We are in the depths of planning our second annual Fuel Your Influence Conference (FYI) and are thrilled that Mediavine has signed on again this year to be a sponsor for the 2019 FYI Conference.
Mediavine is a force to be reckoned with in the blogging world, helping thousands of bloggers monetize their content and careers. This year, Stephie Predmore, Director of Influencer Marketing at Mediavine, will be the moderator of our blogging panel. Stephie is also a blogger at Stephiecooks.com and she has a wealth of knowledge to help other bloggers be successful as they grow their blogging businesses.
We asked Stephie some in depth questions. Her answers give us insight into what it takes for bloggers to work with, not only Mediavine, but other companies that may have budgets for sponsored content.
Q: You’ll be moderating a panel on how bloggers are scoring great brand work. What do you see bloggers and brands doing right? Wrong?
A: I think a lot of issues we see between brands and bloggers comes down to a lack of open and honest communication on both sides. When we see a brand communicate their wants and needs to a blogger and a blogger communicate their vision, capabilities, and audience preferences in an open, honest way, that’s when we see campaigns succeed the most.
Q: Stephie, as a blogger yourself, how do you think bloggers can best balance sponsored content with other content to create an appealing and authentic online reputation?
A: It really varies from site to site, simply based on everything from visual site setup to posting frequency. But I typically encourage bloggers to take a good look at their homepage; if all of the content on that page is sponsored, it might be time to step back and evaluate how much branded content you are creating.
Also take a look at product categories. Are you promoting one brand of curling wand one day and another the next week? That can be confusing for readers and leave them wondering if you really love either brand all that much.
As a reader/follower, I also tend to take recommendations most seriously from bloggers who will plug products they genuinely love that are not sponsored, as well as discuss products they tried but didn’t love.
Now, I’m in no way recommending putting a company on blast. But we’ve all had experiences of being excited to try a product and it not living up to what we had hoped for any variety of reasons. When I see people be honest about that (it doesn’t have to be on their blogs – it could be as simple as mentioning it in an Instagram story!), I know that they won’t recommend just anything they come across simply because they’re being paid.
Q: What is your role at Mediavine and what does it entail?
A: I am the Director of Influencer Marketing. My team coordinates sponsored campaigns between brands and our Mediavine publishers, making sure that the brands are getting what they need while also honoring and valuing the work that our publishers put into all of the content they create.
While my personal day-to-day is more about overseeing our team, I take great joy in working with our publishers and it brings a genuine smile to my face when we can offer them work with brands they have long had on their personal “wish lists.” It makes our entire team happy to share our publishers’ beautiful content with a brand, knowing they are thrilled with the final deliverables and have loved their experience working with Mediavine bloggers.
Q: What are things bloggers who want to be part of the Mediavine network need to do to build the traffic needed to qualify as a Mediavine influencer? What are some of the key traffic building strategies you recommend most?
A: You can’t go wrong with investing in SEO. We might be biased, because Mediavine started out as an SEO-for-hire firm, but we built the #1 Hollywood gossip site on the internet on the back of strong SEO. (We still own and operate it today, The Hollywood Gossip.)
Unlike victims of the ever-changing algorithms in social media world, good SEO and organic traffic is pretty darn reliable.
We know how important traffic growth is and we spend a lot of time on it. Here we are breaking it down on an episode of our 2018 Summer of Live and on the Mediavine blog. (And make sure to tune in on August 29th for our final episode in the 2019 Summer of Live, which will also be all about growing your traffic!)
Q: You probably see a lot of Mediavine publishers missing out on income potential. What are some of the pitfalls many bloggers are making that might be “leaving money on the table?”
A: We probably sound like a broken record, but long content broken up into short paragraphs is KING.
Long, quality writing + gorgeous vertical photos = winning
We also really recommend optimizing older content for maximum earnings. In fact, we think it’s as important to your overall publishing strategy as creating new content.
Start in advance with your historically popular posts for next season (yes, this means diving into your Google Analytics!) and get busy. We outlined our process in our 3-part RPM Challenge on the Mediavine blog. Part 1 walks you through Google Analytics without fear, Part 2 gives you action items to optimize each post and part 3 talks you through sharing and tracking all your hard work.
Q: While Mediavine is traditionally known for connecting publishers with advertisers, you also conduct/coordinate influencer campaigns. How do those campaigns work and how can publishers take advantage of them?
A: With 5,000+ (and always growing!) incredible influencers in every niche across the lifestyle spectrum, we know that Mediavine publishers are an awesome resource for brands. We’re also committed to advocating for our publishers and helping them to diversify their revenue streams as much as possible. As we always say, ads are just the beginning.
As I mentioned earlier, our Influencer Marketing team creates boutique, custom campaigns that match the influencer to the product and the brand.
We encourage all Mediavine bloggers to keep their influencer profiles updated with their current sponsored content rates in the Mediavine dashboard. We use these profiles to compile the influencer lists that we present to brands.
We know that we haven’t been able to offer sponsored work to every Mediavine publisher yet (there are 5000+ of you!), but we’re adding new brands and campaigns all the time!
Q: What are you hoping to get out of this 2019 Fuel Your Influence Conference?
A: The best part of any conference is the networking! We love getting to meet our publishers in person and connect with new publishers we have never interacted with before.
Q: You offer so many educational opportunities to help bloggers grow – offering site audits, podcasts, Facebook lives and so much advice on the Mediavine blog. Tell us a bit more about your commitment to helping bloggers grow and succeed at blogging. Why is our growth important to you?
Our mission at Mediavine is helping bloggers build sustainable businesses, and obviously, this goes far beyond ads. We strongly believe that rising tides raise all ships and that education is a key component to growth. We are committed to providing free education for all publishers, whether they monetize with us or not. This will help them diversify their revenue streams and strengthen all aspects of their business, because we know that this will keep them in the industry for the long haul.
We want as many strong and well-rounded bloggers as possible, because this means a more healthy and robust blogging world for everyone. Bottom line, we started out as bloggers and we believe in the blogging industry.
Q: Re: StephieCooks.com, how many years have you been blogging and at about what time in your blogging journey did you realize you could make money doing this?
A: I’ve been blogging since 2011, in what I think of as the “olden days” of blogging. Back then, we shot recipes with horrible point-and-shoot cameras, had not a thought for SEO or keywords, and didn’t really imagine we could make a living off of blogging. I think my mother was my primary reader back then.
I still remember the first time I got an email from a brand offering me a free sample of whatever their product was; it was a moment of, “Wait, what?!” That was maybe a year or so into blogging.
It took some time to get to the point of making actual money off of my site, but the realization that my blog could provide some extra income each month was, honestly, kind of a game-changer for me.
Panel: How Bloggers are Scoring Amazing Brand Partnerships (Stephie Predmore)
This lively panel will include a discussion about how bloggers from four different industries are scoring those elusive sponsorships – spilling their best practices for forging, nurturing and creating win-win brand-blogger partnerships.
Be sure to introduce yourself to Stephie at the 2019 Fuel Your Influence Conference!