How to Make Money with a Blog Sponsored Post

Tips and Resources to Monetizing Your Blog with Sponsored Content

Getting Blog Sponsors
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 Credit: wundervisuals | Getty Images

There are many ways to make money from a blog, but with the crowded blog marketplace, it can be difficult to achieve profitability. Most people can ignore ads, so ad feeds don’t pull income like they used to. Affiliate programs can pay well, but they require a lot of sales to make any significant amount of money. Plus, if you stick to promoting the same products/services over and over, your viewers become blind or bored with them.

Sponsored posts offer an additional monetization opportunity that can not only be profitable, but also can mix up the content on your site to offer your readers something new.

What is a Sponsored Post?

In general, a sponsored post is content that the blogger is paid to post by a business seeking to get its information in front of targeted readers. There are several different types of sponsored posts including:

  • Articles written by the sponsor and posted on the blog
  • Articles written by the blogger with guidelines provided by the business
  • Links added to existing content
  • Reviews
  • Hosting a giveaway

Note that along with sponsored blog posts, many of these companies will pay for social media posts and YouTube videos covering the same types of content a written post would.

What Does Your Blog or Website Need to be Considered for Sponsored Posts?

It would be nice to start getting sponsored posts out of the gate on a new blog, but unlike businesses with affiliate programs that will work with new and small blogs, companies that pay for sponsored posts are buying exposure, so they’re looking for blogs with lots of traffic and engagement.

To that end, if you’d like to start getting sponsored posts, you should:

  • Have a clean, easy to read and navigatable blog that is frequently updated
  • Build your domain authority – Domain authority is a measure from Moz on how likely your site will show up in Google Search. You want to strive for a domain authority of 30 or over, which will open more opportunities for you. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a DA of 20, but you can charge more for a DA that’s 30 or more. You build your domain authority with great content that uses SEO to help Google index and rank it.
  • Build your blog traffic – Using online marketing strategies, work to build a steady stream of growing monthly visitors.
  • Increase your social media following. Even if you’re not paid to share on social media, many companies use your social media following to gauge your reach and influence.
  • Add an advertising page to your blog that outlines information about your target audience (demographics), your current stats such as page views, domain authority, and anything else that gives you authority, such as media appearances. You should also outline the types of sponsorships you take, prices, and any policies you have.

What to Charge for Sponsored Content

What you charge will depend on the amount of traffic, domain authority, and influence you have, as well as some other considerations, such as what exactly the sponsoring company wants and how much work it is for you to do the post. For example, writing the post or doing a review takes more time than posting an article that’s already written or adding a link to an existing post.

Babble shared this equation to determine a base rate, based on feedback from bloggers:

# Page Views + # Twitter Followers / Page Rank X $0.01 / 2

For example:

20,000 page views + 5,000 Twitter/ 2 Page Rank X $0.01 / 2 = $62.50

From here you can decide to add additional fees based on the work you have to do. For example, you might charge $62.50 for a link in an existing post, but $100 for a sponsored article you have to write. Or you can reverse that, charging $62.50 for the written article, and reducing the link price to $30.

There are a few caveats to this equation:

  • Years ago, Google stopped outwardly using page rank; however it does still use it in the background. You can use a free Page Rank checker to determine your blog’s page rank.
  • If you have a larger following on another social media platform besides Twitter, you might want to consider using that instead. For example, if have more traffic and influence on Pinterest, you might use that.
  • This equation is just a guide. If you have a highly niched site, lots of engagement with readers, or have been around awhile, you can use this equation but not do the last calculation of dividing by two. Using the above example, your base fee would be $125. Or you can just decide what your time and authority are worth, and set your prices that way. Just make sure that you take into consideration the measures (i.e. page views) companies will use to determine if your price is justified.

    Important Issues to Consider Before Taking Sponsored Posts

    While sponsored posts are a great, often lucrative, way to make money from your blog, there are some downsides and issues you need to consider before getting started.

    Google Ranking – Links on your blog are all subject to consideration when Google decides how to rank your page and blog. It doesn’t like paid links, and now will penalize blogs that have paid links. To avoid this, you should add the rel="nofollow" attribute to the link, which tells Google not to consider it in ranking. The only problem with this is many companies paying for the sponsored post are doing partly for SEO, and won’t want the code added to the link. You need to be upfront about whether or not you will use the nofollow attribute with your sponsors.

