Tag Archives: Sponsored Conversations

PayPerPost v4.0 Alpha – Be Excited!

PayPerPost has completely revamped their user interface to make their platform more inviting to both bloggers and advertisers. I am part of the team testing out PayPerPost v4.0 Alpha before it is open for more bloggers. So far I’ve taken one post about Sponsored Conversations from IZEA. Now I’ve gotten a second opportunity through PayPerPost v4.0 to tell you all about the new platform.

First, take a look at the user screen. This is such a nice clean look. You can click for a larger screenshot

PayPerPost v4.0

Here is the great thing about the new PayPerPost, you don’t have to fight for opportunities. Opportunities come directly to you and you can choose to accept them or not. You also do not have to wade through the opps to find ones for specific blogs. That took a very long time in the previous incarnation of PayPerPost. I found that the things that I wanted to blog about were only available to one of my blogs and those times when I found things available to the blog I wanted to post on others people had already taken them.

With PayPerPost v4.0 quality is going to rise to the top. There is more interaction between blogger and advertiser. Good blogs and good advertisers are going to succeed based on their Blog Scores and Advertiser Ratings. When you get an opportunity you have three days to complete the opp. That means that you can really take your time and craft your posts. No scrambling like crazy to finish one opportunity, write an interim post and then hop back on to get another opportunity. You work hard and do a good job then your blog score will go up and you will get more opps.

Here is something that bloggers are really going to like. This is from the FAQ

Will my blog be approved? How will I know it’s been approved?
Blogs do not go through an approval process, so there are no minimum eligibility requirements and you will not receive any notification that your blog has been approved. Your blog is eligible to receive offers as soon as it is submitted.

That means that the moment you sign on and enter your blogs you could be getting opportunities.

I’ve been working with this version of PayPerPost for the past few days, ever since it was announced on the IZEA Blog. I read the entire FAQ and Glossary. I’ve been working with IZEA’s development team with feedback on things I’ve found of issue (hardly anything actually). I am excited to work with this new platform as it develops.

Some people are not going to like this version because it means that they are going to have to step up their game. Ted Murphy announced that stepping up to the A game means:

* Get your own domain
* Create a true brand if you haven’t already
* Consistently create quality content
* Focus on spelling and grammar
* Drop the in-post display ads
* Drop any ads that talk about paid blogging (including our old ones)
* Drop widgets that don’t provide value

I think I have taken care of most of that and if I haven’t I’d love to hear what else I should do to step it up. Now, I said that some people are going to hate this version, that is basically because you have to be a better blogger to make it. The flip side to this is that other people are going to love it. People who have consistently worked hard to become better bloggers. People who saw many of the junk bloggers scooping up opportunities left and right. That won’t be happening with V4.0 of PayPerPost. Advertisers will have more control over approval of opportunities and bloggers will have more control over what opportunities they want to take.

The feature that I like the most about the new PayPerPost is that I can control the disclosure. I want to be able to put in post disclosure on all my posts. I avoided advertisers that wanted no disclosure at all. Site wide disclosure was a grey area, I’d much rather you know that I was being compensated. Letting you know that I was being paid for a post is important to me. So, only those advertisers that fit my qualifications will make the cut on BenSpark.com. I’ve worked hard to be a trusted blogger and do not want to lose that trust.

It is time to take off the training wheels folks. PayPerPost v4.0 is here!

I’ve started a thread on the IZEA Boards about PayPerPost V4.0 so we can discuss the Alpha. If you’d like an Alpha Key leave a comment on the IZEA Blog.

Disclosure: This post is about my experiences using the brand new PayPerPost. I am an IZEA Insider who works closely with IZEA. I am being paid by IZEA to start this conversation with my readers, the opinions are honest and they are all mine.

Sponsored Conversations Work

In 2006 I began writing paid posts for PayPerPost. At that time I wrote posts about anything and everything because I was able to get paid to do so. I had already been blogging for a while at that point and the thought of making some money writing was really appealing to me. Starting out I didn’t give it much thought about how my voice could be one of influence for others. I’ll admit that in those early days I occasionally wrote about things I didn’t believe in very much just to earn more money. Over the past three years I’ve become a much more sophisticated blogger with a growing and intelligent reader community. I choose very wisely about what I want to share with my readers with regards to paid posts. I’ve also cultivated relationships with some amazing advertisers in those years. Relationships that have helped me improve as a blogger and have helped the advertisers get their products and services in front of people who want to hear about them.

I realized quickly that I was not writing just a paid post, I was participating in sponsored conversations. Conversations around brands that I trusted and I wanted other people to be familiar with. One time I blogged about a product that I had purchased because I had heard about it from a podcast. An advertiser that made a better product contacted me and asked me if I would compare his product against the other and let him know what I thought. I liked that product so much that we started a relationship where I would blog about the product in return for more of the products for contests on my blog.

In 2008 I was still working on my little blog contests with the same advertiser. We had gotten the word out about the product a little and had converted a few people to start using it. I was going to be going to IZEAFest that year as well as to Blog World Expo. I asked the advertiser if I could get some of the products to take with me and to give to other bloggers when I met them face to face. That product was the XShot and I had twelve of them to give away. I gave one to Ted Murphy CEO of IZEA because he saw me using it and asked where his was. I gave him the last one and showed him how it worked. Ted now uses that XShot everywhere he goes. Also IZEA recruited XShot as an advertiser and the network of bloggers on SocialSpark (another IZEA product) propelled the conversation about the XShot into the minds of many other people across the Web. Sponsored Conversations about the XShot were taking place everywhere all because as an advertiser they saw the potential in one blogger to use their product and start a conversation. The XShot is now a staple item for bloggers to carry with them at events because they can use it to take group photos and quick snapshots with the people that they meet. Google “”XShot”, Google “Camera Extender”. You’re going to see this product come up again and again because bloggers are talking about it.

Creating brand recognition through a sponsored conversation should be a part of any advertiser’s set of tools. As an advertiser who is looking to connect with bloggers you really should be looking to IZEA to help you with any sponsored conversation campaigns. IZEA has a network of over 250,000 bloggers who are ready to discuss your products and brands through a conversation on their blogs. And I do mean conversations, not just a link dropped into a post because they are getting paid, I mean bloggers who engage their audiences and ask questions, respond to their readers and become advocates for your brand.

Some of my best friendships online have been with advertisers who had enough faith in me to let me have one of their products to try out and to blog about. Other advertisers paid me to write a post about their product. I can’t even begin to tell you how many advertisers I’ve promoted in the past few years but I can tell you about the ones that I love working with like Ten Bills, Mad Gringo, XShot and IZEA as well. I love talking about these folks because they get it. They understand that a sponsored conversation is an important thing if it is done correctly.

To participate in a sponsored conversation correctly an advertiser and blogger must be transparent. I’m being paid to write 200 words by IZEA on the topic of Sponsored conversations. I’m also an IZEA Insider and have met many people from the IZEA Team personally. I threw in the 700 additional words because I feel passionately about the service IZEA provides to bloggers and to advertisers. As an advertiser you can also cultivate that passion from bloggers through a sponsored conversation campaign. There are other people who can talk in more technical and numbers based terms about why sponsored conversations are a good thing. One of them is Forrester Research. There is a .pdf available through IZEA that discusses the importance of sponsored conversations. There is also a very interesting article on groundswell by Josh Bernoff on why sponsored conversations work. Me, I just know that they work because of what I have seen from my experiences. I’m a passion guy, not a numbers guy.