If you’re a blogger looking to monetize your site, chances are you’ve thought about getting into sponsored posts. A sponsored post is a blog post in which a brand/company will compensate you to write about them on your blog. They provide you with a product to post about, and hopefully moolah to go along with it as well.
Some people get sponsored posts confused with product reviews.
For product reviews, brands will send you a product for you to review it on your blog – what you like, what you don’t like, what could be better, etc. The product is the main focus of the post, with no other products being talked about. Of course brands want you to shed them in a positive light, but you should be honest with your readers to keep your integrity.
Let’s say you’re writing a review about a foundation and you tell your readers it lasts all day. If they buy it and it wears off after an hour, that’s not going to look good on you and they’ll be less likely to trust your opinion in the future.
Now, if you’re writing a sponsored post the brand will send you a product and compensate you for working that product into a blog post. Instead of having the post focused entirely on the product, you write a lifestyle post and work it in.
For example, let’s say M.A.C. wants to work with you and offers to sponsor a post and send you over your favourite lipstick. You can write a post about 5 steps to getting pretty in the morning, and include the lipstick as one of the five products you use.
Or you can write a post about what to wear to a holiday party, and talk about everything you’re wearing, including the lipstick. For a sponsored post, your post isn’t centred around the product, the product is worked in naturally to the post.
As a prelude to this, if you want to learn about how to land your first sponsored post, I wrote a whole guide right over here!
I also whipped up a sponsored post checklist so you can make sure you’re working with the right brands, and writing sponsored posts that are on point!
HOW TO WRITE AWESOME CONTENT
It’s important to write awesome content for your sponsored posts! This will make it more likely for you to work with the brand in the future, as well as make other brands want to work with you.
If you’re sponsored by NIKE and are writing about a pair of sneakers, don’t just say “I love the color of the sneakers and they feel great on my feet.” Give your readers some juicy details about the sneakers and how they can wear them.
Are they comfortable? Are they breathable for your feet on a hot day? Are they versatile – can you wear them to work out and also out to brunch with culottes and knit crop? Are they supportive? Can you wear them all day without getting blisters and sore feet? These are all things I’d want to know before buying a pair of shoes.
The best way to get to know a product? Give it a trial run. Don’t just throw the sneakers on one day, take pictures and put them up on your blog. Wear them around for a few weeks. Go for a run in them, do errands wearing them, wear them all day while shopping or exploring your city. This will allow you to get to know the product and be completely honest about it.
WHAT TO INCLUDE
You should always disclose that you were sponsored by the brand to write a post. I think the rules are different for bloggers in every country, but I would disclose it just to be safe, and also to be open with your audience. You can place a short disclaimer at the beginning of your post. Something along the lines of: This post was sponsored by [brand name here]. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
If you’re writing a sponsored post with a brand, you’ll most likely have to provide your own photos of/with the product. Photos are a great way to enhance a blog post and if you’re active on social media, you’ll likely want share your photos there too. I’ve written a few photography posts that will help you out!
WHEN NOT TO WORK WITH A BRAND
There are a number of reasons why a brand sponsorship may not be the best fit for you.
1. You don’t/ wouldn’t actually use the product/brand
This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you don’t/can’t see yourself ever using the product a brand is offering, it’s best not to work with them. It can be tough to turn sponsors away, especially if they’re offering you good compensation, but it’s so important to be truthful and authentic with your readers.
If a tennis brand reaches out to you and you’ve never played tennis, so have never written about it on your blog and never intend to play tennis in the future, don’t accept a tennis brand partnership.
2. The brand’s values don’t line up with your values
If you’re vegan and McDonald’s reaches out to you to work on a sponsored post, would you take it? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say probably not.
That’s quite an exaggeration, but you get the jist. Some bloggers can fall into a money trap, accepting sponsorships from anyone so they can get some cash. But your readers will notice and you’ll likely lose a lot of fans.
Always stay true to yourself and the right partnerships will follow.
3. They don’t offer much in exchange for the post
As I’ve talked about before, don’t work for pennies. If a brand offers you a box of pencils and nothing else, don’t take the partnership. Many brands will try to take advantage of new bloggers who may not realize what they can get for a sponsored post.
Make sure to account for the time and effort it will take to create the post (writing, taking photos, promotion) and see if what they’re offering is worth it. You can always counter back with what you charge for sponsored posts if you feel like they aren’t offering enough.
4. They ask for dofollow links
As I mention in this post if you’re compensated for a post, whether it’s a product or monetization, you have to add nofollow links whenever you link to the product. If they ask for dofollow links, RUN.
5. They ask you not to disclose that you were compensated for the post
If a brand asks you not to disclose the partnership, it’s not a good sign. It’s like tricking your readers, making it look like you just decided to write about them rather than being compensated for it. This goes back to the whole authentic blogging rule. You always, always want to be truthful with your readers, and that means letting them know about the partnership.
Are you interested in doing sponsored posts on your blog? What are some of the biggest questions you have before getting started?
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