What is the culture medium with the biggest advertising spending on the globe? Television. Television ads are so effective for advertisers and so lucrative for TV companies, because viewers will inevitably pay attention to the advertisements. Would we be able to say the same things about content based websites, like blogs? Not
exactly. If you consider Google AdSense or banner ads, the most used monetization methods, you will conclude that they practically different from the editorial content. For instance, if you have a blog and display ads on your sidebar only your readers will be able to altogether brush off the advertisements if so they desire. A few even use adblockers, so they will not see your AdSense units or banners regardless where you place them.
What would the equivalent of a television ad be for a blog? Likely an advertorial, which is an article written by the advertiser about his product, and put up in the blog like an additional post. Another option is the sponsored reviews, which are posts published by the blogger critiquing a particular product or service. Most bloggers choose this example because they get to write the article content themselves, and readers will not be bothered with another writing style. Here’s a fact that reinforces the similarity of sponsored reviews with TV advertisements:
If you ask any advertiser whether he would like to pay for a banner ad or for a sponsored review, he will certainly say the sponsored review. Why? Because he will acquire a much better return on investment, as the sponsored review will give his product a better and greater kind of exposure with the readers of that blog.
As a result, a sponsored review is probably among the most lucrative way to monetize a blog. Last week one company offered me $1000 to write a critique about its last product. It was related to my niche, and I was sure most of my readers would find it of value. This made me wonder: are most bloggers leaving money on the table by not doing sponsored reviews? For instance, if I started doing them on this blog I could easily add another $4,000 per month in profits (considering one sponsored review per week), which would simply double up my advertising profit on the blog. I think this proportion is true for most bloggers. If bloggers started doing sponsored reviews they’d double up their ad revenue. That being said, I think it’s possible for a blogger to do sponsored reviews while keeping his integrity. There are 3 main requirements:
1. A clear disclosure on each review
2. Honesty while writing the review
3. The choice of products that is truly relevant and useful for the readers
Other people claimed that sponsored posts could get you in trouble with Google, but this isn’t true as long as you use the no follow attribute on the links inside the review. Google does not have a problem with sponsored links, as long as you clearly label them as such. In essence the question that’s raised is are your readers going to be put off by sponsored reviews and whether or not you feel this a good avenue for your blog.