Are You Being Conned? Fair Sponsored Blog Post Rates and Best Practice Guidelines

Like most bloggers, you dream of making money from your blog one day.

In my experience, blogging is largely a labor of love, especially in niches like travel, a topic I blogged about three years ago and still cover devotedly. You can check out my travel blog if you wish, but if you’re not familiar with Get In the Hot Spot, I started it almost six years ago and have been selling advertising for about three years.

When I owned Successful Blogging (sold to Sue in 2013) is to help other small business owners or writers use blogging to sell more of their services or products.

Blogging is brilliant for that – it’s helped me get paid to write blog posts, including some sweet travel writing gigs, and it’s also helped me find more clients for my web and blog design business. Well, I didn’t find them; they found me through my blogs.

Normally I avoid writing about making money from blog advertising because it’s not relevant to writers and small business owners. But there are more and more blog writers here on Successful Blogging who are hoping to make an income directly from the sponsored posts on their blog.

Some of my clients and readers are now being approached for advertising and don’t know how much to charge for sponsored blog posts.

Plus, I keep hearing stories about how much (or little) bloggers charge for sponsored blog posts and seeing recommendations about how much to charge for sponsored blog posts which think are way too low. I can’t stand the thought of small business owners and bloggers being poorly paid for valuable access to their readers so it’s time for me to weigh in.

What is a Sponsored Blog Post?

A sponsored blog post is a blog post which you are paid to publish on your blog. It may be written by you or by the advertisers.

In accordance with FTC regulations, always mention it’s a sponsored blog post, usually at the end of the post with a byline such as…

“This blog post was sponsored by (Name Brand Here).”

Even if you are not legally bound to disclose that you’ve been paid to publish a post, you should. According to SEO expert Igor Kholkin, founder of Los Angeles SEO agency Avidon Marketing Group, Google actively monitors & penalizes sites that pass paid-for promotion as a natural endorsement.

Trust and authenticity are important and your readers will soon become disillusioned and jaded if you mislead them whether intentionally or accidentally.

What Blog Advertising Agencies Charge for Sponsored Blog Posts

Based on the above algorithm I should charge about $55 per sponsored blog post on Get In the Hot Spot. Sadly, it would hardly be worth my time dealing with an advertiser, writing a post, publishing and promoting it for that low rate.

I wouldn’t recommend that bloggers sell sponsored blog posts for such a low figure unless they don’t have a loyal and returning readership and don’t care about losing the readers they do have.

In fact, I charge (and get paid) about 14 times that rate.

I didn’t pick my rate at random either.

I based my current sponsored blog post rate on what a big blog advertising agency charges brands for sponsored blog posts on blogs with similar traffic to mine. I can’t show my sources but I got this information from a leading blogger who uses a major blog advertising agency.

The brands actually pay the blog advertising agency twice as much as that but the agency keeps 50% and gives the blogger around 50%.

Since I know some brands pay $1,500 through a blog advertising agency for a sponsored blog post on a blog with similar traffic to mine, and I charge half the price, I believe my rate offers excellent value.

Of course, some companies and brands won’t pay this high rate but that’s fine.  I want to attract quality advertisers who value my blog and readers by offering a quality blog. Charging more and delivering better quality and results works out best for both parties bloggers and advertisers.

There’s a rate card (for sponsored blog posts here), which under charges up to $350 per post according to my rates, or up to $1,050 according to what an advertising agency might charge. That’s a huge difference and a lot of money potentially being lost. Or a lot of bloggers being ripped off because they don’t know what to charge.

How Much Do Bloggers Get Paid For Sponsored Posts?

It’s up to you to decide what to charge, but when setting your rates, you should consider:

  • How many sponsored blog posts you’ll write each month. For example, you could promise only two sponsored blog posts a month and charge more for that exclusivity.
  • Would you prefer to offer more sponsored blog posts at a lower rate or less at a higher rate? I’d prefer to work with few clients and charge more.
  • What else you can offer your advertisers in terms of exposure on your other social media outposts, such as Twitter or Facebook.
  • If running a sponsored blog post by a certain brand will provide value to your readers and add to your blogging credibility.
  • If the brand has the same values as your blogging brand.
  • If the brand or product is something that would naturally interest your readers and fit with what you normally cover on your blog.
  • How much time you’ll spend researching, writing and finding images for the sponsored blog post.
  • If you’ll write the post yourself or just edit and format a post the advertiser has written.
  • How much influence you have online, and if that will be eroded if you work with certain brands. or promote too many brands too often.
  • If the post needs to be an advertorial about the product or if you can just write your normal blog post or a post on a related topic without pushing a brand or product.
  • How engaged your blog readers are. I believe engagement is more important than the number of readers a blog has.
MY PERSONAL RECOMMENDATION FOR YOU  The 7 Best Ways to Include Influencers in Your Content

Best Practice Tips for Sponsored Blog Posts

1. Start small

If you haven’t sold any sponsored blog posts yet, start by charging less until you can build up a portfolio to show other advertisers and get testimonials.

