4 Commandments to Better Sponsored Posts

There are a couple of challenges when working with sponsored posts, one of which is feeling like a total sellout: You don't want to lead your readers astray by posting about products and saying things that you don't actually believe in the name of a few bucks. 

The other? Actually making a few bucks in exchange for a sponsored post. 

make-more-money-sponsored-posts

There are a couple of challenges when working with sponsored posts, one of which is feeling like a total sellout: You don't want to lead your readers astray by posting about products and saying things that you don't actually believe in the name of a few bucks. 

The other? Actually making a few bucks in exchange for a sponsored post. 

I know a lot of bloggers out there are struggling to make this form of income work, because a large percentage are only being asked to work in exchange for free products. As uncool as this is, it's reality. But there are ways to prove your worth to brands and it doesn't even take 10 commandments, only four. 

Thou Shall Actually Try Products Before Writing About Them 

How many times have you heard this line: only work with the brands you would actually want to recommend to your friends. This is a beautiful and grand idea, but not one that a lot of bloggers would call "reality." In reality, you'll probably get access to brands you either don't know yet, or have no affinity towards at all. There's only one way to solve this problem, and it's to try products before you write about them. 

Taking the time to test a product before deciding whether or not you'll create a sponsored post around it is tricky, though — you don't want to dilly-dally in fear that the brand will take their money elsewhere. There's only one way to solve this: be straight with the brand and tell them that while you've never tried Product X, you'd love to do so in order to create the best sponsored post possible for them. If you must sign a contract before actually trying the product, make sure there's an addendum that if you don't like the product for whatever reason, you won't be held accountable for the post. Neither you OR the brand would want you to write about something you hate! 

 

Thou Shall Create Awesome 

Keeping your audience in mind when creating all blog posts (and especially sponsored posts) will ensure that your readers are getting your best, every time. It is sometimes difficult to work with demanding brands — if they want you to write about how delicious their products are while you'd rather write about dinner hacks, for example — but staying true to yourself and your readers first is a good headspace to get comfortable with. This isn't to say that you shouldn't try to work with your brand partners and make them comfortable with what you're willing to do, but making your sponsored posts authentic to you and what your audience comes to expect from you will ensure your sponsored content is as successful as the rest of your blog's content. 

 

Thou Shall Be a Good Partner 

I can tell you that after working with hundreds of brands over the years, they all have the same goals for the content they sponsor. One of which is to convey their brand message in some way ("we want to surround food content so that moms know we're an all-natural way to make dinner time better for them and their families!"), as well as a more specific goal like driving trial of their product, brand awareness, click throughs to their website, views of their ad spots, and more. 

In order to create a successful sponsored post, you need to get familiar with what your brand partner's goals are and craft a post that not only speaks to your audience in your voice and style, but that does so while communicating their goals. It's what they're paying you for, and unfortunately this is a fact that most bloggers don't often realize until it's too late and they're battling it out with a brands' agency on which edits they will and will not include in their post. While you shouldn't give up your editorial integrity for something that makes you feel like a sellout, you should back up and look at your post as a whole and decide what really matters. 

 

Thou Shall Prove Your Worth

The secret to turning a one-off sponsorship into a beautiful, long-term relationship? Proving your worth after the campaign is over. Creating a report that includes important information like shares, visits, time on post, click-throughs to the brands website, additional social sharing you published (and how those affected traffic to your post), positive comments (both on your site and on social media), and/or any other relevant brand goal results, in a clean, easy-to-read wrap-up report is a solid way to end a campaign — for both you and the brand.

Not only will the brand appreciate the fact that you're running your blog like a business (and #LikeABoss), but you'll get a good idea of how YOU performed in this whole experience; Did you live by the four commandments? Were you true to yourself and your audience? Were you flexible and clear-headed enough to take a brands feedback and incorporate it into your content in an authentic way? Did you create a post worth sharing? It all takes practice, but once you get the hang of it, more brands will be knocking down your door to work with you. 

What questions do you have about sponsored posts? Drop 'em in the comments below or on Twitter and check out my free guide, the 7 Ways to Turn Your Blog Into a Moneymaking Machine, and take your sponsored posts to the next level!