How to Make Money: Sponsored Posts
Sponsored posts should only be one item in your money-making list, but it’s one of the best ones (in my opinion). Depending on how you set it up, you’re literally getting paid to blog. That’s the dream, right? It’s not something the average sex blogger can rely on to pay their rent or mortgage but it’s certainly an income stream that can help you keep your website running.
In a new series called “How to Make Money,” let’s focus on sponsored posts.
What is a Sponsored Post?
A sponsored post is content that an adult company pays you to publish on your blog. It can be in the form of written text, video content, or the subject of a podcast episode. You enter into an agreement with a company to name their website, include a link, and/or write about or discuss a specific topic relevant to your audience and the company’s brand or business. Most of the time, a sponsored post comes in the form of a blog post but it doesn’t have to.
In your discussion with the company paying for the post, you’ll negotiate the details. This goes far beyond payment, which is important, of course. You’ll work with the brand to determine the topic, the length, the links to include, how it will be promoted, and more. Some companies will leave it to you to decide these details, and others will have very specific goals in mind. Ultimately, a sponsored post achieves multiple goals for a brand or business, but it’s always a form of advertisement.
Set Your Standards
The idea of a sponsored blog post (or video or podcast) sounds exciting. You’re finally getting paid to do what you love! While you have every right to be excited about this, you’re now operating as a business. The company who hires you will have their own standards, rules, and guidelines, and so should you.
- Always think of your readers and publish content that’s relevant to them and your blog.
- Determine your fee and when you’ll be paid. Take it from people who’ve been screwed over – get paid before you publish.
- Consider how you’ll be paid. PayPal is the most common.
- Will you write the content or will the company? I’ve done both, and I’ve also charged more to do the writing myself.
- Make it clear you’ll edit anything written for you.
- I highly recommend that you only allow original content meaning it’s never been published anywhere else.
- How frequently do you publish sponsored content? Too much, and you turn off readers.
How long should the content be? How many links are included? Where will it be promoted? These are other questions to decide and make a part of your ongoing negotiations.
Follow the Rules of Sponsored Posts
It should go without saying that whatever you agree to do for a company, you should do. You’re setting your reputation with every interaction you have with an adult company. But those aren’t the rules I mean. While blogging and running your own website means you get to set many of the rules, there are guidelines to follow once you start getting paid.
Disclose, disclose, disclose: According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States, there are rules to follow for product placement, reviews in exchange for product or money, and yes, cash for content. Basically, you can’t hide the fact that you were paid to create this content. Disclosures should be obvious and “above the fold” which means early enough that even someone who doesn’t read to the end will know. I disclose by using a “sponsored post” category which shows up at the top of my blog posts, using the phrase in the featured image, URL link, and title, and also adding it at the bottom of a post.
NoFollow links: When you’re paid to include a link to another website within your content or anywhere on your blog (like a banner ad), it must be set as a nofollow link. This means it’s not given the same weight as other pages you aren’t paid to link to. Anytime one website links to another, it’s an “endorsement” in the Google algorithm which affects it search rank. Paid content shouldn’t get that kind of endorsement, according to Google. Some companies will request a “dofollow” link – the opposite of a “nofollow link.” Say no! You can be blacklisted by Google for doing it which means you may never be found in search again. Is a one-time payment worth it? I don’t think so.
Think of Your Readers First
I mentioned this when discussing the standards you’re going to set, but I think it’s important as a broader discussion. Without the people who show up to read your blog, you have no audience. Without an audience, few companies will pay to be promoted by you. Yes, some are banking on the fact that you won’t know the “nofollow” rule (now you do). But most really want access to your readers and their potential clicks.
Keep your readers in the front of your mind when doing any form of paid work on your website. Don’t slap any old poorly written content up because you get paid to do it. Don’t post topics that aren’t why your readers visit your blog. My personal blog focuses on kinky fuckery so taking a paid post about basketweaving wouldn’t make much sense (unless it was kinky basketweaving). Your readers will forgive you once or twice, but if you do it often enough, you’ll lose your audience and the reason anyone is willing to pay to be on your blog.
How to Get Sponsored Posts
I’m not going to lie to you. My first sponsored post was from a random guy who emailed me to ask if I would do it. I still work with him, actually. So I don’t have a clear example of how to get the very first one, but I know how I got the second and third sponsored posts. By advertising it and talking about it as a service. It’s a work in patience more than anything. You’ll have to tell a lot of people about it before the first one takes you up on the offer. When they do, make sure to ask lots of questions (and get the money upfront).
After that first adult company approached me, I put together a “Work With Me” page on my website and listed all of my services, including sponsored posts. Once that was up, I began to tweet it out. Anytime an adult company emails to ask what kind of services I provide, I mention it. Sponsored posts aren’t part of my regular income but after the first one or two, they began to happen more frequently. I can’t count on them with any regularity but I’m grateful when I get them.
Now it’s your turn. Have you published any sponsored posts yet? How did your negotiations go? Are there any other questions you have about sponsored posts that I haven’t answered? Share in the comments below!