When I worked for The Law Firm, handling its marketing, we would keep a stash of items printed with the company’s logo to give out at events and seminars. Rugby-shaped stress balls, branded pens, pencils, all sorts of golfing equipment from tees, umbrellas, polo shirts – you get the (printed) picture.
Those were the days of big marketing budgets (now long gone I imagine), but I’ve been wondering lately about whether bloggers could benefit from something more interesting to hand out than a business card.
It depends, of course, on whether you are an avid networker. Many bloggers studiously avoid attending conferences, restaurant openings, and the like preferring to unleash their personality behind the safety of their laptop screen.
Others adore the people contact, the shoulder rubbing and the making of friends ‘in real life’ rather than virtual ones on Facebook. These events are also very often a chance of meeting representatives from brands you would love to work with.
You might think that getting your own printed merchandise will be a really expensive exercise, however, if you click here you will find out that this isn’t the case. You could also consider making your own using sublimation designs and blank t-shirts or tote bags, which would be a more affordable option.
How about a personalised t-shirt with your blog logo and social media handles on the back? Or a professionally printed version of your media pack to hand out?
You could tailor your promotional items to match your blog niche? Book blogger? Give away some bookmarks. Food blogger, how about an apron or a placemat? Tech blogger? branded USB drives would be a good choice.
If you are thinking that you just couldn’t afford to do that, then consider that some bloggers are creating their own merchandise and selling it on their site to generate extra revenue. Some are even creating their own Amazon stores to do just that or using platforms such as Shopify. And how about eBay or Etsy?
Let’s not forget the huge potential of Instagram as a sales platform to promote your brand. Wouldn’t those flat lays be boosted by including shots of your own mugs, t-shirts and pens? Or how about YouTube? Caitlin’s latest edition of Shout magazine is, she tells me “wall-to-wall James Charles”.
Get your branding on point and use merchandise to get yourself noticed and who knows, a brand collaboration may be on the horizon. Beauty bloggers might get their own beauty advent calendar or beauty subscription box.
E-commerce is, of course, a huge topic in its own right but do your research, start small and keep an eye on costs and you may find that you hit gold with a great stream of passive income – if you find the right product.
There will be a host of new skills to learn – but we bloggers are already writers, designers, accountants, social media experts and networkers. I can honestly say I’ve learned more about marketing whilst writing Mother Distracted than I ever did in the corporate world.
I’ve seen local blogs sell branded mugs and t-shirts and other bloggers go on to create their own books, diaries of their experiences, humorous cartoons and top-selling cookery books.
It’s time for lots of us to start thinking outside the box and whilst it is undeniable that the majority of our work has to be done online and social media platforms, there is still a strong argument for occasionally rejoining the non-virtual world and doing some back-to basics marketing and sales promotion.
What you consider printed merchandise to promote your blog? Do you have your own online shop?