Monday, 1 March 2010

Getting your name “out there”

In January I was introduced to Waggleforce and learnt that rather than concentrate on “getting my name out there” it was more important to develop the contacts I already have – and I still believe that. This post was about the ways I work my social networks!

However, I’d also been hearing a lot about Project Wonderful. It all seemed very confusing, so I asked Rose, an experienced PW publisher and advertiser, to help me understand what it was all about. Many of the answers to my questions below are taken from Rose’s blog (with her permission).

How do I start?

Signing up for Project Wonderful is free. You can deposit money into your account (minimum of $5 by Paypal) or you can start like Niftyknits did, by seeking out FREE advertising space.

How do I know where to advertise?
Start by searching for blogs or websites that you think fit what you are trying to sell. Keep in mind that you don't have to advertise on sites that are similar to your market, the best practice is to find sites that are outside of your genre, but attract your potential buyers. PW groups its publishers in categories, so it's not quite as onerous as it sounds!

Right – so I don’t have to look for knitting blogs? That makes sense. Is it expensive?

Advertising can cost nothing, pennies, or dollars per day. Obviously, you want to find the best places to advertise at the lowest cost. What you will be doing is actually bidding on an advertising position. If you look at the right column of my blog or Rose’s blog and find the project wonderful ad spots, below that is the amount it currently costs to advertise. In the "bidding on my ads" queue on Project Wonderful are many more people vying for those ad spots. That is how the price to advertise is determined and the reason it fluctuates. Also, not all of those spots are going for that listed rate, some are less, but that is the amount to buy into my advertising space now.

But how will I find good blogs to place my advert?

Rose explains: When I place my advertising, I search out spaces that look like a fit for my product. Then I place my bidding range. I look at the advertisers stats and place my bid accordingly. I will start my bid at .00 up to what I deem reasonable. Here is the important part and where brokering comes into play. I always place my bid for a month or more. Usually three months. You may be saying, "well I can't afford that!" Well, you probably can. The reason is that your ad is not going to be up all of the time and you only pay for the space if it shows up that day.

OK – so how do I “make” an advert?

First of all you have to choose your format from a range of options. I chose to make 125 x 125 pixel picture ads, and this is also the size I offer. Many people use their Etsy avatar or a product photo. I’ve made several, for different audiences. I also had to decide whether to add text to the picture. You will decide later what text you want to appear “hovering” over your ad when it’s moused over, but do you want actual writing on the ad? Some do, some don’t. I think it depends whether your product is instantly obvious.

Next, I needed to decide where the advert linked to: my blog, my website, my shop (which one?) or maybe directly to one product? I can see reasons for each of these, but decided to link to my website, hoping people would then choose whether to move on to either my Etsy or Folksy shop.

My examples here are my Alice in Wonderland meerkat, which links to my website and is timed to link in with the release of the film. The Harry Hill meerkat has my "real" name on it, because I wanted to encourage people to vote for me in the K factor competition. The last one, of a Wolverine Meerkat, is intended to be placed on comic book blogs.

Rose continued: Keep in mind that on the blog/website that you want to advertise on other ads are going to expire. When those ads expire and if your bid fits, you have the opportunity to get your ad on that space, at least until it is bumped by a higher bidder. It may also appear at the least cost that you bid. So you may be getting great exposure for almost nothing. If the advertiser has more than one ad space you should always click on each space for advertising potential. While the top or bottom space may seem to be a premium position, in this case it doesn't really matter. What you want is to get your ad up there at the least cost and most exposure. I believe on blogs as you are scrolling down, if that space catches your eye, you are going to look at all of the ads anyway and decide to click or not.

Brokering these ad spaces is a lot like the stock market. You want to buy in at the lowest price possible and get the most return on your investment. Putting your ad up for only a day or two generally means you are going to pay the highest price that you have bid. Putting your ad up over a period of a month or more, means that you will get more exposure for either a lower or equal cost. Just like in the stock market, you generally get a better return the longer you can leave your investment grow.

To recoup your costs you should also consider putting advertising on your own blog or website for people to purchase from you.

OK – so I’ve done that now! I decided to go with just two ad spaces. Project Wonderful splits the spaces across 4 geographical regions though: USA, Canada, Europe and Everywhere else. So at any one time, although I have only two ad spaces, I could have up to 8 advertisers. I now have a "pot" of funds with which to place paid ads.

As a publisher, PW gives me the option of setting a starting price. I’ve chosen to start at zero. My reason for that decision is that I’d rather see an ad than an empty space, and although some spaces with higher starting prices do well, I have also seen some with empty boxes and I wanted to avoid that.

I still have a LOT to learn about PW, but I know I can turn to my network, and to Blogject Wonderful for answers! Many thanks to Rose for being so generous with her information.

In the meantime, if you're looking for somewhere to place an ad (apart from here of course!), why not check out these blogs? Remember to check each geographical area - where do you want to advertise to? It might not be where you live.If you are a PW publisher, please leave your blog addy in a comment.


Hilary said...

I have a tip for you - if you click into your PW adverts html gadget and add[center] using this type of brackets < at the very beginning and then [/center] at the end again changing to html brackets then you get them nicely in the middle of your sidebar - keep up the posts nifty and congrats with the Harry Hill K factor win!

Heather Leavers said...

oooh thanks for that haptree, I'd been wondering how to get it to line up!

Unknown said...

Fabulous job on this article, Heather! And thanks for mentioning my blog. The PW ads really are a great way to advertise for very little money. :o)

Waterrose said...

Nifty you did such a wonderful job explaining everything. I really liked that you touched on how to make the ad. I think people are sometime intimidated by everything and you broke it down very nicely. Thanks for the mentions...

Fayme Zelena Harper said...

Thanks for sharing. I love Project Wonderful. I use them on my blog here: But I will also visit all the blogs you mentioned and see if they take the size ad I'm trying to place tonight.

Heather Leavers said...

Thanks for adding your link Lady Arwen, I'll be right over!

Pamela Zimmerman said...

I am just learning to use PW. I have posted a few ads on people's blogs, and am excited about the possibilities!

thanks so much for listing your tips and how it works.

I have just gotten my own ad space approved, on my blog
now going for $0!

Thanks to haptree for the centering tip, i am going to fix that now!

Heather Leavers said...

Thanks Pamela - I've just placed my ads!

Sheryl at Hand Painted Petals said...

Thank, nifty -- it IS intimidating at first, and this is so very helpful! Tip o' the hat to ya!

Amy, the Greedy Crocodile said...

This is brilliant Heather - thanks for sharing what you've learnt! These are very useful posts.