5 Tips to Sell Your Blog

social media viewpointsDo you wonder if your blog has the potential for a big payoff?

Here are 5 tips to position your blog to attract corporate buyers.

The $315 million–dollar acquisition of Huffington Post by AOL definitely raised some eyebrows as bloggers started to realize that they’re holding “real” assets that can attract top-dollar investments.

But for many, it may seem like selling your blog isn’t even a remote possibility. Perhaps you’re still trying to figure out how to make it attractive for readers.

As you consider what’s next for your blog, start thinking like an entrepreneur and recognize that your blog has the potential to earn income like any other business.

Here are tips to take your blog to the next level, while making it more attractive for corporate buyers.

#1: Develop the right “mix”

In business it’s all about finding the “right stuff” to get the job done. Companies don’t buy blogs because they don’t have enough money to develop their own, they do it because the blog has already done a lot of the legwork of attracting the right audience, developing the right content or building a content distribution model that would take the company too much time to achieve on their own.

Think about the type of companies that would be interested in your readers. What type of content strategies could you develop to better serve your audience? How can you extend the reach of your content? How can you build your email list? How can you get your content to rank better in search engines?

techcrunch

With the acquisition, AOL is buying into the new publishing model that the Huffington Post represents.

#2: Establish trust with your readers

As a blogger, your voice is what establishes trust and resonates with readers even after corporate acquisition. This trust is a valuable resource for the corporate buyer and is something many times they do not want to lose after the acquisition.

Ultimately, if you have successfully established trust, you will be more likely to continue to play an active role in the blog even after the acquisition.

What does that mean? It means you could get a paycheck when they acquire you and then an ongoing salary for continuing to be actively engaged. That’s a win-win!

An example of what can happen when a blogger had developed trust with his readers and then left can be found with the departure of Michael Arrington from Tech Crunch. Arrington’s departure was bittersweet for AOL and his readers, which required AOL to quickly reestablish trust with the audience they paid a lot of money to acquire.

Poynter reported, “Readers come to TechCrunch for the latest information, but what makes a blog stand out is the trust in the people running the site, the editorial voice, and a site’s adherence to its own standards. That same trust wouldn’t automatically transfer to AOL’s appointed editor in this era of blended norms.”

Make sure that every step of the way you are establishing a genuine relationship with your readers. Figure out what they need from you and do your best to deliver it. When a corporate buyer comes along, make sure you protect your readers and your integrity to the best of your ability.

#3: Determine where your blog fits into the competitive landscape

What’s your blog’s competitive advantage? What do your competitors do really well?

Companies will look at your blog and compare it to your competitors to determine which has the best chance to reach their audience, so it is important that you survey the landscape and work on building a differentiator that will help you stand out.

To illustrate, we’ll look at a few blogs from the personal finance industry. WiseBread provides a wide variety of content focused on frugal living. Likely, the site is focused on providing a superior distribution channel for content and driving organic rankings.

wisebread

WiseBread provides a variety of perspectives with multiple authors.

Man vs. Debt provides tips and personal finance education through compelling and authentic personal stories of getting out of debt and being financially aware. The author’s tips hold a lot of credibility with readers because he has been there.

man vs debt

Man vs. Debt brings the power of a personal story to personal finance.

Budgets are Sexy provides readers with personal finance tips with flair. The blogger is known to rock a Mohawk and talk about finance with a friendly, down-to-earth tone that makes it all seem much simpler.

budgets are sexy

The blog Budgets are Sexy brings a rocker's edge to personal finance.

With just these few examples, you can see there’s a wide variety of blogs that are operating in industry verticals, and each has unique, but attractive, qualities to a corporate buyer.

As a blogger, think about what makes your blog unique, how you would describe your relationship with your readers and how your differentiator can be leveraged by a corporate buyer. Ultimately, it’s important that your blog fills a need. It should fill a need for the buyer and for the reader.

#4: Test the revenue waters

A corporate buyer wants your blog for a reason. And ultimately, it’s to help generate revenue for the company.

There are two primary ways of generating revenue from a blog: selling advertising space or leads to third-party advertisers or advertising the buyer’s products/services. A great way to better position your blog for sale is to be able to show a consistent revenue stream from advertising.

Start testing different types of advertising mechanisms on your site to see what will work to convert readers into buyers. If you don’t have third-party advertisers knocking down your door, start by advertising products that you have developed for sale. If you don’t sell “products,” look at developing an information product like an e-book or training course.

man vs debt info product

Man Vs. Debt offers a series of e-books for $47 and an online training course called "You Vs. Debt."

#5: Be prepared to let go

Don’t kid yourself and think that you’ll sell your blog to the highest bidder and continue running your blog like you always have. It’s common for bloggers to maintain a strong management presence in the content on their blog after a corporate acquisition, but that doesn’t mean that it comes easily.

