Comparing blog placement results: sponsored post vs. editorial feature

Photo of Chaitra and Ryan's sun-soaked picnic wedding by Carly Bish.
Photo of Chaitra and Ryan's sun-soaked picnic wedding by Carly Bish.

On Offbeat Bride, we get dozens of submissions each week from vendors wanting us to feature their work. Most of these come in through Two Bright Lights, but some are submitted to us directly. Our process for selecting which submissions to feature are mostly based around our commitment to diversity, and we generally run two of these vendor-submitted "wedding porn" photo posts each week.

We also feature two vendors each week as part of our sponsored posts, which run on Tuesdays and Fridays. Megan lovingly writes each of these posts as a personal way to introduce Offbeat Bride readers to the Offbeat Bride vendors who we adore.

When we talk to vendors about doing sponsored posts, we often hear them say that they don't want to do a posts that's sponsored — they'd rather be featured in "real" editorial content, in the form of a wedding photos post. So, here's the question: from a vendor's perspective, which kind of post performs better? Is it better for a business to have a wedding they worked on featured on a blog, or to do a sponsored post on a blog?

Real-world results from viral editorial post vs. sponsored post

Carly Bish is a longtime Offbeat Bride sponsor. She's in our vendor guide, she's purchased two sponsored posts, and we've featured her work editorially several times.

Most recently, in May we did an editorial feature of this wedding Carly photographed, and that shit went crazy viral. It was pinned non-stop by Offbeat Brides thousands of times, and then rippled out into the rest of Pinterest. Five months later, the post still gets 200-300 views/week:

carly-wedding

So, how have these 10,865 pageviews on this editorial feature translated into results for Carly? When I shared this stat with her, she responded:

Holy kaw! That is SO awesome! And yet, kind of confusing… I never got any work from the feature.

The first Sponsored Post I did with you, I ended up booking 9 weddings through it, some for that year and a few for the following.

I mean, it's AWESOME that the editorial post is getting so many hits, but with that many views per week??? You'd think I would have gotten ONE email from someone interested in hiring me for their own wedding! So glad it's such a hit with your readers though.

This wasn't surprising to me AT ALL. This really is the difference between a sponsored post that's all about YOUR WORK and why YOU'RE AWESOME, and an editorial feature, where it's all about the wedding. Ultimately, the readers who are pouring into editorial posts aren't usually in it for the vendors… they're in it for the naked cake, the blankets on the lawn, the pretty headpieces, the vintage suitcases, etc.

Whenever photographers are like, "I don't want to do a sponsored post, because I think I'll get more work from an editorial feature about a wedding I shot," I'm always like, "Well, we can hope so, but I don't often see that pan out…"

When it comes to editorial content, you have to wonder how many people could even recall who the photographer was for a specific pretty wedding they saw online. People often just get too distracted by the pretties!

If you're ready the take the plunge with us on a sponsored post all about YOUR business, let's get scheming.

  1. Makes total sense to me! When I look at an editorial post, the only vendors I might look at are the venue (if it's in my area) and where the dresses came from. Anything else like photographers, videographers, cake, etc, I don't normally pay attention to. And, I do specifically looked through vendor posts to find ones that are my speed.

    7 agree
  2. That makes sense to me! I love the sponsored posts and how they tell me more about the vendor. It's nice to see what other couples are doing, but what if I'm not LBGT/roller derby/breastfeeding like that couple is? I'd rather see that you help those couples AND other types. More info is better for making a decision!

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  3. That makes sense to me too. I'm planning my wedding now, and when I read the wedding porn posts the first time around, I'm never really thinking about the vendors unless they were for something really unique (Ie, I went searching for the vendor who provided a giant D20 in one wedding I read, though it turns out it's no longer available). When I read a sponsored post, I think "Man, this vendor is awesome." and then later when I think about needing say, a photographer, I go back through sponsored posts to see who to look into. I've never really scoped out the wedding posts for which vendors to use.

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    • Yup, never even occurred to me to check out weddings in my area for the vendors list at the bottom. I will NOW, maybe, but the sponsored posts and the listing in the vendors tab is where I went when it was time to get down to making decisions.

  4. I completely get this from both sides. I can understand how vendors might assume that being in a post labeled "sponsored" would kill the post's effective-ness versus "real" editorial… because on a lot of other blogs, sponsored posts are known to be sort of, well, crap.

    But really, sponsored posts in Offbeat-land are the perfect blend of transparency and editorial. I am a LONG time reader (read through my wedding, this was my ONLY wedding blog, etc) and the sponsored posts are insanely helpful for people actually looking for vendors. It is one of the things that makes Offbeat Online special.

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  5. I booked my photographer through a sponsored post on Offbeat Bride. I think for photographers especially, a sponsored post is way better at focusing on the photographer's work. A good wedding photographer's job is to capture the details of a wedding, which in many cases is another vendor's work. People who do cakes or flowers might get more benefit out of an editorial spot (OMG I want hat bouquet who's the florist?) but unless there's a specific shot someone falls in love with, we forget who took the pictures. So the sponsored posts are better for actually booking more clients, as it reminds someone "oh, yeah, here' s a talented photographer to shoot my wedding!"

    3 agree
  6. I had an editorial feature in November and booked two weddings from it. I had a sponsored post last week and had about 50 inquiries from it this past week. Big difference!!

    2 agree

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