The Art Of Writing A Paid Post

I’ve been doing paid posts for many years now and in that time I’ve noticed that a lot of bloggers who are also doing them are going about it all wrong. While their post may be good enough to be accepted by the advertiser it’s probably not adding any value to their blog and they probably won’t be approached by the advertiser again.

Most bloggers who refuse to do paid posts do so because they feel it is unethical or because they feel they may lose their regular readers. I touched on the ethical side of it when I wrote the post called Is It Ethical For Bloggers To Do Paid Posts? That post revealed that most people thought there was nothing wrong with doing paid posts as long as certain criteria were met.

Will Paid Posts Cost You Readers

The answer to this is no it won’t, as long as you put as much effort into doing your paid posts that you do in writing your regular ones. In case you’re thinking of doing paid posts one day I thought I’d outline some of the things I do to ensure I don’t lose any of my valuable readers.

  • Choose The Right Product: This is very important. Even though you may not be writing a review on the product or service you don’t want to be linking to a site that you or your readers may find objectionable.
  • Provide Good Content: I’m shocked at some of the paid posts I’ve read. They are of poor quality and the bloggers usually only provide the minimum word count to fulfill their obligations. They should be putting just as much effort into a paid post as they do in any other post.
  • Review Only Products You Use: Just because someone is paying you to write a review is no reason for you to bullshit your readers. Unless I have actually tried a product or service I will not accept a task that requires me to give a review of said product or service.
  • Link Must Be Related To Post: I try to write the post around the product or service so that when someone clicks on the link they are not taken to some completely unrelated site. It’s not always easy to do but the it is well worth the extra effort.
  • It Must Be Natural: By this I mean that your readers shouldn’t be able to tell it’s a paid post. I don’t mean that as a blogger I am trying to hide anything from my readers, which is why my disclosure policy states that all paid posts are place in the SpecialOps category. I just don’t want those paid posts to appear like sales copy or a commercial. They have to be able to retain the readers interest just like any other post on the blog

Not all advertisers expect you to actually review their product. Most of the time they merely want a link back to their site. Even so they would prefer that link to be part of a well thought out post because anything else would reflect on whatever it is they are promoting.

Why You Should Always Be Honest

The most important thing to remember is to always be completely honest in all that you do online, whether you’re reviewing one of your affiliates or doing a paid post. It’s taken a lot of time and hard work to get where you are and the last thing you want to do is to compromise that for a few lousy bucks.

There is a reason for the saying Honesty Is The Best Policy and that is because one way or another your dishonesty will always be found out and when it is, you’ve blown any credibility you may have had. Too bad the people in this video didn’t hold to the honesty is the best policy rule :lol_ee:

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Peter Pelliccia

Aussie blogger who loves to blog and share everything that he has learned on his blogging journey, including blogging tips and ways to blog for money.

This Post Has 79 Comments

    1. Hey Ana,

      You know, if you think about it the only difference between a paid post and a guest post is the monetary value, oh and you write the paid post whereas the guest poster writes his own. The purpose of both is to get a link back to their site.
      Sire recently posted…A New Milestone As My Mail List Hits 50My Profile

      1. Good point!

        PS Wanted to make sure you saw your blog on my new CommentLuv enabled blog list!
        Ana recently posted…Aweber ReviewMy Profile


  1. Twitter:
    I have no problem with bloggers getting paid for what they do. If they can use some common sense like you outlined, everyone wins. To me, it’s no different than any other type of advertising.

    Most of us have no problem writing an entire post geared to promote an affiliate link yet some bloggers want to draw the line when it’s helping someone else. It’s hard to understand why 90% of those that took your poll back in April said it was ethical for bloggers to do paid posts.

    We’re not artists starving behind the warehouse smoking a little bud all in the name of art, this is business. Opps, a little bit of that trisi started seeping out there. lol

    That video was a nice fit. Great work-in Sire.

