Sponsored posts are gaining in popularity. In my book, product reviews and advertorials are different than sponsored posts. Instead of explaining the theoretical differences between them, let’s examine different types of sponsored posts that reflect my philosophy.
As I will show you how three lifestyle blogs — that I respect and follow — handle sponsored posts for their respective blogs, I will point out key elements to consider the next time you partner with a brand for a sponsored post. In each case, the blogger was able to create original content that appealed to the targeted audience.
1. Lookbook / Stylebook
One popular form of sponsored posts is a lookbook where the blogger coordinates items available at a retailer to create an ensemble that fits their style. This concept works best in fashion, home decor and tableware where bloggers often produce photo collages. See here how Nicole of Making it Lovely uses her personality to trigger engagement with her readers. This is typical of what she does in her blog.
Nicole Balch captured the essence of what is a proper sponsored post when she writes at the end of her sponsored post the following message:
Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor. Advertisers do not produce the content.
The well-established Apartment Therapy has an extensive experience with sponsored posts. Like with ads, a brand can build more awareness if they sponsor a series of posts instead of just one. For the Moving Week coverage on Apartment Therapy, Penske Truck Rental booked a week long of posts designed to appeal to long-distance movers. The posts were written to encourage readers to get involved. And it worked! The posts generated lots of engaging comments.
The Moving week posts were a mix of practical tips, tricks and fun stories. Each post includes a call to comment and a link to Penske Web site.
3. DIY projects
For this post for Glad, Jordan of Oh Happy Day created a DIY project that is so typical of her blog. Jordan showed people how to to print on lunch bags. Although her design has no mention of Glad, the brand received great exposure since a nice DIY project is always a popular topic. Plus, the post is right in time for the back-to-school season. I believe that a brand can get more from a sponsored post when the post relies on a skill that the blogger has.
Note that you should budget more money if the blogger creates a tutorial, sets a scene and must take lots of pictures for your sponsored post. The production time and the creative process of the blogger have a price.
4. Judging a Contest
This goes further than a sponsored post but since the brand taps into the blogger’s social network to promote the contest, I include it as one option. I am currently a judge to find the Quebec Creative Ambassador for Michaels, the craft store chain that is arriving in Quebec. This is a huge contest. My job involves speaking for videos in top of the three judging events. It is a fun experience as you can see from the semi-finals video. The finale will be this Sunday.
As a blogger, you should factor in that being a judge is time consuming. From my experience, it takes longer than what you and the PR agency expect. I also received questions by email, on Twitter or on Facebook about the contest or the store. When the contest is the right fit for you, you should go for it.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive. I am sure that I forgot to mention other rightful way to do sponsored posts. It is your turn to talk.
Have you seen a great sponsored post lately? If you are a brand or a blogger, what are your expectations when it comes to sponsored posts?