On the flight back from Ottawa a couple weeks ago, DeBalino and I watched Daddy’s Home. The movie starts out with Brad, the stepdad and main character, giving us a voice-over introduction to his home and Ford Flex. At first, I thought we were just watching one of those pre-show commercials about a car. If I’d had a remote control, I would have hit fast forward. Then I realized this was the movie and the car ad was part of the introductory commentary.
That’s a sponsored post. In this case, Ford sponsored the movie Daddy’s Home and the producers included the car in the story. In the same way, brands pay bloggers to tell a story around their product, service or event. A good sponsored post should engage and interest your readers, whether or not they buy what is being advertised in the post.
Sponsored posts can get a bit of a bad rep around the blogosphere. Some readers feel that bloggers who accept or write sponsored posts are “selling out” and blogging merely for the money. I think that depends on how you write the sponsored post. Did the producers of Daddy’s Home sell out to Ford by including the car in their movie, or did they use Ford’s sponsorship as an opportunity to tell a very funny story about two dads struggling with their unique roles?
Like a good blog review, a sponsored post must fit with the content of your blog. For example, I’ve blogged about our family vehicles, but I’ve turned down multiple offers to write about bingo or casino sites. Writing about gambling doesn’t fit with the family-friendly focus I have here on the Koala Mom, no matter what they pay me for the post. When you begin accepting sponsored posts, always keep in mind the focus and mission of your blog.
Several years ago I was approached to do a sponsored post for Nestle’s infant formula. That’s always a hot topic and I’m a breastfeeding advocate, so why would I write about it? Because I know moms who’ve been unable to breastfeed or had great difficulties doing it. I’m blessed that breastfeeding has been easy for me, but I give heartfelt kudos to moms who wanted to and were unable to, or did so even though it was extremely painful. So I used that post as an opportunity to share a couple of my friends’ stories and to talk about how motherhood doesn’t always go as planned.
Just because a brand is paying for you to write a post about them doesn’t mean that you have be boring. In fact, the brand is paying you to be YOU. Come up with your own spin or angle on the sponsored post. Use humour. Be real. Take your own photos. Don’t copy and paste what the brand gives you about the product, service, or event—always put it into your own words. And always write well.
“Always, always, always make a sponsored post relatable to your real-life experiences. A blog post is so much more interesting if you make it into a story, and not just an boring advertisement for a product your readers might not be interested in learning about to begin with.” ~ Carrie Lindsey
When you write reviews and sponsored posts for your blog, make sure to balance your content. Don’t just publish sponsored posts. I love my blog planner, and it helps me to make sure that I’m not overdoing one type of content. My planner also helps me hit the deadlines required by the brands.
Finally, make sure you include a disclosure statement in any sponsored posts you write. I didn’t watch the credits to Daddy’s Home to see if the movie producers did that, but in the blogosphere, it’s standard practice to be honest with your readers about when you’ve received compensation to write about a product, place or service.
- 5 Ways to Shine at Sponsored Posts (with great examples!)
- Before You Write a Sponsored Post
- How to Write a Sponsored Post that Your Readers & Your Client Will Love
- How Writing Sponsored Posts Changed the Way I Blog (And Why It Might Change You Too)
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