Blogs and Twitter were abuzz this weekend, and still are, regarding the topic of “sponsored blog posts.” The debate over sponsored posts is nothing new, but was re-hashed when well known and respected social media consultant Chris Brogan wrote a sponsored post for K-Mart on a blog he writes for, Dad-o-Matic.
Forrester Research Senior Analyst Jeremiah Owyang contacted Brogan and Izea (formerly Pay Per Post), the company that set up the sponsored post. He outlined the pros and cons, and came to the following conclusion among his thoughts:
Sponsored blog posts will grow…Two years ago, I never imagined that I would write a positive post for anything coming out of Pay Per Post, but I think this model is getting refined.
From a PR perspective, the interesting messaging point here is the fact that Izea used to be called Pay Per Post, hence they are trying to move the conversation from “paid posts” (sounds sketchy) to “sponsored posts” (sounds more acceptable).
Sponsored posts seem to be in favor more with bloggers who are not affiliated with so called “mainstream” media outlets or larger publishers. (Try telling a reporter at USA Today that they’re doing a “sponsored column” or post.) However, they have found their way into somewhat larger blog networks such as Lockhart Steele’s Curbed Networks.
One example of a sponsored post that works well is the first part of every email on Peter Shankman’s Help a Reporter Out list. Each email begins with something akin to a sponsored post, Peter talking about the email’s sponsor. We’re willing to deal with it, because Peter provides what we deem to be a valuable service to us, for free. What would you think if one of your favorite bloggers started writing sponsored posts?