Blog Advertising Rates

What is a Sponsored Post?

A sponsored post is when a blogger receives payment to publish an article provided by the sponsor or written by the blogger, but includes at least one contextual link.  The article is known as a sponsored post, guest post, post with a link and probably many other names.

Sponsored posts gaining in popularity

Sponsored posts are becoming more widespread than a traditional text link in the sidebar or footer.  Google continually strives to combat links meant for SEO (search engine optimization) or SERP manipulation.  Placing a link within the context of an entire article is much more difficult to discover because it seems to appear naturally.  After all, most legitimate (non-paid) links are placed within the context of an article when someone is referencing another source or touting a product or service they like.  Look for link builders to contact you for a sponsored post placement more often now.

A free sponsored post?

They will convince you it’s free, but it shouldn’t be.  Anytime you place a link on your website someone is benefiting.  This is probably the most abused request for free services from bloggers.  Abused in the sense that it’s often offered as a benefit to you, the blog owner.  The email might read, “We are offering you quality free content, just include this one link in the article please.”  Don’t be fooled by these offers of guest posts.  A guest post is not from a company, it’s from an individual blogger like you.  If the email of the person is a business or a personal email with no blog domain in the name, consider it a sponsored post request.

Do they benefit bloggers?

Overall, the movement towards sponsored posts have benefited bloggers in terms of money.  You can charge more for a sponsored post than you can for a text link in the sidebar.  You can charge more because the link is now being distributed throughout your entire network.  Your feed subscribers, Facebook fans and Twitter followers are all going to help propagate the article.  It will even sit on your home page for a few days as a new post.  These are all added benefits you can charge for.  In addition, you do get an article that is typically written in a style that does well from an SEO perspective.  The quality of the content provided varies tremendously.

Who writes the sponsored post?

The article is usually provided to you.  You should be able to publish it as is.  However, as the owner of your blog and ultimately any content you publish, you can make the decision as to who writes the article.  If your blog has personal character, and is always written from your perspective, you probably want the sponsored post to be your voice also.  A sponsored post seller typically won’t have a problem with this, unless they focus a lot on SEO and want to control the content and titles.  Also, know that you can charge more by writing it yourself, since it requires more investment of time from you.

What’s in a sponsored post?

A sponsored post isn’t an article touting a product, it’s an article related to your website keywords and usually inline with your existing content, that has a link or two in it.  That’s it, nothing more.  If you write a travel blog, expect the article to be about travel.  Often you can request the article’s topic.  I have done this many times to fill gaps in my blog’s content.  The follow links in the article are there for an SEO benefit to those sites.  If they can get that article to do well in terms of Google PageRank and applicable keywords, it benefits them.

How much should I charge?

You can charge based on your sites Google PageRank, traffic, link popularity and keyword strength or relevance to the links being placed.  Social network reach won’t play a significant role in this type of service, but if you have a strong StumbleUpon or Twitter network that can create article traction quickly, be sure to mention it.

This chart is a just a guide to what I charge on my blogs.  Many will argue whether it’s website traffic or PageRank that determines price.  A new factor is now domain authority and trust from companies like SEOMoz.  A good rule of thumb is $100 per PageRank.

Blog Advertising Rates

Rates are subject to change based on other factors such as keyword strength and relevance, and link popularity

Do I need to disclosure?

According to the FTC, in this case you would be required to disclose for the sponsored post.

“Bloggers who receive cash or in-kind payment (including free products or services for review) are deemed endorsers and so must disclose material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.”

Tips for sponsored posts

  • Apply a term limit such as 1yr or up to 3yrs
  • If you blog usually contains images, include them in the post
  • Don’t publish back to back sponsored posts
  • Don’t alienate or inundate your audience with too many sponsored posts
  • Limit the post to 2 links
  • Include a legitimate link in addition to the paid links
  • Make sure the writing is up to your standards of writing
  • Make sure the article is still relevant to your readers
  • Consider negotiating repeated sponsored posts for a discounted rate (example 1 post every week at a discount)
  • Be aware of claims for a guest post, you deserve more respect than that!
Disclosure: I am not legally qualified to provide financial or legal advice.  My intent is to provide my opinions and spur discussion.

