Sponsored Posts | Who Should Consider This Ad Option | Why It Can Be Beneficial | And the Questions You Need to be Asking BEFORE You Sign on the Dotted Line

Questions to ask about Sponsored Posts | What to consider before purchasing a sponsored post

When I began as a wedding blog editor and launched Style Unveiled in October of 2008 Sponsored Posts didn't even exist!!!  Now they are a beneficial tool for companies who want to be front and center on an online publication with some added perks.  I want to discuss Sponsored Posts today and give you some tips on what you should be asking BEFORE you pay for one.

>> What Kinds of Companies Benefit from a Sponsored Post? <<

While I'm sure ANY company can find benefits from a sponsored post if they choose the right publication, I believe it's much more likely to bring you clients and results if you are a national or global company and here's why: blogs bring in a national and global readership.  IMO, Etsy artists or shops, wedding invitation designers or shops, wedding ring companies, wedding dress companies or designers, honeymoon planning companies, wedding registry spots << I think I made my point >> will all benefit from the right advertorial outlet.  

>> Key Factors to Make the Most Out of Your Sponsored Post <<

Have SWOON-WORTHY images!!  The photos are so important.  If all you have are the product shots you use on your website, you might consider doing a special shoot for your sponsored posts ... have gorgeous images created that give your product an edge and then use those for your sponsored posts.  You can also inquire about having the blog editor produce a photo shoot using your product and then having those images exclusively published in the post.  This may cost more, but it would be a great way to promote your product to that specific readership.

Make the sponsored post a GIVEAWAY!  You can show off your gorgeous products and include the fun twist of a giveaway all at the same time!  Be sure and check with the publication first, they may charge an extra fee for this, but depending on the cost for a sponsored giveaway, I believe this is always the route to take if you really want to blast it online and get the most bang for your buck.

PREPARE YOUR WEBSITE for a sponsored post.  Is your website getting a bit dated?  Does it need some help?  Remember:  the point of a sponsored post is to create interest in your brand and product and get clicks your way!  The sponsored post won't do an ounce of good if they leave a gorgeous setting (your sponsored post on a beautiful blog) and end up in a dark and gloomy place: being your website.  Spruce your website up before you spend big bucks on a sponsored post that gives your online presence attention!  

>> Questions to Ask the Publication Before You Sign Up <<

  1. Will my sponsored advertorial be posted to your homepage on the day it launches?
  2. How long will it remain on the top of your homepage? (if the answer to question 1 is yes)
  3. Will you promote my sponsored post across your social media?  If so, in what capacity?  in other words: will you Tweet with an image? will the Facebook post have an image or images? will you be Pinning from the post?
  4. Will you alt and/or image text the photos in my post for better search engine optimization?  If so, may I send over what I'd like them to say?
  5. Will you be using 'no follow' links?  (the answer to this should be yes if they are following the rules of the web - if the answer is 'no' you should ask why)
  6. How many photos am I allowed to send you for the post?  Will all the photos be showcased in the ad or will you be showcasing them in a gallery that readers have to make an additional click to view?
  7. Can I create an image with text on it for the top image showcased?  (this is crucial for people just browsing a blog and not reading the text within the posts)
  8. Once my homepage time is up, will my sponsored post just migrate down with the rest of the posts and get buried in your feed or will it move to another 'hidden' place on your website that is harder to find? (this is an important question to ask)
  9. Will my sponsored post be tagged?  If so, what tags will you be using?
  10. Will I be the one supplying you with the copy (the written words) or will you be writing about my company in your own voice? (I always suggest the blog editor write in their own voice and style to keep the audience interested in reading it)
  11. What will the subject line be?  Can I make suggestions for this? (remember the header or title of your post needs to grab the attention of the blog's readers - this is an important part of the post)
  12. How will you be noting that this post is sponsored?  For instance, will it say at the very top or in the footer of the post?
  13. What do your analytics say about sponsored posts on your site?  Do they do well? (while this question will depend on the item being discussed, this will still show you if the way this particular blog promotes/designs theirs is working or not working)

Sponsored posts are always a gamble, just like with any ad ... but if you have amazing images that you feel would do really well on Pinterest and you are working with a blog editor(s) who is/are amazing at promoting their posts, you could find it's the best investment you've made where ads are concerned!

Here are a few examples of sponsored posts that were designed REALLY well:

Always {{ALWAYS}} be sure to look at the sponsored posts on the publication you are considering ... nothing will speak louder to you than actually clicking through and seeing the goods firsthand :) 

XO~ Heather