    1. I only got a link to that video today Brian and I just had to fit it into a post. :smoke_tb:

      BTW, it was good to see a bit of the old trisi again. :wink_ee:
      Sire recently posted…Learning How To Save Money Can Make You RichMy Profile

  2. That reminds me of a couple of social post request sitting in my OIO queue for a while now. Somehow, I have been too lazy or the topics didn’t interest me enough 🙂

    In my case, I hardly write 3 or 4 paid plugs per year – mainly due to the blog relevancy issue.

    Very good post man. Honesty, link relevancy, review after personal use etc are the key takeaways for anyone reading this.
    Ajith Edassey recently posted…Google Analytics Async & Google Plusone Async: Make your blog Load Superfast!My Profile

    1. It’s always good business sense to let those people know one way or the other whether or not you’re interested in taking the task Ajith. Wait too long and you probably would have lost the opportunity.
      Sire recently posted…Making Money With Amazon Is It Possible?My Profile

  3. That taser cam commercial is hilarious. That is the first time I have seen that one.

    A great reminder for all of us.

    Standards are one of those things that can bend without realizing it.

    The trick is to anchor your standards to something that doesn’t bend.

    Mark

  4. Sometimes, the buyer demands a post written in such a manner. I was asked to write such posts. In my country, they are extremely popular, but more for SEO purposes and not to gain new readers or clients.

    It all depends how professional would you like your blog to be.

    1. As long as you select the right posts and do a good job on them it shouldn’t make you blog appear any less professional. This is especially true if you write them in such a manner that people don’t even know it’s a paid post.
      Sire recently posted…Five Best WordPress Plugins For Affiliate MarketersMy Profile

  5. The fact that you are paid by posting a review, does not mean you should lower the level of your blog, both linguistically speaking, that level of on-page seo

    Also choose the right products and be honest in the review, can only bring positive note

    If you suggest to readers a poor product, enhancing beyond belief it look as though a great product
    When your reader will buy that product and will be disappointed, he will remember of your blog in a negative way

    ps: Sire, I like your subscribe button at the end of the post!! Do you have change it recently?

    1. That’s so true if you are writing a review Albert but most of the time you’re only required to include a link in a post and don’t have to write a review at all.
      Sire recently posted…Is Google+ All That You Thought It Would BeMy Profile

  6. PPP has been emailing me if I’m still interested because I’ve been rejecting a lot of offers ever since I started with them. I’ve tried writing articles for products I only knew through information already available online. And I found it kind of so not cool.

    “Review Only Products You Use”. That exactly is what I want to do. Thing is, there are not many advertisers out there who need to advertise the products I use. If only Canon uses paid blog posts to advertise, I just might buy some of their other products just so I could write about them. I so want to get that 24-70mm red rimmed lens. 🙂

    1. Hey James, most of the PPP tasks I take do not involve reviewing products at all. I usually take on tasks that require I write about a certain topic without having to review any particular product. Check out some of my paid posts and you will see what I mean.
      Sire recently posted…SEO Tactics For Improving Search Engine ResultsMy Profile

  7. I reckon it’s best to let your readers know beforehand that it is a paid post..and whether or not they believe what you write, is a different matter. I read a lot of paid post and I find those telling me it’s a paid post before I start reading give me a sense of credibility.

    Just my 2 cents.

    1. Unfortunately most advertisers don’t want you telling people it is a paid post which is why you should have a site wide disclosure policy.

  8. Essential tips and I personally look out for these factors when hiring someone to do a paid post. The cheap, high PR, low quality and completely spammed sites are the ones most people go for. However, they should actually go for sites that have a readership and take time to analyse what theyre actually writing about.

  9. Is there any website like a directory or something with people you can hire to write paid posts for you in different languages? I would like to use this method but I need to check a list or something to choose from…

  10. In my business I try to make is a regular practice to try out any product that I recommend. If that’s not possible I do as much research as possible in order to get a fair idea of the pros and cons of a product, including negatives, of course–and if it appears to be a dreadful product across the board I would never recommend it.
    I’m not terribly familiar with paid blogs but I make a living writing product reviews–and you can be sure that I am always careful to try to represent a product honestly.
    Consumers aren’t stupid, and people are especially careful these days with what they buy on the net. If a product looks too good to be true or a reviewer claims there’s not even on small con about the product, potential customers will smell a rat.
    Although honesty for the sake of honesty should be a marketer’s watchword, at this point I also feel that dishonesty will not pay off in the long-run regardless. You might get a quick sale but as you point out, Sire, you may ruin your reputation for a few bucks and if the product is super lousy you may even get a bunch of refunds.
    And besides, who can sleep at night knowing they’ve made a dishonest buck?

