How to Write a Sponsored Post that Drives Sales

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a "sponsored post." The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Giveaways 4 Mom

At some point in your blogging career, you’re going to reach the point where companies are going to want to pay you to blog about their products or services. Recently I’ve had a few emails come in where people asked me about starting a blog and how could they make money from there current blog. So, I decided to do a series of posts that cover the topic of blogging since it’s been a while since I have put out any advice on this topic. And as we all know the blogosphere is constantly changing.

Therefore, to begin this series of posts I’m going to jump in with how to write a sponsored post that drives sales because I feel that is the most important goal when working with brands.

Make Sure the Company Aligns with Your Brand

Trust is everything in blogging. One study revealed that 78% of US consumers are withdrawing their loyalty from their favored brands. And there’s no easier way to turn people off if you give them something they don’t want.

With a sponsored post, you need to feature something that fits in with your target market. You should trust that product and use that product.

And if you must turn down money and the opportunity it is better for your blog in the long-term.

As a beginner blogger, it can be tempting to work anyone who is willing to pay you to feature them. However, I strongly recommend not doing so as it will hinder you before you’ve even had a chance to explore blogging.

Not only will it make blogging seem like a chore on your end, since the company cannot be naturally inserted into your lifestyle, but it will also send off the vibe to visitors of your site that you’re just chasing money.

This isn’t going to benefit the company because you’re not going to be sending them any sales and it’s not benefiting you because you’re going to lose loyal readers because of this.

It’s okay to say no and let a company know that they aren’t a good fit for your site. They’ll respect you more for being upfront and honest with them and they can still refer you to their potential partners who may be a better fit for your site.

For example, I have companies reach out to me all the time about featuring their diapers and other infant-related products to my audience. I always must politely decline because while I am a mom, none of my boys use those things anymore. However, I was offered the chance to partner with Bengay last summer and was able to blow the post out of the water since it was a brand that I had already been spending money on, therefore, I was already familiar with their products and I even remember my mom using it when I was a kid up until this day.

Check Your Analytics to Ensure It’s What Your Customers Want

Do your customers want to hear about that type of product in the first place?

You may find a product that does match your brand but isn’t what your audience is currently seeking. But how do you find out about this?

Use a customer success software option, such as User IQ, and you’ll find out more about the content spiking customer interactions. Then you can tailor the products you feature on your site according to the data you’re getting back.

For physical products, you can also look into product engagement software to find out how your market is responding to different types of physical product.

If you want to know more about what people are doing when they hit your website, the best option is always the free tool Google Analytics.

These three tools are guaranteed to give you an insight into the types of sponsored post likely to drive sales.

For example, based on my last 30 days of analytics I can see my most viewed pages were relating to Valentine’s Day Gifts with health and finance related posts coming in afterward. Therefore, since obviously, Valentine’s Day is over now, it means I need to be posting more health and finance-related content.

Write Content That Your Readers Can Relate To

What’s the key to getting someone to buy a product you’re promoting?

Keep in mind that you’re the driving force behind your brand. Your voice and personality are what keeps your readers coming back for more.

You must be able to write content your readers can relate to. The way to do this is to show how a product influences your life.

Show yourself using it by telling personal stories and featuring videos and images with you and the product in it.

For example, you could show your readers how to use a product in a video, where you go through the various functions and features. But don’t stop there, remember to update your audience on how the experience is going months after the initial post (even if it’s just featuring it in another post to show that you’re still using it).

It’s also an excellent way to build trust as you’re giving readers an insight into what happens behind the screen.

Now, I know not everyone wants to take photos or be on video. I’ve been there myself. However, when you made the decision to become a blogger your life is no longer private anymore (unless you’re blogging under a persona/anonymously). Your audience wants to see you.

Even though I’m a blogger, I still watch YouTube videos from Influencers and read other blogs. When I go to their site I expect to see them and their family (since I read mostly lifestyle blogs) and feel like I have a personal connection with them. I trust their recommendations and I can relate to their content and if they say something worked great I’m 90% open to purchasing it if it’s something that I’m in the market for (the other 10% goes to me researching to make sure it’s something that 100% a good match for myself).

For example, I love going over to Lou’s blog, Product Review Mom, whenever I’m planning a trip. She does such detailed travel reviews that I feel like I was with her when she had the experience.

