Sponsored content presents many interesting opportunities (and setbacks) for your business.

On one hand it has the immediate benefits of offering you additional money but in the back of your mind you may be thinking that it could lend in losing trust with your audience.

As you pick up steam you may be approached by others to publish their content for a price. Other times you may find platforms that connect site owners with content creators looking to get featured. However you find your way to sponsored content you should take into consideration some of the pros and cons of accepting them within your work…

The Pros of Sponsored Content

Let’s first explore some of the positive returns for accepting sponsored content:

  • The people or companies creating this content may have many connections which you could tap into at a later time. A long-term relationship with these individuals or companies could lead to greater opportunities for your business through networking, getting the heads-up on some hot, new product, or having the backing power to help it gets shared on marketing channels.
  • Accepting the content could lead to hundreds (perhaps thousands) of extra dollars into your revenue stream through the course of a year. Sponsored content is not always the $5 – $25 posts like you’d imagine coming from content mills – sometimes you may be offered hundreds to publish a single piece depending on the size of your audience.
  • Creating content for your sites can be quite exhausting and if you fail to deliver content on a regular basis you may see a dip in traffic. Accepting sponsored content can fill those gaps when you are out of ideas, behind on your creation, or fantastic when you need a break.

The Cons of Sponsored Content

Now let’s look at the negatives that are associated with sponsored content:

  • Blindly accepting sponsored content (which many sometimes do) can create a clash with your existing content if it doesn’t fit. If you go ahead and publish that content then you could disrupt the mindset of your audience since it sticks out like a sore thumb. Since it doesn’t connect with other content you’ve published it really doesn’t have a place in the long-term goals.
  • The FTC doesn’t take kindly to individuals publishing sponsored content without telling it to their audience. Every piece of sponsored content you publish should have a disclaimer explaining such otherwise you could get hit with a hefty fine. It also comes down to the fact that you are lying to your audience and when they find out (which they probably will) you will lose trust.
  • The content you may be offered may not always be unique. If you were to accept content that happens to begin showing on other competitor sites then you’re really not bringing anything new to the table (which your audience wants/needs). When you no longer have this unique factor the audience will shift to others that do.

Conclusion: It’s an Iffy

I won’t give you a definitive answer to the question because that depends on you and the direction of your business. I do want you to mull over the pros and cons though.

You may have multiple websites running where offering sponsored content won’t be a big deal while others (such as a personal project or a portfolio) may pose a problem. The best bet I’d say is to test it with your audience (or just ask them directly). You may be surprised how accepting (or not) they may be to the concept.

Do you accept sponsored content? Is it something you are considering?


Image by 401(K) 2012