You’ve looked at examples, researched potential publishers, and thought about what your ideal customer might be interested in. But if you’re still wondering whether sponsored posts are right for your brand, you might be curious about what exactly they entail.
While they might seem like more work than a traditional advertisement, sponsored posts can actually be very simple for an advertiser to put together. All you need are the right elements and you too can create a successful campaign.
That’s why today I’m sharing the crucial things you’ll need for a killer sponsored post. Because with the right ingredients, you can create a recipe for success.
Find the Right Publisher
The first step to creating an effective sponsored post is finding the right publisher to work with. While it can be tempting to work with the largest publisher you can find, you’ll do well to seek out publishers that have audiences in alignment with yours.
While your publishing partner doesn’t have to have exactly the same target reader as your target customer, you should ensure some crossover in demographics and interests to make your sponsored post effective.
When looking for a publisher, always strive to find a blogger who covers topics related to your brand and regularly mentions products or services they enjoy using. That way, your sponsored post won’t feel unnatural to the reader, but rather like a normal part of the editorial calendar.
Once you’ve found a publisher to work with, be sure to check out their media kit for important metrics you need to know, like list size, monthly traffic, and social media following. From there, you’ll be able to establish general performance expectations for the sponsored post.
Finally, be sure to set expectations once you’ve found the right publisher. For instance, will they post on social media in addition to posting the blog post? Will they include a certain number of images? Iron out these details so that there is no disappointment on either end.
Once you agree on the details, publish date, and payment, you’ll need to provide product or access to your service or software with the blogger.
Keep in mind that these “freebies” are not payment. They have value, yes, but bloggers need these items to perform their job for you. Plus, they claim these as income on their taxes, which means they lose money if you ask for a post in exchange for free product. And, of course, no blogger can live on free product alone.
That’s why setting expectations around what you will provide for the blogger to review is crucial in the negotiation process as well.
Once you have settled terms, though, be sure to provide access quickly and easily so that your publishing partner can fulfill on their end of the bargain in a reasonable period of time.
Speaking of a reasonable period of time, you’ll need to establish a deadline with the blogger you choose to work with.
Deadlines are an important part of setting expectations both for you and the publisher. You don’t want to send a publisher anything without a clear understanding of when you can see results, but you also need to give them time to do the work you’ve hired them for.
Keep in mind that many publishers work in advance on their editorial calendar, and may only work with a photographer once per month. It is probably unrealistic to expect that you can send a product to a blogger and see a review on their site next week.
Check in with your publishing partner to see how long it will take them to be able to really use your product or service, write a killer review, and take photographs (if applicable).
Then, set a reasonable deadline based on that length of time, factoring in shipping time as well if needed.
Next, you’ll need to let the publisher know what to link to on your site. If you just want to send readers to a home page or product page, that might work fine, depending on the goals of your campaign.
If you have a more tailored lead magnet or coupon page you want to share with readers, you’ll want to create a landing page just for this campaign.
No matter where you link to on your website, be sure to include UTM parameters in your link. That way, you’ll be able to track the effectiveness of your campaign based on traffic from your publishing partner and conversions as well.
Keep in mind that links from sponsored campaigns should all automatically be created as nofollow links by your publishing partners, so sponsored posts aren’t a very good SEO link building strategy.
If you aren’t specific about where you want links pointed (and even how many you want on a page), your publishing partner will likely just include a link to your homepage. Take advantage of the opportunity to track your campaign results and convert site visitors by being very intentional with your links.
Finally, the most important ingredient you can include in your sponsored posts is creative freedom. The amount of creative control you have will vary from campaign to campaign, but generally sponsored posts are much more hands-off than dedicated email ads or display ads.
While that can be scary for advertisers, ultimately, it makes for a better sponsored post in the end.
That’s because your publishing partner knows their audience best. They know which kinds of posts perform well based on traffic and engagement. They know what kinds of photos resonate, which social media platforms work, and when to post.
That’s because they’ve been doing this for themselves for years, and you better believe that every blogger is tracking details like that.
So, ultimately, even though it’s scary, it will serve you well to provide a few talking points and then send your blogger on their way to craft a killer sponsored post.
If they do happen to write anything that doesn’t quite work for you, most of them will be happy to edit it out anyway.
Create Your Sponsored Post Strategy
Now that you have all the ingredients you need for success, you’re ready to combine them into a killer sponsored post strategy. Get out there and find a publishing partner, because your next campaign is sure to be great.
Need help finding great publishers? Paved is here to help. Sign up for Paved to see how you can easily scale your sponsored content campaigns through our marketplace of publishers.