Sponsored posts are one obvious way to work with a brand. In a nutshell, a sponsored post is an informative, evergreen post that centres on a specific topic and for which you receive compensation from a brand.
Sponsored posts generally take a bit of legwork on your part, either hands-on experience or online research. The topics will have to be agreed upon in advance with the brand, and the posts may be cross-posted on the brand’s own blogs, websites, and social media profiles.
When choosing potential topics, keep your audience in mind. If your audience is mostly composed of photographers, you’ll need to create posts that are informative and valuable to a photographer. If, on the other hand, your audience is composed of ‘civilians,’ you’ll have to take a different tack. For example, if your blog is about wedding photography and your audience is mostly soon-to-be-wed consumers, you might have less success with a sponsored post on outdoor lighting techniques for photographers and more success with a sponsored post on must-have wedding-day shots for brides. The only way to know which group your audience falls into is to build and interact with your community on a daily basis.
One of the most important parts of sponsored posts is transparency—that is, your readers have the right to know that you got paid by a company to write that post. Even if the post is totally neutral or doesn’t mention the company or its products, put in a small disclaimer that explains the post is sponsored by a brand. And even with the disclaimer, remember to keep your writing, recommendations, and reviews neutral, fair, and accurate. It’s okay to partner with a brand; it’s not okay to be a mindless corporate shill.
For example, imagine your blog is all about running a small photography studio. You might establish a relationship with Intuit, a software company that makes tools for accounting and bookkeeping. As part of this relationship, you could run a series of six posts on how to manage money for a small photography studio. One post might focus on setting up software; another might focus on billing. The posts will be based on your own personal experience as well as research you’ve done on the topic. They may mention Intuit’s software, but if other software is better for a particular task, you’ll mention those programs, too. And of course, at the beginning or end of each post, in italics, you’ll be careful to note that the post is part of a series sponsored by Intuit.
Blogging for Photographers by Jolie O’Dell tells you everything that you need to know about establishing your own photo-blogging website, from the basics of how to get your photos from your camera to the Internet, and looking lovely, to how you can make money from your site.