Authentic, compelling storytelling is the secret ingredient to cultivating true credibility. Whether or not your blog post is sponsored, your audience responds to stories that are genuine, natural, and relevant. At the end of the day, it takes compelling, in-depth stories to elevate your post from a blanket promotion to a story your audience will trust and engage with.

Engaging storytelling does more than keep your readers invested in your blog; it’s also what draws quality brands to influencer marketing. In fact, 72% of marketers say they use the tactic for the influencers’ authenticity and trusted voice.

For example, the stories from Linqia’s multi-flight programs with Wente Vineyards perfectly exemplify the power of great stories. Anchoring on the program’s theme, “Love of the Journey,” our influencers seamlessly weaved Wente Vineyards wine into highly personal narratives about their marriages, careers, or passions like music and cooking.

Wente Vineyards understood the power of storytelling and encouraged influencers to share personal passions, which resulted in a hugely successful program for both the brand and participating influencers. There’s no reason not to adopt a similar outlook on each of your sponsored posts. Here are  five steps that offer a framework for telling a seamless and authentic sponsored story:

1. Share a Personal Story

Start your blog post by sharing a compelling personal anecdote that draws in your audience. Since every one of our sponsored programs is centered around a specific theme, tone, and set of values, your program brief should have plenty of material to inspire you. Begin incorporating your link by hyperlinking relevant product or service keywords until you introduce the brand later in your story. Your resulting blog post will not only build an honest connection with your audience, but also set the stage to seamlessly blend the brand’s story with your own.

Jessica of Coffee and Crayons’ blog post began with the journey she took throughout her twenties in search of following “the plan.” What resulted instead was an international adventure and an unexpected career in food blogging. Read Jessica’s full story here.

“We decided to pack up our things, put it in storage and buy a one-way ticket to SE Asia. Aside from tickets and information about when our visas would expire in each country we visited, we had no plan and no timeline. We went where we wanted, when we wanted. For the first time ever, I just went with it.”

2. Tie In the Story Theme

After you’ve introduced the blog post by sharing a story, transition with a few lines about how the program and product fit into your journey. Build upon your personal narrative by speaking broadly about the themes at hand. Describing how the program resonates with you, ties into your life, and compels you to promote the product will help keep the story authentic even as you introduce your sponsorship.

For example, Gladys of The Mother Overload transitioned out of her personal story about her “love journey” by explaining the role wine plays in her marriage. Click here to read her full story.

Our date nights usually include trying out new local restaurants, checking out comedy acts or hanging out at our local wineries. Because you know, good food, laughter, and wine just go really well together. And we love wine so much so that we had our wedding reception on a mountain top overlooking a vineyard. So this summer, we’re celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary and our journey with Wente wine.

3. Highlight the Product

After you segue from personal narrative to broader story theme, introduce the product that the program is all about. Showcase the product’s special features and benefits. To keep the story intimate and authentic for your readers, sprinkle an anecdote that illustrates how you use the product. Even though the story is sponsored, staying true to what makes your experience unique is paramount to maintaining authenticity.

Katie of A Fork’s Tale happens to be a wine expert, so she put her own spin on describing what makes Wente wines unique. She also kept her story cohesive by tying each wine description back to its pairing. Read Katie’s full story.

“We also enjoyed the Wente Vineyards Riva Ranch Chardonnay. It is a nice complex wine with notes of vanilla and spice combined with depthful accents of fruit. Both Chardonnays will make a lovely hostess gift for your next holiday party. If you are really in the giving spirit, you can send me another bottle of each also….. Ha! Ha!”

4. Share Your Call-to-Action

Wrap up your story by including a call-to-action that ties back to your link. If your program provides multiple links, try alternating links throughout your story before culminating with a final call-to-action in the last few lines. Based on the program’s goals, you might encourage your audience to learn more by browsing the brand’s website, visit their online store locator, or even purchase the product online or in-store. You can also inspire engagement by posing a question prompting your audience to share stories of their own.

Molly of Miss Molly Moon merged her story about Wente wine with a love of music, describing how she usually unwinds after a busy day with a favorite record and a glass of wine. Naturally, Molly chose to highlight Wente’s passion for wine within her call-to-action. Click here for Molly’s full story.

“Check out this video that Wente Vineyards created about the parallels of winemaking and the art of music!”

5. Integrate Dynamic Content

Finally, bring your blog post to life with various photos, a dynamic GIF, video, or a recipe widget when applicable. The more dynamic the content, the more likely your readers are to share it! Keep in mind that optimal blog stories include 8 or more photos. Begin or wrap up with a pinnable image with text-overlay that your audience can share.

Kara of Whimsy Soul incorporated dynamic visuals throughout her blog story by including photos from her visit to Wente Vineyards. Her images captured the experience by showcasing the winery’s landscape, as well as photos of herself at Wente for increased engagement. Kara closed her blog story with a video of her winery experience, which she tied into Wente’s program theme. Click here for Kara’s complete story.