Heather Starr Fiedler, the former owner of Pittsburgh Mom, which was purchased by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, said, “the hardest thing for me has been trying to maintain ownership of the voice of the site, but recognizing that I don’t own it anymore when I’m asked to take a different direction or add a feature to the site. It’s about forming a good partnership with the people you work for.

pittsburgh mom

Heather Starr Fiedler blogs about her sometimes serious, sometimes profound and often humorous thoughts on life.

“I’ve had a ‘few different bosses’ and each has had a different philosophy of what the site should be, so I’ve had to be flexible, but also stand up for what I built the site for. Ultimately, it’s your name on the blog and you have to be comfortable with what’s there.”

Heather has worked with her management team to create revenue streams through sponsorships that are organic and natural for her readers. She says, “the big challenge is trying to do it respectfully… that is the big debate. So far we haven’t had any negative feedback from the audience so I think we’ve achieved that.”

Whether you started blogging because you loved it or started with a payoff in mind, there could be an opportunity to reap the rewards of your hard work. There are two sides of this fence: those who feel that bloggers are “selling out” and those who respect and understand the economics of the decision. Whichever side you are on, it’s hard to ignore the potential.

Even Perez Hilton, who recently offered his blog for sale on Howard Stern, stated that he would sell for $50 to $100 million depending on whether the deal included a TV project.

perez hilton

For the right deal, entertainment blogs can be sold.

Whether you ultimately decide to entertain offers on your blog or not, these tips will help you strengthen your following and establish your brand.

The best way to position your blog for sale is to build a rock-solid following. To help you get there, check out 17 Ways to Grow Your Blog From Top Bloggers and Michael Stelzner Explains How He Built Social Media Examiner to Be a Top Blog.

Did you sell your blog? Are you a company that has acquired a blog? If so, what tips would you offer readers? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Nichole Kelly

Nichole Kelly is the president of SME Digital, the digital marketing division of Social Media Explorer. They provide digital marketing strategy, implementation and measurement using the Full Frontal ROI methodology. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.smartbugmedia.com/ Ryan Malone – SmartBug Media

    Great article Nichole.  Any recommendations on broker sites where you can start to test the value of your site?

  • Marile Borden

    Great article. Any suggestions on how to start farming your blog out to potential buyers? How do you generate interest or make it known that it is available?

  • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

    Marile – Great question. I would create a hit list of people that you “hope” will buy your site and then start networking with them. Build relationships and trust with the community that you want to trust you.

  • Nichole_Kelly

    Hi Ryan – Excellent question. That particular point is out of my area of expertise, but maybe someone will jump in and provide some resources. My personal experience has been on the corporate side evaluating sites for potential acquisitions. 

  • http://www.smartbugmedia.com/ Ryan Malone – SmartBug Media

    Cool – appreciate the candor.

  • http://annadonahue.com Anna K Donahue

    good info for us bloggers with our hopes and dreams…looking forward!

  • http://www.husseinhallak.com Hussein Hallak

    Hmm, something to think about and a good way of looking forward to be prepared from now.

    Thanks Nichole

  • http://kommein.com Deb Ng

    My biggest tip for anyone selling a blog is that blogs are like real estate. Just like you stage a home, you should prep your blog for sale by “depersonalizing” it. People can’t picture themselves running someone else’s personal blog. But they can picture themselves running a popular community or network.

  • http://www.businessplanexecutivesummary.com/executivesummarytoolkit.php Adam Hoeksema

    Most of my traffic at http://www.businessplanexecutivesummary.com comes from Google search.  Does this lower the value of my blog since at any time Google could change their algorithm and hurt the profitability of my site?  I write about such a niche topic that people would really need to be searching for it to be interested, so visitors from social media sources are not very high quality because they probably are not specifically searching for my resources about business plans.  

    Thanks for your post!  

  • http://thaimlmonline.info suwat pinyopan

    I’ve been looking for the article like this so long time. I’m glade to read it. Thank you very much.

  • http://www.i95dev.com/ecommerce-magento Henry Louis

    Hi Nichole! I am trying to sell my blog for the last few days. Now I came to understand about how to sell the blog by reading this post. Good tips are posted. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  • Kathryn

    Very interesting article! My question though is how much should you “depersonalize” your blog?

  • Michael Beyer

    I would love to see a follow-up post that steps back somewhat and explains how one would make the transition from a blog without any advertisers to one with that capability–literally how beginners can take their blogs to the next level. Assuming you have great content, how does one attract advertisers in the first place?
    - Michael

  • Sylvia

    Sorry to be a downer, but the Huffington Post is not a good example – they don’t pay their bloggers anything and didn’t give them a red cent when they sold the company to AOL. I know you’re citing the HuffPo as an example of the worth of blogs; but it could also be interpreted as ‘most people – even rich companies – won’t pay for blog content’. :(

  • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

    Thanks so much Anna. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.

  • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

    Hussein – Thanks so much. I’m so glad you found the post useful.

  • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

    Deb – That is a fantastic tip! Thanks for joining in the conversation.

  • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

    Adam – I know of several blogs that sold for millions based on their SEO rankings. While Google can change their algorithm most companies assume they can stay in front of the changes after the purchase. Some have been successful and some haven’t but I don’t think it devalues your blog in any way. In fact, I think it makes it more valuable as it is driving free traffic. Thanks so much for commenting.

  • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

    Suwat - Thank you so much. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.

  • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

    Good luck Henry. Please let us know how it works out. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

    Kathryn – Based on Deb’s tip I would think that you should depersonalize as much as is possible while maintaining the relationship with your audience. For example, if your web address is your name it is much harder to depersonalize than if you have a website like CopyBlogger. I hope this helps!

  • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

    Sylvia – Thanks so much for commenting. Many blogs don’t pay their content writers, the writers provide content because it helps them in some other way, typically increased exposure. But it is a good issue to bring up and debate. Do you think blogs like Huffington Post should pay their bloggers who contributed when they cash out? If so, how much?

  • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

    Michael – Thanks for your feedback. There are some good sites out there that have these kinds of tips. I’d recommend http://www.copyblogger.com and http://www.socialtriggers.com as good ones to follow for step by step tips. I hope this is helpful!

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  • http://www.icu-india.com internet marketing belgium

    these tips are really just dam good for selling our blogs thank you so much for posting this for us

  • http://www.best-web-hosting-companies.com/ Kavya Hari

    Its really great to hear 5 tips to sell your blog on here. Thank you so much for sharing your post on here :)

  • http://www.husseinhallak.com Hussein Hallak

    Thank you :)

  • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

    You’re welcome. Thanks for commenting.

  • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

    Thanks Kavya – I’m so glad you found the post useful.

  • Kris de Leon

    Thanks Nichole for your suggestions. It’s given me some great ideas to use in tweaking my blog. My audience is small business owners, and my intent is helping them solve their challenges and achieve success. I’m now working on the trust factor, and will apply your suggestion on figuring out where I fit in the competitive landscape. I haven’t monetized my blog directly, but gotten some leads for my business indirectly. Thanks again!

  • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

    Kris – Sweet. I’m thrilled the post was useful for you!

  • Michael Beyer

    Hi Nicole–Thanks so much for your great information. Social Media Examiner has been such a terrific resource for those of us trying to sort out the world of social media and its ever changing landscape. I’ll definitely check those sites out. Have a great day.

  • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

    You are welcome. :-)

  • http://twitter.com/Nichole_Kelly Nichole Kelly

    You are welcome. :-)

  • http://www.jamienorthrup.com Jamie Northrup

    I liked your post Nichole, I’m not at the point where I am selling any of my blogs, but a lot of useful info once that day comes.

    As for your question about paying bloggers who contributed, I really don’t think so. As a blogger, when I write a post for another blog, I’m writing for exposure, link juice, or money, but either way I’m getting what I negotiated for once I submitted my post. I’ve never given a post hoping or thinking the blog could get sold and I should get a cut, I don’t think that’s realistic.

  • http://www.jamienorthrup.com Jamie Northrup

    I liked your post Nichole, I’m not at the point where I am selling any of my blogs, but a lot of useful info once that day comes.

    As for your question about paying bloggers who contributed, I really don’t think so. As a blogger, when I write a post for another blog, I’m writing for exposure, link juice, or money, but either way I’m getting what I negotiated for once I submitted my post. I’ve never given a post hoping or thinking the blog could get sold and I should get a cut, I don’t think that’s realistic.

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  • Rick Herns

    But a blog is more than another medium for connecting with people in your target audience and peers. It also provides a platform to engage in conversation. Those conversations can lead to relationships. And those relationships can lead to increased business.

    The key is the relationship. And blogging makes the relationship possible with more people, in more places and at more times than any other platform yet created.
    Personally and professionally I’ve created dozens of great relationships with readers, bloggers, business owners and peers that have lead to everything from direct business opportunities to referral business to partnerships. Blogging opened for me opportunities that I just didn’t have with my static website.

    URL :  http://www.addvalue.com.au

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  • http://www.timetravell.com/ Arun rana

    can you tell me the place where i can sell my blog ?

  • http://twitter.com/intlQuest iQuest Intl Solution

    Have something established. It is a lot harder to sell sponsorship for a website that is brand new. People are afraid to invest in a project that will be huge in 6 months. They want to see results – now. If you are just starting off, try to show that you have already accomplished a lot. Highlight the strong points about your website and demonstrate that this is something that is ready to go now and does not need another 12 months of development to get going.
    http://www.addvalue.com.au







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