Sponsored Content gets your company in front of people in places that they’re already looking for. Simply, because it holds useful information and feels appropriate for the context. And then again, it’s a persuasive way to tell people more about what you do.
At times, finding your target audience is hard. Capturing their attention can be even harder. Investing in sponsored content helps marketers do both.
That’s why each day, publishers (like jmexclusives) are creating beautiful and effective pieces of sponsored content. Particularly, that engage readers while delivering on advertiser objectives.
In fact, sponsored content is so simple that it’s been around for over 100 years. And it started with soap operas. For instance, in the 1920s, radio was king.
Radio stations created serial programs that told stories much like today’s true-crime podcasts. Then, as now, producing content could be expensive. So, radio stations approached household goods manufacturers for sponsorships.
What is Sponsored Content?
By definition, Sponsored Content is premium content that a sponsor pays a publisher to create and distribute. It’s a type of native advertising that is consistent with the surrounding content on a webpage.
In other words, sponsored content is an ad that looks like it’s supposed to be there. It feels like a natural fit for a platform, instead of an invasive advertisement.
And at its core, sponsored content is simple. Whereby, two brands form a sponsored content partnership. Then the advertiser pays for the content, and another brand, influencer, or publisher shares it.
As I have mentioned, Procter & Gamble was the first to agree and began marketing their soap laundry detergent, Oxydol, on the radio. As the shows became a hit, they became associated with the advertisers. In the end, who sponsored each episode – and, as a result, got the name “soap operas.”
Today, sponsored content exists across dozens of channels in a wide range of forms. Social media, podcasts, articles, television spots, and (of course) good ol’ radio are popular choices for modern sponsored content.
Why is Sponsored Content important?
First of all, it’s a form of content creation and content marketing that is typically created by the publisher that distributes it. It is also called native advertising because it looks and feels like other, native content on the site.
Secondly, most publishers have created separate sponsored content divisions devoted to writing, designing, and producing sponsored projects. From articles to videos to infographics to entire microsites. And for publishers, sponsored content is an important revenue stream.
In fact, three-quarters of publishers and media buyers have embraced it to positively affect their bottom lines. Research also shows that 25 percent more consumers look at sponsored articles than display ad units. And that native ads produce an 18 percent higher lift in purchase intent than banner ads do.
Adding to its allure, sponsored content is a one-stop content marketing shop. Your partner should handle both content creation and distribution. For example, the jmexclusives agency can produce sponsored content and distribute it through a well-thought-out distribution strategy.
In that case, that includes content recommendation partners, social media platforms, influencer marketing, and print channels. That is good news for marketers, as driving traffic to the content they invest in is one of their biggest challenges.
Consumers are increasingly bombarded by ads and are averse to messaging that they deem unhelpful. It’s for this reason that content marketing, particularly sponsored content, is quickly becoming the most effective driver of sales.
Content sponsorship is a longer-form piece of brand-sponsored content that lives on a media publisher’s site. It can take the form of articles, videos, and other forms of engaging and branded media that moves prospects down the sales funnel.
What makes Sponsored Content popular in Marketing?
Generally speaking, people don’t like advertisements; there’s even research to back it up. According to the Advertising Association in December 2018, public favorability of ads has hit a new low.
And surely, you can write an exceptional article and stick it on your blog. But, if you don’t have a strategy for promoting it, you are not going to get as much mileage out of it as you would like.
But of course, not all content sponsorship is created equal. It has to appeal to your target audience, showcase your company’s expertise and/or solutions, and be written well enough. Helping you to stand beside a publishers’ non-sponsored content.
Here are more reasons why it’s a popular form of marketing;
- It isn’t restricted to 1 format or type of media.
- Adds to the user experience instead of disrupting it.
- It makes your brand feel credible and trustworthy. By placing it alongside other things your viewer enjoys.
- Building on the previous – paid media is often interruptive. That’s why it’s one of the few ways to pay for exposure without interrupting people.
- Content sponsorship is mutually beneficial. Meaning, content creators (with an audience) gets funding and a product creator (who needs an audience to get customers) gets an audience.
It is important to realize, content sponsorship is always evolving with the digital landscape. As new ways for us to consume content emerge, you can bet that content sponsorship will follow.
And because it’s ever-changing, many content sponsorship definitions aren’t complete or comprehensive. When defining sponsored content, there are 3 aspects you need to consider.
The key aspects to consider includes;
- What is the difference between sponsored content and native advertising?
- How much should sponsored content really cost?