    Another option to avoid a ranking ban suggested by Google is to redirect the link to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file

    You can opt not to do anything to the link, but you might want to charge more to help cover your pain and suffering if it impacts your ranking in Google.

    Disclosure – The FTC is clear that you need to disclose any compensation (even if it’s just free stuff) you get related to a blog post. But again, many companies don’t want their posts outed as being a paid post out of fear people will ignore it thinking it’s biased. Your readers are your largest and most lucrative asset, so you should always put them first and have the disclosure at the top of your post. There are WordPress plugins that can automatically put your FTC disclosure at the top of your post, but for a sponsored post, you might include an additional disclosure such as “This post is sponsored by…”

    Amount of Sponsored Posts – Too many sponsored posts can hurt your reputation with your audience. They like your blog because of you, not your sponsors. Consider setting up limits for the amount of sponsored posts you’ll do. If you have 3 sponsored posts waiting for publishing, don’t post them back to back, even if there is a week in between. Always have authentic content from you in between sponsored posts.

    Quality of sponsor – Your readers come to your blog to get information about the topic you cover. However, it’s possible you’ll get requests for sponsored posts that don’t fit your market. Sometimes the article will fit your market, but the link the company wants in the article is a stretch. Other times the anchor text (the link text) doesn’t fit the site it links to.

    Again, Google judges the company you keep. While it scans for keywords, it doesn’t read your article to see how good it is. It does scan for the links, and if you have one that doesn’t fit, it can hurt you. But also, it can hurt your reputation with your readers.

    In the end, all policies and decisions about sponsored posts should start with “will this add value to my readers.” If not, you should reconsider the post.

    Getting Started with Sponsored Posts

    If you’re ready to start getting sponsored posts, here’s how you can get started:

    1. Gather your website and social media stats, such as page views, domain authority, page rank, follower numbers, etc.
    2. Decide the types of sponsored posts you’ll do and what you’ll charge.
    3. Create your sponsored post policy including, whether or not you’ll use the nofollow attribute, how long the link will be live on the site (most bloggers have 1 year), the disclosures you’ll include and any other rules you want companies to follow.
    4. Determine your prices. While you don’t necessarily have to post your prices, especially since many companies will need a price based on their needs, you should have a price sheet ready to email if there is an inquiry. Also, set your payment method (i.e. PayPal) as well as payment policy (when you’ll be paid). Many companies don’t want to pay until the link is posted. If your new, you might want to do that, but have a policy in place that says the post won’t be promoted on social media (if that’s part of the contract) until payment, and that if payment isn’t received in X hours or days the post will be removed.
    5. Set a process for sponsored posts. Especially if you’re reviewing or writing the post, you want to have a process for getting the post written and posted. For example, 1) payment received, 2) headline approved, 3) post written, 4) post reviewed by business (accept or request edits), 5) changed made, if necessary, 6) post scheduled and published, 7) post shared as per the contract.
    6. Reach out for sponsors. You can start by using services that connect brands with bloggers (see below). Another option is to seek out brands you like and pitch them. For example, if there is a business or service you use and love, reach out with a pitch about working together. In your pitch, focus on how you can help the brand, not on how the brand can help you.  It can help if you’ve already developed a relationship with it on social media, but even if you haven’t, if you’ve already said nice things online about it, you can let them know.

    Resources to find blog sponsors

    The easiest way to start getting sponsored posts is through resources that connect brands and companies with bloggers. These resources tend to pay a little less than having a direct contract with a company, but it’s easy to find things you’d like to sponsor, and get a feel for how to do a sponsored post.

    Note that some of these may work with only established bloggers that have met a page view threshold. 

    Best Buy Blogger Network (pay is in Best Buy gift cards)

    Clever

    Cooperatize

    Find Your Influence

    Get Reviewed

    Influence Central (pay is with gift cards and occasional PayPal)

    IZEA 

    Linqia 

    Markerly

    Massive Sway/SITS

    Pollinate Media Group

    Seeding Up

    Social Fabric

    Syndicate Leads

    TapInfluence

    Valued Voice

    Weave Made Media