30 October 2013

Parent Hacks Admin: Sponsored Content FAQ

As you may have noticed, one of my recent posts was sponsored. Given that I have more sponsored posts scheduled for next month (when it rains it pours), I thought this would be a good time to share my guidelines and values about sponsored content at Parent Hacks.

For as long as I can remember I've listed the basics on my About page, but it's been a while since we actually talked about it. I hope this helps you understand what I'm up to on the business side of things. Feel free to leave comments or questions -- I'll reply in the comment section.

What is a sponsored post?

A sponsored post is one in which I am paid or otherwise compensated for the post content.

How do you choose sponsors?

In fact, sponsors choose me. I work with Sway Group, a sort of "blogger management agency," who manages the majority of my sponsorships. They bring me sponsorship proposals which I accept or reject. If the proposal gives me an opportunity to write about a topic I think would be helpful to you, I consider it.

Proposals I don't consider: "pay for positive" product coverage or messages that promote something objectionable to me (like buying fast food).

Does the sponsor write the post (or tell you what to write)?

I write all sponsored content, and all views expressed in a sponsored post are my own. My favorite way to go about sponsored content is to write up a hack or tell a story I would want to share anyway, but that also dovetails with the sponsor's message.

The sponsor may have some key messages or a giveaway they want me to include, which I generally do in an italic note at the bottom of the post.

How do I know a post is sponsored?

I will put the word "sponsored" in the title so it's obvious both here and on links I put out via social media. I also put a disclosure at both the top and bottom of the post content.

How often do you post sponsored content?

It depends on when the proposals come in. There seem to be "fast" and "slow" seasons, so some months I may have several sponsored posts, and others I may have none.

I'm mindful that too much sponsored content, even when it's good, changes the feeling of a blog, and I don't want that to happen here. I strive for balance which I know is different for everyone.

What's the difference between a review and a sponsored post?

A review is simply my take on a product. It may be positive or negative, but I rarely take up space here with negative reviews. If you see a glowing review on Parent Hacks, that's me getting excited about something I think is a good value, that has actually helped make my life easier or more fun. Here's an example.

I hate clutter -- I believe clutter directly interferes with living a sane life -- so I review very few products here.

I do not get paid for reviews, nor do I do reviews in exchange for a free sample. I sometimes get a sample of the item being reviewed, but I only accept it if I think the item is truly hack-worthy. I generally donate or give away items I get for review.

Are you trying to sell me stuff?

Well, in the case of my book, yes! But in general, no. I'm a reluctant shopper and a cranky one at that. I also battle clutter as many of you do, so the last thing I want to do is to encourage you to fill your house with more stuff.

But if I come across something I think is really worth the money and the space in your life, I'll tell you about it. Not because I want you to BUY IT NOW, but because I find it helpful to hear product recommendations from people I trust.

As for my sponsors, I am grateful they value the work I do and the community we have created enough to want to be a part of it. While a sponsorship is not the same as a personal endorsement (see "What's the difference between a review and a sponsored post?"), I encourage you click their links to find out more. These businesses are taking a risk to support independent writers.

My business is thinking of sponsoring Parent Hacks. What now?

Thank you for considering sponsorship! Please shoot an email to bizdev@swaygroupllc.com and a member of the Sway Group team will be in touch to discuss your ideas.

How else do you make money at Parent Hacks?

I run display ads (via Federated Media) and I have affiliate links, mostly to Amazon products.

What I love about Amazon's affiliate program is that it helps me support this space without extra cost to you, as presumably it's shopping you're doing anyway. For example, if you buy your diaper supply at Amazon and you initiate your purchase by first clicking any Parent Hacks Amazon link, that purchase will earn me a small commission.

(I do all of my Amazon shopping that way; I go to a site I want to support, click a link from there to Amazon, and then search for the product I want and buy it. The site owner gets a percentage even if the original link pointed to something else.)

If I come across a particularly good deal at Amazon I'll post about it here, but only if I think the product in question is really worth your money and attention. In other words, I won't be suggesting you buy diamond pendants or machine parts, no matter what the discount!

Thanks for reading, and, even more, for making Parent Hacks what it is today.

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