Let’s say that a company that makes products or services in your niche reaches out and you agree to create a sponsored content piece. Awesome! The client then sends you the product or gives you access to the service, plus they send their marketing materials. These materials contain background information, which saves you huge amounts of time when writing. It also often contains images and videos created by the company. Perfect. Having these images will save you so much time.
Not so fast. The only problem (and it’s a huge problem!) is that the images that most companies provide are terrible. That is a deliberate, pull-no-punches statement. You might be thinking that this assertion is wrong. You’ve seen some good and bad photos. Or maybe you don’t even give images much thought. But when you give your images a little extra love and spend time on improving the quality, you’ll get more engagement from your audience – and your sponsors will love you.
It’s About You
People read your blog, watch your videos, and stay up to date with your social media posts because you create interesting content. This perspective carries over when you post an image or a video. Of course no one will not complain if you post a generic image of a product. But you won’t get much engagement either. To maximize your engagement, you need to show the product or service in real life – in your real life. How do you do that?
Interact with the Product
The most obvious thing to do is to take a picture of you using, wearing or interacting with the product. You have the equipment to do this in your pocket – your mobile phone. Or you can invest in a higher quality digital camera. You can also use photo editing software like Canva or Snapseed to give your smartphone picture more drama or clarity.
Here are some tips:
- Add context – products pictured without a human in a photo rarely look good. You don’t always have to be in the photo, but you should put the product into context. For example, if it is a nutritional drink or shake, pour it into a beautiful glass to make it look appetizing. Make sure that your background is free from distractions so that the viewer can see what you’re featuring.
- Real life – This seems pretty basic but it’s important to use real people – not the fake ones that you often see in stock photographs. Viewers can usually tell when the image is fake. When you use real people, you create an emotional connection with your viewers. This works well when you’re showcasing clothing or food dishes that you cooked.
- Good lighting and proper composition – Never underestimate the importance of good lighting. Try to avoid shooting your image at night (unless you have staged lighting). The more natural the light, the better the image will look.
- Grab attention – use eye-catching colors and set the scene of staged photos so that they grab attention
- Test – split test your images where possible to see what works. That means finding out which images encourage clicks, shares, likes or follows.
The reviewer is an everyday person wearing the clothes in real life, rather than a model (who always look annoyingly perfect). Your image will come across more natural and relevant to the average consumer if you showcase who you are, model or not.
Hilary Duff: Another example of a celebrity endorsement is Hilary Duff. She is shown eating a brownie on Twitter. She’s eating the product – which is always more effective than a simple standalone image of the product. Also notice this sponsored photo has the disclosure for a sponsored post (#ad). You can see in the sponsored ad IZEA was the influencer marketplace that facilitated this sponsorship.
Maria Menounos : How do you take a sponsored photo of a kcups? Use your star power to take some pictures of you handing out Dunkin Donuts Kcups at Baskin Robbins on the release date. If you can’t convince a 17 year old to let you behind the counter or a 20’something manager at Baskin Robins, maybe you are not as popular as you thought!
Ariz Forteen: Put some style into your photos. Here Ariz creates one sponsored picture of him using the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 and another of him in a slim fit suite. If you are stylish and cool associate the brands that sponsor you with that style.
Maria-Isabel Gridley: Maria was just featured on SocialTimes for her unique sponsored selfies on Instagram. Here Maria is giving a shout out to Gerard Cosmetics and The Jewel Bar. But on your best dress, makeup and get the selfie just right and the brand will love you.
Alexandra Jimenez: Why take pictures of a product that are sent to you? Go to where it is made! From the second you walk in until the moment you leave, readers travel along and get a sense of what’s it’s like to make your product, stay at your hotel, go on your tour, or visit your destination. Bring your sponsored advertisement campaign to life!