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I personally don’t think it’s worth spending a lot of time going out and seeking sponsored post opportunities.
However, if you create great content, build up traffic, and favour particular brands, it wouldn’t hurt to reach out to them and ask about the possibility of a collaboration
What are sponsored posts?
Sponsored posts are when you write a post and a company compensates you for it. Maybe you review one of their products. Compensation can be anything from a discount code, to a free product, to cash.
How do you find opportunities for sponsored posts?
There are a few websites that aim to pair up bloggers with brands, but I’ve not encountered any that were particularly good. A lot of them pay in ‘exposure’ and aren’t worth your time.
I think it’s going to be more valuable in the log run to build your blog traffic, and stick to recommending a few key brands that you like. Do product reviews, products you don’t like, first impressions on new products etc.
If you’re in a small niche, you can quickly become the go-to reviewer for certain products. Email your list, even if it’s only got a few people on it (they don’t need to know that) and ask what other products you’d like them to review.
Once you’ve built up a reputation for reviewing products in a certain niche, you could have brands lining up to be reviewed by you.
When sponsored posts are worth it
When the products are good, and in line with your vision. Say your niche books, and you pair up with a really great independent bookseller that offer you and your readers a discount code in exchange for a review.
If you have a lot of targeted traffic, both you and the bookseller benefit – they’re being exposed to a large group of people that want to buy books, and you have a discount code to buy books – which you need to buy anyway for your website.
If you truly use and enjoy the product or service, sponsored posts are great for you, the brand, and your readers – there are now downsides.
You don’t need to give the world’s most glowing review – what’s important is that it’s honest and useful to your readers. If the books are a little more expensive, tell your readers. Explain how Amazon can get away with low prices, but independent shops can’t.
Great sponsored reviews can really help build trust between you and your audience.
Product reviews are a very lucrative area of content creation, and can garner you affiliate income as well as a sponsor, but you need to be genuine, and above all, helpful.
Your review of a fish tank filter than you’ve used for 6 months is far more valuable than some dude that just collated a load of online reviews. You also have the advantage that you can take a load of unique photos and PROVE you know what you’re on about. Brands love all that unique content.
When sponsored posts aren’t worth it
Do not do sponsored reviews for products that are nothing to do with your niche, or that you haven’t tried yourself.
I would only recommend a product I’ve used for an extended period of time. Make sure that you’ve bought from the book shop anonymously before recommending them, so you know what your readers are going to experience.
Disingenuous reviews can make or break websites. There are literally thousands of product review articles where it’s clear that they’re hired a freelancer who’s read a few Amazon reviews. Take the time to actually use the product before reviewing.
If the sponsor doesn’t like what you’ve written, walk away. Unless you launched a full scale attack on the brand. If you feel the need to do that, it’s only polite to give the brand a heads up.
I don’t recommend giving scathing reviews. If I find a product I truly hate, I don’t review it on my site. I might mention it in a review of a similar product, explaining why I picked one product over another.
Final thoughts on whether sponsored posts are worth it
Sponsored posts can be a great way to make a bit of money on a website, but I wouldn’t spend a lot of time hunting for products and brands. Instead, do a few review articles on products you already own.
Wait until they’re getting a bit of traffic, and then reach out to the manufacturer and offer to road test a new product, or write a review for a product you already own for a fee.