Let’s discuss whether you should consider selling sponsored posts on your blog, and whether it is even worth your time.
To get right to the point (I hate long drawn out introductions!) my answer is YES, you should sell sponsored posts, and they are worth your time if you set a minimum rate. Essentially, don’t go selling them for less than $50.
….unless $50 is a good amount of money for you, which it may be, depending on where you are in your blogging journey, or where you live in the world.
Before we look at whether you should sell sponsored posts on your blog, let’s look at the top reasons people give to not sell sponsored posts….
Top Reasons people Don’t Sell Sponsored Posts
I personally have found sponsored posts a great way to earn an income from my blogs and other peoples blogs that I have helped over the years.
However, all too often I see bloggers on forums (looking at you, Reddit), make the decision to avoid selling sponsored posts. They believe they are tacky, too difficult, they’ll lose traffic, or they just seem spammy.
None of those reasons are true. Let me explain:
Reason #1: “It’s selling out my visitors for money”
Isn’t that what most forms of blog monetization is?
Placing banner ads on your website is “selling out your visitors for money”.
Placing affiliate links on your website is “selling out your visitors for money”.
Placing a sponsored section on your website is “selling out your visitors for money”.
“Selling out your visitors for money” is how most news sites and social media platforms make an income. Take a look at your local news website. You’ll no doubt find banner ands and sponsored content.
If they can do it, so can you.
Reason #2: “I don’t want Google to punish my blog”
This is a valid reason not to sell sponsored posts (or sponsored links), but you can limit your risk of being punished by Google by practising a few basic precautions.
Firstly, don’t accept sponsored posts that won’t be of genuine interest to your current visitors. If you have an interior decor blog, a post about the latest sports car or gambling website is going to be of absolutely no interest to them. Accept posts related to furnishing homes, renovations, home staging, careers in interior design, where to learn interior decorating etc.
Secondly, never accept sponsored posts from what are typically seen as “scammy industries”. This includes gambling, forex, penny stocks, adult topics, crypto, cannabis, and other drugs. You’ll be linking your website to the dodgy side of the internet, which is best to steer clear of.
Thirdly, don’t accept a ridiculously large number of sponsored posts. If every second piece of content you publish is a sponsored post, you’re soon going to drive your users away. Personally, I wouldn’t do more than 5% of my published content as sponsored posts – about 1 for every 20 posts. For a site that does 20 pieces of original content per month, slipping in one sponsored post shouldn’t set off alarm bells. (Note: other sites that are money-hungry might increase this to 1 out of every 10 posts…or more).
Reason #3: “I’m afraid of what my readers will think or say”
At the end of the day, your readers understand that blogging takes both time and money, and it is only fair that you are compensated for it.
You can either fill your site with banner ads (yuck!), ask for donations (only super loyal readers will do this), sell digital products (recommended!), or allow a few sponsored posts here and there.
Sponsored posts blend in with your existing content, and if the user doesn’t want to read them, they’ll slide their mouse about 3 inches down the page and read the next article. No big deal, right?
Reasons why you should sell Sponsored Posts
Now that we’ve covered the main objections on selling sponsored posts on your blog, let’s stack the cards in the other direction, and explore why you should be selling sponsored posts.
Reason #1: It’s a ridiculously simple monetization method for your blog
The hardest part of selling sponsored posts is finding the buyers, but often they’ll find you.
Once a buyer and seller have connected, it’s about three emails until you get money in the bank. One to set the price and guidelines, another to receive the content and make any amends to it, and the final one to send the invoice.
Obviously this is highly simplified and some of my deals might require 10 emails and 3 phone calls, but for efficient buyers & sellers it’s a straightforward process.
Reason #2: Sponsored posts will be interesting or entertaining
That’s right, don’t accept any sponsored post that doesn’t fall into one of these categories.
If it’s not interesting or entertaining what is it? Boring? Blatant advertising? You won’t want to read that, so don’t publish it.
So when done well, accepting a sponsored post onto your blog will provide new content for your readers, that your readers will enjoy. That’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Here is how I handle content that I’m not necessarily 100% excited about.
If my standard sponsored post rate is $500, then this is what I charge for an interesting sponsored post which subtly mentions the advertiser somewhere within the post, in a natural manner. This post would also be from a brand that aligns well with my audience.
An example might be accepting a sponsored post onto my financial advice blog about a new app which let’s you buy and sell shares easily.
However if the brand is a bit more removed from what my audience is expecting I’ll increase my asking price to, say, $750.
An example might be if the same financial advice blog, which receive 80% United states based visitors, receive an enquiry from a Canadian based car insurance company wanting to promote content explaining how to save on your car insurance this coming summer.
Firstly, car insurance is a boring topic. Secondly, the brand is only familiar to the 10% of my readers in Canada. Thirdly, my readers typically enjoy investing and budgeting content, so insurance content might be a bit strange to them.
Reason #3: Sponsored posts can help grow your website
The quickest way to grow a blog is by publishing good content, consistently.
Typically the more content you have, the more organic search traffic you’ll get. I personally publish a few new posts each week, and also hire writers to supplement my own writing. I pay them $100 to $300 per post they write for me.
When it comes to selling sponsored posts, I get to publish fresh new content, but I get paid for it. How good is that!
Reason #4: Your readers don’t care as much as you think they might
I often hear “I don’t want to lose my readers”, or “Sponsored content will annoy my visitors”. New bloggers are often afraid of what their readers will think or say.
Fact is, your readers definitely don’t care as much as you think they do.
I’ve been buying and selling sponsored posts for over 10 years and haven’t heard from a single reader complaining about a piece of sponsored content.
Instead, I get people commenting on them asking great questions or letting me know they enjoyed reading it. Often, the post will get shared on social media, further proving that my readers enjoyed the content.
You’ll only get negative comments if you have way too many sponsored posts, or irrelevant brands posting content on your blog.