Ethical or not, for bloggers, being paid to write a post can be a good way to earn some extra cash. On a very good blog, it can be a decent income. But how do you get started?

If you are blogging, either for fun or with the aim of earning a decent income, then one of the methods that you might look at for earning an income is sponsored posts.

Is sponsored posting ethical?
There is a great debate as to whether these are ethical or not. You are selling to your audience a website, company or a link on the pretense that you are recommending it out of interest. But in actual fact, you might only have first heard of the website 5 minutes ago when you were asked to write about them.

Finding work
That aside, they can be a good earning potential. You can deal directly with various contacts for sponsored posts, or use one of the many main providers on the marketplace. Dealing direct does earn a lot more cash, but it is more difficult to find the people wanting to advertise on your website.

So, how do you go about it? Well, find a site or two that you like the looks of and sign up. You give them your basic blog details, the address, a description etc, and then they quite often give you a claim sentence to publish in a post, e.g.

The road gladdens the obsessed ghost.

This sentence is utter nonsense and is designed just to prove that you do actually have permissions to update the blog. You add the sentence to a recent post that appears on the home page and then you are away.

Posting sponsored content
After that, you just have to sit down and wait for some opportunities to arrive. As they do, and they will if your blog is good enough, you read the requirements, write a post and then tell the system the URL of the new post. There will probably be an automated check of the correct links and then the advertiser gets to review your post. If everything passes, you then receive payment a month later.

On site disclosure
It sounds easy, and usually is. But you to have to be wary that a recent change to advertising standards mean that you have to disclose that you are being paid to write that post so that your readers know it is not just a website that you have found and want to promote. They have the right to know there is a financial incentive for you to write that post.

How this is dealt with varies from scheme to scheme. Some insist that every post carries a disclosure whilst others insist that your site carries a disclosure page. Personally, I try to do both as much as possible.

Not all sponsored posts schemes work the same way. For example, the one I work with the most just suggests what to do, a minimum word count and the links and lets you get on with it. Another scheme just wants a link in a post of relevant content.

These schemes are mainly about tricking the search engines into seeing more inbound links, again a little dubious, but there is also another system in which all links are nofollowed. This is quite a clever set-up, which I have only just started to use and there is currently little work available. If it starts to grow it will get it’s own write-up, but its main aim is just to get bloggers talking about their advertisers.

Keith Lunt

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