What is a sponsored post?
A sponsored post is where you receive payment for your words and time or to post something prewritten/prerecorded (it could be a blog post, advertorial, infographic etc), whether this be a tweet, Instagram post, Facebook post, blog post, Pinterest post, Youtube Video, etc.
There are different types of posts a blogger can do.
A review with no payment – This is where you say brands can send you products for consideration and you would technically take the product as payment.
A review with payment (and therefore sponsored) – You’re paid to post your thoughts on a product which means they are guaranteed a feature from you.
When should you charge for reviewing items?
Some people will disagree but I really feel like you have to have a lot to offer in order to charge for every single product review. Do you know that your fee + the cost of the item will be recovered by the brand because of the amount of sales they’ll gain from your post? Do you have enough loyal and engaged followers that spend their money on things that you personally recommend? Will that product sell out because you’ve talked about it? These are just my thoughts. I will occasionally ask for a fee to review certain products but I won’t charge for absolutely everything.
So how do you go about low value items?
Round up posts and social media mentions. Whether it’s a March Favourites or a ‘What I’m Using Today Post’ there’s ways to feature low cost items that you’ve liked enough to feature, without feeling like you’re wasting time trying to find 300 words for a blog post (best minimum amount to keep your website’s SEO happy.)
What does a sponsored post entail?
It can be prewritten content and pre-taken photos which you are paid to post on your social media channels, or in some cases you can be paid to write your own content on a company/subject that they are requesting. Usually companies will ask how many words you offer and what price, but sometimes they will ask you for a set amount of words, links, and photos, or a set amount of posts on your social media channels.
Who is offered sponsored posts?
Now this is difficult because it could be a brand new blog, or it could be a blogger with years of experience under their belts. Usually, sponsored posts are to gain link backs which would be more beneficial from an established blogger with a high DA (domain authority, the ranking of your page, if you have your own domain and not a blogspot one, which you can find on MOZ), however, now companies are asking bloggers of all sizes and this is why I am writing this post.
Lots of companies will want DO-follow links (see below) because they need to boost the DA of their brand or the client they’re working for, but this is against Google’s policies. Some brands will still want NO-follow links in sponsored posts because in this case they want your reach. This will mostly be amount numbers, some brands want follower numbers, some want unique page views, others want engagement so bloggers of all sizes are suitable.
How can I get my blog to the point of being offered sponsored posts? Do I approach them myself?
Regular and original content, building your online presence, increasing your DA, having a good SEO knowledge and applying it (little drop of my basic SEO guide). Usually I would have said that brands will go for bloggers with a big online presence, but that’s completely depending on the brand and/or campaign. Don’t threat about them though, sometimes they’re more hassle than beneficial.
If you actively want to find sponsored work, join Facebook groups and check Twitter hashtags like #bloggerswanted and #prrequest. Just be careful to check that it’s all no-follow links and arrange all the details before you begin.
It’s a hell of a lot more beneficial to the company than it is to you and your readers. Keeping your integrity and being known as an honest blogger is a lot more important to me, but we live in the real world and I do appreciate that people do need money. I often price links like this at a basic £50, IF and only IF they’re actually relevant to the post, non-offensive, and possibly a brand that I actually know/buy from myself. It’s rare to come across a decent opportunity like this.I’ve been asked to add a link in an upcoming post?If the post you’re writing won’t look completely odd with this link, why not? Seriously the easiest money I make. A quick sentence or paragraph, maybe a photo and an easy £50 to my paypal. ONLY if it is relevant. Don’t write an outfit post and then mention car washes.
Please don’t worry, no one is going to knock on your door if you haven’t registered already and have accepted money from your blog (as long as it isn’t too much anyway), most people say to just register and start keeping track from when you do.
I’m declared as a Sole Trader or She Might Be Loved and you can register here.There are different expenses that you can count such as stationary, cameras, computers etc, but you also have to declare every income. Whether it be £20 from an ad space or £200 from a sponsored post. ‘Gifted items’ or items sent for consideration do not have to be declared as income as long as you are stating that things are sent for ‘consideration’ and not for a definite review. It’s just a technical term. Apparently high value items do have to be declared, but I’d pop up in the UK Bloggers Group on Facebook and ask the accountants in that group if you have any questions.
This really isn’t talked about enough as it can be quite complex, but I will try and simplify it. When you add a link to your blog, whether it be on Blogger or WordPress (or anything else) it will automatically be a do-follow link. You can change that by clicking the ‘no-follow’ option on the blogger pop up, adding a plugin for WordPress or by adding a little html to other sites. No-follow links are what you SHOULD be using when working with companies to review a product and when you’ve been asked to write a sponsored post as you’ve received something in return for that post and that link. If you have received something from the people that are asking for that link, no-follow it. These are Google’s Guidelines and this is what is expected. There is no way around this. Google has recently released a statement which you can read here.
What do I do about links/anchor text?
Of course, this is just because I don’t want to have to write cringe things again, but if you’re happy with what they want you to put in, go for it! As for the number of links, the more links, the more you should charge in my opinion. The max I do is about 2. Sometimes more links can look spammy for a brands stats (as I’ve been told) so they might not ask for many.
If you are paid money to talk about a product and gifted that product, AND get to write all of your own words, you just have to state that it is a commercial placing with whichever Brand.
