I recently received an email asking if I was willing to publish sponsored posts on my website. I’ve received a lot of these offers over the years, and usually I just ignore them, or decline without further thought.
However this time I decided to give the idea a bit of thought and do some research into this relatively new advertising model.
Considering Sponsored Blog Posts.
Firstly let me explain my particular niche. I design and build WordPress websites, and in doing this I’ll use products and services from others. Sometimes I’ll write a post outlining why I chose these products – kind of a review if you like. These posts aren’t sponsored in any way; they’re my view of something I found useful.
There are plenty of bloggers in this niche that will review a product for a fee – but so far I’ve only reviewed things I’ve personally used, and would recommend to others.
Every brand mention has a value.
In the real world we promote brands and products with questions and statements such as “have you tried such and such wine?” or “I love my new car it’s an X”. We do this for free, it doesn’t matter if we do this to be helpful, useful or boastful – what matters is that you’re bringing attention to some product, brand or service.
It works exactly the same way online; when you publish a post – even just a personal view, when you mention a brand or a product you are effectively advertising. Ok, so you might only have a handful of readers, but one those readers may choose to try that brand and potentially go on to publicise it on their blog and other channels.
The difference of course is that online you have the potential to reach far more people.
In marketing terms you’re an ‘advocate’ – the most valuable type of customer a brand can have.
Are sponsored posts a way to purchase your advocacy?
Brands want you to mention their products, and they’re willing to pay bloggers to do this – especially influential bloggers.
So in effect they’re paying for your advocacy, and that’s a valuable commodity – or it should be. I’ve read a lot of blog posts about how much bloggers are charging for ‘guest posts’ or ‘sponsored posts’ and to my mind most people are charging way too little. After all you are, to some extent, staking your reputation – so think carefully about how much that is worth.
Being clear about what is and isn’t sponsored content.
Personally I think honesty is the best policy with sponsored content. I would make it clear that I’ve received payment to either write and/or publish something on my blog. However this is where it gets a bit murky – you’re going to have to use your own moral compass to help guide you through this.
What to consider when pricing sponsored posts.
This is a list of what I think should influence the price of publishing sponsored content, this isn’t in any particular order.
- Is the content marked as ‘sponsored’ in some way?
- Is the post in my name?
- How relevant is the content?
- How much of my blog is ‘sponsored’?
- How many page views does my blog get?
- How long do people stay on my blog?
- How many comments do posts get?
- How many shares does a post get?
- Who is supplying the content?
- How long is the content?
- How many links does the content contain?
- How long will the content remain on my blog?
- How niche is my blog?
I’ll give a few examples of how the above would influence my thinking; whether to accept a sponsored post and how much to charge.
A sponsored post about something only vaguely related to the main subject matter of your blog would command a higher price. The reason is because this would dilute the nature of your blog making it harder to be recognised as important in its niche.
The lower the percentage of your blog that is ‘sponsored’ the higher the price. If your blog already has a good following and all that lovely content is your own then sponsored posts would appear less obvious mixed in with your usual content.
The content is written in your name, the subject is of a product you don’t use or like, and isn’t marked as ‘sponsored content’. This would perhaps command the highest price; you’re selling your reputation – your moral compass should be spinning.
How much to charge for a Sponsored Post?
This is where it gets tricky of course, I’ve made a very simple form below which takes a few of the above points into consideration, try out a few figures and see what it gives you.
If you think this might be useful then let me know and I’ll try to make it smarter, taking more factors into consideration.
How does this compare to what you’re charging for sponsored posts? How do you work out your rates?