About Jason Castellani

Senior Consultant for ATCS Inc. and Principal of Castellani Media LLC., a collection of blogs focused on providing unique content and entertainment. Began blogging after quitting my job and backpacking for 1 year with my wife. I became fascinated with the impact of social media and how social media marketing can help businesses grow. My goal is to continue building consulting services in an effort to remain digital nomads. @JasonCastellani

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51 Responses to What is a Sponsored Post?

  1. Adam September 9, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    Interesting insight and like the idea of your new sight. I’d just emphasize that this is pretty much geared toward American bloggers, as every international market (even though online) is different. Interested to see what else you have to post.

    • Jason September 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

      Hey Adam, thank for leaving a comment. Can you describe some differences between a US market and say UK market in regards to link building?

      • Adam September 12, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

        The US and UK markets are pretty similar though I’ve found most UK companies will often pay the same rate you might charge in dollars, but in euros or pounds. With currency conversions, this can definitely work to the blogger’s advantage.

        I also believe linkbuyers in Australia generally expect to pay much less for links than buyers in Europe or America. Though there are several European online markets where buying links is not nearly as popular as multi-site link exchanges.

  2. Shereen September 10, 2011 at 12:59 am #

    Thank you for this, especially the compensation chart. I find that to be very helpful. I do sponsored posts occasionally and this will definitely help in the future.

    • Jason September 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

      Glad I could help Shereen. There is a lot of unknown in this area and it’s becoming more and more popular. In general, inexperienced bloggers are under charging. I hope to help you earn what you deserve. Just remember, nothing should be free if you are investing time.

  3. Mary Jo Manzanares September 10, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    Most bloggers I know consider a sponsored post to be one which they write incorporating the client’s keyword + link combinations into their post in some organic fashion. The post is a REAL post for REAL readers written on something the blogger feels appropriate for the audience.

    Publishing commercial copy from another source is seen as advertorial (you’ll see that term if print magazines as well) or content placement (a term from television and film).

    I think transparency with your readers is always the way to go, but at least legally there is some question about whether the FTC regulations require disclosure in the first example. The latter definitely is covered.

    • Jason September 12, 2011 at 2:35 am #

      Yes, there are 2 major differences there. The one that is provided in it’s entirety and the version that you mention. I believe the definitions sill vary across bloggers. I witnessed this in several forums and on blogger’s rate pages. I think the disclosure will also vary amongst bloggers regardless of how clear the FTC makes their guidelines, but your right, the contextual link in a post created by you is not yet well defined.
      I personally categorize what you describe as a contextual link rather than a Sponsored Post. I view a Sponsored Post as an entire post written for the sole purpose of the link. What you describe is placing a link in an article that is going to be written regardless of the link. Mary Jo, I appreciate you contributing in the comments.

  4. santafetraveler September 12, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    Thanks for this post Jason. It’s great food for thought. We are grappling with how we want to monetize our blog and appreciate any and all help.

    • Jason September 12, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

      It’s one of the most complicated stages of building a blog and one of the topics written about least. Let’s try to fix that.

  5. Nicole September 12, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    Great post Jason. The inclusion of the chart is particularly handy as I have no clue what rate to mention when people do talk to me about sponsored posts.

    I’ve been noticing more and more badly written sponsored posts where the bloggers only take the sponsored posts or links for the money. It’s sad to see, especially on some of my favourite blogs, but alas, they do it.

    Can’t wait to read more posts from this blog. :)

    • Adam September 12, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

      I think you’ll find advertisers and those interested in purchasing sponsored posts often have different objectives, so universal rates don’t always apply. One company may be more interested in the marketing exposure, another more interested in SEO links. Neither way is right or wrong, but each has a different price.

      • Jason September 12, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

        They might have different objectives, but a buyer’s objective shouldn’t influence a blogger’s price as long as the product or service provided is the same.

        That’s not to say advertisers don’t have different price points, they most certainly do. We all have our budgets, but that doesn’t mean bloggers should change prices based on someone’s budget.

        If I want to buy a car, that choice will be based on a budget and my own particular desires or reasons. It’s highly unlikely that the dealership is going to change the price of the car to either satisfy my budget or because of my own reasons for purchasing the vehicle.

