Many bloggers offer product and service reviews as part of their regular content. As companies want to leverage the power of bloggers, there are more and more opportunities to receive cash or products in exchange for blog mentions or reviews. Basically, you get paid to include a review or other information about the sponsoring company.
Sounds good, eh? Well, there are some guidelines to follow:
1. Disclose everything. If you’ve been paid to review a product, mention a site, or otherwise plug or promote a company, tell your readers! The trust you create with them is hard to replace and easy to damage. Many bloggers place disclosures in each sponsored post; others create a site-wide disclaimer. In either case, be transparent. (For more information on disclosure statements, go to http://disclosurepolicy.org/)
2. Have standards. Bloggers of integrity will not promote or give a good review to sub-standard products. If you cannot be honest in your assessment or review, it is not worth the money. Many sponsors will have guidelines regarding how you must talk about their product, site, or service. Pick sponsors who are a good match with your standards.
3. Don’t overdo it. If every post you put up is a paid sponsorship, your readers may be wondering, “Where’s the beef?” Balance paid content with unpaid content. Also, make sure the sponsorship opportunities you accept are in line with your market. You might get approached by a dating site or – the latest for me – an anti-meat movie. The money may be good, but will your audience resonate with the message?
4. Be of service. Even in a paid post, you can provide value to your readers. Honest reviews, additional information, hints and tips, and case studies are all great ways to put your own spin and unique value on paid posts.
Treat paid opportunities as you would your unpaid content. Make sure it’s valuable to your audience and adds something to their experience. Then you’ll be creating great content AND getting paid for it.