Even if you aren’t familiar with the wedding blog world, you should be aware of Meg Keene and her fantastic blog A Practical Wedding. While she was planning her own wedding, Meg started a blog about real weddings and real marriages, involving actual real people. She found there was clearly a market for this audience, and over the years her blog has blossomed into a wonderful community and she tapped into something extremely rare – a wedding blog that retains its audience long after the wedding is over. In 2011 her book, A Practical Wedding, became a best seller, and she creates some of the most compelling and creative collaborative posts I’ve ever seen. So it was no wonder she was at Alt Summit 2013 to present a panel on creating a media kit for your blog. This was an intense panel, and sadly I had to leave early to get to my scheduled walking photography tour so I missed the last of the Q&A. But I’m happy to share some of the tips I learned here.
What is a Media Kit? If you are new to blogging or aren’t interested in making money off your blog, you may not be familiar with the term media kit. A media kit is a basically a summary of your blog’s stats that you can present to brands or businesses who may be interested in advertising or collaborating with your blog. Your media kit should basically be a mini commercial for your blog. It should definitely include: A summary of what your blog is about, your monthly page views and unique visitors, your social media stats, and your rates. Depending on how big (viewership-wise) your blog is, your media kit could be 1 to 10 pages, or more! Most bloggers make their media kits in a program like Photoshop and save the file as a PDF so it cannot be edited.
Now onto the recap!
Media Kits 101 – Meg Keene
Alt Summit – January 2013
I’ve included a few of my personal pictures I took of Meg’s presentation. I apologize that the quality is not so great, but hopefully they still get the message across.
Meg began her presentation by saying that any blog, large or small, should have a media kit and can sell ads. ”Sell what you have.” She reminds us that “bigger is not always better” and that it’s all about knowing your blog’s focus, knowing who your readers are and what they like, and keeping them engaged (engagement is usually measured in number of comments and social media interactions). Meg also referred to Pinterest as a “game changer,” and said it has been instrumental in her blog’s recent growth (as seen in the image above).
Media Kit Basics
- Tailor your media kit for its audience
- Major brands, independent businesses, media, and everyone else. You should have slightly different media kits for each one, giving them the information in which they would be interested. Would you give the same media kit to an independent Etsy shop owner as you would to a company like Coca-Cola? Probably not. They are going to be interested in different aspects of your blog and readership.
Meg also touched the debate of public verses private. Should you put your media kit online for all to see? Or do you keep your numbers safely guarded. Meg suggests that you should do both. Publicly, you can put your numbers online so brands can get a basic understanding of your readership, but the private media kit should really sell your influence.
Media Kit Details – this is what defintely should be included in your media kit.
- Page views per month
- Unique visitors per month
- Average time on site
- RSS subscribers
- Location breakdown
It’s important to know who your readers are. Meg suggests conducting a reader survey with questions custom to your site as the best way to find out who is reading your blog, and also recommends getting to know your readers through their comments.
- Your media kit should be cohesive with your branding. (Use the same fonts and colors as your blog.)
- Include your mission statement. If you don’t have one, write one!
- Make your data simple and clear, with heavy visuals. An image can easily convey what a bunch of text could, in a much more compelling manner.
- Your media kit should tell businesses why they want to connect with your audience. Use case studies, including reader response to other past campaigns.
- It’s better to under promise and over deliver.
- Have a “press” section in your media kit. Start with what you’ve got, even if it’s just a mention on another blog. It shows you are on people’s radar.
- Include testimonals. These can be drawn from the reader survey, or even from comments or emails readers have sent to you.
Your media kit should show advertisers what sets you apart from the rest and what makes you (and your readers) special. What is NOT said about you, can be just as powerful as what is said. The media kit for A Practical Wedding highlights a quote taken from a comment on one of their posts: “It’s a wedding blog but not, you know, a wedding blog that will make you want to vomit.” Meg says this quote sums up their site as well as anything she herself could come up with, but it’s more powerful because it comes from a reader. Source reader comments and emails for quotes you can use to describe your site.
