Without sponsorships, we wouldn't have much of a blog. That means that you're benefiting from our sponsors, too! With sponsorship funding, we're able to continue to improve the design of the site, roll out mobile and tablet versions, have a robust podcast and continue working on new features – like revamping the email program and getting a new mobile application built. That investment, of course, also helps our sponsors as we continue to grow and prosper.
The investment pays off. We have more sponsors now and we've grown the blog substantially. AdAge currently ranks us 79th in the world when it comes to marketing blogs… not too shabby and up about 100 positions in the last year! And there are a lot of blogs on that list that aren't truly focused on marketing so we're really proud of that accomplishment.
Sponsorships, by far, have also been the most lucrative work we've done to date. While advertising provides hundreds of dollars, sponsorships provide thousands. It's not easy work, though. Our sponsors get a lot of tender, loving care. From infographic design, marketing consulting, mentions in our presentations and downloads, and anywhere else we can tout their products and services… we do. And we never get conflicting sponsors. Once someone sponsors a category, they own that sponsorship for as long as they'd like.
While we're focused on ensuring our sponsors' success, we don't sell our souls, though.
Readers of our blog like, fan and follow because we've built trust and authority within the marketing space. That means that, while we want to ensure our sponsors' success, we have to be very cautious of a few things:
- We must always disclose that there is a paid relationship with our sponsors. We work to ensure every mention has the word “client” in it… ensuring our audience knows that they're a client.
- We must be cautious about the sponsors we have. We've been very careful not to offer sponsorships to companies with questionable practices, products or services.
- We must remain vendor agnostic when it comes to reporting worthy industry information. If our sponsors' competitors launch an incredible feature, we must let our audience know.
If we risk any one of these things, we risk losing the trust and authority that's taken a decade to build up. And if we lose that trust and authority, we lose our audience. And if we lose that audience, we lose those sponsors! I don't have any problem explaining to a sponsor why I shared information on a product or service that is newsworthy.
Recently, I was speaking to a guest blogger of a major industry blog who would not publish a blog post of his because it conflicted with their sponsor. I'm not reading that blog anymore. As long as it's run by the blogger who denied the post, I won't ever read it again. They lost what was most important to me… the trust and authority I thought they had. One strike, they're out.
Don't ever sell your soul for a sponsor!