Blogger for Sale: On Sponsored Content

Let me be your billboard
Let me be your billboard

The internet is changing. Readers are spotting sponsored content on the pages they frequent: advertisements inside the margins, formatted to look like headlines. Commercials have moved from popups to the page, from banners to block quotes, from expanding ads to the editorials themselves.

Sidestepping filtering measures like Adblock Plus, marketers are going undercover, posing as endorsements by real writers, hoping reader’s won’t realize one of these articles is not like the others. Resizing their photos to the site’s dimensions, companies show themselves in a positive light. Composing their text to match the site’s layout, companies leave no room to read between the lines. Curating comments, they muzzle descent.

Tech blogs feature glowing reviews of the latest smartphone, long before the editors get their hands on demo models. News outlets endorse corporate mergers, before their business journalists get a chance to weigh in. Secular magazines find religion, before the staff can decide on the right one.

The Church of Scientology paid to have an article with the title ‘David Miscavige leads Scientology to Milestone Year,’ featured in The Atlantic, days before a book criticizing the church went to print. The problem with their piece was that it was too self-congratulatory to be believed. Advertorials are obvious because they have no bite, they’re flatter-fiction, transparent by design.

If your advertisement is going to pose as an article, it needs an angle. It needs conflict, death, and sex. It needs a writer with the courage to criticize every aspect of your business, but still make it look squeaky clean by the end.

That’s where I come in.

As someone who’s built a brand criticizing bad netiquette, I’m in a unique position to pander for payments. I’ll disguise your native advertisements in the same off-color tone as my own rants. My mockery is waiting to be monetized. My contempt is waiting to be cashed in on. My sarcasm is for sale.

Who better to shill your products but someone critical of the practice?

Let my smug mug be your pitchman, hawking your wares with back handed compliments. Let me drag you down to my level, to help raise brand awareness. Together, we’ll test the theory that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

As the Emperor of the sovereign nation of Blogsylvania, I assure you there is no division between the church of currency and the state housing my stories. I have the moral flexibility to bend over backwards. So let’s get this limbo party started.

Put my moral flexibility to the test
Put my moral flexibility to the test

Here’s a title that would make an endorsement of Scientology sound a little more plausible:

“I think L. Ron Hubbard was full of shit, but some of my best friends are Scientologists”

Right out of the gate, a little profanity adds a lot more authenticity. The client takes one step back, to take two steps forward. It’s a patient form of manipulation, planting seeds for delayed gratification. It tricks the reader into thinking this cynical asshole is coming around to the religion. It’s a subtle bandwagon argument, from someone who appears to be above that sort of thing.

Anyone can pay for celebrity endorsements, but to get an aging Gen-Xer’s approval, that’s an accomplishment.

***

Not all advertisers are offering salvation. Some of you are snake oil salesmen, exalting a magical elixir that doesn’t do a thing. The very names of your products get flagged as spam. Our brains are conditioned to skim past them. That’s where my reverse psychology smear campaign can do wonders for your brand.

If I tell my readers that your all-natural male enhancement supplement causes bloody diarrhea, they’re more likely to believe it does what you claim. How could it be a placebo if it causes irritable bowels? After all, side effects mean it does something. Let’s pile a bunch on so they take up half the advertisement. It’s hard for customers to be skeptics when they’re too busy weighing the costs and benefits. Now that’s clever marketing.

***

Ideas just like these are up for auction. If an advertorial sounds too good to be believed, readers know it probably is. It’s time to add authenticity to your sales pitch by passing it through the filter of my self-righteousness.

I know what you’re thinking, who’s this guy to spit in the face of our strategy? I’m someone who raises interest in the hardest product in the world to market: a personal blog.

If I can sell this, I can sell anything.

6 thoughts on “Blogger for Sale: On Sponsored Content”

  1. “This face for rent.”
    “Right out of the gate, a little profanity adds a lot more authenticity.”

    Because folks with potty mouths are honest and trustworthy. Fantastic spin. Love it, as I love ’em all.

    Oh, by the way…. I’m releasing a book on August 29th. Do you sell your services in packages, neat little bundles for the ambitious but broke? 😉

    Like

    1. Maybe I should move into backhanded book endorsements. I’ll write such a pretentious review that readers will check out your book just to spite me. It’s brilliant!

      Thanks for checking this bit of satire out. Glad you got a kick out of it.

      Like

      1. That’s all I’m sayin’, man! 😀

        And I’m happy to. I’m amazed at your ability to consistently put out good stuff. It ain’t easy, I know. Forgive me a cheesy moment, but I’m damn proud of you.

        Like

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