Remember, these will be your first paid advertisements and sponsored blog posts which you can show other clients, so you want to make sure they look good and get comments.

2. Set a rate according to your experience, reputation, and influence

I’m qualified and have 17 years experience writing copy for the web. I charge $125-$250 per hour for web copywriting and my rates for sponsored blog posts show that.

3. Take payment in advance.

I won’t start writing a post until I’ve been paid.

4. Be professional

Establish a clear process for accepting and publishing sponsored blog posts such as:

  • payment is taken;
  • headline approved;
  • the blog post was written;
  • changes made if requested by the client;
  • final copy approved;
  • blog post scheduled;
  • the blog post published.

You can do this in your media kit by explaining what you offer and for what price. In my media kit, I say all sponsored blog posts are written by me. That also accounts for the high rate as it pays for my time.

I rarely take posts where the advertiser writes it but when I have, I suggest the headline, have the final say and edit their copy. I charged less as I didn’t have to write it but remember that editing, formatting, and promoting still takes time.

5. Compete on quality, not on price

Generally, I will only accept a sponsored post if I write it myself because 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, for building a conversation around a brand and for making them look cool.

Many companies that approach you aren’t interested in that anyway and look at sponsored blog posts as a way of building incoming links and improving their search engine optimization.

I’m not selling an incoming link on set key phrases though, I’m selling access to an engaged readership, exclusivity (because I limit the number of blog posts) and the chance to be featured on an established and high-quality blog.

6. Prime your readers

When you start writing sponsored blog posts, let your readers know why you’re doing that and how it will benefit both the blog and them. Ask for their support and explain that it’s a mutually beneficial relationship which you’re excited about nurturing.

7. Ask for repeat business

Since some companies, such as advertising agencies, where you will be acting for their clients, may be able to offer you multiple sponsored blog posts. You might want to offer a discount for that.

Always let your client know when the post goes live, tell them the post is going well and let them know that you’d love to help them again in the future.

8. Follow the Google guidelines

Google frowns on sites that sell text links and can even ban such sites from search engine results. They do this because there are so many search engine optimization agencies buying links and so many low-quality sites that exist purely to sell links and improve search engine rankings.  Google says:

“Not all paid links violate our guidelines. Buying and selling links is a normal part of the economy of the web when done for advertising purposes, and not for manipulation of search results. Links purchased for advertising should be designated as such. This can be done in several ways, such as:

  • Adding a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the <a> tag
  • Redirecting the links to an intermediate page that is blocked from search engines with a robots.txt file”

9. Consider using a blog advertising agency

Blog advertising agencies will usually only want to work with big blogs and trusted bloggers, but they will be able to negotiate the best rate possible, as well as save you time finding suitable advertisers. It’s a service that’s worth considering if you’re struggling to run the advertising side of your blog alone.

10. Build a strong, trusted brand first

I waited a long time before monetizing Get In the Hot Spot because I didn’t want to plaster my blog with ugly ads.  Stay true to your values and avoid overloading your blog with advertising or sponsored blog posts because it will cheapen your brand.

The Final Word on Sponsored Blog Posts

Charging more for sponsored blog posts and delivering quality is better for readers, advertisers, and bloggers like you and me.

Remember, a sponsored blog post is a personal recommendation from you – from a real person your readers know and trust. Don’t sell yourselves or your readers short. Price high because quality lasts and doesn’t come cheap and brands know that.

Your time, work and recommendation are valuable and it’s worth paying for.

Here’s What To Do Next

If you want to earn an income with your blog, I’ve got something special for you. It’s a step-by-step report on how to make money by blogging.

339 thoughts on “Are You Being Conned? Fair Sponsored Blog Post Rates and Best Practice Guidelines”

  1. Hi

    Thank you so much for an insightful piece. It is really one of the best articles I have read on the subject and of late I have read a lot.

    I am trying to find your post on companies that approach you with guest posts, please can you direct me to the right link.

    Thanks again!

  2. Hi Sue,

    Thanks for the info, I am starting to get a lot of requests for guest/sponsored posts. Kind of hesitant because I only want the best quality possible, and do not care about the money $$$ or should I? take care and like the clean look of tour blog!

  3. This is too low. Only 50 USD for a sponsored post seems to be very low.

    But if you have a great amount of traffic and readership, the sponsors will be willing to pay 20 times more than that.

    And you said that right. Blog post agencies charge 2 times of the value paid to a blog owner from the brands.

