What should you be careful about? No tuxedo

What should you be careful about?  – No tuxedo

If you have a website with a certain reputation and a certain age, you may be asked to do this regularly sell a sponsored post…or consider it as an additional source of income for your site. What should we pay attention to when engaging in this type of practice? How to frame exchanges with the person who asks you?

In this guide I offer you some tips to make things go well.

Some reminders on the principle of the sponsored article

The brand may find interest in it in terms of visibility, as a press relations campaign… but in most cases, the sponsored article is rather used from a natural referencing perspective (SEO).

In fact, to position yourself on search engines on a competitive topic, offering quality content often proves insufficient and it is also necessary to ensure that its content is cited from different and relevant sources.

For example, if a brand sells bedding, that’s territory occupied by a multitude of competitors. You must therefore not only offer rich content and a varied choice of products, but also ensure that you are mentioned by third-party sites in the same thematic universe (for example, sites focused on home, decoration, etc.). These citations can help provide a competitive advantage in search results.

We can expect these mentions to happen naturally… but given the commercial issues that exist for brands when they grab a few spots in Google’s top 5, more often than not they choose to give nature a helping hand. by purchasing links within sponsored articles.

It is in this context that, as a site editor, you are often presented with a proposal sale of sponsored items.

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8 points to pay attention to to successfully sell a sponsored article

1. A choice to be made in terms of transparency

A sponsored post is a form of advertising and, as such, it must be reported as such to Internet users through explicit mention in many legislations, in Europe and elsewhere (“this article is sponsored by the XXX brand”).

Furthermore, Google clearly specifies in its quality guidelines that links “bought or sold for ranking purposes” can be considered toxic links if they are not marked as such through the use of nofollow or sponsored (you can learn more about these link attributes in this article). In other words, if you connect for money without reporting it and Google detects it, you can be punished.

Despite these elements, in the French SEO market, buying – then selling – sponsored articles without explicit mention remains commonplace (where other markets, such as the UK, are more hostile). It is therefore up to everyone to make their own choice in this regard, if requested sell a sponsored post containing a dofollow link (i.e. a link without mention of “nofollow” or “sponsored”).

2. Identify who writes the article

The proposals of writing sponsored articles it may involve you writing the article yourself… or being provided with a pre-written article that you just need to plan (concept of “advertorial”).

Writing yourself has many advantages:

  • Maintain control of your editorial line : the article is written with your style, your level of needs and an axis that fits perfectly with your editorial line, so it is more natural.
  • You control the quality : accepting an article written by a third party a priori offers few guarantees on the quality of the writing, the sources, the originality of the topic discussed and the depth with which it is addressed.
  • You control the tone : a sponsored article does not want to have overtly commercial and advertising content, on the contrary it is more interesting when it offers readers quality information. By writing yourself, you ensure that you master this dimension.
  • Adapt the article to your audience : you are the best person to know your readers and their expectations on a topic.
  • The pay is higher because it takes into account both the value of your site (what it brings in terms of notoriety and audience) but also the editorial work carried out.

However, it must be recognized that it takes time to write it yourself. Additionally, the brand soliciting you may require content validation and sometimes disagreements arise over how to present a product or service.

3. Frame the terms of validity of the article

While I’m talking about it… it’s essential to know before committing if the advertiser wants it validate the article before publication or if he trusts you. Validation can actually take a long time if it involves multiple round trips of rewriting.

It may therefore be useful to impose a framework. What should we try to frame?

