers know that you’re ready and willing to work with them. I want to emphasize that this is the “first” thing, it’s by no means the “only” thing. Consider this page your advert: a leaflet you will hand out to people or a John Lewis Christmas ad that you’ll run in ad slots from November onwards. This page is the content, but the way you market and distribute this content is just as important as the content itself. We’ll come on to this in a second.
Firstly, let’s put our “irritating salesperson” hat on for a second and consider what you need to have on your “Work With Me/Advertising/Sell Your Products To My Horny Users” page. Decent sales copy needs to do at minimum these two things:
- Explain what you offer
- Persuade the advertiser that your offering will meet their need
- Get the advertiser to take action
The action you want them to take is to contact you. This is important to keep in the front of your mind so you can make sure you’re always tailoring your copy to end with an unambiguous ask: Email me! Get in touch! Contact! Here’s the part where I feel like a fraud because at the time of writing my ad page is there to do the exact opposite. I’m sold out of ad space and I’m very busy, so I just switch this aim round and instead use my ad page to put people off talking to me. It has the benefit of making me look very cool and in high demand, but it’s not the best example to work from. Here’s what I did when I actually wanted to sell advertising.
How to write a “work with me” page
By the time you come to write this page, you should have a decent idea of the kind of value you can provide for advertisers. Your aim is to showcase just enough of this info to get people intrigued, without giving away so much detail that they can decide “yes” or “no” based purely on this page. I work in a two-stage process where I tell people a little of the detail on the public page, then encourage them to get in touch for more. At that point, I send them a media pack with nerdy detail on demographics, stats, and exactly what I offer. Why? Because the ultimate aim here is to get them to contact me. That way even if they decide it’s a “no” right now, I already have their email address and stated interest. So if I want to contact companies later down the line (with a discount or new bonus advertising extras, or ads for a different project) I already have a list of “warm” contacts who I know are interested in my work.
When you write your “work with me” page, make sure to include some detail to help persuade people to get in touch, but not so much that they can just go “Nah, not for me” and leave without ever saying hello.
- “For £X per month, you can get your ads in front of my engaged audience. Get in touch for more info.”
- “For £X per month, your ads will be shown to over 30,000 users, many of whom have come via direct search for sex toy brands and are ready and keen to buy. Get in touch for demographics, CPC, and other detail.”
- “For £X per month, your ads will be shown to over 30,000 users, many of whom have come via direct search for sex toy brands and are ready and keen to buy. At the moment the best-performing ads achieve over 100 clicks per month, which makes a CPC (cost per click) of around 60p, and the majority of my audience comes from the US.”
If I were writing a “work with me” page, I’d write something closer to the middle one. It’s intriguing and tempting to a sex toy company because I can see you have 30,000 users and you’re also doing well in search. What I really want to know is whether your users will buy my product, so I’m almost certainly going to want to ask you about which products do well and what your audience looks like, to see whether it’s valuable to me. The first is too vague, the latter too detailed: the middle one sits in the Goldilocks zone – just enough but not too much.
There’s more detail on creating a ‘Work With Me’ page in this episode of The Smutlancer podcast.
Marketing yourself: beyond the “work with me” page
I’ve spoken to a few bloggers in the past about selling ads. One of the most common complaints is that no one gets in touch with them, despite them having a shiny “Work With Me” page. Unfortunately, this is a bit like lamenting that you made a really cool drink that’s infinitely better than Coke, but you keep the cans of it in your garage and no one’s bought any yet. You have to go stick your better-than-Coke in front of them so they see it and realize it’s exactly what they want.
As I mentioned at the beginning, creating a “work with me/advertising/get your butt plugs right up my blog” page is only the start of marketing yourself to brands. Sadly. As an introvert who hates networking, I find the act of going out and selling to companies an absolute hellscape of cringe. But it really is important, and it is almost always worthwhile.
I do this in a number of ways.
