Sponsored posts: when should I start?

So you have been blogging about that topic you love. It keeps you up at night, and you can’t help but thinking about what to write about next, your readership, the blogosphere, etc. so much that you now are considering monetizing your hard work. Amongst the many monetizing options you have, sponsored posts seem the most appealing and manageable.

A sponsored post is written by a blogger on request from an advertiser, for its brand, product or service. This work is usually compensated, either financially or by providing free products. For you, it is an opportunity to write about the topic you are most passionate about, while getting paid for your work. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, doesn’t it?

However, sponsored posts are not for everyone. Depending on your level of professionalism, on the topic you dedicated your blog to, and even your level of development, sponsored posts might or might not be the best option. So, when is it the right time to start?

Do not start too soon.

Even though it is perfectly understandable to try to monetize your hard work as soon as possible, an early stage would not be suitable for sponsored posts. Try to walk in the advertiser’s shoes, for a moment. By offering a sponsored post, the advertiser hopes to relay a message. You get to seize this message as your own, write about it in your own words, to include your perspective, your expertise, and offer it to your (engaged) readership.

Therefore, your blog should have a solid and engaged audience before you consider monetizing. What does that imply for you?

1. You must choose an area of expertise, and stick to it.

It might be hard to refrain yourself from writing certain articles that mean a lot to you. Yet, if they are out of the scope you set for your blog, you shouldn’t write about it. Regarding blog monetization, being specialised is absolutely necessary. Targeting a specific topic will position your blog on a niche. Once your blog is up and running on that (less competitive) niche, it will be easier to become “a reference” for your target audience.

2. You must promote your blog in order to create an audience

Thanks to your fantastic content, thanks to your position on your niche, thanks to all the efforts you put into the promotion of your hard work, you will soon start to generate qualified traffic (congrats!). With work, you shall manage to develop a loyal and engaged readership, through an email newsletter, social media presence, relevant comments on other blogs, guest blogging, etc. This is how you steadily become an authority blogger.

Then, and only then, you will be able to monetize your blog via sponsored post.

Only then, you will have the necessary traffic to ‘seduce’ advertisers, and the ability to negotiate the best possible working conditions. That being said, it might hard to know ‘when’ the time is right: Starting too late can be just as bad as starting too early.

Do not start too late.

People tend to be resistant to change in general. Sadly, your readers are no different. If, for several years, they grew accustomed to original, engaging content, your followers might not like to see sponsored posts on your blog, should it be done the wrong way.

From a quality standpoint, please remember what made you the awesome blogger you are: your writing style, your humor, your tone, etc. You then should make sure all of this remains in your sponsored posts. You should consider a sponsored post opportunity like a “suggestion” for your next blog post idea. All the rest of your usual creative process should remain, as much as possible, unchanged. Your post will appear a lot more authentic, and your followers will not be disappointed.

From a quantity standpoint, now, don’t be too sudden. The change has to be progressive, so it is not a “shock” to your readers. That way, your followers will be able to take the plunge more easily.

Your turn

Sponsored articles can no longer be overlooked in a blogger’s monetization strategy. It’d be sad not to benefit from it, as a blogger looking to turn your passion into a full-blown career.

Please remember to diversify your revenue generation. Sponsored post should be one element amongst many monetizing channels. It is completely up to you which option you should consider (affiliation marketing, consulting, display advertising, etc.).

Another way to look at it is to use blogging solely as a personal branding opportunity, in order to boost your career by displaying openly your expertise and authority on a specific niche. Hopefully your power of influence in the industry could help you land a 6 figure corporate job, should it be something of interest to you.

Anyhow, your center of preoccupation should always be your readers. Work hard to keep intact what you do best: writing fantastic content, with a great style and tone.

Now, my fellow blogger, go back to work! Thousands of current and potential readers are eagerly waiting to be fed with your awesome blogposts.

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