Sponsored Posts – a pot of gold or the devils touch?

blogThere’s no denying that blogging can be a great way to make some extra money, supplement an income or even in some cases become your income.  One of the most lucrative ways is through “sponsored posts” – some brands will pay anywhere up to £200 for a sponsored link on your blog.

I have and probably will continue to include some sponsored posts on my blog.  BUT I would only do this for brands I have either used or love. I was really surprised recently when someone commented on a post of mine that “sponsored is exactly that – sponsored. It’s not an endorsement, they pay you to write it”.  Which got me thinking, am I being naive? Should I be totally cashing in? Or should I stick to my integrity?  If I was to post something about a brand on either this blog or Charlie Moo’s I would believe that MY READERS would think I was endorsing that as a product/brand/service.

So as per usual I asked around :-

“I wouldn’t write about anything you don’t believe in JD. I read your blogs on the basis you know what you’re talking about which is what makes you special.” Chelle Davey volunteer for Little Pickles Markets.

Which was my initial concern – and to be honest I will continue to only write about brands I like and trust.

“I think blogging should be about sharing experiences and views, making money from your blog should be from advertising, and selling products linked to what you are blogging. Blogs with the intention of promoting a product which you are paid to write will never be written in the same spirit as a blog you have written because you have genuinely fallen in love with a product or service. Sponsored or endorsed I think blogs should be laser focused on a niche or topic with genuine content. I also think it lessens the reader experience when a blogger is generating content just to get paid and not giving any value… I love reading blogs where content is new, original and where you can tell the writer has enjoyed writing about that topic. Basically, I think there are far better ways to make money from blogs with a really good structure than through writing sponsored posts.”  Dave Gillard Marketing Masterplan

I agree with Dave in some respects, there are other means to use your blog to make money.  I’m not sure that my writing is affected by the “cash value” as I write copy for lots of businesses on subjects that aren’t really my cup of tea but I think I pull it off!

“Most ‘sponsored‘ posts will come with set anchor text that doesn’t make any specific brand mention (to make it more natural). You can write and include this however you want. If you are creative you can slip in the link without it compromising your blog at all.” Gemma Chamberlain blogging over on My Mills Baby 

“There’s two types in my eyes ‘Guest posts‘ where they write it and you host it, and ‘sponsored‘ where I write it. I don’t publish anything that isn’t something I dont believe in product/service etc. But when the going gets tough you can’t be as picky it has to be said!”  Hayley Glenister blogging over at Simply Hayley

Hayley is totally right in ensuring that you know what kind of post they are asking for, some requests will make it sound like they are writing a guest post for you and its only on reflection you realise they are asking for a live link to something.  I posted the question both on business and blogging groups – the groups with more mummy/family bloggers said that in times of financial need they would post sponsored posts for brands they have not used or don’t like.  Business bloggers were much more regimented and restricted – I wouldn’t post something just because I needed the money. But this is by no means a reflection on who is right and who is wrong.  I guess we have to remember that our blogs are just that “ours” unless you are breaking the law there is no hard and fast rules – what works for me won’t always work for others and visa versa.

Some top tips for Sponsored Posts.

  1. Establish beforehand exactly what the PR is asking for.  Are you writing it or are they? Are they expecting a follow or no-follow link?  How much are they paying you.
  2. Make sure you have a Disclosure Policy on your website and also that you link to this on posts and state if they are sponsored – be open and honest.

What do you think? Are you a blogger do you make money from sponsored links? Or maybe you are totally against sponsored links.  Are you a reader of blogs and didn’t know this happened? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please do leave a comment good or bad!

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