Before you start to sell anything, you need to determine what you are trying to sell and to whom you are trying to sell. Also, be realistic about what you can promise to both advertisers and readers.
Now that you have the numbers, figure out what you are going to sell. The big ones are:
- Ads (usually in the sidebar)
- Sponsored Posts
- Directory Listings / Vendor Guides
- Social Media Campaigns
- Again, treat small and big brands differently. Don’t expect the small Etsy shop to want to spend $1000s on a full sponsored post campaign, and Coca-Cola wants just a sidebar ad.
- This needs to be tailored to your blog and your stats, but Meg suggests a $2.50 CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions). For sponsored posts you should include the production budget. Meg points out that sometimes you will make mistakes, and that’s okay. Market research + making mistakes = the right price. You will fine tune your pricing with each campaign.
Meg’s presentation included several real examples from websites with transparent media kits. The above image from Autostraddle.com shows advertisers how their site has grown in popularity which gives a sense of urgency that advertisers should jump in now.
Offbeat Bride has a real-time counter on their advertising page which tells potential advertisers how many people could be viewing their ad right at that moment. (Although at the time of writing this post, it appears the counter is down.)
Daily Candy refers to their readers as “Influencers” and uses visuals to describe its average readers. Sponsors get a quick and powerful snapshot of who they would be reaching.
Again, this Autostraddle image demonstrates using visuals as a way to easily convey information to sponsors, by using colorful graphs and charts of information obtained from a reader survey.
New York Magazine gives a great example of a mission statement:
“With culture-affecting editorial that gives New York the power to launch phenomena, coin phrases, define decades, start movements and endorse demographics, this is where the conversations start. Multidimensional and dynamic, New York is a wellspring of influence.”
“This is where conversations start.” – How could any advertiser resist that?
When using case studies in your media kit, be sure to tell a meaningful story. In the example above, Meg uses an image (that was shared on Instagram to her many, many followers) along with a heartfelt and unique quote that was used in her sponsored post. She did not use some kind of canned statement provided by the advertiser; she experienced the product herself and wrote about it in her own words.
The above case study uses reader quotes from comments and social media in response to a campaign for beauty products. Real comments from real readers give advertises REAL information they can use.
Testimonials are great to use if you don’t have any press mentions. Testimonials could come from other bloggers who have linked to you, reader surveys, comments, or emails.
The above image from Autostraddle shows potential advertisers exactly what they would be getting for their money, by showing where ads are placed and their size.
Advice for working with big brands:
1. Big brands don’t often control their own money.
2. Big brands are still figuring out digital marketing.
3. Big brands have to answer to their own objectives.
“Content is all important. You’re not selling your advertising options. You’re selling your content. Explain what you offer your readers. Show genuine reader engagement. Good content means advertisers can seamlessly integrate their campaigns into your editorial. So show ‘em what you got.”
Daily Candy effectively highlights their content categories in their media kit using icons and short descriptions.
Esquire provides their editorial calendar in their media kit so advertisers can see what content is coming up, “so campaigns can be scheduled for when they’ll have the most impact.”
Show off what content you are the proudest of, and whatever makes you happy. This could be reader quotes, stories of reader engagement, press mentions, pretty pictures of your work, or descriptions of the kind of stories you run on your blog.
At the end of the panel, we received a little homework to kick off our media kit creation:
1. What is your brand statement?
2. How is your readership unique?
3. What do you want to sell?
4. What does your readership mean to businesses/media/etc?
5. Start small. Who can you approach?
“You are a content creator.”
First and foremost, bloggers create content. Without content, there are no readers, and no advertisers. So the focus should be primarily on content above all.
I hope you enjoyed this lengthy recap, as much as I enjoyed attending the panel. Now, get out there and make those media kits and get YO MONEY.
Have you created a media kit for your blog? Do you have any advice or tips to add?