How Much Sponsored Content is Too Much?

As bloggers, getting a sponsor is exciting and pays the bills.

Is there a point where there is too much of a good thing?

How much is too much - Business 2 Blogger

 

How Much Sponsored Content is Too Much?

I was inspired by an article over at Type A Parent by Kelby CarrSponsored Post Ratios – Are We Killing the Blogging Golden Goose?  

Kelby has some great insight as to how blogs are growing their sponsored content ratios and cautions that this might be a bad thing in the long run:

Because here’s the catch: when bloggers tip to the side of writing too much sponsored content, it loses value with both readers AND sponsors. The next step is brands and firms will view this as a low-ROI, ineffective model and the opportunities will disappear for everyone. Yes, even for those who have low sponsored content ratios and who make sure every sponsored post is high quality and of interest to their readers.

I could not agree more.  In fact, I am quoted in the article about what I do on Kids Activities Blog with sponsored content:

“We keep our sponsored content below 20%. That keeps the spots rare (and worth more) and gives us more lead time to craft something amazing for a company that paid good money to be there. It has to be a perfect fit or it is a no.”

You know me.  I can’t stop with just a two sentence response.  That would just be out of character!  So, I have a little video on the subject…

  • Speaking about traditional blogs, not blogs with the intent of sponsored content.
  • Two types of sponsors are awesome – those you would have written about anyway & those that inspire you to write something you should write.
  • Fit is the key.
  • Examples of good fit mentioned Melissa & Doug posts from Zina – Valentine Suncatchers and Stacy – Photography Tips on iPhone.
  • Take on sponsors that you won’t be able to shut up about.
  • Keep ratio down with editorial calendar – make your spots coveted and rare!
  • Keep ratio down by publishing other content in between – old posts, guest posts.
  • Make a plan and stick to it unless someone pays you enough to ignore it! <—should have said this.

Comments

  1. So, here’s my problem with the 20% rule. I’m in blogging to make money. I have decent traffic – I average a little under 100k pageviews/mo. Sponsored content is currently my bread and butter because I don’t have the traffic to make a lot of money on ads. If I post 20 times/month – 5 posts/week times 4 weeks that means at 20% my sponsored content is only 4 posts/mo. If I average between $100-$150/post (which is what I see being offered from most major companies bloggers work with) then I make between $400-$600/month. Then add in the $60/mo I make on ads and I’m only making roughly $660/mo. I’m guessing the 20% rule works great when you have heavy traffic and can make up the money in ads or when sponsors pay you well for your work. But for a blogger of my size, the numbers just don’t work. I think the bigger issue is getting brands to pay better for better content.

    • I stick to a 30% rule, but I rarely reach 30% on my blog. However, if and when it gets to a point where I’m struggling to remain within that 30%, and having to turn offers down, I reevaluate my charges. I came to that point in my blog’s infancy, when dealing with Blogsvertise.com because they offer so little for their posts and I was getting frequent requests. That’s when I had to reevaluate my charges for sponsored posts. Some companies does not offer any flexibility in this regard, but I almost doubled my sponsored post rate at other companies. I deal much less frequently with the ones that wouldn’t let me set my rates. I’m not close to 30% yet, but I’m making pretty much the same money. When I get to 30% again, I’ll reevaluate my charges per post again. This also allows me to be more topic specific in my
      accepted paid posts and refuse the ones that are not suitable.

      Tips that help me write sponsored posts that look less like sponsored posts:
      My sponsorship policy is blog-wide, not in-post and is accessible in the main navigational menu. I always schedule the sponsored post so it never appears first on the main page of excerpts. If the dates don’t make this possible, I make sure to write an unsponsored post immediately after to fill the first spot. This has an added benefit by making me more disciplined when writing posts.

      I always add a first paragraph and change the wording to make the post seem as though it fits into my blog’s topic, example: http://www.emptynestancestry.com/through-the-generations-home-ownership-has-been-the-cornerstone-of-success/. Caution: Make sure you read through the entire post to see if the flow is natural and the references and tenses make sense. Even for posts where the content is provided, which this example was, I add an introductory paragraph and change the wording as much as necessary to suit the blog’s topic.

    • I have been there! It is really a balancing act to make sure the non-sponsored content you are writing is driving MORE traffic to your blog so you are almost using the sponsored content as stair-steps to traffic growth. Because my sponsored content was taking so much of my time, I wasn’t able to create the bigger, traffic-generating posts that would get me to the next level. If your goal is passive income in the end {and that may not be what your goal}, then you do want to spend some of your time on traffic growth content. Hang in there…it does snowball!

  2. You don’t have to stick to 20% or even 50% because honestly if you write what on topics that are searchable and interests people it doesn’t matter. I worried a lot about doing reviews, giveaways and sponsored content. I do straight sponsored content but if I can I introduce to the sponsor a possible evergreen post instead. For example a company wants sponsored content on a new water bottle they are pitching, they would normally pay me $150 per post. I upped my fees to $250 for an evergreen post and instead of doing it as a straight sponsored post — I do an evergreen post. 5 tips to help you feel better during flu season, adding in the sponsors link (their product) using the water bottle and why it helps. This type of content is more reachable, searchable and stays online longer. I’ve gotten great results this way and it keeps my readers happy because you are providing tips and how-to’s which people love.

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