        As long as the product is the same, the price should remain the same.

        Thanks for continuing to participate in the discussion Adam.

        • Miya @ Design Indulgences November 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm #

          This article has been a tremendous help to me esp the idea of a dealership not lowering price just because a buyer doesn’t have it in the budget. As an interior designer where I’m offering a service, it’s always difficult to figure out what to charge and in the past I HAVE lowered my fee based on circumstance. I don’t see others asking a plumber, mechanic, nail tech or hair stylist to lower fees but with us, we get it all the time. So this put everything into perspective.

          Thank you

  6. Nomadic Samuel September 12, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    Jason, sponsored posts are one of the first things I’ve done to monetize my blog. I’ve actually found that because the links are often related to places I haven’t visited it’s provided an interesting challenge for me to write a research based article. The added benefit is that I’m providing content on my site about a destination I may not have written about myself on my own initiative. I agree with you though that writing too many of these could alienate your readers – especially if you have a blog that isn’t updated daily.

    • Jason September 12, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

      My travel blog also now covers destinations I have not experienced through the use of Sponsored Posts and Guest Posts. I think it’s important that the articles are useful to your audience and in line with your style of content providing. I have received articles that in my mind were very well written and researched. I turn down the ones that aren’t.

  7. Nick Tort September 13, 2011 at 6:20 am #

    Great article! There is a lot to be explored in terms of sponsored posts. Many people are in the dark and aren’t aware of such opportunities, and if they are, they might not be up to speed on how to correctly execute them.
    I would like to speak more with you regarding a collaborative project that I am working on. My email is nicktort80 at gmail. Please shoot me a line so we can touch base.
    In the meantime, I’ll be following along on your sites!

  8. Lisa @chickybus September 13, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I’ve been approached re: these types of situations and haven’t been sure how to handle them. The chart will be helpful to me, I’m sure!

    • Jason September 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

      Glad I could help Lisa.

  9. Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot September 14, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    Interesting articles and comments, thanks Jason. I charge more than the rates shown here because I will only accept a sponsored post if I write it myself. I don’t want to run the risk of having boring content on my blog and losing readers in exchange for money.

    So I need to be paid for writing time and also building a conversation around a brand and making them look cool:)

    To me that’s much more valuable than just an incoming link and spammy seo key phrases anyway.

    It’s a personal recommendation from someone my readers know and trust. (Me;)

    Don’t sell yourselves short bloggers. You work is valuable and worth paying for:)

    • Jason September 14, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

      I think the most important thing is your last statement,

      “Don’t sell yourselves short bloggers. You work is valuable and worth paying for.”

      That’s what we need to recognize most. I also charge more for writing it on my own because of the additional time invested and as you pointed out, it can flow more easily with your other posts. Thanks for contributing Annabel.

  10. Caz Makepeace September 19, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    Great post, really makes the differences clear. I love the pricing table you have included. Really helpful

    • Jason September 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

      Thanks Caz, I appreciate you stopping by. I know it’s hard to pinpoint pricing, but I remember when I first started getting advertising inquiries and any little bit of pricing information would have been useful.

  11. David @ MalaysiaAsia September 20, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    Hot Damn! I( should be charging $550! And here I am offering $300. Thanks for the heads up Jason :)

    • Jason September 20, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

      Yes, David, you absolutely can based on where I am guessing you fall on that chart.

  12. Todd @ Todd's Wanderings October 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    Nice write up Jason and I like the pricing chart as it takes more into account than the normal PR based metrics. Can I ask how successful you have been at these prices, or at least at your price point on the chart? If you remember I ran a survey recently trying to find what the actually pricing is out there amongst us bloggers. I’m hoping to do a more comprehensive one soon that also includes traffic numbers.

    • Jason October 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

      Thanks for visiting Todd. My main blog get’s 20,000 UVs and is a PR4. I list my Sponsored Post at $500USD. I get $400-$500. Now, I don’t do a lot of them, but I do get quality content. My personal opinion is that I would rather do few for hight $$ rather than a lot for small $$. I still think the majority of bloggers are undercharging for Sponsored Posts or falling for the “Guest Post” scheme.

