You want to make money with your blog, right? Of course you do! One of the best ways to earn an income from your blog is by participating in sponsored campaigns. But blogger beware: Mistakes made in campaign posts can tarnish your reputation or, even worse, exclude you from participation in future campaigns.
In this three-part series, we’re going to cover mistakes made by bloggers who are taking part in sponsored campaigns and help you avoid them on your own site. Start off on the right foot as a successful campaign blogger with these dos and don’ts of the application process.
Don’t apply for every opportunity. The sponsored post must be something that fits in with your content and audience, of course, and just as important is the timing. Are you going to be on vacation during the campaign? Having surgery? Getting married? You likely won’t be able to give it your all, so it’s best to pass. According to Felissa Elfenbein, BlogPaws Director of Influencer Marketing, “A post that doesn’t do well because you didn’t have the time you needed to create the post, edit the images, and properly promote could keep you from a campaign you REALLY want to be a part of.”
Do have a good reason for applying. The brand should be something you would genuinely endorse. It should be personal to you and in your readers’ best interest. If you have no experience with the product or service, and you choose to copy/paste from the brand’s website or the campaign information, your reader will not feel connected to the content so will not comment, share, or otherwise engage. That doesn’t help you or the brand.
Don’t include exemptions or exceptions in your application. If you can’t adhere to every single requirement–say, you won’t feed your pet the food–don’t apply. It’s not the right post for you. Likewise, if you can’t adhere to the deadline of either the application or the post, don’t request an extension. Campaign deadlines are usually timed to a T. It’s far better to skip one that doesn’t quite work than to ruffle a brand’s feathers. Apply for the next one that rolls around.
An extra don’t for food-related campaigns from Felissa: “If you are not willing or able to actually feed the food or supplement due to allergies, dietary restrictions, or it just doesn’t work for your dog, don’t apply. It isn’t fair to the brand that is looking for people to really recommend and advocate for the food,” she said. And, remember, “The campaign call out shares exactly what the brand is looking for from your post. Figure out before you apply how you will share the product. If your answer is, ‘I will take some pictures and share the key points from the brand but have no personal story or angle to add,’ it isn’t fair to those who would be a better fit for the brand and a true advocate of the product.”
Do fill out–in detail–all parts of the campaign application. Seriously. Fill it out in full, and include your “hook,” that is, the unique spin that only you and your blog can put toward the campaign.
Finally, when you get accepted, YAY! Take a minute to celebrate, then accept the assignment. If you’re a BlogPaws blogger, you must accept it to claim your post dates in TapInfluence. (Hint: Still not sure about the new platform? Stay tuned for part three in this “how to be a successful campaign blogger” series for answers to your TapInfluence questions!)
In the end, if you’re not the right person for the job–either because of content, your audience, the timing, and so on–you won’t do your best on the post. Sure, the prospect of earning more money is a good one, but it’s far better to take on fewer opportunities and knock ’em out of the park than to spread yourself too thin and make mistakes.
What questions do you have about the campaign application process? Any pitfalls you avoid? Any tips and tricks for creating the perfect hook on an application? Please share your experience or advice in the comments!
Maggie Marton serves as the BlogPaws blog manager. When not hiking with her two pit mixes, Emmett and Cooper, or playing with Newt the Cat, Maggie writes about them (and the pet industry) at ohmydogblog.com and maggiemarton.com.