You get an inquiry about advertising on your blog or doing a sponsored post. That little voice inside your head does that squeal and you start to do the happy dance. I mean, someone wants to work with YOU on YOUR BLOG!
But, not so fast…
Before you get all excited about the potential offer, take a step back and remember: not all offers are good for you and your blog … no matter how much you need the money. If you take an online gambling advertisement, you may risk having your site blacklisted. Or, a company may be asking you to do something that is against regulations and you may not even know it. Better do your homework!
5 Questions to Ask Blog Sponsors Before You Say ‘Yes’
1. What is your company?
Here’s the thing: legitimate companies aren’t shady. They state right up front, “I’m Jackie and I work for X company.” A big red flag that a company might not be one that you want to work with is that they don’t identify their company before they pitch you. Be sure you gain a full understanding of a company before you work with them.
2. Where will the ad or sponsored post link to on the sponsors site?
This is the first question I always ask. Sometimes companies don’t even answer back after I ask it. (That’s pretty telling, right?) Ask them exactly what page on the website the ad or links within a post will point to and then go check it out!
3. Do you expect “do follow” links?
Any time you are getting paid (and remember, product is considered “payment”) for an ad or link on your blog, it must be a “no follow” link. (If you need help on this, email me.) Using do follow links makes it look like you are getting paid just to help people drive their page rank up (and you don’t want to get that reputation).
4. How long do you want to advertise?
I work with big and small companies and it is rare that I take a one year contract on anything. Even when consulting, I offer intervals of 3, 6 or (on occasion) 12 months of contracting because so many factors can change in this fast-paced world.
When a company starts out of the gate (without even talking to you) with “I want to advertise on your site for one year” then your red flag should go up. Don’t lock yourself into something you can’t get out of. (Not to mention, $300 upfront may seem like a good deal, but when you start breaking it down for a year and the work you need to do, is $25/month really worth it?)
5. What is your budget and what your terms?
One thing I always preach to my individual blogger clients is stop letting others dictate your rate. Speak up and ask the company what their budget is for the project or advertising and then let them know how it works with your rates (or, if it doesn’t work at all).
Additionally, ask the company about their terms for the working with them. If you can’t mention the name of another fast food restaurant for a year (even in passing on a personal note) on any of your social networks, is it really worth it? I know of some horror stories of people who have had pissing contests with individuals or companies who heavily policed their social networks and didn’t allow them to mention anything that they even thought remotely was in competition.
Know what you’re getting into with companies and do not be afraid to say NO. This is your blog and your company. If you accept a sponsored post because you need the money at the moment but it ruins your blog’s reputation, then what have you gained?