If you decide to start including sponsored content on your blog, you’re going to want to make sure it’s stellar. Here’s why – you’re taking up valuable space on your site to tell someone about a product, event, or service – you want it to be amazing so your readers will read it and your sponsors will hire you again. I’ve got a few tips and tricks for you on how to write a sponsored post that will grab your reader’s attention and make your sponsors love you!
You have to please three people when you’re creating sponsored content. Number one, yourself – you’ve got to love what you create, and you’ve got to feel good about what you’re posting. Number two, your reader – without your reader, you won’t have opportunities to write sponsored posts. And number three, your sponsor – if your content is poor quality, you’re not going to have work for long!
There are all kind of blogging jobs out there (have you read my post on how to find blogging jobs yet?), offered by all kinds of brands and PR companies. Like the “real” world, you’ll see a little bit of everything – from the super organized campaign network that sends you a list of post requirements and has an official portal that you will submit your finished post through, to the more relaxed brand rep that doesn’t provide any guidelines or suggestions for your post.
I’ve got a few guidelines that I follow for every sponsored post I write.
- Meet all of your sponsor’s requirements. This seems obvious, for it’s so, so important! Pay attention to details and complete every task that is assigned to you. If you are working on a campign that has a laundry list of requirements (for example, links that need to be included, social media amplification, particular images that need to be in your post), make a list of ALL of the post requirements before you start writing. You can cross items off your list as you write the post. This way, you won’t miss anything or have to make any changes after the post has been published.
- Tell a personal story. Always, always, always make a sponsored post relatable to your real-life experiences. A blog post is so much more interesting if you make it into a story, and not just an boring advertisement for a product your readers might not be interested in learning about to begin with.
- SEO your post. I don’t SEO every post I write, but I *do* SEO every sponsored post I write, always. I may not initially get much traffic on a sponsored post, but most of my search traffic brings people to sponsored content. All of those reviews you do? People looking for those products will google “Product X Review” when they’re thinking about buying that product – and you want them to come to your blog and read your review!
- Use unique images. Unless specifically asked to use stock images, I always try to take my own pictures (sometimes, this just means I’m using screenshots that I’ve taken, but they’re still my own and something you won’t find anywhere else on the Internet). I think that using my own pictures tells a better story…and shows a brand I care enough to put in some extra effort.
- Be clear with the brand about whether you’ll be using dofollow or nofollow links. I almost always use nofollow links on sponsored posts.
- Amplify your post on social media. Meet at least the minimum requirements set by the sponsor (usually, they will ask for you to share your post on at least Facebook and Twitter). I always share everything on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google + – and sometimes Instagram, too!
- Take screenshots of all your social media shares. I put them all together on one document (I use Paint) and save it, along with sending to the PR rep/sponsor if necessary. You can also create a document with links to all of your social media shares.
- When your post goes live, be sure to send a link to the sponsor/PR person.
- Share, share, share! Ask your blogging friends to share your post (tweets and pins are easy and will reach a wide audience).
- Overdeliver. Always go above and beyond – give your sponsors (and your readers!) something to be excited about!
- Don’t forget your disclosures! You must always disclose your relationship with your sponsor. I include a disclosure at the top and the bottom of all my posts.
What tips would you add, or what questions do you have?