The most successful influencers thrive because they post mindfully. Before sending a tweet or writing a blog entry, they ask questions and think critically about the purpose of the content and what it should achieve. This is especially true for sponsored content, as all brands have a direct purpose behind their sponsorships, whether it’s to raise awareness, promote a coupon or sale, generate contest entries, or a myriad of other marketing goals.

Before you post, think about the program and its goals, then ask yourselves the following five questions, as the answers will put you into the right mindset for generating impressive and magnetic sponsored content.

1 ) What’s the brand’s tone?

Mesh your tone with the brand’s tone. While it is important to always honor your own voice, sponsored content should align with the brand’s tone. Determine a brand’s tone by reading its website and social media pages, noting its word choice and style. Adopt some of these findings into your own words to create a blend of the two.

2) What’s the program message?

Clearly convey the brand’s message. Before you create any content, familiarize yourself with the message the brand wants you to share, then brainstorm on how to integrate it into your own personal story. For example, if a pasta sauce brand wants to communicate its authentic Italian heritage, you could write a story about your memories of cooking authentic Italian food with your grandmother, weaving in your favorite pasta recipe featuring the sauce as a key ingredient. If you aren’t sure where to start, ask your program team to clarify the message and help you brainstorm. Remember, they are always available to assist you in sparking post ideas that combine the program message with your areas of expertise.

3) What’s the benefit to your audience?

Don’t forget about your audience. Posts that interest, inform, or entertain an audience are more likely to be engaged with and shared. Browse your most highly-trafficked posts and create similar style content for sponsored posts, as you already know this type of content is popular with and familiar to your audience. Highly sharable posts also benefit your program performance, as wider audience exposure means more opportunities for people to read your content and be inspired to click through.

4) What visuals will you need?

Include visuals in your sponsored content. The right images can increase audience engagement and overall program performance. Four original images seems to be the magic number for Linqia programs, as posts with at least four visuals have shown increased audience engagement. Identify the images from your most popular blog or social posts (like your most repinned pins) and add similar images into your sponsored post. Also, research the brand’s current imagery – it’s more likely to repurpose images on its website and social channels if they blend with its existing visual aesthetic.

5) How can you optimize for SEO?

Optimize your post for SEO. Doing so increases its visibility outside of your direct audience, boosting the opportunity for more engagement. Before you start creating, choose a keyword phrase that’s relevant to the brand message. If you aren’t sure what keyword phrase to choose, your program team will have options for you. Insert the keyword phrase at least three times in the text of your post, ideally in the title and first paragraph. If you use WordPress, install the Yoast SEO plug-in to set your keyword phrase and ensure your post’s optimization.

Ask these five questions before creating your next sponsored post and you’ll likely find your creation process easier, content more engaging, and program performance increased. If you’re an influencer interested in working with more brands, join the Linqia platform today. If you’re already a Linqia influencer, share your tips for planning content with us on our Twitter or Facebook!