    1. I don’t think there are too many paid blogs out there because most people wouldn’t read a blog that only did paid posts.

      I agree it would be foolish for anyone to do a review on a product they’ve never used which is why I’ve never done it. Unless I’ve used a product or service I try to stay away from those sorts of reviews.
      Sire recently posted…What I Would Do If I Won The $21 Million Superdraw LotteryMy Profile

  11. Paid articles is something that happens and can put readers in a very difficult position, especially if the blogger doesn’t disclose the fact.

    It becomes a matter of ethics, I think. Bloggers have to be straight with their readers.

    As I tell people who write and request reviews, I will be honest and I will tell it like I see it. If that means I have to say your product is bad, then that’s what you’re paying me for – my honesty.

    1. The only time a paid article would put anyone in a difficult position is if the person who wrote it filled it full of lies. I don’t think anyone would have a problem with an article that links to a related topic. They’re no worse than a guest post that links to the writers sites, sites that may have nothing at all to do with the post itself.
      Sire recently posted…The Lottery! You Have To Be In It To Win ItMy Profile

  12. But many of the people who want to pay you to write the articles, generally want to see them before you post because they are terrified you will be honest. They are all looking for positive reviews.

    That’s what causes problems isn’t it?

    People want to read honest reviews and not be duped into thinking a product or service isn’t something that it isn’t.

    I’m guessing it’s whatever the blogger or author feels comfortable with.

    1. Yes if you were doing a paid review but a lot of the times you’re not required to review a product at all. Most of the tasks I take on don’t require me to review a product, all they ask of me is to write on a topic and include a link to their site.

  13. Seems a bit interesting since I was working with a blogger who owns sites and does paid posting. Some posts were really irrelevant and some kind of a wrong direction from the niche.

    The style of writing also counts that’s why you would really notice the difference right away – this would be noticed by frequent readers and might resort on not following your posts anymore.

    1. Like I said in the post Jess, there are ways to write paid posts that will not upset your readers and therefore will not affect your blog’s popularity.

  14. I don’t know whether paid posts will affect readership or not, but they will most definitely affect your blog’s ranking in the search engines.

    1. I think it will all depend how you do them. If done ethically and you don’t link to dodgy sites it shouldn’t affect your rankings all that much.

  15. I’ve just finished 2 paid blog posts.I want to say that I respected all the above indications, and the client was very satisfied.
    What do you think that the price of a blog post on a sports blog (PR1, ongoing project, 150-200 visitors per day, all of them targeted) should be? I sold them with $10 each. Is it too low?

    1. I think that $10 per post for a PR1 blog is a pretty good deal.

  16. I do a few paid posts on my blog, and I always make sure they’re on par with the rest of my writing. I write for a living, and I don’t want my name attached to crap, even on a post that will get buried in a day. I also only take opps that actually interest me, so that helps. Thank you for the tips!
    Nikki recently posted…Book Review: Dead Sky Morning (Experiment in Terror #3)My Profile

    1. That’s the way to do it Nikki. I’m actually surprised at bloggers who compromise their blogs and reputation for the sake of a few dollars. They’re so interested in doing the paid post they can’t see that doing the wrong ones or not taking the time to do them properly can hurt their reputation.


  17. Twitter:
    Great tips Sire. I specially like “Review Only Products You Use”. I find it dishonest and shady to review products or services I haven’t used myself and I think your readers would appreciate it more if you only review things you used or still use yourself.
    Satrap recently posted…Make Money with Google Places- Step by Step GuideMy Profile

    1. It’s the only ethical way to write a review Satrap. If you know something about a product you could write what you know but you should let people know that you have no first hand experience.

