Given how long bloggers have been working with sponsors to finance their blogging endeavors and generate income off of their hard work, you’d think that how sponsored posts are written would have changed drastically over the years. And while bloggers are getting more and more creative with the ways they work with their partners, there are a few things that never–and probably should never–change. Today we wanted to share 5 things we think should be present in all sponsored posts–that is, all posts you write for someone in exchange for money or product–no matter how you manage that partnership.
Your Own Voice
We’ve all read sponsored posts that come off as totally, well, sponsored. It’s not that when you write a post you don’t want it to look sponsored (no hidden agendas, please!), but that you want to stay true to your brand. That means you don’t change your voice just because you’re writing a different type of content. If you see a sponsored post on a blog that you don’t like and you can’t pin down why, it’s probably because it doesn’t feel authentic to the author.
Click here to see our thoughts on personal branding vs branding you blog.
Your Actual Opinion
With sponsored posts, you often have to balance your own vision with the advertiser’s. Even if you love the product, sometimes an advertiser comes up with so many talking points that it’s hard to maintain that authentic voice (see above). Even tougher if there are things about the product/service that you weren’t totally sold on. One thing I’d suggest is to always express any doubts you had and why you stand behind the product now. Something like, “I didn’t think I’d like X because of Y, but once I actually tried it, I changed my mind…” allows you to inject your opinion without straying from the brand’s requirements. And of course, if you end up hating the product or service–don’t write the post. Instead, let the brand know why and give them the chance to remedy the situation.
We’ll get to the actual disclosure soon, but when we mean transparency we’re talking about staying open with your readers throughout the whole post. Not just a little note at the bottom. Saying something like, “I was excited to work with…” can let your readers know that you did, indeed, work with a brand, right off the bat. Be sure to say things like this throughout the post so your readers know that both you + a paid sponsor were involved in the making of it. It sounds so much better than trying to fake it. As bloggers ourselves, we’re personally really grateful when brands love our content so much they want to work with us–there’s no reason to hide it.
Proper Call to Action
At the end of the day, a brand is paying you because they want to harness your audience. And if you liked working with them, you want the campaign to be successful, which means your readers have to really be interested in what you’ve told them. Make sure to include a CTA in your post that gives your readers a chance to learn more about your sponsor or invites them to ask questions about the product/service.
All sponsored posts should a disclosure statement, which is that little piece at the beginning (or end, though I believe it’s correct to do it first) of the article that states that the blogger was compensated. This can be short and sweet as long as it very clearly indicates that you received payment or products/services in exchange for your write up. A disclosure statement and transparency throughout this post ensures you’re not only complying with FCC requirements, but maintaining a trustworthy relationship with readers. If you’ve been compensated for accompanying social media, you have to disclose this in each post too, saying something like “ad” or “sponsored” and not simply “partner”.
It can be challenging to incorporate all the above and make sure your post is well written, but I’ve found that when you really enjoy the product/service you’re covering, it’s a lot easier! Not quite there? Check out these 5 signs you shouldn’t accept sponsors just yet.
What about you? Do you have any examples of awesome sponsored content you’ve seen on your fave blogs lately? What made it stand out to you?