Personally I add in a disclaimer at the bottom which says, ‘This post features PR samples unless otherwise stated. For more details, read my disclaimer here.‘ As it looks neater for me and I work with brands a lot so this is often the case. I was asked ‘how to spot a sponsored post?’, but you really shouldn’t have to spot them, as they should be disclosed if they’re completely prewritten by the brand/outreach company. However, if a blogger suddenly has a post about car parts when usually they write about mascara, yeah, it’s probably sponsored.Most bloggers are NOT declaring at all now, or are doing so in the smallest writing readable and in my opinion, it’s wrong and misleading. In the ASA’s opinion, it’s also wrong. You need to display the text clearly so people know it’s sponsored before even clicking onto it or watching the sponsored piece. Lots of brands and bloggers are actually being pointed out for it.All the advice I can give you is to look at the blogs you usually read, and ask yourself if you really trust them? If not, there’s tonnes of bloggers out there that give honest and truthful reviews, sponsored or not.
For prewritten content it must be in the title or VERY clear before they click on the link.
If you’re just declaring because you’re an honest blogger who writes all of their own content, then the end of the post should be fine.
How much do I charge for a sponsored post?
Basically, you set your rates but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a helping hand doing so. The only advice I ever got when I needed it, was not to accept under £50 for any sponsored post, whether prewritten or not. However, more often than not, I see £30 as the absolute minimum for most bloggers.
There’s a few things to consider. First, if this is prewritten content, you have to judge your fee by how long it will take you to copy and paste, format, and publish the post (I know, not long at all). Then, you have to consider your blog’s rankings and what this company is getting out of you. If you have a new blog, £30 would probably seem like a really good price as your blog is new, most likely has a small ranking and it’s easy content with no effort for you at all. I wouldn’t advise accepting under £30 at all, simply as, as your blog grows, so will that link.
If you’re an established blog, with a DA of 10+, I would consider more.
A really interesting post is from Michelle where she found out ‘What Do Real Bloggers earn?‘ It’s a survey and has some interesting results which basically show that bloggers are seriously undervaluing themselves and should be charging a lot more.
If you’ve been asked to write the content yourself, then you have to consider, how long does it take you to write that piece? Do you also need to take photos? A lot of people have tried to make up formulas of an hourly rate x the hours you work = how much you should charge x 2 or some shit like that. Basically, you’re putting in the time to make this content interesting, on topic to the company, but engaging for your audience. That can be bleak or sometimes just hard to find the words. I would even say to a new blogger to start at £40/£50 for this and then established bloggers a lot more.
DA 10 – 20 at £50 – £75
DA 20 – 30 at £75 – 100
DA 30+ at £100+Always when negotiating or asked for your fee, add on something in case you’re knocked down, see more below.
There’s also to consider if your blog gets a lot of traffic and comments, as this engagement will obviously be more beneficial to the sponsored post. It’s a mind field to be honest, but please don’t undervalue yourself.
For Social Media like your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook it’s a little harder to price but again, don’t go under £50.
I don’t do sponsored social media posts a lot to have a price bracket that I’m usually offered to even gain an idea but the more followers, obviously the higher the fee.
Hell yes! Some brands will have more money than others. Work out roughly how long it takes you to do a post and stick a minimum amount you would accept on that, then add say £20-£30 (my usual number is to add £50) and negotiate. Sometimes you find that the company will just say yes, then well done, you’ve nailed it. Other times, budgets and such will come into play and they really can’t go above £40, but if you still want to (or need to) go ahead! (Obviously providing they want no-follow links and full disclosure, I will not encourage bad behaviour!) If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
* I have been known to just throw a random number at an opportunity that does fit in with my blog, but I don’t necessarily have the time to write something. In this case, money motivates.
“My usual fee is actually ££, could your budget be slightly higher?’
“I’d be happy to do this for ££, that’s much closer to my usual fee”
You need to know how and when you will be paid and what exactly it is that you’re giving the brand/PR. Will it be immediately after the post is published or will you have to wait 30 days? Have everything set clearly between you both before you even think about posting the content or writing it.
– Honestly this is as simple as emailing, ‘so just to be clear, I’m writing a post on BLAH for ££, and you will be paying via what method and when?’
Most companies will either pay immediately or within 30/60 days, 60 days seems ridiculous to me but you know, their rules.
If you are being paid through Paypal, please do remember that you will be charged a small percentage of the money you earn. Take this into consideration and whilst negotiating, add on the small percentage so that it covers the Paypal fees. I always forget to do this and end up with a couple quid less which is rather annoying.
You also need to know how many words, how many links and when the post is expected to be published. Of course, you can negotiate on all of this. I wouldn’t put more than 2 links in or write more than 300 words for just £30 but that’s up to you.
In the past when I have done a sponsored post, I have promoted it a little (or the agreed amount) and then buried it with funner and more creative content, it’s worked well.
Most of us aren’t stupid. We know it is your clients that want do-follow links and only want to spend £10 on them, but at the same time, you have to appreciate that most bloggers, hopefully more now, know the rules and won’t risk their reputations. Please do not be rude to them when they pull you up on the rules, please do not hound them for a reply, please don’t manipulate newer bloggers, take their silence as a no, and please, do not slate them or backlist them for future opportunities when they’re just doing the right thing and you’re not. You’ll end up just being blacklisted yourself, and we all know, bloggers are a lot more valuable to you, than you are to them. Treat us right, all of us.
No-follow links to your clients/brands on the right site are just as valuable as with a blog’s readership. Readers may shop at that brand in the future, recommend them to friends after reading the article, click-through and look around.
What to do when things go wrong?
If you are being hounded, have pushy PRs/companies that are clearly telling fibs, or are in a similar situation, all you need to do is simply respond saying you’re not interested and do not wish to be contacted again regarding that campaign. It’s honestly the politest way to go about it. If you take all the precautions and both sides know what is expected, it should be a smooth, stress free collaboration, but if not, ask for advice. The UK Bloggers group, although quite naughty on do-follow links opps, do have tonnes of advice and loads of people around to help you.