  18. Very useful takeaways Sire! I agree that the link should be natural and looks voluntary in nature because Google has become very smart in detecting paid links. Advertiser should also choose the services because this will have a negative impact in their organic search if they get flagged.

    1. I’ve heard that what Google really hates is when people are lead astray by links. By that I mean they click on a link thinking it will give them more information on a certain topic only to be taken somewhere completely unrelated.

  19. I think the reason some paid blog posts have such terrible quality is because the blog owner isn’t actually writing it. Someone who’s first language is not English usually does, at least in my experience. I’ve done a few paid blog posts in the past, but it’s always contingent on me writing them.

    1. That’s one of the reasons why I write all my own material Carrie.

  20. I like your tips and ideas, paid posting is a great way to make money online. Maybe I’ll try your tips soon, but at the moment I prefer to remain at the “classic” Google Adsense. 🙂
    Marion recently posted…Build the bridgeMy Profile

    1. That’s cool Marion. It’s not for everyone, but I just figured that if someone was going to take it on they should consider the best way to tackle it.

  21. Sire,

    Not only do you provide great advice here, you outline exactly why each tip is important and what it means to do these things. Thanks so much! I feel like I have a much better idea of paid posts and when/how to use them – thanks to you!!

    🙂

    1. Glad you liked it and got something out of it Kayla.

  22. This post comes to me in just the nick of time.

    I was just offered to do a paid post the other day. I turned it down because I didn’t know anything about it.

    So thanks.

    1. My pleasure Jae

  23. I’ve had a few opportunities to do paid posting but I’ve always stayed away from it because unless I get to actually test out a product or software – I wouldn’t be able to accurately review something.

    Likewise, I want to make sure that my readers information is in good hands. Some companies could be using paid posts to essentially mine information on people and that’s no good in terms of ethics and privacy since you’d be facilitating.

    1. I think you, like many others are missing a vital bit of information regarding paid posts and that is that a lot of the time they do not require you to review a product or service.
      Sire recently posted…A Review Of WP Zon BuilderMy Profile

  24. Yeah,
    I would not personally do paid posts myself. However compared to alot of the other blackhat techniques going on in the IM world, paid posts aren’t that bad. Especially when you start talking about things like auto blogs and stuff.

    Good Post!
    Chad

    1. Like I’ve said before Chad, apart from the money factor they’re not much difference between them and guest posts.

      1. YES!

        However, I have a hard enough time do posts for my own site, let a lone anybody elses…. LOL

  25. Not all people appreciate paid post because they always think that if there’s a money involve, the fairness/neutrality of the post is greatly affected. However, I’ve seen lots of bloggers who take the risk to disclose that they are doing paid post. Actually, I salute them on that.

    1. And yet you can still do a paid post and not upset anyone, as long as you do it right. :wink_ee:

      1. Absolutely right! Readers like us willn really appreciate the honesty of people who’ll be engaging in any paid posts.


  26. Twitter:
    As you know, I don’t write paid posts because it just wouldn’t be my style. At the same time, I’ve never seen anyone write a negative paid post. Your advice of people writing paid posts only of things they use would lend itself to almost every paid post being a positive one. My thought is that not everything is perfect; if I’m writing on my blog and I’m writing positively about something with nothing to gain, people know I’m being honest. If I’m writing something positive about something that I’m being paid for, it feels questionable.

    Of course, if people know you then it’s a different kind of thing. I believe people know who you are, so it’d be fine.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Affiliate Programs I’m Connected With – Part Six, The FinaleMy Profile

    1. Actually Mitch, I’ve seen tasks from advertisers where they specifically ask people to be completely honest with their review. I’m sure that they also get something out of it because said honest will also give them information that they can use to better their product. Naturally that review needs to be done professionally and give both good and bad points. If you just write a post saying how bad the product is and not saying why you feel it is bad there is every chance it won’t be accepted.

      The point that everybody is missing though is the part where I said

      Not all advertisers expect you to actually review their product. Most of the time they merely want a link back to their site. Even so they would prefer that link to be part of a well thought out post because anything else would reflect on whatever it is they are promoting.

