how to choose sponsored posts

Sponsored posts can be considered a taboo in the blogging world, as we tend not to trust something as a real recommendation if someone has been paid for it. However, there is a way to do this and to do it right. My name's Kate and I am the blogger behind Diaries of an Essex Girl, a travel and lifestyle blog that I write from Frankfurt, Germany where I currently live with my partner. We left England, decided to travel the world and with my blog being one of our sources of income now, I've had to teach myself how to keep my readers happy whilst keeping my bank balance in check. Here's the method I use to choose which sponsored posts to accept on my blog, I'm hoping it'll help you too!

  Is it relevant to current blog content?

One of the most important things to consider when you receive a sponsored post request is if it fits into your blog's niche. The amount of times I've seen a blog I like post about something completely unrelated is disappointing, it also really puts me off their blog. For example, if you have a food blog, you shouldn't accept a sponsored post for a travel company. The same goes if you have a travel blog and a fashion brand contacts you because it won't make any sense to your readers. Readers don't mind sponsored posts if they are relevant to the content because whatever you are advertising could be useful for them. Once I had a company ask me to advertise glasses in exchange for a free pair. First of all, I don't wear glasses and second of all, I am predominantly a travel blogger. Even lifestyle bloggers will struggle to get away with an entire post on glasses because their readers don't come for fashion, they come for lifestyle. Keep. It. Relevant.

  Can it be incorporated into current content?

This is my favourite way to accept sponsored content. I have a rule for myself when accepting sponsored posts that if I am going to cover a post similar to the sponsored content, I'll take it. For example, I wrote a post about visa issues my partner and I were having when looking into our future travel, and at the same time a visa company had contacted me for a sponsored post. As I knew I could include a sponsored link that was relevant to my readers, I took it on. I've done this several times now and found readers are the most responsive to links like this, as it doesn't spoil my content for a reader not interested in clicking the link. It's better to build a post, then include relevant sponsored content, than it is to build a post around sponsored content.

Would I recommend this if I weren't being paid?
The next thing to consider after I decide if the content is relevant to my blog, is if I would recommend it without being paid to do so. For example, I wouldn't recommend a hotel that charged $1000 per night for a room, even if the payout was good, because I know most of my readers (nor I!) could afford this. Also, because that is a ridiculous price for a hotel, right?

  How much am I compensated for this post?
This depends on the amount of readers you have, but you shouldn't be accepting pennies for including sponsored content. This is particularly important if you are a new blog or don't have a lot of daily visitors. Do not accept links that pay you per click, as chances are you won't make a lot of money from it. It's also not wise to accept sponsored links that pay you in commission for purchases made, unless you are an experienced blogger with a large readership. Personally, I prefer to receive payment before the post goes live or on the day the post goes live. However, getting a company to agree to this can be tricky. I would say the longest you should wait for payment is 30 days. Do not work with a company who pay you 3 months after you've posted the content unless you work with them regularly.

  Will I receive additional exposure?

As well as payment for your post, some companies will advertise it themselves, particularly if you are reviewing them. This is great exposure for your blog because this exposes their existing customers to you, and providing you've kept it relevant to your content, they should be interested in your other content too. A win-win situation, if you have the opportunity!

  When was my last sponsored post? I can't be the only blogger who has un-followed a blog because of the amount of sponsored posts it churns out, can I? Time and time again, this is an issue with bloggers who begin to earn money from their blogs. Make sure you space out your sponsored posts and consider what your blog's homepage/RSS feed looks like at a glance. Ideally, you don't want more than one sponsored post in your ten most recent posts. If you accidentally schedule two sponsored posts close to each other, ensure your content surrounding it is of great quality. Don't let your readers unfollow you because they assume every post is trying to sell them something for your own gain. Your readers need to be able to trust you. I hope these tips will help you in deciding what sponsored content to accept on your blog, whether you are a new or old blogger!

 Do you currently accept sponsored posts? What other things do you consider before you take them on?


Rachel said...

CleverGirls is a sponsored post organization and I believe that their policy is to pay within 60 days of submitting your post and links...which is a long time to wait, but they're a pretty big organization and legit, so they're worth trusting even if you do have to wait. With sponsored posts it's definitely worth taking the time to think whether the topic fits with your blog and how you can put your own unique spin on it.

Ashley Z. said...

Great advice! :)