We are living in a time where consumers are smart and conscious about the decisions they make.
Whether it’s a beauty cream or a brand new portable charger, consumers want to know whether the money they are spending is going to be worthwhile or not.
And it’s hard to convince to consumers to buy with conventional marketing tactics.
Today, consumers will most likely buy if they read about a product or service on a blog they trust or if an influencer they believe in encourages them to do so.
In fact, a survey in 2018 revealed that more than 20% of 18-34 year old individuals actually made an expensive purchase when they saw influencer endorsement of the item in question.
A Facebook Ad or a nice Instagram post alone is not enough anymore to create shoppers into buyers.
Therefore, digital marketers are focusing on creating trust. And they do this through variety of ways like creating “social proof” or using “testimonials and ratings”.
Another popular way of gaining trust is through sponsored posts or guest blogging.
The difference between sponsored and “normal” guest posts
Sponsored posts are blog posts that you write and then have them posted on blogs and websites your target audience is interested in.
But there’s a catch – sponsored posts come with fee. Blogs accepting sponsored posts ask for a fee to publish your article.
The fee for a sponsored post can range from $50 to $5000. The bigger the blog and larger the audience, the higher the cost.
The key to successful sponsored posts is that it needs to be great content.
That’s what Neil Patel believes in. To create brand authority online, Neil suggests that the sponsored post that you write should in fact have content that is even better than the one you have on your own blog.
Sponsored posts have always been a darling of digital marketers for a long time. They help in increasing a brand’s exposure online and being posted on target audience preferred blogs, it creates trust and authority as well.
But one must ask – what are the benefits and are they worth the cost? And even if the fee is not the issue, how do you choose the right blogs and website is? What does Google have to say about sponsored posts?
These are some of the questions you need answers for. Luckily for you, you are at the right place on the internet – So let’s dig in.
3 Reasons to Use Sponsored Posts
Here are few of the reasons why you need to consider sponsored posts in your digital marketing plan:
1) Speaking about yourself in a more promotional way:
When you make a sponsored post, you pay a blog or website to publish content that will highlight your product or service benefits. You can use promotional tone, describe what you are selling and even lead readers to your landing page.
It’s a win-win situation as you are not only promoting yourself but also get to access confirmed readers that are genuinely interested in what you are selling.
As the oldest rule of thumb in conversion optimization states – if your website brings in more targeted traffic in, there is greater chance that your conversion rate will go up. And with sponsored posts, you can do just that.
2) Linking to landing pages/money pages:
One of the key
ingredients of sponsored posts is using a URL that leads to your preferred
Landing pages are web pages where you want your customers to arrive when they interact with one of the many advertising touchpoints online. Like Facebook Ads, Google AdWords campaign or a sponsored post.
The aim of having landing pages is to encourage visitors that are coming from your promotional activities to become your customers.
When you make a sponsored post – you are allowed one link that can be directed to a landing page of your choosing.
The best part about sponsored post is that you are posting your content on a site where your target audience is reading content on your niche passionately. So, having your landing pages linked to it gives you an opportunity to convert them into customers.
3) It’s way faster:
Compared to traditional guest blogging, sponsored posts are way faster and efficient.
When you go online finding good places to post your content online, you will end up spending a lot of time searching for blogs that accept posts, writing emails to them and what not.
But with sponsored posts, its way quicker. You target websites and blogs where your key audiences are visiting and engaging with content more vigorously.
Once you choose the sites where you want to post your content, you can check their sponsored post policies, ask them their fee and have it published. That’s all there is to it.
How to choose blogs for sponsored posts
First things first, you need to find good blogs where you can post your content.
To choose a blog for sponsored posts, you need to keep in mind that your objective is to expose your content to your target audience. What this means is that the blog you are choosing should feature content that is relevant to your niche.
For instance, if you are running an e-commerce store that is selling baby care products. Now for you, ideally the best blogs would be Scary Mommy or mom.me since they are already actively publishing content in this industry. (If you want to promote your SEO services, this site is ideal.)
Here posting content that leads parents to your online store will be worthwhile compared to posting on sports website.
Knowing this, keep the following considerations in mind:
- The blog content is relevant to your product or service.
- The audience of the blog is your own target audience.
- The blog has active community of readers – check their social media and comment section for this.
- The owners of the blogs are active on their social media accounts – they are posting regularly on their accounts and engaging with their followers.
- Check that traffic your target blog or website is getting – while bloggers do tell you their monthly traffic to entice you, you can check it yourself by using tools as Similar Web, SEMrush or Ahrefs
- Another metric that you need to keep in mind is domain authority or DA. It measures how high or low a website will rank on search engine results page. It measures the score on the scale of 0-100. You should choose blogs with DA 45 or above. Those having DA of 75 or above are more expensive.