      The vast majority of paid tasks I take is of this type and has nothing to do with me reviewing a product.
      Sire recently posted…A Review Of WP Zon BuilderMy Profile


      1. Twitter:
        I didn’t miss it; I just ignored it. lol From my perspective, if that’s what they want they can look through my content, select something to link to, and we’ll go from there. If I have to write a new post for them to have a link on, it’s going to cost them more than most want to pay; I know that because I’ve put that out there as part of my advertising policy from my finance blog.

        By the way, it’s been a while since you’ve had ads like the ones at the bottom of this blog, but you’ve never come back to say if you’re making any money off them. Give up the goods! :tongue_laugh_ee:
        Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Ken’s Googlebomb Post – My Head HurtsMy Profile

        1. I have had people place links in old posts Mitch and I look at that as being easy money.

          As for doing a fresh paid post I’m quite happy to do that as long as they are willing to pay for it. As far as I’m concerned $25 for a 200 word post is well worth the effort.

          There is also the added benefit that those paid posts happen to generate their own traffic and comments.

          As to the babes at the bottom of my blog, they’re mainly there to generate traffic not to bring money. The money side of it is a bonus. Last I looked I had earned close to 10 euros with 50 euros on the back burner. As to the traffic side of it, I think it has helped me to get below the 50000 mark in my Alexa ranking.

  27. Lovely post Sire! For sure, advertisers will want a link back especially from reviews that look voluntary in nature. I agree that you have to be completely honest and as a concerned blogger I think it is right to only focus on the most relevant and popular product. However, that really depends on the advertiser’s request. What I learned from past experiences on writing reviews is saying “No” is always an option. Especially if the advertiser offers unhealthy and offensive products/services.

    1. Hi Esmael,

      remembering that you always have the option of saying no is very important. Thanks for bringing that up.

  28. Yeah, I tend to reject sponsored posts that don’t fall on the category of my blog (even when the offer was drooling).

    Also, by writing with quality and more than just “fulfilling” the minimum number of words, I got much better private offer and always made the advertisers really happy. It’s great in the long run (for your readers, for your blog, and for your advertisers) + money. Win-Win!
    Michael Aulia recently posted…Amazon Kindle 3 giveaway (Wi-Fi + 3G)My Profile

    1. My sentiments exactly Michael.

  29. This is a tricky one, great post BTW but I still feel for me personally I would rather not get paid to post (although I also don’t offer products as an affiliate so I guess I’m just not a fan of the concept). Having said that I know promoting products can be done well and not so well. I like the way Jason on This week in startups goes about promoting his sponsors and I think if you take that kind of attitude (similar to the points you make above about choosing a great product etc) then you can’t go too far wrong.

    1. Or you can do what I do and just write about the subject the advertiser is interested in including the link and keyword of his choice without actually having to review a product at all. Some of my paid posts turn out to be very popular with my reader, my last one getting over 60 comments.
      Sire recently posted…A Review Of WP Zon BuilderMy Profile

  30. As for me, there is nothing wrong with paid post as long as you are honest in your writing and not making up things to just promote a product or service. I believe that honesty can get you more loyal and new readers.

  31. These tips are very useful specially if you are venturing in being paid to post. It is true that it will be easier to review only those products that you use, thus, it’s just like sharing your good experience with a particular product.

    1. Yep and because it’s unlikely that you have used most of the products you’ve been asked to review it’s best to only do paid posts where you are not asked to review a product.

  32. I truly believe in that saying that “a job worth doing is a job worth doing right”, so I agree that a writer should write a paid post if he intends to do it well.

    After all, you have to sign your name below, and I don’t like to do that lightly.

    1. One must try and do everything well Ana if they wish to get some worth out of it.

  33. “Review Only Products You Use” – this one is very crucial. Since it is quite natural to get the urge to simply review any product that pays a good aff commission. But if we hold on to that urge and publish only reviews about products that we’ve really used, we can easily build up trust. More trust = more sales!

    1. That is exactly right Jane and the reverse is also true. Reviewing a product you do not own may result in sales but if that product does not live up to expectations it will hurt your reputation.

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