Sponsored Post

Sponsored Post Trends in 2012

Sponsored post offerings are increasing and you can benefit tremendously if you have a high quality high PageRank blog.  If you are not familiar with Sponsored Posts, you can catch up on our post “What is a Sponsored Post?

High Quality Backlinks

With Google continuing to crackdown on manipulation of their search algorithms through the Penguin and Panda updates, link buyers are looking for higher quality backlinks.  They do this by requesting the text link be placed in the content body of a high Google PageRank page, a site with a good domain authority and trust, relevant post or page titles and relevant targeted keywords as the link’s anchor text.  These are some of the major factors one will look for when purchasing a backlink.

Types of Sponsored Posts

We all refer to these types of posts using many different names.

1. Guest Post

When you receive an email from a link buyer, 99% of the time, they will disguise themselves as someone looking for a free guest post.  Don’t get duped.  There is no such thing as a free guest post if they want a link in it.  I am a travel blogger, and if someone approaches me for a true guest post, they usually send the email from their blog domain, they provide a link to their travel blog and I can connect with them on social media to verify they indeed do manage their own personal travel blog.  If the request you receive doesn’t meet all those criteria, most likely it’s a link buyer.  You will learn very quickly which ones are legitimate guest posts.

Since they refer to it as a guest post in their email, I also don’t mind referring to it as a guest post, but it’s a paid guest post.  The next question is, who writes the post?  You can write it, or they can provide you an article.  My personal preference is to write the article so it stays true to the style of our writing.  They might tell you it’s the highest of quality content, but honestly, it’s usually crap.  If you value your time, consider factoring that into the price you set.  If you are open to receiving posts from them, be specific about what you expect.

2. Sponsored Post

Rarely will you receive a request for a Sponsored Post.  Link builders don’t like to refer to it as a sponsored post, because it has controversy and negativity surrounding it.  Many bloggers and link builders will use sponsored post and paid guest post interchangeably.

In my offerings I distinguish between the two.  I explain a sponsored post as a 175 character sentence at the bottom of a normal article by me that reads, “This post sponsored by…”  I allow them to place their company name and whichever anchor text or keywords they want.  This is an ideal offering because it’s clearly labeled and it doesn’t change your article at all.  Since this requires no extra effort on my part, I offer this service at half the price of a paid guest post.  Honestly, it’s not a preferred option for many link buyers, because it’s not in the main body of the article and it’s not naturally occurring.

3. Contextual Link

If we want to get really specific, this is actually what we are doing.  We are placing a link contextually, which is a backlink embedded within content.

These 3 different types of “Sponsored Posts” are all very similar and it’s the hottest trend in link buying.  Sidebar backlink requests are becoming less frequent, while sponsored posts are an opportunity to make more money from link selling.  However, with the increase in requests for sponsored posts, also comes an increase in time wasted email.  To handle this, you must learn to say, “No”.

Always Reply to a Guest Post Request

Even if you know the email request is not worth your time, be sure to respond.  Create a standard reply and store it in your draft folder.  Copy and paste, copy and paste into every email that you receive that reads:

This is Kyla, I went through your site while surfing in Google, am very much impressed with your site’s unique information.I work as a content writer in UK and love the opportunity to guest post for your readers. I would like to give you a unique article on any of your travel related topics. No duplication or copying of the articles are done. I assure you that the article will be published only on your site.  The best part is I won’t be charging you a penny, but in return all I need is just one link within the article.

This is a what I call junk mail, but I assure you, 1 out of 50 will reply asking for prices or make an offer, dependent on the information you sent them.  In my standard reply I already list the options and my prices to try to reduce the number of back and forth emails.  Depending on your blog’s appeal to link buyers, you may receive 10 or more of these a day.  It can be very frustrating, but it’s important to remain educated and familiar with the latest trends in link buying techniques.

Other examples of disguised Sponsored Post requests

I’m excited to come across your blog which is both a pleasurable read and an informative resource. I have articles on Travel and I thought they would be perfect for your audience. I wanted to run them by you and see if you’d be interested in accepting them as guest posts.

We are a small London based Agency. We have a high quality blog at [removed]  . We would like to contribute by writing a Guest post on your blog which can appeal to your audience. We really like your blog and would love to contribute. Please get in touch with me if you are interested in the offer . We are not spammers we are bloggers just like you.

Remember, it’s against Google policy to sell links to game their search algorithms, but it’s not against the law. Sell links at your own risk.

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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8 Responses to Sponsored Post Trends in 2012

  1. Jeremy August 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Man.. I’ve received every single one of those email examples you’ve listed. You mean they don’t really think my blog is high quality and a valuable resource? Sad :(

    • Jason Castellani August 8, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

      It’s depressing every day. The work up your confidence and then hit you with, “Sorry we don’t pay.”

  2. Lauren, Ephemerratic August 8, 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    I’ve made many many gmail canned response replies (love that Lab feature!) for all the various spammy guest post requests. A huge time saver.

    I’d rather if they just came back quickly with a “sorry we don’t pay” reply to my reply. But no, they insist on telling me that my prices are “crazy” or “ridiculous” or that I’m “doing [myself] no favors.”

    That’s pot kettle at best!

    • Jason Castellani August 8, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

      You are absolutely right, that is usually what happens. It’s very frustrating. Sometimes I just want to write back, “I wasn’t born yesterday, stop treating me like an idiot, you idiot!” But, I try not too.

      • Lauren, Ephemerratic August 15, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

        I’m curious. I’ve been getting a bunch of requests lately for contextual links in posts. The advertisers want the links to live “forever” on the post in the archives.

        That seems crazy, especially since other text links I’d sell outside of posts would only be up for as long as the advertiser paid for.

        When you sell contextual links in posts, do you sell them for a fixed period of time?

        • Jason Castellani August 15, 2012 at 8:04 pm #

          Lauren, Many are now requesting permanent links. Typically, I sell 3-year terms to make them feel comfortable. Although, I will say permanent if they require it. To me, it’s not a big deal, because I don’t plan to change the article once it’s published. Since my team writes most of the articles, they are usually good and I will never want to take the article down. Altering an article by removing a link one year later can also possibly raise awareness to Google. I would rather just leave the article alone and not touch it again. It’s really your personal preference, but you will struggle with trying to sell contextual links in posts for less than 3 year commitments.

          • Lauren, Ephemerratic August 15, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

            Thanks Jason. This makes sense, I just didn’t have enough context to think it through well enough. It’s easy enough to set a post to expire in WordPress, so I’d considered the possibility as long as I could set it and forget it.

            The “forever” / 3 years also is one of many things that I’m think helps explain the higher prices for sponsored/paid posts over dinky sidebar text links….

            …that and the awesome writing of the blog post these links will appear in!

          • Jason Castellani August 15, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

            And you should be careful to expire a post in the future that may have done very well for you, attracted inbound links and earned a good PageRank. It could negatively impact your blog. If a link does expire, I would always leave the post up, and just remove the link.

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