We love your blog! Do we get free advertising now?

Cheerleaders Flickr Creative Commons Richard Simon

Who wouldn’t want to celebrate that a big brand endorsed their blog?

A hugely popular magazine or well known website (hereafter referred to below as “Big Site”) has spotted your li’l old blog and got in touch.

“You’re our favourite blog!” says Big Site’s e-mail. “We love you!”

“We love you so much we’ve featured you in the Big Site Big Fat List of Favourite Blogs!”

“How marvellous!” you think. This totally pays back all that energy spent blogging. Maybe Big Site would like me to write for them? Or not…

At Blogger School we’ve learned these things rarely come without strings.

It’s more likely several paid employees had a meeting that went somewhat like this:

 Several weeks earlier… around a desk at Big Site HQ

“We need to build up page views and back links in this quarter in order to consolidate our CPM advertising revenue.”

“Ok, let’s touch base with some high page-ranked niche bloggers. Can someone map out some sites with authority status over our target demographic?”

Several biscuits and a trip to Ebuzzing later…

“If only we could harness the influence and credibility of these thought leaders. We need some good news stories to connect them with ourselves that they’ll want to broadcast.”

“Giving them stuff seems to work. But we don’t want to spend any money… What about an award?”

“I’ve got a cheaper idea. Let’s just say we put them on our list.”

Next someone at Big Site delivers the “good news”.

Big Site are hopeful you’ll rush to share this snippet with your audience i.e. their target audience.

Multiply that across up to 100 bloggers all reacting to Big Site’s Big Fat List of Favourite Bloggers in the same afternoon and you’ve got yourself a highly effective, low outlay social media campaign.

Phase 1: page views and social media exposure

“Yay! Thanks to @BigSite for featuring me on their list!” you tweet to several thousand people.

“Congratulations to Whichever Blogger for being featured by @BigSite !” tweet various followers to several thousand more people.

“Yay! I’m on Big Site’s Big Fat List of Favourite Bloggers!” shouts your promptly updated Facebook status.

“Congratulations! You so deserve that!” reply 29 of your Facebook friends.

Yay! Oh boy my wrist hurts furiously mouse clicking through Big Site’s 100 Favourite Bloggers to see who else they featured. I have RSI now.

Even blogs not listed frantically click through to see if they are. Big Site’s servers are positively humming with activity and flashing lights, for several days before tailing off.

Then what?

Phase 2: back links and free advertising

A week or so later Big Site’s Social Media Manager e-mails you again.

“We hope you’re enjoying your status as one of Big Site’s Favourite Bloggers,” they chirp, “We thought you’d like a nice badge to show off in your side bar so people know you were featured by Big Site. Big Site has 300,000 subscribers you know so you should enjoy lots of exposure and extra traffic.”

“And…” the email continues, “to make it nice and easy here’s the code.”

The code which links to their site with keyword rich anchor text of their choice.

The code which links to the page of their choice, which could well not be the page where your blog is featured.

The code that lets them control the graphic shown on your site.

The code they could switch to show a different graphic at anytime.

The code that places an ongoing FREE advert for their product to your audience (their target audience) for as long as you forget to leave it there.


Yay! You so deserve that don’t you?


Things to consider:

Regardless how flattering Big Site’s approach may be, treat side bar space as real estate. If bloggers displayed every badge offered, their side bars would be stuffed with more buttons than a Pearly Queen’s jacket.

  • Do you normally donate free stuff i.e. advertising to commercial brands who would routinely assign budgets to pay for the same ad space on other commercial sites?
  • How come if they get ten squillion page views a month and have so many subscribers that I only got 12 visitors back? (That seems weird, huh?)
  • Is it fair to exchange an ongoing free ad on a home page for a brief mention buried deep in their website?
  • If that back link is embedded in some Javascript slide show does it even count? (Honestly? I don’t know but I suspect it doesn’t)
  • What do I get out of this?


How to share this “accolade” (without giving away free advertising)

  • Upload a copy of the graphic to your site. By all means use it but only where you have full control how it is featured. Link it to a page of your choice (or not).
  • List it on your “as seen” page rather than the home page.
  • Refer to it in your media pack.


Have you been featured in any brands’ “favourite blogs” campaigns?


Photo: Richard Simon / Flickr Creative Commons

Post By Sarah Trivuncic (4 Posts)

Website: →


1 comment to We love your blog! Do we get free advertising now?

  • As usual, you make some very good points Sarah. Guilty as charged – or semi guilty. I was chuffed to be in a recent top ten so I did send mention it on Facebook. However, I was not going to put the badge on my blog, sidebar or otherwise, so I think that’s probably a fair compromise. I would love to get 29 people congratulating me – think I may have got three!

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Blogger School

Blogging is a very steep learning curve. Here at Blogger School, we aim to help bloggers to learn the skills they need to be successful.

We will tackle topics such as working with PR and brands, copyright, cookies, disclosure and any other topics we think may be useful.

We are very positive about working with PRs and brands. Blogger School was not set up to knock PRs - we know that both PRs and bloggers can gain a huge amount from working together - and we want these relationships to work better for the benefit of everyone.

Please feel free to leave questions for our blogging professors via a comment or send an e-mail to professor@blogger-school.com. All e-mails will be treated as confidential, and all questions can be published anonymously.