Joel Cheesman is a blogger in a niche of career/recruiting. Early in 2007 Joel sold a one-year sponsorship for his award-winning blog, Cheezhead.com, to Jobcentral.com for $100k. I recently interviewed Joel via email to find out how he did it, and how you can do it to.
Jim Kukral: Was it your idea to sell your entire blog or did the sponsor suggest it?
Jim’s Analysis: It just goes to show that success comes to those who ask for it. Decide what you want, then make it happen. It sounds harder than it is.
Jim Kukral: How exactly did this sponsorship come about? Who contacted who? Who came up with the $100k number?
Joel: My blog had done (and continues to do) a nice job of supporting my SEO business. So the issue arose of Do I focus on SEO and blog less, or do I create a revenue stream for my blog and justify the time spent blogging. Revenue stream and more blogging won. I contacted JobCentral. They were a great prospect because they had supported me before (http://www.cheezhead.com/2006/06/11/jobcentral-wins-auction/).
I came up with the $100K number. I knew that if we were going to garner attention, it would have to be something big.
Jim’s Analysis: Never undervalue yourself. Sometimes asking for too little is a very bad thing.
Jim Kukral: What exactly does the sponsor get?
Joel: Dominating presence on blog (header, banner, sponsors page, single post drop-down link); plugs in podcasts and videos; logo on T-shirts worn at tradeshows and conferences; advertising in anything I publish, etc.
Jim’s Analysis: $100k/12 months=$8,300/month. Not bad for all that. As Joel mentions below, a company can spend over $100k/year on a trade show presence and possibly never even track that ROI back. With a blog sponsorship they can track everything, and the buzz alone from the sponsorship can pay off as it reaches every major blogger in that space. Hey, look at this article for proof :)
Jim Kukral: What’s the advantage to the sponsor for doing this?
1) It sounds corny, but there was really an element of “supporting the arts.” Bill Warren, head of JobCentral, really believes in the medium and where it can go.
2) Brand awareness. My blog just won Recruiting.com’s Best Recruiting Blog for 2006. I have a good name in the industry and healthy growth.
3) Zagging. A lot of companies will spend over $50K on one tradeshow in our industry, where they largely go unnoticed. By sponsoring a blog at this level, JobCentral took a different approach to its competitors’ marketing activities.
Jim’s Analysis: While I don’t think this will be an easy sell to most companies who are used to dropping wasted money into trade shows and banner ads, I do think that smart companies will see the advantages Joel talks about. The trick is finding one like Jobcentral, who is obviously way ahead of the curve. I’m going to try and interview Bill Warren, head of Jobcentral next and get his thoughts on Joel and this sponsorship.
Jim Kukral: What’s the advantage to you for selling a sponsorship this way?
I can better justify the time spent blogging. Time is money, right?
Jim’s Analysis: I would agree. The #1 advantage is that Joel can now concentrate on his craft, instead of worrying about selling ads.
Joels’ Dirty Little Secret
I saw Joel in person at an event the other day and he secretly told me that after he sold this sponsorship he was contacted by other industry people he knew who wondered why he didn’t come to them first, as they would have given him way more than $100k. Lesson learned, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Here’s Joel’s “selling out” funny video. Good work buddy.