[bctt tweet=”Check out @MissLouMae for the airlines to trust and other travel-related content! ” username=”wahmjourney91″]

Louida Martin

On the other hand, if I’m looking to up my beauty product or skincare game I head over to Stacie’s blog, Stacie Raye.

[bctt tweet=”Check out @StacieRayeblog to be in the loop about the must-have bath and beauty products!” username=”wahmjourney91″]

Stacie Raye

Avoid Doing a Promotional Piece

Ads are incredibly ineffective in this day and age. ‘Banner blindness’ is common across every generation. People hate commercials and they hate ads, so if your sponsored post sounds like an ad it’s not going to drive anything, except readers to your competitors.

Did you know that 380 million people use ad blockers on their mobile devices alone?

Now you can see why your sponsored post must be useful, not promotional.

So what can you do about it?

The answer is in a storyline. Turn your post into a story that just so happens to include the product you’re promoting. For example, include a story about how the product in question enhanced your life.

Not only will a promotional piece not drive sales it will reduce your readership.

The only exception to this rule is when you’re publishing information that your readers may potentially benefit from and it’s not a sponsored post (i.e. those press releases you receive from PR companies that you’re not being paid to post about, but personally love the deal and would/have taken advantage of it yourself). However, those prewritten posts companies offer to you to post should be avoided at all costs.

For example, I’ve recently done some promotional pieces about Great Wolf Lodge. I wasn’t being paid to post about what they have going on, however, I’m planning a trip there with my boys very soon and I have an upcoming trip to Mexico later this year, so I felt it was important to keep travel posts frequent on my blog since in August that’s virtually all I’ll be discussing since I’ll be on the go.

Consider Doing a Gift Guide

An easy way to slip in a product is to do a gift guide for the upcoming holidays. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day or Christmas if the product in question would make a great gift for a specific time you should include it. However, again, at the same time, you want to make sure it is something that you would truly recommend and, or, use yourself.

This is an easy way to feature a product as it never gets old and people find gift guides \ useful for their holiday shopping. If they’re legit recommendations (i.e. you have experience with the company), you’re good to go.

You can even do more general gift guides, such as birthdays and engagements. They’re also great for promoting multiple products at the same time and they’re relevant during all times of the year.

Put Call to Actions Within the Post

Don’t be bashful when it comes to telling your readers what you want them to do.

Studies have shown that posts without a call to action are far less likely to accomplish their goals. A call to action doesn’t have to devalue a post.

For example, you could enter a call to action asking readers to tell you what they think of the product or whether they found one of your videos informative.

A call to action is an extremely powerful tool.

Use Proper Disclosures

Remember to include a disclosure that you’re being paid to promote a product. FTC guidelines require this. If your blog ever goes viral this could come back to bite you if you didn’t include a disclosure.

It’s also ethical and preserves trust. If readers later find out that you were paid to include a product and you said nothing it will destroy your brand.

For example, when I do sponsored post, review, or affiliate posts I make sure to always disclose that using a plugin called Disclosure Picker.

Constantly Promote It

Do your readers love a product?

Then keep mentioning and promoting it, even if you’re only paid for a certain number of mentions. Always keep sight of the most important thing: your blog.

If readers love something there’s no reason to stop using what works.

It could even give you more sponsored post opportunities in the future!

For example, most sponsored posts are going to pay a flat rate, and occasionally, you could be an affiliate as well. This doesn’t mean you should only do their minimum requirements to get paid. Instead, promote it every chance you get to increase your chances of gaining new readers.

See Also: 20 Tools All Bloggers Should Know About

Final Thoughts on How to Write a Sponsored Post That Drives Sales

Overall, sponsored posts should be treated in the same way as your non-sponsored posts.  The goal is to make sure that you’re being honest and ethical with your audience and making sure your sponsor is happy with the results. Implementing “No” helps keep this balance.

What tips do you have to offer to bloggers who want to write a sponsored post that drives sales?

28 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for the feature! All of your tips are right on point!

  2. Great points and ideas! Thanks so much for the post. It answered many of my questions! Hugs…and Happy Monday. RO

  3. Very detailed explanation girl!!! I hate sponsored posts that sounds like a commercial. That’s why I only work with brands that fit my lifestyle, so the post flows smoothly and authenticly.

    Also, thank you for the shout out!!!

  4. Cindy Ingalls says:

    For one, I think you have to realize it is okay to do sponsored posts. I never understand why followers get mad when you are constantly offering them free content. At the same time, make sure you are just doing it for the money. If it’s with a brand you already love or an experience you’ve always wanted to do, you’ll be less likely to produce forced promo pieces.

