Sponsored Post Tips

4 Commandments for Writing Sponsored Blog Posts

4 Commandments for Writing Sponsored Blog Posts

Pay per click advertising and selling “spots” on a blog are falling to the wayside as companies and bloggers embrace the “sponsored post” option. There is far more money to be made by sponsored posts than many other affiliate or advertising options.  If you are interested in making money, you want to be sure you do the posts well so that other brands will want to work with you.

The following four suggestions should help clarify your responsibilities when writing sponsored and review posts.

1. Know the requirements as laid out by the FTC guidelines.

DO make sure you are familiar with the FTC regulations. You can find the entire document here, but that is really boring and hard to read. I recommend this post which explains it in an easy to understand manner.

2. Disclose. 

Be sure to disclose any compensation and/or relationship with any brand or sponsor before linking to any external links.

Compensation includes the following:

  • Receiving a product for free to review
  • Reviewing a product from an advertiser on your site
  • Receiving money or services for a post
  • Linking to an outside website as an affiliate (new guidelines require “no follow” links even for affiliate badges!) ** this is one I had not even considered – also when you do a book review or product review and you link to an amazon.com or other link for purchases… a disclosure must be made!

You (and the company!) can be fined if it is determined that you have not followed the guidelines properly.

The good news is that disclosure is relatively easy to do. Just be sure to let your readers know (before you link to the other site) that you received product, cash, services, etc. in exchange for the post. A simple statement (Company X gave me these products to try for free for my review) is a good enough disclosure.

3. Make the disclosure as natural as possible.

There are techniques to organically work your disclosures into the body of the post so that the post itself does not stray from your usual writing style. Rather than scream “advertisement!” it should read as a ringing personal endorsement.

  • If you have been writing sponsored or review posts and you are not acknowledging them as such in the beginning of your post, and in all of your social media blasts, you need to start doing so immediately. (And go back and fix the old ones!)
  • If you don’t know what I’m talking about when I mention “No Follow” links, you need to do your homework before your site gets penalized. The SITS Girls site has a fantastic and very easy to understand article on how to create “no follow links” in your posts.

DID YOU KNOW that sponsored posts are not allowed on WordPress.com sites? It is a violation of their advertising policy, which can be found here.

4. Understand the difference between a “Sponsored Post” and a “Review.”

Sponsored Posts

Cash sponsored posts do not leave much room for personal opinion (in the negative.)   The blogger is accepting money to be an advertising arm for the company and should provide a positive representation for the service or product.

That being said, if the blogger determines that they have a conflict with the product or dislike the company, the blogger should address their issues with the company and determine how to move forward from that point. Otherwise, the blogger is being paid to promote the sponsored company or product and should do so in a positive manner.

Some sponsored posts may be pre-written and just require posting, in which case there is no personal opinion. Choose your sponsors carefully and be sure that it is a company or product that you would indeed endorse.


  • The disclosure must be made IN the post.  Before any external links.  And again at the end for good measure.
  • ALL of your tweets and posts must include a disclosure (#sponsored or #ad before links) as well!


A review, on the other hand, leaves more room for personal opinion. Usually they are provided in exchange for an honest opinion of the product. By all means, if you’re giving an opinion, make it honest. However, as a word to the wise, companies may not want to work with bloggers who have a reputation for slamming products and services, so be careful in your approach if your review is negative.


Sponsored Post Guidelines


Sponsored and reviewed posts are a great way to earn money on your blog. Just make sure you are in accord with regulations, for your protection and for the company you are representing.


Alexa B (who blogs under the name Kat Biggie) writes at No Holding Back. She started the blog in June 2012 as an outlet for her grief after losing one of her twin daughters two days after birth to complications from Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). Since she has always had a passion for writing, it did not take long for her to begin to write not only about living after loss and TTTS, but all things to do with being a stay-at-home mother raising three children five and under. Prior to making the decision to stay home with her children, Alexa worked in Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism and served over six years in the United States Air Force.   She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and  Google +.

14 thoughts on “4 Commandments for Writing Sponsored Blog Posts

  1. I’m glad that you clarified the difference between a review and a sponsored post, Kat. I’ve known influencers to become miffed when asked to write a sponsored post and its requested that they include only positive feedback.

    Incidentally…I wrote a product review on my site today. Not everything I had to say was positive, but I’ve found that you can still complete an honest review by including humor to diffuse the blow of a less-than-stellar experience. :)

    • That is very true! If there are problems or issues, you can still point them out without calling the company names and being totally rude! After all, you want your readers to trust your reviews! I’ll go check yours out!

  2. This is super helpful, Alexa! I need to go back to a few posts to make sure I am in compliance. The “no follow” thing has confused me in the past. Thanks for the helpful tips and resources!

  3. Great job summing up sponsored posts! And just a quick note for anyone using blogger…when you add a link through their interface, you have an option (a little check box) to put no follow on the link.

    • That is definitely an advantage that blogger has! I wish wordpress would catch on to that as well! I’m sure it’s coming soon. It certainly makes it easier than having to scroll through and no follow all the html!

  4. Thanks for the link, Alexa. Lots of great information in this post, including some I did not know.

    • Thank you so much Dianne! I appreciate the encouraging words. I didn’t know a lot of this information either until I stumbled upon some blog posts about it and decided to do more digging!

  5. This info is very helpful, Alexa. I use Amazon affiliate links when I talk about books in a blog post. Does the HTML need to be no-follow?

    • That’s a really good question. I couldn’t get a good answer for that in the information that I looked at. I don’t believe so because you aren’t actually receiving any money for posting the link. I think as long as you make the disclaimer somewhere before posting the affiliate link, you should be good. But, that is just a guess. I’ll try to find more info.

  6. Great post, Alexa! I’ve been asked a few times to write a sponsored post but the whole thing made me so scared, I said, “No, thanks.” This has helped clear things up and make it less scary.

    • It is not scary at all. Usually it’s very, very easy. It surprises me how easy it has actually been a few times. And usually, the ones that require more time and effort pay more as well! ;-)

  7. I really try to screen any products that I will review so I don’t get a negative experience. But I am involved in a situation now where I have an issue with an item, and I can’t get any contact from them… frustrating, since it might be a shipping issue more than a product issue. I am more likely to just not do the review in this case.. blech.

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