For those of us not familiar with Southern In-Law, please tell us a little more about your website and audience.
Southern In Law is a healthy living and lifestyle blog that covers just about everything in the lives of myself and my husband Jesse. Jesse’s originally from Louisiana USA (hence the Southern In Law name!), however, we live in Sydney, Australia and share our favourite healthy and allergy friendly recipes, day to day antics and travel adventures with our readers across the globe.
For us, our work with brands differs from month to month. We constantly have ads running on the blog, however, we love working with brands on a closer level through sponsored blog posts, recipe development, brand ambassadorship opportunities, sponsored social posts and media family trips.
What type of advertising clients do you typically work with? Have you found that your audience responds more favorably to certain categories of brands?
Our goal is for our advertising to be organic. We only work with brands that align with our blog and our readers – otherwise the partnership simply doesn’t make sense! We are constantly inundated with requests from brands, however, only choose opportunities that we know are going to deliver the best results for the brands we partner with whilst also fitting seamlessly into our content. We know what our readers come to the blog to read and thus we know the best way to incorporate brands into our content in a way that will connect with our readers and deliver results.
According to industry publications, ‘programmatic‘ advertising has taken the industry by storm, and is believed to be the main way most marketers will purchase media in the future. Is this what you also see internally as well, or do you typically work with your advertising clients directly?
We’re definitely seeing that programmatic advertising is becoming more and more popular, however, we’ve found (in our experience) that the best return on investment for the clients we work with comes from more intimate working relationships. Every blog is different, just as every brand is different. By working directly with a brand, we’re able to find out more about their goals and vision and we’re able to develop a plan to work with them to achieve their goals.
For our blog at the moment, our revenue primarily comes from our ad network as that’s just the way our blog is set up, however, we are looking at phasing that out as we receive more and more interest for direct ad sales.
In the past we haven’t devoted too much time to social media, however, one of our goals for 2016 is to focus on connecting more with our readers through social media. In just this year alone we’ve grown our Instagram audience by 600 followers and have seen our Facebook likes increase by over 2,000. This is just with a tiny bit of effort and we’re currently working on a social media strategy to tap into this further.As far as organic growth goes, even though we never spent too much time on growing our social following in the past, we have always had a strong following on Pinterest and through our weekly email newsletter. We currently have an impressive email newsletter database which continues to grow each and every day.
Finding direct advertising clients is extremely difficult, even for larger publishers that call into agencies or brands directly. Have you found this to be the case as well? What tools do you typically use to find relevant advertising clients for Southern in-Law?
Generally speaking, brands will contact us. This has been the case for quite some time as word has spread about our blog and brands know that we have a loyal readership. We’re extremely lucky in this respect, however, we do also occasionally reach out to brands who we’re interested in working with as well.
It was recently announced that Facebook Instant Articles will be open to all publishers come April. What are your thoughts on this – do you think it is worthwhile for bloggers to investigate to further engage their audience?
I think it’s a great opportunity for publishers, however, I don’t think it’s going to be something that the average blogger will use. Whilst Facebook have said they are working to simplify the process, it still seems like it will take quite a bit of behind the scenes work that many bloggers really don’t have the technical expertise or confidence needed to deal with. Should platforms like WordPress or Blogger enable the automatic posting, that would be a different story – but we’ll just have to see what happens!
I currently use Google Analytics, Adsense, Gourmet Ads as well as a variety of other smaller tools and platforms to not only manage my advertisements, but look further into who is reading our blog, what they’re interested in and what they’re currently engaging with.
Lastly, what is your take on the future of blog monetization?
My opinion changes from day to day. I do feel like more and more bloggers out there are working to monetize their blog, however, it’s become quite obvious that there are many people out there who are blogging simply for the money. I hope that brands will better realise the impact that bloggers have and reconsider how they’re working with bloggers in order to best leverage this impact.
Southern In-Law is a healthy living and lifestyle blog which covers just about every topic you could imagine.
Since it’s launch in June 2012, the blog has grown at an incredible rate with over 915,000 Unique Visitors per month (as of April 2016). I work with many companies and tourism boards as a brand ambassador and regularly promote companies and their products/services through sponsored posts, reviews, giveaways, media famils, recipe development and advertising.