I love a sponsored article.
✅ You avoid putting a banner ad on your website
✅ You receive new content for your website, you didn’t have to write
✅ You connect with a brand who might want other advertising in the future
✅ You can offer package deals with a discount (buy a package of 6 articles for 20% off)
💰 You get paid for it
How good is that?
This article outlines in detail all that you need to know about sponsored articles and talks through the methods and requirements necessary to make them work best for you.
Inside the mind of a buyer
People buy sponsored articles for two reasons:
- They genuinely want visitors to your website to read the article, and either build brand awareness or drive real visitors to their own website.
- They want the SEO benefits of having an article written by them, along with a backlink or two, and don’t really care if any real person reads or sees the article.
Let’s looks at these separately.
Goal: Genuine brand awareness & website visitors
When a brand is buying a sponsored article that they actually want people to read. There are three things they care about:
👉 Reach: How many people will the content reach? This includes how many users visit the website, and any place the content might be ‘amplified’ such as in your newsletter or on social media. Will it be featured on your homepage, or tucked away in an obscure category?
👉 Quality: Is the audience of the website their target market? This isn’t only related to shared interests, but is the audience in the right country (or even city), are they the target age and gender?
👉 Impact: Is this sponsored content the best use of their marketing budget, or could they go elsewhere and get a better deal?
Hopefully, you didn’t judge your own website too harshly when reading these three points.
You don’t need to reach 1million users per month, be the largest website in your niche, have 95% of your traffic in the target country, or not have a newsletter to amplify the sponsored content.
As long as you price it right, you can make a sale.
⏩ Read our module on ‘Adding Value’ on how you can still get the sale if your website doesn’t tick all three of these boxes perfectly.
How anyone can sell sponsored articles to brands (Outbound Sales)
This is a 5 step process
- Find brands you’ll like to pitch too (See Unit X – Finding Advertisers)
- Complete the worksheet in Unit X ( Your list of brands)
- Ensure you have your advertising kit ready (See Unit X – Advertising Kits)
- Put together an offer they can’t refuse (See the module ‘Adding Value’ in this Unit)
- Pitch the idea of how it will work for them
Here’s the pitch:
Subject: Sponsored Content Proposal
Sorry for the email out of the blue – I’ve recently seen [brand] advertising in [location], and thought I’d reach out to introduce myself.
I manage the content on [website], and we are currently looking to work with a few brands in our industry for sponsored articles. These articles can either be produced by our internal team or provided by your marketing team.
Our website reaches XX,XXX people per month, and we would wrap the sponsored article with some social and newsletter activity.
Would you like me to send through more information, or could you please point me in the direction of the person I should be talking to in regards to this?
Easy as! If they respond asking for more details, this is where you can send through your media kit, rate card, and a more fleshed-out proposal for them. In this email, really sell them on the benefits of working with your website:
😍 The article could be linked too from other similar articles that already exist on your website
😍 It will be permanently on your site, providing value for years to come
😍 It will be read by your engaged audience who visit your website to learn more about this niche
😍 The article can have 2 to 3 links to the companies website
😍 It has the potential to reach ______ people
You’ll get rejected, but don’t let that get you down. You need a thick skin to proactively go out there and ask brands to advertise on your website.
Attracting Sponsored Articles (Inbound Leads)
Once again the easiest way to explain how to attract sponsored posts to your website is to put on my hat as a buyer of sponsored posts.
I personally aim to buy one sponsored article/guest post per month for my websites.
There are two techniques I use to find websites to place sponsored articles on:
- Analysing competitor backlink profiles via Ahrefs (see me section on buying sponsored links to better understand this).
- Using Google to discover websites which have publicly announced they accept sponsored articles.
Let’s explore the second method. Here’s how I do it
Step one is going to Google and entering my niche, plus one of the following phrases in quotation marks:
- “submission guidelines”
- “guest post guidelines”
- “accepting guest posts”
- “contribute an article”
- “submit content”
- “guest post”
- “want to write”
- “write for us”
- “add a post”
- “become a contributor”
- “guest post by”
- “submit your post”
I’ll then be faced with dozens (if not hundreds) of websites which have text on their website stating that they are willing to take sponsored articles and/or guest posts.
So flipping this, if you want to attract sponsored articles to your website, you need a page dedicated to attracting them, which will include a mixture of the above terms and how to contact you.
A Word of Warning
Nobody wants to lose traffic after Google takes a manual action against your website, so be careful not to accept too many guest posts or sponsored articles, especially if they are mainly to create links back to the sponsor’s website.
It also pays to disclose which articles are sponsored. Learn more about the official rules and regulations here.
Here are some simple ways you can disclose that the content is sponsored…