- Look into domain rating as well. Like DA, it is measured on a scale of 0-100 and measures the strength of a website’s backlink profile. If you are looking for blogs, choose those that have the strongest profiles.
- Lastly, review the content that is already posted on the blog you are considering. Check their last ten blog posts and see if they offer valuable and compelling content. Focus on their grammar, punctuation and formatting. Keep in mind that you will be paying money to get your content posted, you don’t want it to be part of a substandard blog.
Here are other SEO metrics you might want to check.
How to find potential blogs
Now comes the tricky part – searching for blogs that accept sponsored posts.
Well, like all things we search online, its best to start our search on Google. It’s one of the best ways to find good blogs within your niche where you can add in sponsored posts.
For instance, if you are looking for sports related blogs, search with the following phrases:
- Guest posts sports blogs
- Write for us sports blog
- Sport blogs accepting guest posts
- Sponsored post contribution
- Submit a story
Using your keyword along with words “write for us” or
‘’guest post’’ will help you to easily find blogs that are accepting sponsored
Here’s what Google showed with “write for us sports blog”:
Here’s another way of finding blogs for your sponsored posts – check what your competition is up to.
Your competitors like you are also interested in creating sponsored posts to increase organic traffic to their money pages and build their authority online.
So, what should you do? Basically if you know your SEO, and have been working on it, you will be able to find our where your competitors have been posting their content on different blogs.
A good backlink intersect analysis will show where your competition has link you don’t. You can reach out to those sites and see if they would also be interested in featuring your content too!
There are few other SEO tools that you can use to check backlinks of your competitors like Moz’s and Ahrefs link explorer which shows you the backlinks of your competitors along with the blogs where they have posted their content on.
Here is an example of Ahrefs intersect analysis which is helping you to find the links of your competitors.
Lastly, one of the shortest routes to easily find blogs that accept sponsored posts is through lists available online.
For instance, here’s one made by Matt Ahlgren who lists more than 200 websites and blogs that are accepting sponsored content! Here his list. Another one that you can use is by Alejandro Rioja and features confirmed sites where you can publish your content.
By the way, don’t just stop at blogs, you can also pay for sponsored content on Instagram, Youtube and other platforms.
What does Google think about sponsored posts?
Did you know that Google once ran a sponsored posts campaign itself?
Back in the day, when Google was trying to promote Chrome as a browser, the internet was littered with posts promoting Chrome as one of the foremost browsers online.
The campaign was run by Unruly Media for Google and it was subject of the The Washington Post news article highlighting how the company violated its own rule.
So, does this mean that Google doesn’t allow sponsored posts?
In 2017, Google released a warning to digital marketers regarding using inbound links through large scale link building article campaigns.
Why? Because there was an increase in spammy links being used by marketers in their content online.
Google further wrote that it doesn’t stop marketers from making sponsored posts online if they are full of information, helping in educating another site’s or blog’s users and creating awareness about the company.
It will only penalize if the marketers use links in large scale campaigns to trick Google Algorithm to get higher ranking.
Here are the factors that the search engine listed in its message that can get you penalized:
- By adding too many keyword rick links in the content that direct user to the target website.
- Using large scale campaign where you end up posting articles on variety of large websites.
- Creating content that is irrelevant and not informative.
- Duplicating content or using same content across different sites. The links that are spammy in nature should feature rel=”nofollow”.
In summary – Google doesn’t condemn sponsored posts if you play by the rules.
Which means we come back to the quality of your sponsored post – just like Neil Patel says, it needs to be great. It should be full of information and should not be a sales pitch but a blog that readers want to read and share with others.
Don’t spam it with links just so that you can check off one more item from your list of things to do for SEO.
When are sponsored posts a worth investment?
Bloggers know the value of their online presence and charge a fee for sponsored posts. So, what can you do here?
The best course of action here is to evaluate your online marketing goals and your budget. Let’s discuss this with an example.
A blog for car reviews charges $500 for a single post. Now you know that you can use the same amount on Facebook to get thousands of impressions or run a campaign on Google AdWords to get clicks on your website.
But you also know that the blog has at least 100,000 page views every week. So, you can measure your success through “page per view” model and pay 500 dollars to reach that confirmed audience.
Another factor to consider when making this decision is the blog’s community. Some blogs may not have large audiences, but they do have small, dedicated loyal readers who are active online to discuss what they are passionate about.
Getting your content published on blogs like these can take you much further organically compared to conventional marketing means.
In nutshell, sponsored posts are wonderful way to increase organic traffic to your website but its important to consider all the factors listed above.
You will be spending time in researching and developing content that will become your online ambassador on reputed blogs and websites.
Not to forget the cost that may even leave a dent on your wallet.
So, make sure you do this right.
If you are interested to make a sponsored post for your product or business and don’t know where to start, simply leave a message in the comment section below and start the discussion.