Dear One Geek,
I’ve started up a website recently to review a variety of geekish mediums partly as a way of getting my writing out there and partly as a way to build a fan following so that as I get other long term projects off the ground I have a group of people who’ll be likely to give it a try because they like my other work.
I’ve got most of the kinks of writing, scripting and recording (in the case of titles that I do a video blog for) taken care of, and I’ve built reviewing rubrics so that I’m actually providing a fair review instead of fangushing or raging. What I’m not really good at is dealing with advertising. I’m not sure how to approach other websites to advertise on their space, is there a proper channel one is supposed to go through? I don’t want to come across as pushy and I can only tell my friends about my site so many times before I drive them mad.
Thank you in advance,
One of the biggest challenges that faces aspiring “pros” in any field is how to self-promote without coming across as egotistical or self-important. The line between self-confidence and egotism can be a very thin one, and it’s hard to know exactly where it lies. Your best bet, I think, is to be straightforward and polite, and to be willing to take “No Thanks” for an answer gracefully. It’s rarely impolite to ask about cooperative projects or trading promotion, but if you’re turned down, any response more gruff than “Oh, okay, thanks anyway!” is out of line.
There’s not really (to the best of my knowledge) an established procedure for approaching other internet resources, but in general, when making an offer, there are some methods which may reduce confusion or potential insult.
First, identify yourself and your project.
“Hi! I’m Aspiring Critic, and I’ve recently created a website (www.yoururlhere.com) with a focus of reviewing geekish mediums.”
You can add a bit of “credential” text next, but temper it as information, rather than bragging. You might also compare yourself to something they might be familiar with, but explain how/why you’re different. Limit this to a few sentences, however – you don’t want to bore your audience or sound like an advertisement.
“Recently we’ve done reviews of XComic (www.linkehere.com) and next week’s project includes a review of this year’s YEvent (www.eventlinkhere.com). Think of us as Siskel and Ebert, if they rated geektastic items and occasions, rather than movies!”
Then, make your proposal.
“We’re trying to expand our readership, and are approaching sites, like yours, which we think have a lot of common ground. Would your site be interested in discussing reciprocal advertising, either on a formal (banner ads, etc) or informal (Twitter RTs, cross-interviews, guest blogs) basis?”
Thank them for their time.
“Thanks for considering working with us. We believe that through supporting each other, we can make the online geek community an even more useful and well-networked resource than it already is!”
And give them a way to contact you.
“You can drop me a line at Me@mysite.com, or call at (555-555-5555). I look forward to talking with you in the future!”
Of course, you’ll want to customize the text to suit your own personality and needs, but by being polite and pointing out the benefits to both sites, you may be able to coordinate some cross-publicity that will help your web site, podcast or show achieve a greater audience.
Just be sure to be polite about rejections, and if you do get acceptances, be sure you’re 100% responsible about following through with what you’ve agreed to provide in exchange, or you’ll quickly find yourself getting a reputation – of the worst kind.
Have questions about how to handle a geeky situation? Need advice on social etiquette relating to games, movies, fan groups, conventions or other geek-ful settings? Write us at OneGeek@jesshartley.com and your question may get answered in one of our future “One Geek to Another” columns!