- What are the content formats of sponsored content?
- Does sponsored content look like other content in the feed?
1. What is the difference between sponsored content and native advertising?
The main difference between content sponsorship and native advertising is that content sponsorship is a type of native advertising specific to a sponsored partnership between two brands. The difference is similar to the saying “all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares”.
All content sponsorship is native advertising, but not all native advertising is sponsored content. The difference is that content sponsorship is just that – content. It’s a video or photo or article that looks like any other video, photo, or article on the page.
According to the Native Advertising Institute, “Native advertising is paid advertising where the ad matches the form, feel and function of the content of the media on which it appears.”
Neither native ads nor content sponsorship are disruptive. Both contents look natural on a web page.
2. How much should sponsored content really cost?
Articles sponsorship is one of the new shiny objects in the content marketing world. This new advertising channel has opened the doors for brands to become part of everyday conversations. Especially, with consumers on the platforms, they trust most for news, education, and entertainment — media outlets.
Sitting at the intersection of editorial thought leadership and native advertising, sponsored articles have only recently risen to prominence as a tactic worthy of garnering a share of marketing budgets. The novelty of the practice, for brands and publishers alike, means that many transactional aspects are still undefined.
Lack of industry-wide advertising standards, confusion surrounding definitions and forms of sponsored content, informal pricing methodologies, and unexplored benefits have all created a haze of disillusion around sponsored articles.
Yet the most common question asked about sponsored articles should actually be the simplest to answer: How much do they cost? To get an answer to that, check out this guided article on How Much Should Sponsored Articles Really Cost? [New Data].
3. What are the content formats of sponsored content?
Any type of content you can think of can be sponsored content because sponsored content isn’t restricted to any format or style.
The only thing separating content from sponsored content is the sponsorship!
Sponsored content includes:
- Sponsored Tweets (Twitter)
- Sponsored Pins (Pinterest)
- Carousel Ads
- Instagram TV Episodes
- Snapchat stories
- Facebook stories
- YouTube videos
- Podcast episodes or series
- And much more!
As you can see from this list, social media content sponsorship is common. And each social media platform presents a new form or type of content.
Also, each social platform has massive audiences of daily users. This makes the social feed a natural fit for sponsored posts.
4. Does sponsored content look like other content in the feed?
Content Sponsorship resembles editorial content (non-advertising based content). They look so similar that in 2015 Contently found that consumers couldn’t tell the difference between the two. And this presented a tricky situation.
Consumers should know when they’re looking at an ad. But brands should also be able to create engaging content sponsorship. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stepped in to provide some assistance. The FTC still hasn’t figured out exactly how to regulate sponsored content.
Instead, they state that:
- Influencers and brands must clearly state when they have a “material connection” to a brand.
What does “clearly state” mean?
It means brands have to disclose when a post is sponsored.
The FTC requires disclosures to be:
- In a clear and unambiguous language
- As close as possible to the ads
- In a font and color that’s easy to read and stands out from the background
- On-screen long enough to be read and understood (in the video content)
- Read in a speed that’s easy to follow and understand (in audio content)
Because of this mandate, many influencers and brands on social media platforms now use a hashtag to avoid regulatory issues.
So, if you’re thinking about content sponsorship, what are your options?
What have other companies tried before you? How does your content need to change depending on which platform you post it to?
Below are 9 different examples of sponsored content:
- Hot Ones & TUMS (YouTube)
- NowThis & BlackRock (NowThis)
- BuzzFeed & Hot Wheels (BuzzFeed)
- Taco Bell (Snapchat filter)
- Vanguard & Shopify (Podcast)
- Moonmountainman & liveagreatstory (Instagram post)
- UEFA Champions League & Heineken (Instagram story)
- Affinity.co (LinkedIn)
- UPS (Facebook)
Finally, I hope the above-revised guide was useful to you or even your content marketing team.
Below are more useful and related topic links;
- Advertising Explained | Top 10 Best Simplified Methods
- Google Ads | Get More Customers With Online Advertising
- AdDollars | The Advertising Marketplace You Should Know
- Display Ads | How to Increase your Website Ads Revenue
- Blogads | Create Native, Self-Service Ads & Monetize Blogs
Also, if you’ll have more additional thoughts, contributions, suggestions, or even questions in regards to this or even more of our blog topics, please share them in the comments section.
You can also read and learn more about Online Writing | 5 Ways to Start Making Money Blogging. As well as Business Blogging Benefits To Webmasters.