  13. Zoe Dawes October 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this Jason – Mel @traveldudes shared it on Global Bloggers Network. The pricing structure gives a good idea of what we can aim for. I charge for one or two links which gives clients a bit more flexibility.

    You may be interested in the debate going on here

    http://www.thequirkytraveller.com/2011/09/10-questions-top-tips-before-a-blog-trip/

    Good to discover you :-)

    • Jason October 4, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

      I actually stumbled across your post 2 days ago and bookmarked it so I can have a read. Thanks for the reminder. I’m glad this post is becoming useful for people. Prices are so vague right now and it’s nice to have some sort of direction or insight into what each of us is charging and how we sell posts and links. Thanks for commenting Zoe.

  14. Jeremy Branham October 5, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    Thanks for the info Jason. Terms are thrown around so much it’s good to get clarification on sponsored posts. The good news it that I am charging exactly what I should be! :)

    • Jason October 5, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

      Glad to hear Jeremy. It can be confusing, there are so many different variations of link usage in an article.

  15. Lily October 5, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    Are the rates you posted the price per year?

    • Jason October 5, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

      Sponsored posts are typically permanent, but I do put a 3yr limit on them in case my blog changes direction and those posts are no longer relevant.

  16. Lisa | LLWorldTour November 21, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    I don’t allow any permanent ads and don’t think that is a good idea…it devalues the link completely. I charge per month and get advertisers to usually lock in for 3, 6, or 12 mos at a time.

  17. Roy Marvelous November 23, 2011 at 7:07 pm #

    Jason, thank you – this is gold!
    I don’t understand why more bloggers aren’t forthcoming about data like this. The more we share info, the better we can work together for raising the minimum acceptable prices. If we are all in the dark, we’d end up undercutting each other.

  18. Matt February 21, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

    Hi Jason,

    I read your post and pricing criteria with great interest. I totally disagree with your prices and criteria, but being British, of course, in the nicest way possible :)

    There are few things to consider from a link builders perspective, so whilst disagreeing I hope this might at least interest you.

    Firstly, whilst refering traffic is great, a Linkbuilder is all about ‘the link’. Basing your price on traffic makes perfect sense to bloggers, link builders will not be too bothered (although it is a great indicator the site is an authority, so I would certainly take it into account).

    Secondly, basing prices on PR may not be the best. For example for the money you would charge I could build a small network of my own WordPress blogs and build links to them to gain a decent PR, because PR is still really easy to manipulate, it is really just an indicator of link popularity. I would look more at topical relevance of a site to my client, the top backlinks to the site and Domain and Page Authority as indicators, which are harder to manipulate – this is happening more and more.

    I presume you are a full time blogger, but many others keep blogs in their spare time and do not have the time do produce their own content regulary, therefore a well written guest blog, with links, offers something for their readers, and adding a link costs the site owner nothing!

    From my experience your prices are well off the mark, but if you are getting that kind of money, good for you! :) But an informed link builder would and should spend client’s money in a more creative fashion! (or move on to a cheaper offering)

    My approach to outreach is straight down the line, I don’t offer free content, or dress it up, or aim to deceive. I would tell you exaclty what I am offering and what I want in return. Unlike some of your examples, I am sure there are many that take an honest approach, as do the dishonest one!

    I wouldn’t say that bloggers are being tricked or mis-sold into only charging small amounts for their sponsored posts, it is very much like the way PR (Public Relations) works in the UK. If you have a hook, a story or an offer or just some great information that might be of use to the reader, why not use it, even if it has a commercial motive, just throw in a link! Just as journalists publish commercially written content in offline publications!

  19. jeff April 5, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    This is a great article and very informative,thank you for putting us on the know about sponsored posts,am also new to these,but thanks for you article i can understand about sponsored posts.Keep up the good job,thank you .

  20. Joelyne April 10, 2012 at 5:54 am #

    you didnt mention ‘nofollow’ links. Just wondering about your thoughts on this. As it’s against google policy to use follow links on sponsored links.

