How To Crush A Sponsored Program

Since joining Linqia in 2015, Catherine Pappas of  Living the Gourmet has exceeded her click milestone on nearly every one of her Linqia programs. A food blogger with vivid, mouthwatering photos, she shares her advice on how to reach your program click milestone, find your tribe, and maintain authenticity while writing sponsored content.

1. Make A Good First Impression

Remember to put your best foot forward for each and every post. As long each blog story remains on the front page, consider it the "flagship" for your site when trying to impress new visitors seeing your content for the first time. Catherine says that making a strong first impression is so important that it applies to all of her content, whether paid or not.

2. Better Photography Means More Shareable Content

Catherine notes that since she owns a food site, the photography is the most shareable content she produces. With great photography she inspires her audience to interact with the post by leaving comments, clicking through links, or sharing it with their friends. Sharing tends to have a snowball effect; when more people interact with the site, the more likely she is to gain new followers.

3. Great Photos & Great Writing Go Hand-In-Hand

Your photographs are the first thing your audience sees, acting as the tool that pulls people in. Your writing is the first thing your audience reads, which keeps them on the page. You cannot have one without the other.

4. Your  Post Is A Story, Not An Advertisement

Paid content has the added challenge of ‘not’ sounding like a commercial or paid posting. Catherine says that she doubles down on her effort to sound authentic when writing sponsored stories, as she's learned through research and her own trial and error, that "people –  hate – being advertised to." Share a real story. The less a post sounds like an advertisement, the more people will pay attention, and the more likely they are to interact with it.

"Produce content people want to look at and read, make sure your readers are having fun, and then meeting your program milestone really does take care of itself."

5. Engage With Other Influencers

Catherine says that social media is the first thing that greets her in the morning, and is usually the last thing she sees before going to bed. While she acknowledges that her "always on" approach may sound unappealing, it is necessary when growing a site organically, and when utilizing as little paid advertising as possible.

"Share your content without being spammy. Share other peoples’ content. Engage naturally. Be both interested and interesting. Make friends. Play the networking game."

In essence, Catherine says your community participation and social media presence is your advertising. It is how people know you exist. This means finding groups and communities that relate closely to your site's content and your target audience, and then becoming an active and organic member of those groups and communities. 

6. Seek Help 

Don’t be afraid to learn from those who are doing better than you. If you spot a Linqia influencer producing the kind of content you want to produce, don’t be afraid to peruse their site and see what learnings you can adopt. Similarly, if a fellow influencer is tracking ahead of you on their clicks, don’t be afraid to ask plainly and politely for advice.

This article has been adapted from an interview with Catherine Pappas of Living The Gourmet. Check out Catherine's Influencer Spotlight and online resources including photo editors to social media, and even what camera she uses.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your program Brand Success Manager or the Influencer Success Team at

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