Recently I covered guest posts, looking at why you would write one for another site, for free or for money. And also whether you should host someone else on your blog.
Today we move on to S in the A to Z – Sponsored posts…
Sponsored Content on your Site
If you are trying to earn a bit of cash to pay for your hosting fees or simply for the amount of time you spend blogging then you may want to consider hosting sponsored posts on your blog.
What is a Sponsored Post
If you are paid to
- host a company’s article
- write a post for a company and publish it on your site
- write a review for a product
then this is sponsored content.
Here is a recent example of a post that a company wrote and paid me to publish on my site. And this one is written by me for a company. Whenever possible I use my own header image – or from bloggers in the community – as I try and create these posts in keeping with the style of my blog. When the company is writing the narrative I also tend to introduce the post. Sex matters is a personal blog – so I want to also give the sponsored posts a personal touch. This is just the way I do it. We all find a style that works for us.
Dealing with sponsored post inquires
So how does all this happen in the first place? Well you may get an email from a company like this one –
Your blog, has caught our interest, and we would like to congratulate you on the great work you have been doing. Could you please let me know about the pricing for your guest posts? (If you write them yourself, and If you let us do the writing)…Company Signiture
This is actually an excerpt from an email I received. However, they are not always so transparent. Many will attempt to make out they are doing you a favour by asking you to publish their content and do not mention payment at all. Of course it is your choice to either ignore these, or reply telling them you charge a fee for sponsored content. Remember you dint’ for a guest post as these are usually personal, written by people you know and do not promote a business.
However, the example above was clear cut. I replied telling them what I do on my blog. I have a general template like this one available for Blogable Members. However, I tend to alter it depending on what the company are asking etc…You could also use a similar template if you wanted to contact a company yourself and pitch to them.
In my opinion it is mega important to be transparent regarding the sponsored content on your site. It is a trust issue. Your readers have a right to know when a post you publish has been paid for by a company you are choosing to promote. Like wise, if companies are choosing to work with your brand they need to know you operate in a professional manner. All this means is you need to have a consistent way on your site of disclosing what content has been sponsored.
Tags or categories
It is up to you how you do this. But I have the same tag for all posts on my site I have received payment for. It is a very transparent one – sponsored posts. This will appear at the bottom of the post and mostly I usually state in the post narrative the content has been sponsored. But having the tag would be sufficient.
If you click on my sponsored post tag you get to view all the paid content across my site. This is my way of providing transparency.
If the client is writing the post I also tag with – guest post. All guest posts on my site have this tag, paid or not.
When I am hosting a non-business guest post for free, I add the tag of – guest – to mark these apart.
Links included in Sponsored Posts
Within a sponsored post there will usually be a link back to the company. Once again for transparency, and to make sure google know you are taking your back links seriously, there are certain rules you may follow – if you want to. At the end of the day it is your blog and your responsibility to decide what is best. I discuss google’s latest information on how to qualify your links within paid for content here.
If you are writing a product review and simply doing it in exchange for the product then you should state this at the end of your review post. This could happen if you blog is relatively young and you are new to reviewing, then it is probably wise to do the first one or two free. Also this means you have content on your site which you can refer to if companies ask your to collaborate. Once you have more experience, if you are including a link back to the company, I suggest you charge a fee – even if it is just a minimal one – and treat the content like a sponsored post.
I choose not to use too many affiliates as I am not hot on promotion so never seem to get any revenue back for having their advert on my site. Also I think when a blog contains too many affiliate adverts it looks more like a shop than a blog.
So what is an affiliate link?
An affiliate link is a specific URL that contains the affiliate’s ID or username. In affiliate programs, advertisers use affiliate links to record the traffic that is sent to the advertiser’s website. This action is all part of an affiliate program.
Mainly the affiliate ads that contain the link are put in sidebars or footers. If possible they should be labeled in someway indicating what happens if a person buys from that link.
I am well aware that due to the design of certain home pages etc. it is not always possible to add a title to your link. If you are including affiliate links within a post I would think that as long as you consistently use a tag – affiliate – for such posts, and mention at the bottom of the narrative that such links have been included, then that would be sufficient.
If you used a category instead of a tag then generally these are seen before anyone even clicks to enter the post. The thing is where transparency is concerned, in my opinion, if you give it your best shot most of the time then karma is on your side 😉
Occasionally companies want to pay you for an advert on your site. It will usually be for a three to twelve month period. When replying to companies I always put my prices in for adverts, but as I am not a big site I rarely get asked for this service. The links need to be treated like other links in paid content.
Other posts that may be of interest to you which are connected to this topic.
- How to code and decide on link attributes for sponsored content.
- Replying to an inquiry to host sponsored content.
- How to deal with product reviews.
- Guest posts – the whys and wherefores.
Please ask anything in the comments and if it raises another issue around this topic I may add it to the post.