  21. Elal Jane Lasola May 28, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Interesting read. Now, I know my blog’s worth :)

  22. lydia August 2, 2012 at 1:00 am #

    Thank you for this!

  23. Lori@Mothering Matters September 11, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    Thanks so much for this! I’ve been getting those (annoying) emails about offering me “free posts” that are “unique” and just for my website, but will include a link. (No thank you)

    Thanks for your advice and suggestions!

    Lori :)

    • Jason Castellani September 11, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

      Glad I could help you Lori. Those emails are such a pain in the butt. At least you know they sneaky approach now. Don’t forget to check out our recent article about 2012 trends on sponsored posts.

  24. littlecrunchy.com September 15, 2012 at 2:12 am #

    I love blogging and reviewing and while my blog is a PR3 I sometimes take less money when I know better. Like many other bloggers I am not trained in negotiating and it can be hard to ask for what we are worth. I try to be flexible. While one of my British clients is not at the top of your range for paid links they are consistent and good to me. That matters. I wonder what the holiday season is going to bring?

  25. Catarina F Pinto October 9, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    Hi Jason :) I must say your blog is helping me A LOT! I have only one question. The prices you put on the chart are CPM? Or if you are a PR5 with 5000UV you charge 300$ for each sponsored post?

    Thank you,
    Catarina

  26. Altin January 27, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    Very helpful article Jason :)

    My blog is PR4 and I just got a request for a sponsored post.

    Looking for average rates, I found this site on Google and it looks really cool too.

    Keep up the quality work you’re doing here bro!

  27. Edward Antrobus March 14, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    Thanks for the chart. In light of the Google updates last year in inflation, would you still recommend those prices?

  28. Angela March 27, 2013 at 7:09 am #

    I found your article extremely helpful. Since I have been blogging, it has been next to impossible to find anything that gives me an indication of what is a going rate for advertising, reviews, etc. I will definitely use this chart in the future. I am only a PR1 at the moment and your chart doesn’t address that. Now they just give me a product, however should I charge a nominal fee? I just created a media kit that i update as my numbers are rising rapidly. Do you have a blog that I can subscribe to?

  29. kelly thompson March 27, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    very great- thank you- do you think woman generally command the same as men in these situations?

  30. Nick - Goats On The Road May 23, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Hey Jason,
    Thanks for a great post. I read it through as well as all of the comments.
    This is an interesting topic and one that I am just coming across now after a year of blogging on my website. I do have a couple of questions for you.
    You never mentioned hiding the posts. If you hide the posts on all of your pages then they will no longer reach your pages. Using plugins like WP-hide you can do this quite easily. Do you recommend this?
    Also, there is no page rank 1 on your chart but there is still value in PR1 sites. I wonder what you would charge on a PR1 site with 8,000 UVs / month. I have been getting offers upwards of $100.
    Oh one more question. I have an offer for a sponsored post but they want it to be a “lifetime” post. What if my blog somehow dies (I’m shivering just saying that). Would i be expected to give the money back?!

    Thanks for your help and AWESOME post.

  31. LoudPen June 17, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    This post was cool but I don’t understand this infographic that everyone seems to be posting. I don’t agree with charging for posts based off an equation that only people who work for Google can actually solve. Like literally no one knows how Google calculates page rank so setting your rates based off of a page rank (when you can’t say how you got that rank) is crazy to me.

    And those sponsored post rates scare me. Like unless you’re writing the world’s simplest post I don’t see how you could charge $50 and say you’re monetizing your blog. I know that’s for the lowest PR and monthly views but when you have traditional and digital advertising going for thousands/millions for 30 sec ads I see $50 and think wow you’re giving it away for free. Keep in mind once you publish a post, it will be there for forever!

    Since I’ve been doing research on this whole monetization/sponsored post item, I have learned one major lesson. Set your rates based off who you are and what you feel you are worth and call it a day. It’s good to do research but in the end, it’s your money, your blog, your time. Do with it what you will.

    Thanks for the food for thought!

  32. John July 11, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    Right notes on the right time. I have been requested to host a give away of online products to my readership but, did not understand how much should I charge them. It would be appreciating if you could help me decide what I should charge?

    I own a PR2 blog.

    Please help.

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