  5. Great tips! Writing relatable content is so important. I also found it very helpful to get the attitude of writing a product review out of your mind. Instead, like you said, naturally integrate the product into your lifestyle and share how you are genuinely using it.

  6. Marissa Zurfluh says:

    This is really going to help people a ton. Making these posts is easily one of the most important parts to being a successful blogger.

  7. People think sponsored posts are easy or something you just throw up. That’s totally not true and I love how you explain it!

  8. I need to get back into writing more sponsored posts. These are great tips.

  9. This is a great post. Our blog is relatively new and we haven’t done any sponsored posts yet, so this advice is very valuable to us.

  10. Geraline Batarra says:

    This is something that I really need. I need to write sponsored letter and I really don’t know how to start. glad I’ve found this.

  11. Kelly Reci says:

    This is a great guide on how to write sponsored post. I’ve never tried doing this but I was planning to try.

  12. Kristine Nicole Alessandra says:

    Very good advice you provided in this post. I try my best to come up with good creative articles and not sound spammy or overly promotional. I will put your tips in use when I get the next sponsored post.

  13. Making sure the company aligns with your brand is by far the biggest part of it. Your readers will know if your content is genuine or not. I try to make sure all my sponsored content lines up.

  14. This is a lot of great info. It’s important to provide brands with the best services possible and make sure you are doing your best to drive sales to them.

  15. I am totally keeping this post! I want to always make sure that I can drive business to my site! This is full go wonderful info!

  16. Karissa says:

    Lots of good ideas here for sponsored posts. Ultimately bloggers should be driving sales!

  17. I just declined an offer today because it didn’t really match my blog brand. Blogging and especially monetizing the blog is an ongoing learning process. Your tips are great and much needed for bloggers who are new to sponsored posts. I would reiterate you tip about continuing to promote those posts for multiple reasons including the traffic it drives as well as staying in good favor with the brand for future opportunities.
    I would only add that I like to go back and update after things change like image sizes and such. Even after my photo skills improved, I have updated old sponsored posts.

    1. Hi Shirley,

      That is a great tip as well. I try to go through old posts from years ago and update them or make an entirely new post to make sure it reflects my current writing style and contains valuable information during my downtime.

  18. Jennifer Van Huss says:

    Great post! I think too many bloggers write posts that they think that the brand wants them to write, but it is important to include your own voice.

    1. True. I find that if you have a quick call with them and explain how you want to do it they often find that adding in your own voice and valuable content vs promo content is the best route to take.

  19. I’m always looking for ways to drive sales with my small business. Thank you so much for your tips. I’ll have to try them out.

  20. Joely Smith says:

    Great tips!! Things I wish I had known when I first started blogging for sure! Especially those pre-written articles.
    It is important that the post has value to the reader first and foremost.
    I write pro bono at times if I truly adore a product and know it will also benefit my readers.
    They are who I exist for and because of.
    More often than not – it is pro bono on my own accord and not due to being asked.
    Those things we love we know about before being contacted.

    1. Hey Joely,

      I think we have all fell for those pre-written articles in the beginning. But, they are definitely too much of a headache to deal with. I also introduce a lot of products that I use naturally when recommending things in my content. It’s a bonus if a brand reaches out and wants me to talk about something I’ve already been using though.

  21. This is such a great post sometimes it can be hard to know you are going to drive people in the right direction with each of your posts.

  22. Gladys parker says:

    I have a few gift guides or must haves a year. Next is Easter/Spring Gift Guide or Must Haves. We are still pondering. I mostly have children’s item which one of our children/grandchildren will freak over any toy or game we review. I have never done a paid post, therefore, I am glad I caught this in plenty of time. Thanks for sharing your info.

  23. Writing sponsored posts is definitely a very lucrative thing for a blogger. Your advice on writing sponsored posts is spot-on and is very helpful for those looking to be able to start doing this.

  24. First and foremost, you have to partner with brands that you love. You can’t be successful if you’re just being a pitchman or woman, as the case may be. I love it.

  25. So, I am a full time blogger, thus… I do sponsored posts. But I hate to make them seem SALESY and SPONSORED because that to me is insanely UNATTRACTIVE. I actually tend to leave blogs that feel way too PITCHY and want me to click and buy, etc, etc so when I so sponsored posts, I craft them in a way that just incorporates the product very organically and seems to work just fine for me!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.