One of the more common ways that bloggers make money is by doing sponsored posts. But sponsored posts can be done in a variety of ways – many of those ways rather badly – and by their very nature need to handled the correct way for YOUR blog. How can you make sure that your sponsored posts are done right?
First, let’s discuss sponsored posts. I’m not talking here about reviews; reviews, while technically sponsored, don’t usually involve money changing hands, just product. This is a different beast. I’m speaking specifically about a contract between a blogger and a brand where the blogger agrees to write a post, usually a certain specific length, that incorporates the blogger into the brand’s story.
Sponsored posts usually appear either on your site or on the brand’s site.
It’s important to be clear about one thing: sponsored posts are advertising. Straight up. Sure, they might be “advetorials”, but they are ads. Don’t think they aren’t. Sponsored posts require disclosure, per the FTC, and should be included either at the top or the bottom of the post. Where you place the disclosure will depend on your readership; my blog readers get very annoyed if they feel “tricked” into reading an ad, so they prefer I disclose at the start of the post – but most bloggers feel a statement at the end of the post is fine.
The second thing to remember is that, yes, sponsored posts are ads but they are ALSO blog content. Meaning if it’s on YOUR blog, it should sound like you. Think of it like a cake mix; the client is the mix, and you are the milk and eggs of the post. In other words, it’s your job to make the post sing a little (okay, that’s too many metaphors, forgive me). I’ve written about my feminist mother in a post about a leg razor, my mother-in-law’s long-term care insurance helping our family care for her, and about trying to find the sexy as a plus-sized woman in a Halloween costume. Each post was me telling a story, sounding like me (although I do tend to curse less in sponsored posts), and simply incorporating the product into the post.
If you want to see one of the very best at the art of sponsored posts, look no further than blogger Megan Jordan of Velveteen Mind. Her post about Tide’s Loads of Hope is the gold standard I hold myself to when I write a sponsored post (a goal I have yet to achieve, mind you). Go ahead. Read it. I dare you not to cry. That’s how it should be done, folks.
You, the brand, mix and stir. Sponsored posts can be a beautiful thing and not always the bane of the blogosphere.