Sponsored Blog Posts are a form of paid advertising where your company or organization partners with popular bloggers who create blog posts that promote or mention your brand, product, or service. In other words, you’re contracting with them to create content for you, to publish it to their established blog audience, and to share it through their social media networks.
Employed strategically, sponsored blog posts can effectively and economically extend your brand’s reach.
Value of Sponsored Blog Posts
Placing information about your company in front of the right audience can have a significant positive effect on the ultimate success of your content marketing efforts. By carefully selecting bloggers who have already developed a relationship with an audience you want to reach, you won’t just be reaching “any” audience, you’ll be reaching your target audience.
As part of AUMW’s ongoing effort to provide and disseminate useful, valuable information about Content Marketing, we publish reviews of articles that have stimulated our thinking.
This post reviews and expands upon an article by Jeff Foster on MarketingProfs.com: Engage Customers via the Blogosphere With Sponsored Posts and Giveaways
Increased Awareness and Visits to Your Website
Sponsored posts expose your brand to your chosen bloggers’ existing audiences, in a form and context more impactful than simply paying for a banner ad on the bloggers site. Your sponsored blog post will be published and distributed to readers along with the bloggers’ regular posts. People will read your sponsored post (just like a regular post) and, assuming it’s appealing, some of the audience will be enticed to visit your website, and they may even share your post with their social media networks.
In most cases, the blogger will also promote the post to their social media followers (just as they do their regular posts), further extending the reach of your sponsored post. If you’re sponsoring a “giveaway” or “contest” of some sort, social sharing can yield huge benefits.
By tapping into both the target audience and the trust your chosen bloggers have already established, sponsored posts can offer a much higher ROI than other forms of online advertising.
How To Find Potential Partner Bloggers
Approach #1. Identify blogs that you think reach your target audience and approach the blogger directly. You can review their blog to see if they’ve done sponsored posts before. Their site might even contain a specific page for advertisers and sponsored posts, stating their policies and rates. This research will take time and effort, but you’ll get clearer insight into the bloggers’ audiences and what kinds of sponsored posts would most appeal to their readers.
Approach #2: There are also online marketplaces to help you find blog partners. (See links below.) Most of these use a system in which you create an “opportunity”; bloggers in the marketplace network then decide whether they’re interested. You can then evaluate those interested, and award the opportunity to your chosen partner or partners.
How Much Will a Sponsored Blog Post Cost?
You can get started for as little as $25 per sponsored post or less…a blogger reviewing one of your products, for example, might do the post in exchange for simply keeping the reviewed item. This means you can try this technique at a fairly low entry cost. Keep in mind, the low end dollar amounts are for smaller, less established bloggers. However, once you experience some success, you can approach more popular bloggers; they’ll charge more, but will significantly increase the reach and impact of your sponsorship.
For overview purposes, our pricing research suggests rates can be anywhere from $25 to $1000+, with $150 to $250 being a typical range for most bloggers. Price seems to depend on a number of factors, including audience size, monthly site traffic, and strength of the blogger’s social media network. Also, whether you contract a blogger directly or through a marketplace can significantly affect the cost: because marketplaces generate competition, costs may be less. Generally though, however you find one, the more established, experienced, and popular the blogger, the higher the rate you’ll pay.
Please note: We firmly believe that you get what you pay for. Don’t just focus on the lowest price. Treat blog partners with respect and expect to pay them for the value they provide. Focus on quality rather than quantity.
What Kinds of Sponsored Posts Should You Do?
At its best, sponsored blogging is more than simply getting a blogger to post a PR notice for you — think of it as a real partnership. Once you’ve established a relationship with a blogger, you can offer some editorial and content guidelines or suggest specific topics. But trust your partners, too — allow them, even encourage them, to propose topics they’re confident would appeal to their readers.
Here are just a few ideas to consider for a sponsored post:
- A review of your relevant products or services.
- Discussion of a common reader problem, accompanied by solutions your company offers.
- A targeted interview with your CEO.
One of the most productive uses of sponsored posts is a giveaway promotion. Tomoson, a company that helps bring together bloggers and marketers, conducted a survey that found giveaways generate the most social media activity of any sponsored blog tactics.
Ideally, sponsored blog partnerships are win-win. As one marketing pro put it: “By writing reviews or running giveaways, [bloggers] attract attention to both themselves and to your brand so that everyone wins.” Remember: the larger the benefit to the hosting blogger, the greater their enthusiasm and the more “buzz” they’ll create for you.
While “sponsored blog posts” are strictly speaking a form of advertising, they also fall under the banner of content marketing. Their goal is to engage readers though valuable and interesting content. Sponsor blog posts could be considered a close relative to guest blog posts (e.g. having a popular blogger write a post on your blog).
Whether the sponsoring of blog posts is a tactic that fits your overall content strategy is up to you to determine. We simply wanted to bring this content marketing technique to your attention and encourage you to check it out for yourself.