Why Is It So Hard for a Blogger to Find Advertisers on Her Own?

Lenore Skenazy of Free-Range Kids Laments Upon Her Quest to Find Sponsors

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Good question. Edelman Digital's Danielle Wiley responds.

Lenore Skenazy
Lenore Skenazy
For all the talk of social media, marketers and agencies don't seem so accessible.

Free-Range Kids: The blog that spawned a book that spawned an international movement. Really! That's what I've got. A blog written up in Time magazine (yes, in a cover story), and featured -- along with yours truly -- on "Dr. Phil," "Nightline," "The View," "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," "The CBS Morning Show," "ABC World News Tonight," MSNBC, FoxNews, CNN, the CBC, the BBC and NPR. It was even voted "Most Controversial" blog by Babble.com.

And it's about parenting! Talk about a succulent demographic! The mommy blogger, c'est moi. The sponsors must be banging down my virtual door, right?

...What? Oh, sorry. Just napping here at my keyboard.

The truth is: I have no idea how to find a sponsor and I fear that, for all their talk about social media, sponsors are not out there finding us -- "us" being the blogs with a feisty, even fanatical following of 5,000-10,000 page views a day, but not up there with LOL Cats. (Though I'd be happy to add a few.)

So, resignedly, we sign up for GoogleAds -- the algorithm that'll put a "SEX OFFENDER MAP!" ad next to a post on, "Why Are Parents so Paranoid about Predators?"

It shouldn't be that hard for us to find the perfect advertiser, considering how eager advertisers are for relevance. That's what bloggers have in spades -- spades that are very cheap per thousand and eager to log on EVERY DAY to hear what we've got to say!

In the music industry, A&R guys spend their nights in smoky clubs, or, now, on smoky websites, desperate to find the next new band. But I am not aware of advertising agencies doing the same thing. Assigning a couple of interns to look for cutting-edge blogs sounds like a simple way to find gems in almost any category, from cooking to computing. If your agency is doing that, kudos -- and I'm sorry we haven't met yet.

Meantime, we bloggers may be great at creating content and fomenting discussion -- I get over 100 comments pretty regularly -- but darned if we know the first thing about finding YOU.

So we bumble and fumble. A friend suggests calling someone he knows at an ad agency. The someone doesn't call back. Another friend suggests e-mailing a company. No response. Why the disconnect, if social media is the wave of the future?

"It was 150 years between the invention of the printing press and the first newspaper," said Henry Copeland, founder of the blog ad network Blogads.com. (Claim to fame? They've got Perez Hilton.) What he's saying is: Now there are literally millions of us folks with our own "printing press," but it may be eons before anyone figures out the best way to connect content and advertising.

In the meantime, big advertisers buy space on big sites -- a no-brainer. If anyone's hunting for smaller bloggers, it's only to send us a case of cookies or diapers, so we can (after dutifully disclosing the relationship) provide a testimonial. Small potatoes.

I'm ready for a way more vibrant blogger/advertising relationship.

I just hope it doesn't take 150 years.

Lenore Skenazy is founder of freerangekids.com
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