    Shocking but true
    Vashishtha Kapoor recently posted [List] Best Landing Page Builder WordPress PluginMy Profile

  4. Smashing blog post. You just opened my eyes on many things.

    I recently wrote a sponsored review for an application for MAC OS. I've been proposed 60$ and I agreed for that money. It was my first time writing a sponsored blog post, and not many companies would contact me before that.

    Somehow now I get bombarded by other companies or agencies who want me to write a sponsored post for their products too. The thing is my website is in Russian language, but I get contacted by people from Canada, US and China. Is it possible the first company shared my contact with other marketers?

    • Probably they did share the info. I've heard of that before.

      I appreciate you telling my readers about it!
      Sue

  5. May I simply just say what a relief to discover someone that actually knows what they are talking about online. You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people ought to look at this and understand this side of the story. It's surprising you aren't more popular given that you definitely possess the gift.

  6. Well I usually ask around $250 per sponsored post and most of the times I get that price as my blog is well reputed and is growing as well. So, companies have no problem sponsoring me even for such a price.

  7. Thanks for this guide, I was contacted by a few of top companies for the first time but I was confused what should I do. this article helps me a lot to understand the facts.

  8. In the charge table in your article – is this what you charge as a ‘One-Off’? Or is this per month/year etc?

    Great article by the way, as I’m just starting to reinvigorate my business blog and had a few requests for guest blogs already. Two of which I’ve added, as I felt it would help me get content quicker – so these guys have ‘free’ links to their websites.

    Do you think I should go back to them at a later date, once the blog gets a bit more traction and charge?

    Thank you.

    • It would be a one-off but you would need to leave the link in the post for (usually) 12 months. Depending on your traffic and ranking, you can go for it now and just ask for $150 and be willing go down to $100.

      Thanks for commenting and your questions!
      Sue

  9. Hi Sue, this was very helpful and informative. Perhaps an updated version would provide a great deal of value as marketers generally no longer look at PR. An alternative metric may be Trust and Citation Flow. Cheers.

  10. Very useful post, although I would love to find the rates of a sponsored post per traffic and not per pagerank.

    I own a site that has 3000 visitors a day, all organic traffic. I accept paid guest posts from time to time, but I insist on a very high quality content that will help me rank in the search engines. So its a win win situation: The advertiser get his link, and I get great content that can further get me more traffic. The thing is not too accept too much guest post, as your site can start to look spammy and you may get in trouble with google.
    Ron Shimoff recently posted What is an inversion chair?My Profile

  11. Hello Sue,

    This is very helpful. I will soon start my blog so these rates is what I needed. Quick question how can I apply this to youtube? I do videos and I am stuck on creating a rate card for sponsored video content for companies.

    I am trying to see a way to apply the rate card you provided for blogging to vlogging but I am stuck.

    Please advise

    • Good question, Grace. Not sure if there is a big difference for vlogging. Sorry I cannot be of more help!

      Sue

    • I would see if it would interest your readers. If not, don't publish it, Husen.

      Thanks for your comment!
      Sue

  12. Thanks so much for this post! In regards to pay, do companies pay bloggers through PayPal? I've been contacted by some brands and I have a high enough following to ask for payment. I'm just not sure how it works and don't want to get taken advantage of! Thanks so much!

  13. Hi Sue,

    Thanks for sharing this helpful article! Although it's a little old it actually contains exactly what I was looking for.

    I've been putting a lot of work on some new blogs and I was able to experience some substantial traffic growth, then some advertisers have reached out to me offering to feature some of their products in the way of sponsored post.

    I had never actually done this in the past, but it sounded like a way of making some more money so I wanted to look into it…

    I honestly didn't like the idea since the beginning because I'm devoted to recommending only products that I have used myself, and that I fully trust.

    After reading this article I've just confirmed that publishing sponsored articles is just not for me or anybody who values their audience.

    I think is just better to publish articles about trusted affiliated products and get recurring income from it, that's also better for your audience if you always put value into it.

    Cheers.
    Ronald Segura recently posted Top 10 Best High Paying CPM Advertising Networks for Bloggers and AdvertisersMy Profile

  14. I found myself always returning to read this post whenever I have doubts about blogging. 🙂

    Recently I received an invite for food review. It is a restaurant that I have wanted to blog about, and actually happy to receive the invite. However, they request to have my reader statistic before the review.

    I feel offended. Am I overreacting?

    In my country, it seems rampant now, that all sponsors thought they could demand for statistics and features in a blog (and social media), simply by offering a free meal. Normally I would only take up these, only if 1. they can accommodate my time, 2. It's a restaurant review that I am sure my readers would love to know. 3. The distance is alright for me to travel.

