A common question among bloggers is how and when to start monetizing their blogs. Often times these questions arise because a growing blog has been contacted about a sponsored post.
At first, sponsored posts can seem like quick, easy money. But before you reach for the deposit slip, there are a few things to consider.
Off the shelf
An off the shelf sponsored post is when someone offers to pay you to run a post that they’ve written. This seems like the fastest, easiest form of money to be made. But there are drawbacks to using these kinds of sponsored posts.
The primary drawback – the post will not be in your voice.
Now, lots of blogs utilize guest writers, so it’s not that strange that a post won’t sound like exactly you. But, sponsored posts are usually written by a marketing person at a company. (The company that wants their product, service or site mentioned on your blog.) These people are not necessarily practiced in the art of blogging.
Yes that may have sounded like a loft statement: the art of blogging. But let’s face it, writing a successful, interesting, sharable blog post is different than other kinds of writing. It’s different in how the information is structured. It’s different grammatically. It’s different in style and it’s different in tone. It’s just different.
What makes a good, enticing blog post would not make for a good newspaper read. Or magazine article. Or business white paper. So despite the fact that any guest blogger you allow onto your blog will have a different voice than yours, they may still have strong blogging skills.
A sponsored post, written by a publicist or a corporation will stand out on your blog. It will smell false.
You Write It
The alternative is the kind of sponsored posts that you write yourself. For a free. In this scenario, the question of whether the voice and tone fits the voice of your blog doesn’t factor in. You’re writing it – it’s your voice.
If you do you have a successful blog, this could be a moneymaker for you. Depending on your blog’s page rank and monthly visitor count, you could charge anywherefrom $50 to over $1,000 per sponsored post that you write yourself.
Sounds like a winner, right? Not so fast.
Once again readers will smell if something is off. In this case it won’t be the tone, but it might be the content. Your readers will realize right away if, you’re a mommy blogger for instance, and you suddenly start writing product reviews for web conferencing software.
Readers will notice not only if the voice and tone of your blog changes, they’ll notice if the topic strays too far from your norm. And noticing this change for some will equal noticing a sellout. It can be that brutal.
Even established bloggers, with massive engaged audiences, have talked about receiving hate mail from once loyal readers when they started taking advantage of sponsored posts.
So that’s the balance; finding the right content, that aligns with what your audience already expects from you. Because, if you make a few quick bucks but you lose your audience in the process, you’ve defeated the whole purpose.