For-Profit Blogging: Should You Allow Sponsored Content On Your Blog?
Posting for profit can cover a lot of topics, like affiliate marketing, CPC marketing, any type of marketing really.
After all, if you make money with your blog then you must be promoting something and, since your content is what carries your promotional message then everything you post is essentially for profit.
That said, let’s take a look at a new trend in the blogosphere that could potentiall cause a lot of trouble: Sponsored content.
What is Sponsored Content?
Basically, sponsored content means an advertiser has contacted you and asked you to publish a review of one of their products or their overall brand, or just to write a keyword rich article that links back to their site. In exchange for your article they will pay you, generally with money or merchandise.
In some cases, the advertiser won’t “pay” you anything but they’ll give you a free “whatever” so you can use it before you write your review.
The Benefits of Posting Sponsored Content
Obviously, the biggest benefit is that you get paid for posting, either in cold hard cash or free products.
When done properly and with an eye toward being ethical and honest, you’ll also build credibility and trust with your readers, which leads to increased sales. If you always provide an informative, honest review then your trusting readers are more likely to follow your advice and buy the products you recommend.
Being honest means not only telling your readers about the good and the bad, but also informing your readers that they’re reading a sponsored post. You might think this would put a damper on your sales but in most cases your readers will appreciate your honesty.
The worst thing you can do is accept money or free products in exchange for a review and not tell your readers they’re reading a sponsored post. Most will already assume you’ve been reimbursed in some fashion and you’ll actually lose trust points if you don’t reveal this information. And eventually, word will get out among all your readers and your reputation will be shot.
The Pitfalls of Posting for Profit
Make sure the content is relevant to your readers: If you have a blog with some nice traffic numbers you’re going to receive offers from every Tom, Dick and Harry out there and most of them won’t be relevant to your readers.
These advertisers don’t care – they’re only after your traffic. But your readers aren’t going to like it, so consider the risk to your own blog before you publish content for someone else.
Make sure you trust the advertiser: It’s up to you whether you accept payment up front or after publication and all of the other details you’ll need to iron out. But make sure you trust that advertiser.
Will that link you’re posting to their site eventually lead to an ad for Viagra? If you’re not sure, don’t risk it. You’ll also be risking your reputation and credibility.
Make sure you understand all the terms of the agreement: Can you still use your affiliate link? How long does the post have to remain on your site? Are there any restrictions on what you can and can not say?
Be wary of scams: You’re going to receive offers that stipulate they’ll only pay you for the post if you don’t reveal it’s been sponsored.
First, it’s illegal for you to publish sponsored content without telling your readers you’ve been paid for the post.
Second, it’s extremely unethical for you to mislead your readers and it’s even more unethical for someone to offer to pay you to do it. In other words – run away from these offers, fast.
When you're learning how to make money off a blog, you need to understand that the very first step is to create a website. If you're interested in starting your own blog, I have written a step-by-step guide that will show you how to start a blog and make money for as little as $3.49 per month (this low price is guaranteed only through my link). You will also receive your own domain name for free ($15 value) by clicking on this link and purchasing at least 12 months of hosting with BlueHost. Keep in mind that if you're learning how to blog online for money, the first thing you need is your own self-hosted website. It will help you look more professional in front of your visitors, clients, companies, and everyone else.