    You are right about requesting for payment. I am in brand marketing (full time job), and the advertising/PR companies we contracted, charged us (the brand owner) thousands of dollar for bloggers to write about our products. The bloggers get nothing but a free meal and some tiny samples.

    Back to the invite, should I tell them that I would rather not share my statistics for non-monetary-sponsored post?

    • They usually want the statistics but I wouldn't go to a lot of trouble for just a free meal!
      Thanks for your comment.
      Sue

  15. This post is wonderful. I am just starting to monetize my blog and this will be extremely helpful in navigating it all. I'm bookmarking this post!

  16. Hello Sue, I got an offer from some advertising agency. They are willing to pay some amount too. They mentioned that they want to post TWO PERMANENT LINKS on my existing post. Can I accept it as permanent links or do I need to get some more info from them? Could you please give me some suggestions.

    • That is what they usually want. You could say it would be for one year if you don't want to give them permanent links.

      Thanks for your comment and question!
      Sue

  17. Hi Sue, As I said earlier about the offer from advertising agency about posting two permanent links on my existing post. Actually, they want me to post two DoFollow links. I am using Google Adsense on my blog. Is it legal to place DoFollow links when I am still using Google Adsense? Please clarify. Thanks in advance.

  18. Nice Share

    Thanks For Sharing Such Aweome Stuffs 🙂

    I found myself always returning to read this post whenever I have doubts about blogging. ?

    Recently I received an invite for food review. It is a restaurant that I have wanted to blog about, and actually happy to receive the invite. However, they request to have my reader statistic before the review.
    rajan recently posted How to Bypass Online Surveys for FREE [ 100% Working ]My Profile

  19. Actually, I got an email from an one of Digital Marketing Agency asking me to whether I offer any sponsored content on my blog? And they were asking also me to what is the price per cost? Then I go to Google and found your blog post on sponsored blog post and rates. Really, this is a great post Sue Anne Dunlevie. Thank you so much. Your post helped me a lot to get the idea how much I price for per blog cost from your post. Thanks again.

    Regards,
    Pankaj Singh

  20. You actually nailed it!!

    But let me know what do you think of off topic articles requested to be published on a site.

    Should i publish them or not?

    • It depends on how off topic it is, Jane. If it would interest your readers, go for it!

      Thanks for commenting.
      Sue

  21. Thank you Sue for valuable information. I recently recieved a similar request for my website and did not know how to respond. I googled the topic and your blog post was the one addressing my concern right away!

  22. Thanks for the exact tips Sue,

    I used to get around 10k+ monthly traffic and plenty of sponsored post mails and i used to charge around $10-$30 and all the paid companies quickly used to get agree.

    But now i understand the rates should be more sophisticated and it depends on niche to Niche.

    For more, Most of the CPA affiliate Marketing companies used to offer sponsored post, coz they needs lot of publishers :p
    Ali recently posted CloudWays Hosting Review :Premium Manged cloud platform ($15 fee credits)My Profile

  23. A valuable insight for people who charge less for getting quick money and in a longer run do serious damage to their reputation. I concur positively on your all points.

  24. hi Sue, i would like to ask what should i charge if my blog is newly you can say 1 month old or should i offer bloggers to write on my blog for free?

    • Most bloggers want guest posts – free posts that they write for another blog. If you don't have a lot of traffic, they won't want to guest post quite yet. A sponsored post is where a brand (company) wants to buy a post for advertising (even though it is written like a blog post or a review post).

      Thanks for your question!
      Sue

  25. Hello Sue,

    Great topic to read indeed. I have a blog related to finance, I am getting only 4,000 unique visitors. Still I didn't get the opportunity to publish sponsored post on my blog. At the end money matters, I joined affiliates website as well but the result is very negligible, So my question is can you share me how I can increase my visitors for my blog?

    Regards,

    Sthita

    • This is what I tell my clients about driving more traffic to your blog, Sthita:

      1) comment on blogs in your niche – at least 2 a day, work your way to 5 a day

      2) guest post on blogs in your niche and in complementary niches at least twice a month

      3) blogger outreach – email bloggers after you have commented on their blog for at least a month and ask that they share one of your great posts on social media

      Thanks for your comment and question!
      Sue

  26. it's an interesting thing I had never thought of charging for someone to post on my blog, spend seriously thinking about it and also pay to post on another authority blog something to think about. Thanks for sharing.

  27. Hi, Sue,

    First, thanks for sharing such a good information.

    One thing that I didn't know before that, on a sponsored post we should mention "This blog post was sponsored by this Brand"

    And you shared Sponsor Post charges using two metrics: unique visitors per month and Google Page Rank.

    But What about DA of Blog?. Because any blog can get visitors, by targeting low Competition Keywords.

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