1. In-person networking
Let’s get this out of the way first because… well… it’s not like you’ll be doing any in-person networking any time soon (thanks, Coronavirus!), so you’ll just need to stick it in the bank for the future.
Many adult trade shows will allow bloggers in for free with a press pass, others may charge a nominal fee for a ticket, but either way, these are worth attending. Not only do you get to find out exciting industry gossip and (probably) get fun content for your blog, you can also get up close with plenty of marketing managers/company owners/butt plug makers who may well be a great fit for your blog. Don’t expect them to sign up on the spot because at trade shows they’re far more concerned about flogging their doodads to suppliers. But go along, show interest in the products you love, chat to the people behind the stands, kiss arse a little, brag about how great your blog is, tweet some pictures, and if they like your style/see engagement from your tweets/blog posts which mention them, follow up with an email asking if they would like to buy some ads.
It’s helpful to have business cards for this, but you don’t need to pay money for business cards – the most success I’ve had has been with home printing crappy business cards uniquely tailored to my own haphazard style…
Say what you like, at least they were memorable.
2. Social media
Your social media is usually consumer-focused I suspect, but I bet you’re followed by a fair few brands as well, so keep an eye out for opportunities to post a link to your advertising page (during office hours, of course). I’ve had surprising success with tweets that talk about my stats (“I’ve had over a million audio listens this year!”) followed by a quick tweet that links to my advertising page. Companies see the stats, think “I’d like a piece of that,” and get in touch.
Likewise, if you write a review for a sponsored product that does great numbers, or get profiled in a major magazine, these are good posts to follow-up with a link to your ad page, so those who are impressed by your achievements can be prompted to leap on your bandwagon.
3. Trade press
There are many different websites and forums for people in the adult industry: Ean, Xbiz and ETO are key players. There are two reasons trade press is helpful if you’re looking to sell ads: first is that you can often market yourself via trade press. You can offer guest blogs, pitch articles, and work with them in the same way you would mainstream media, but with a hyper-focus on the business of what you do. Launching a new project where you try to break the world record for the greatest number of dildos ever reviewed? The trade press is a great way to get the word out and get dildo-makers the world over talking about you and your brand. Sidenote: please steal this idea if you like it.
Secondly, trade press is great just for discovering new companies. Keep an eye on the news and see who’s launching what, who’s putting money behind campaigns, or who’s just announced a partnership with someone you’ve always wanted to be. When you’re looking for companies to advertise on your site, don’t just go for the obvious brands that trip off your tongue, see if you can get yourself in front of new ones who may have a budget but not yet reach or recognition.
4. Other bloggers
Finally, don’t forget other bloggers as a great source of marketing for your site. I know, it sounds counterintuitive. Why would a blogger share their contacts with you rather than keeping them all to themself? Honestly, it’s because we’re nice and we like your work and we want you to succeed. We’re not in competition with each other fighting over limited slices of pie; there is plenty of pie to go round. And in fact, your work is actively helping to create more pie (introduce more new people to the fun world of sex blogging) so as a fellow sex blogger it is actively in my interest to help other bloggers succeed.
Also, note what I said above about having to turn advertisers away at the moment. If your offering is good and I can recommend your work, especially if you’re cheaper than me or offer something I cannot offer, I am more than happy to recommend you when people get in touch and I can’t give them what they need. I suspect there are many other bloggers who would say the same, especially if they’re working in a niche that you don’t service, and you can do swapsies. For instance, if you can only review dick toys and they only review toys for vulvas, hooking up with them and offering swaps on relevant advertisers could be a great opportunity for both of you. So don’t forget to let other bloggers know that you’re ready and willing to take ad bookings, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
Now go sell some sex blog ads!
Hopefully, this has given you a useful basis to start selling your sex blog ads, and a few ideas to get you started. Remember that the most important thing is to get people to contact you. So even if they’re a “no” right now, they may well turn into a “yes” further down the line. The aim is to get people to know you, like you, and recognize that you can offer them value and that you’re in the industry to stay, so they should probably learn your name and keep an eye out for your excellent work.