Working with brands to create sponsored posts is a great way to bring in extra income with your blog. But writing these posts in a way that seems completely genuine can feel like quite the challenge.
You’ve worked hard to build a relationship with your readers and earn their trust. You’d hate to compromise that by bombarding them with endless product pitches and sales messages. Needless to say, authoring successful and genuine sponsored posts requires a little consideration and balance.
If you’re aiming to share some sponsored posts on your blog and maintain your authenticity and reputation, here are four important things to keep in mind.
Be Selective About Brands
First and foremost, it’s incredibly important to be picky about the brands and products you’re willing to work with. If your blog is about sharing your favorite vegan recipes, it’ll seem strange if you begin pushing bacon and sausage brands at your readers. If you fill your blog with your favorite home decor tips and inspiration, authoring a post about a motor oil that your readers just have to try will certainly confuse them.
When you’re approached by a brand, take some time to sit down and evaluate whether it’s a natural fit for both your blog and your audience. Does this product fit in organically with your other topics? Or is it going to seem totally out of left field?
Being selective about the brands you work with is a key piece of the puzzle. Accomplish this, and your sponsored posts will already seem more genuine, as they’re about products and companies that you actually like.
Think Outside the Box
When people think of a sponsored post, they likely immediately think of either a simple review or a blatant sales post that says, “I tried this. I love it. You have to buy it!”
But you shouldn’t hesitate to think outside the box when structuring your sponsored posts. Find a natural, valuable way to frame that company or product within your blog. After all, it’s why brands love you—you’re much more trustworthy and organic than standard advertising.
Maybe you’ve been approached to plug a certain pizza cutter. That doesn’t mean it needs to be the meat and potatoes of your entire post. Instead, share your favorite homemade flatbread pizza recipe (something that your readers will still enjoy!). Then, include a mention of the pizza cutter that was showcased in your photos as well as some details about why you love it. Or, if you’re promoting a toothpaste brand, write a post about “10 Simple Ways to Smile More Everyday” and incorporate the toothpaste.
Of course, you should check your agreement with the specific brand to ensure you meet their requirements. But don’t be afraid to get creative with how you approach these sponsored opportunities. Your post doesn’t need to be a shameless product plug.
Ask Your Readers’ Opinions
If there’s one thing you’d like to avoid, it’s having your readers feel like you’re shoving sales pitches down their throats. Broadcasting a one-sided advertisement is a surefire way to do that. There’s really no difference between that and a billboard or commercial.
Instead, make it your goal to encourage engagement and open up a conversation. Asking your readers questions is an effective, simple way to accomplish this.
You can ask them specific things about the brand or item you mentioned (i.e. “Have you guys tried this pizza cutter yet? What did you think?”). You can even ask for their suggestions on the main topic of your post (i.e. “What are your guys’ favorite pizza toppings? I’m always looking for new ideas!”).
The important part is to invite your readers to share their ideas and opinions. It’s reinforcement that you still want to have a two-sided relationship and conversation, and that you aren’t just “selling out” and shutting their opinions down in favor of peddling products.
No Matter What, Be Honest
When writing sponsored posts, treat your readers’ trust like gold.
Here it is: the most important rule of all. I don’t care how sweet the deal seems or how big the paycheck is. Make it a priority to always share your honest opinions—no matter what.
Promoting a brand or product that you don’t actually like and then encouraging your readers to try it themselves is the definition of disingenuous. And, it’s a surefire way to destroy the faith that your readers have in you. You need to treat their trust like gold. The truth always comes out eventually, and you really don’t want it to bite you in the butt.
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Sponsored posts are a great way to use your blog to rake in some extra dollars. But, you never want to sacrifice your relationship with your readers in favor of a few quick bucks.
Luckily, these tips will help you craft sponsored posts that are a natural fit for your blog audience and will maintain your trustworthy reputation as a blogger. Give these tricks a try, and you’re sure to have the best of both worlds!