Paying for quality thought influencers
Sponsored content is tricky business. Anybody can pay for a positive Amazon or Ebay review, but chances are if somebody is looking for your business where it already exists, they’re interested in buying what you’re selling. True sponsored content puts your business where people might not be expecting it.
Good sponsored content is hard to come by, too. The best places to look for sponsored content is typically an established journalism publication, as those organizations have a dedicated following and adhere to a standard of professionalism when writing content. With roots in journalism, we have a lot of experience working with content, and luckily we’ve developed a list of five ways good sponsored content can benefit your brand.
1. Strengthen your brand with a reputable publication
Whether we like it or not, people judge us by the people we associate with. If our friends are shady, we often look like we’re shady as a result. But if our friends are trustworthy, we become more trustworthy. By doing your research and ensuring the publication has a legitimate audience is the most important thing you can do when looking for sponsored content providers.
You want your brand being associated with a trustworthy partner when displaying your messaging. A good publication can increase your brand’s credibility by associating with your messaging. This sometimes means that the content of your messages might be changed in the process, but by giving some creative freedom to the publication, you’re making your content more believable by their existing audience.
The key signs that a publication is legitimate is to look at their website, their social media, and the work they do for their readers. If they’re dedicated to covering events and issues that do a good service to their readers, that’s a huge bonus! If their readers are engaged on their online platforms and their audience seems like real humans, that’s even better! If they have a physical newspaper, then you know they’ve been in business for a while.
2. Engage with your audience with long read times
When we watch an advertisement on television, see an ad on a news website, or catch a billboard while driving, they’re often gone as quickly as they come. The amount of time your audience is engaging with your brand is limited because people are consuming your content while moving from one place to another. But with sponsored content, they’ve already found the destination.
In our own network, we see an average read time of nearly three minutes in sponsored content. In the world of advertising, that number is unprecedented. Traditional video advertising captures 30 seconds or less of the audience’s attention, while digital video, according to Google, has an average run-time of about 55 seconds, but only 67 per cent of users are actually watching to the end.
Three minutes or more of a person’s time is valuable. When people log into a news site, they’re there to be informed. The longer you can give them information, the more they’re engaging with your brand and its messaging. The more they take away from your sponsored content, the more they’re going to search for your brand in the future.
3. Add new perspective to your messaging
Fresh eyes are always a benefit to any sort of marketing — or even any projects outside of marketing! People can add something new and exciting to our existing work, or they can improve what’s already there. The same goes for sponsored content. Organizations, or the individual writers within a publication, already have their preferred formula for writing, and sponsored content writers can freshen up some old messaging.
You might not even want to use a writer that’s willing to give you everything you want, as they know their reader’s expectations, and collaborating to adapt to their style guide is important to resonating with their audience. Two things are memorable to content consumers: the good quality content and the bad quality content.
By working with a group that has an ethics standard, a style guide, or any other sort of minimum standard a story must reach, your messaging will be better than working with an organization that doesn’t adhere to any sort of rules. Adding fresh perspective to your messaging with almost always result in new audiences checking out what you can offer.
4. Celebrate wins within your organization
If you represent a business or organization that gives back to the community, sponsored content is a perfect opportunity to share your successes with new audiences. Maybe you represent a dentist and you’re looking to bring attention to a new pilot project to help the homeless get necessary dental surgery, sponsored content is a great opportunity to share that story and maybe get some volunteers involved to help your organization.
Another great opportunity for sponsored content is expansion. Maybe you’ve been offering trendy haircuts to a small community, and you’re looking to break into the big-city market. Sponsored content can be a way to use influencers within that larger community to drive some additional traffic to your home location.
Sponsored content is brilliant for organizations looking to share their successes because it guarantees that they’ll have a voice where the people are actually looking for information. People will have more of an interest in what you’re offering, if they can feel the excitement from your brand’s successes.
5. Educate the public on your organization
Journalism exists to keep people informed on what’s going on within their daily lives. Maybe you’re a new corporation moving into a new city and there’s a lot of talk coming from your competitors. Sponsored content could be a way to clear some of the air and combat myths about your brand’s arrival.
Another great example of this would be bringing a new startup for a fresh industry into a community that relies on an existing industry for their economic growth. Fears could be created around diluting the existing industry or jobs becoming obsolete, but sponsored content gives a platform to set the story straight about working with the existing industry’s leaders.