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Blog Sponsorship: A Cautionary Tale


When you take on an advertising sponsor for your blog, do you consider your community first, or do you just take any advertiser who offers money?

I’ve always been careful about who I accept for advertising at my blog network. Since I own a community for freelance writers, I ensure advertisers always have the best intersts of the community in mind. I’ve even weeded out spammy Adsense ads so only relevant ads show up in my blog posts. It’s safe to say I turn away three to five advertisers each week because they’re a scam, a term paper mill or treat writers poorly.

When I decided to partner with a site that hired freelance writers it was after much research and thought.  Many spammy places for writers want to advertise on my network and I’m very careful about my choices.  I decided on this particular sponsor after interviewing writers, and reading as much as I could about them and their business model. I felt, and still feel, they’re a good company. After meeting with them in Los Angeles at the end of the summer, I was even more positive I did the right thing.

That’s why the reaction of some people in the freelance writing community surprised me. They weren’t digging it. Some even posted nasty (untrue) things about me on their blogs. Others just jumped to conclusions without asking me any questions about why I decided to endorse this company. While the majority of my community continues to trust my judgement, a few people were very vocal in their disagreement and in calling me a sell out.

I took a hit for this company, but I still feel as if I made the right decision and I’m still going to continue our partnership. Most of my community is still with me, and I’m grateful – but there’s a lesson to be learned:

  • You may think your community doesn’t care about the ads you place on your blog, but they do.
  • You may lose a lot of traffic and the trust of your community.
  • People will accuse you of selling out or whoring yourself for ad revenue.

I’ll always look out for my community. There will always be people who disagree with what I say or what I do, and that’s OK. I’m happy with my choices. However, there are steps YOU can take to avoid negativity:

  • Research advertisers to make sure they have a place within your community.
  • Be truthful and transparent with your community.
  • Always have their backs and they’ll always have yours.
  • Don’t let a sponsor get in the way of what is truly important.

Am I regretting my decision? Not at all. However, I don’t make a decision anymore without thinking of how my community will respond.

How do you find advertisers for your blogs? Does it matter what your community thinks?

Deb Ng is a professional blogger and founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs network. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @debng.

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