Sponsored content opportunities: how to get sponsors to find you!

Sponsored content opportunities are available for almost any reasonably authoritative website, if you know where to look. With sponsored content, another site will pay you to post some content on your site, with a backlink. This can be a nice way to increase your website’s revenue in the short term–but make sure not to do too much of it, as it reduces your site’s value in the long run.

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What is sponsored content?

Sponsored content is content that a website owner can post and receive compensation for posting it. It’s a bit of an open secret that most strategies to get backlinks involve some sort of compensation.

If you own a reasonably authoritative website, you likely receive a lot of requests to post sponsored content. Generally, the amounts run from about $100 to $300, although some popular sites will charge $10,000+.

In most cases the person who pays for the sponsored content (we’ll call him the “advertiser” from here on) writes the post, although sometimes the site owner can write the post, with approval from the advertiser.

Sponsored content can be marked as such, but it often isn’t. And while Google says you should make any links in sponsored content “nofollow” links (links that Google will ignore), most advertisers will insist on “dofollow” links (links that pass authority).

What is the difference between sponsored content and native ads?

In theory, native ads are just another form of sponsored content. In practice, native ads and sponsored content differ a bit.

When advertisers refer to native ads, they tend to mean recommendation ads or in in-feed ads. Ad networks deliver these ads, and although they look like your content, they’re marked as “sponsored.”

When site owners refer to sponsored content, they often mean an article on your site, which the advertiser pays you to post. These articles may not say “sponsored,” and readers don’t know whether there was any compensation involved.

The problem with sponsored content

Sponsored content gives you an immediate bump in revenue, which can be big. But there are drawbacks.

By adding sponsored posts with dofollow links to your website, you’re technically violating Google’s policies. Nevertheless, people do it all the time. And there are plenty of major sites on the Internet that accept sponsored posts.

One thing to be aware of is that dofollow links will somewhat dilute your own authority. Conventional wisdom is that for every link that you add to your site, you pass some of your authority over to the other site. While we don’t know for sure whether that’s still how Google operates, but most people believe it is.

This can affect the value of your website when you sell it.

Where to find sponsored content opportunities

The most common way website owners get sponsored content opportunities is via email. Outreach experts will send cold emails looking to post on your site. I tend to get 1-2 a day for most of my sites.

But if you’re not receiving enough outreach, you can list your site as accepting sponsored posts. Here are some places where you can do that:

  • Accessily – Accessily is probably the easiest one of the lot. It’s quick and simple to list your site, and the interface is easy to use for buyers.
  • Adsy – This is a bit more selective than the others, so you have to have a certain domain authority. But buyers need to put in money before they see your site’s name, making it safer for you.
  • Guest Post Engine – This is a very large database of guest post opportunities, and the listing requirements are not strict.
  • Easylink.studio – A huge list of sites in many different industries. The prices are for guest posts mostly, so they tend to be higher.

How to get the highest payment for sponsored content

When you receive a cold email from someone looking to place sponsored content on your site, the person who contacts you will normally offer you a price. Don’t accept that price.

The amount that the potential sponsor is offering you is very much negotiable, and you can earn much more by haggling. For example, if a potential sponsor offers you $100, you should settle for $200 at the minimum.

I have set fees for each of my sites, and I won’t allow any posts for less than those fees. But if you don’t, I suggest countering at 3 times their initial offer. So they may offer $100, and I would counter at $300, and settle for $200.

The amount you accept may be dependent on the type of content the sponsor wants to post. Many sponsors are gambling, crypto, or similar sites. These sites may devalue your site, so if you accept them, ask for a large compensation. In contrast, if someone in your industry who has content relevant to your readers approaches you, you may ask for a smaller amount.

Key points

If you’re ready to accept sponsored posts for your website, follow these guidelines:

  • Don’t accept too many, or the wrong kind of posts
  • Negotiate to earn the highest rate for your sponsored posts
  • You can list your site on several online directories for sponsored posts