As part of our article marketing services and our brand journalism package, we offer our clients guest posting, where we'll write an article, include a link or two back to websites of the client's choice, and get the article published. In case it's unclear, when it comes to blogs, a sponsored post is a post "that contain links that point to the home page or specific product pages of the website of the sponsor for which the blogger receives compensation in the form of money, products, services or in other ways." These sponsored posts are what clients get with the guest posting, since these posts are designed to appear on the blogs and online publications of others.
We admit that we're running into a bit of a problem, one where blog and online publications simply aren't interested in these posts, which makes delivering on these services tough. Most of the them aren't interested because they don't want posts that are sponsored. We've previously written on why brand journalism isn't such a bad thing, and sponsored posts in our humble opinion are a form of brand journalism that isn't such a bad thing either. Here's why more blogs and online publication should allow sponsored posts on their sites:
Sponsored Posts Can Be Valuable Content
Who said that because something is paid for that it must advertising garbage that no one wants to read? Is fruit suddenly bad because it was bought from the store instead of grown in the backyard? No, and the fact that money was involved shouldn't automatically discount a sponsored post as something that won't be worthwhile for your audience. Take the time to read a sponsored post, as you would any other guest post or submission from one of your writers, and see if its up to standard. If it is, should it matter that it was sponsored?
Sponsored Posts Can Bring Traffic to Your Site
Think about it, if you let a company sponsor a post, they'll tell everyone about it once it's published. If you want to increase traffic and reach out to new people, then letting in a sponsored post may be a good way to go. They'll post a link on their website (giving you a backlink), share it on their social networks, and maybe send it via email in a newsletter. That's a lot of potential new audience you're throwing away because you don't like sponsored posts. You don't have to make every single post on your site sponsored, but allowing one or two in there a month wouldn't hurt.
Sponsored Posts Can Monetize Your Blog
If you're looking for a new revenue stream, or a way to monetize your blog and make some money from it, then accepting sponsored posts is the way to go. For a flat fee, you can say you'll accept sponsored posts that are on certain topics and meet certain guidelines. You could encourage companies to pay that fee by showing them what kind of reach they can have (number of visitors, unique views, time on site etc.) by getting the post published.
Sponsored Posts Can Enable You to Pay for Writers, or Pay Them More
With this brand new revenue stream, you can then offer writers more than just the Google Adsense revenue or a pithy "pays per hit" formula. When you can offer writers more money, you can better retain those writers, or bring on better writers, all meaning that your site will improve over time with more content and more better content. Being able to pay writers well adds credibility as well, as it makes it seem like you've been in the business a while and that you know what you're doing (versus those new startup sites that can't pay anything cause they have no revenue. Stupid noobs).