If you’ve been blogging for a while, chances are you’ve had offers to write sponsored posts. Sponsored posts can be a great way to monetise your blog. They can also present a number of ethical dilemmas. How do you do sponsored posts without seeming sleazy or irritating your readers? How do you make sure that your sponsors are happy with your work? How do you choose which offers to accept? It’s a bit of a minefield, but one that’s not impossible to navigate. Here are my top tips for writing sponsored posts that keep your readers, your sponsors and yourself happy.
Choose your sponsors carefully.
When you’re just starting to get offers for sponsored posts, it can be tempting to accept anything that comes along. After all, any offer is better than no offer, right? Wrong!
It pays to select your sponsors carefully. Choose companies that sell products that are directly related to the topics that you blog about. This serves two purposes. Firstly, it keeps your readers interested, because the items you’re writing about are along the lines of what they’re used to reading on your blog. If you usually write about fashion and then you suddenly do a sponsored post for chainsaws, your readers are going to be a tad confused. Secondly, it increases the likelihood that you’ll be able to put together a stellar post that will leave your sponsor beaming. You’ll do a better job of writing a post that’s within your area of expertise than something you know nothing about.
Also, make sure that the sponsor’s message is in line with your own. You don’t want to start promoting products that contradict the values and voice of your blog. This will hurt your integrity and turn readers off.
Ask loads of questions before you accept an offer.
Before you agree to write a sponsored posts, do a bit of research about your potential sponsor. Visit their website and find out a some more about them.
Also, ask loads of questions about what they expect from you. Do they want you to include specific links to their business? Are you permitted to use photographs from their website? Do they want the post to be in a particular format? How long would they like the post to be? How much will you be paid and how will you be paid? Ask as many questions as you like, but do it before you say yes to any offer. If you feel uncomfortable with any of the answers, either try to negotiate with the sponsor, or politely decline.
Stick to the terms you’ve agreed to.
Once you’ve agreed to do a sponsored post, make sure that you stick to the terms that you and your sponsor have agreed to. Some sponsors are happy to let you run free and be very creative with your posts. Others have a very rigid idea of what they want. The bottom line is, if you’ve agreed to the terms they’ve set out, the sponsor should get what they’ve paid for. Make sure you follow their instructions to the letter.
Write the post as you would any other.
It’s really important that the sponsored post fits with the voice and message of your blog. This keeps your readers engaged and stops them from feeling like they’re being shilled. Make sure that you write the sponsored post using the same voice as you would any of your other posts. Present it in a way that’s consistent with your usual content.
Always disclose when you’ve been paid for a post.
I always make sure that my readers know when a post has been paid for. I put a disclaimer on the page which states that the post is an advertorial, or I tell them that a product was given to me to review. Your readers aren’t stupid, they’ll be able to tell if you’re trying to sell something and it will irritate them if you’re not up front. I personally don’t mind reading advertorial content on other blogs, as long as I know that it’s paid content from the start. Your readers will appreciate your honesty and transparency.
Don’t do sponsored posts too often.
It’s frustrating when your favourite blog starts churning out nothing but sponsored posts. The message of the blog is lost and the blogger’s personality gets buries in a sea of ads and product reviews. It’s up to you how often you want to write sponsored posts, but make sure that you aren’t sacrificing your own fantastic content for too many paid posts. Your readers come to your blog to read your words, they want to know what you think. Don’t drown out your own voice by presenting too much sponsored content.
Keep your sponsor in the loop.
Get in touch with your sponsor regularly. Keep them updated on the progress of your work and let them know when the post is live. Encourage them to read comments and always send a thankyou email at the end of your time together.
Are you a blogger that does sponsored posts? What do you think of bloggers writing sponsored posts?