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So What Goes Into Sponsored Posts, Anyway?

Want to monetize your blog with sponsored posts but aren't sure where to start? How do you get picked? Click through for 8 questions to ask before submitting your pitch to up your chances of being selected. Includes an additional printable guide of 15 mistakes not to make when pitching the brand!

So you’ve got a blog and you’d like to earn a little extra income for your efforts? Maybe you just love reading blogs and wonder what the heck goes into all these “sponsored posts” you’ve seen?

While I don’t write primarily about blogging and strategies, the first Friday of each month I offer you a backstage pass behind the blog. What the heck is all of this about, anyway?

As many of you know, I occasionally share sponsored content. Essentially, sponsored content means I collaborate with brands to share with you tips, ideas, and stories related to the brand’s products or services that I think you’d appreciate and find useful. In exchange for my time and efforts spreading the word, I receive compensation from the brand.

As you might expect, I take great care in selecting the brands with which I’d like to work. Like many bloggers, I receive loads of pitches and requests from brands that don’t fit my space, and I turn down those collaboration opportunities.

Sometimes though, I find products I really like and know you all would love too. At times, these proposals come to me. Other times, however, I reach out to brands directly or through agencies and pitch ideas I think they might like.

Today, I decided to share 8 questions I ask before submitting a pitch to a brand for a potential collaboration. Even if you’re not a blogger, I thought you might enjoy a peak into the process of how certain posts that start as a nugget in my head come to fruition as reading material for you.

8 Questions to Ask Before Submitting a Pitch to a Brand

1. Would I write it if it wasn’t sponsored?

In other words, do you want to hear about it anyway? Is this product, service or content consistent with the voice and content of my blog? It’s really important to me that you don’t see a random body of unrelated information that’s little more than a sales pitch for someone else. I want to be sure you will find the information useful and meaningful. If I don’t think that’s the case, then I’m moving on.

2. Do I have a relevant story to tell around it?

I certainly don’t want to share a post that’s little more than sales material. Before I submit a pitch, I make sure I have a relevant story to share that gives the post context. Why does it matter to me? How do I ensure it matters to you?

3. Do I have an idea of relevant image to include?

I take almost all the photos on the blog myself. Occasionally, I use stock images depending on the nature of the post. But it’s important to think about this in advance. The way I have designed my blog, a post feels incomplete without a proper image. Writing the whole wonderful post and not having a great image to match is the worst!

4. Are a majority of my posts non-sponsored?

Even if the content is great, I suspect you still don’t want to read a whole bunch of sponsored content. Sometimes, you just want a clean, pure story or helpful list of ideas. I totally understand and couldn’t agree more when I read other people’s blogs as well. Occasionally, sponsored content ends up getting a bit clustered due to deadlines from the brand. I don’t always have free reign on when the posts can go live. They are often incorporated as part of a larger marketing campaign. But I generally try not to pitch for sponsored posts that will land too close to each other.

5. Is my idea unique?

If everyone else has the same idea or likely will because my idea isn’t all that special, it’s not worth my time to write the pitch. I wouldn’t want to post the same thing everyone else is posting, anyway.

6. Have I spent some time brainstorming and allowing the ideas to percolate?

Generally, our first ideas aren’t our best ideas. I often take some notes about posts (sponsored or not) and then build on them over time. I use Evernote to house all my ideas. Currently, I have hundreds of posts ideas in the works in Evernote. Many will never come to fruition. But anytime I think of even a nugget of an idea that could flourish into something grander, I jot it down in Evernote. When I need some post ideas, I have a deep arsenal of starting points from which to work.

7. Have I researched the brand online? What is the message the brand wants to send? 

This can be really important. Even if I like the brand, I want to be sure the campaign message is one that resonates with you all and that I believe in. You can see through imposter or fake promotions clear as glass.

The brand will certainly agree on this point because they want a genuine message from me. They also don’t want to waste their budget on an audience who doesn’t align with the brand’s intent.

8. Do I meet all the requirements?

Maybe a no brainier but I always check it out before wasting my time. There may be certain stores at which I have to shop or times to attend an event in order to be eligible. Does that work with my schedule and lifestyle? I don’t even bother applying until I’ve checked all these boxes.

As you might expect, a lot goes into working with brands. And to be totally honest, for smaller bloggers like me, the payouts aren’t breaking the bank. The revenue definitely helps cover the cost of running the blog. At least for me, it’s not a free endeavor. But I won’t be giving up my day job any time soon (nor do I want to).

Thus, in the end, it’s really about writing what strikes a chord with me when I also think you will find it interesting, useful, or even just a little thought-provoking.

If you’ve got any questions (as a fellow blogger or a reader), I’m happy to entertain them. Just leave me a comment!

Want More Helpful Resources?

If you found this helpful, consider signing up to get 15 Secrets to Mastering the Pitch, the Prep and the Post-Production of Sponsored Posts. It’s sure to help you increase your blog’s bottom line.

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