  • That you decide : the brand can obviously make comments, suggestions, highlight an error or an inaccuracy in your content… but remember that you remain responsible for the editorial line. Although it is rare that some dishonest people (or those not used to collaborating on sponsored articles) may believe that you are at their disposal to write what suits them, it is important to remember to keep the “final cut” before publishing.
  • That this is not a press release : it is better to remember that you will write your article in your own words, with your opinion on a topic… and not copy a ready-made speech. If the brand expects to be able to dictate what you write, you might as well point to someone else from the start. An article engages you with your readers. If your readers feel betrayed, you will certainly have made money in the short term but you will have lost their trust in the long term.
  • The nature of validation : Clearly specify the number of round trips authorized and their nature (e.g. clerical error corrections, spelling errors but not complete rewrite of content), any billing arrangements if the brand wants a more extensive rewrite.
  • Validation times : in order not to drag out the collaboration for a long time (or risk it not being successful), set deadlines for writing but also for validation so that everyone knows what to expect and that you can anticipate your editorial calendar.
  • Possible negative elements : Often, when you are paid to write, it is tacitly implied that you “say good things” and only good things. This is also the complexity of the relationship between the press and the advertisers who finance it! If a brand asks you to write a review about a product or service, make sure you have the freedom to write honestly so that validation doesn’t erase all the nuances of your review.

4. Frame the writing of the sponsored article

AND establish writing expectationsa good safeguard to then limit the back and forth:

  • How many words should the article contain at least?
  • Who provides the illustrations and how (copyright-free images, advertiser’s proprietary database, etc.)?
  • How many links should the article have? Should they be placed in a specific position (at the beginning, in the first third, etc.)? Am I dofollow or not?
  • Are there any requirements on the topic to be covered (mandatory or free topic, is it necessary to include some specific terms)? You need to make sure you maintain great consistency with your editorial line.

5. Set the date and duration of the publication

It is important to contract the publication date where you commit to putting the article online, this allows you to organize yourself accordingly and, if you have a precise publication rhythm, to anticipate your other contents.

Likewise, you should know that the duration of publication of a sponsored article it can be limited in time if an agreement is reached with the advertiser… For example, you can commit to leaving the article online for at least 2 or 3 years, or on the contrary propose a publication “for the entire duration of the life of your place”.

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6. Anticipate possible changes

If you publish a sponsored article for a long or even unlimited period, it is possible that the article will expire completely over time. This is a point that might be interesting to discuss with the advertiser: they give you permission to do so update content if it becomes obsolete ?

7. Frame some legal elements

Remember to specify who owns the content. By default, if you wrote the article, you can specify that the brand is not allowed to reproduce it elsewhere, on another medium, without your permission, even if one day your site disappears…

You can also include details on how to exit the collaboration if a disagreement emerges: under what conditions can this be done, including financially?

8. Define payment terms

It is quite common not to get paid before publishing when you decide to do so sell a sponsored post…hence the importance of taking a look at the reputation of your interlocutor if you have the chance (requests for sponsored articles are not always sent by the brands themselves but sometimes by the SEO agencies that represent them). Using a connection platform (like Getfluence, Rocketlinks) can help secure payments, as well as offer a clear collaboration framework.

Most often, payment occurs 30 days from publicationa small safeguard that allows the advertiser to ensure that the article is not removed two days after publishing it.

Remember to clarify these payment terms: when will it take place, with which means of payment, who pays the bank charges if the transaction is in foreign currency?

Along the way, remember to quickly retrieve the information you need for the billing. Not all countries are as expert as France in this area and if you are missing some information, it may be difficult to find it later to meet your legal obligations.

A summary of the key points for successfully selling a sponsored item

All these elements can seem overwhelming to manage and things are often decided by a simple email exchange. However, it is good to keep them in mind to avoid disappointment, especially when working with a partner for the first time.

In summary, if you are considering sell a sponsored postRemember to address the following points during discussions with the person asking you:

  • Should the article be marked as sponsored or not and is it a right choice for you?
  • Who writes the content?
  • Does the advertiser require validation before publishing? If so, carefully frame his conditions.
  • What content is expected in the article (length, number of links, etc.)?
  • When should the publication take place and for what duration?
  • What can you do if the item expires over time?
  • Who owns the content?
  • Is there a possibility, for you and for the brand, to end the collaboration and under what terms?
  • What price are you offered for the item and what are the payment terms?

Thanks to this framework, you should be able to sell a sponsored item without encountering any major disappointments. If you work with an SEO agency or brand, also know that often, a fruitful collaboration can lead to subsequent opportunities, so it’s important to nurture relationships!

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