Advertising is everywhere. From billboards and newspapers to social media, modern consumers are used to seeing content daily.
Battling all this competition is hard. Capturing your audience’s attention can be even harder. Investing in Sponsored Content can help small businesses do both.
Sponsored Content is a form of content marketing that looks just like a normal piece of journalism; in fact, it is a normal piece of journalism, except that it is all about promoting you! Of course, not all Sponsored Content is created equal.
An effective Sponsored Content campaign is one that is relevant and aimed at reaching the right audiences. We have put together some dos and don’ts to help out:
It’s your audience who will read the content, visit your website and then hopefully become customers, so it’s fundamental that they like what you have to say.
Sponsoring a piece of content is a great way to not only reach new customers but reach the right ones. The key here is relevance - don’t neglect your demographic.
Consider your target audience’s age, interests, tone and how this sponsored piece can reach them. For example, if you’re a young adult clothing store, sponsoring a piece of content about wedding dresses will confuse not only your target audience but any new interest.
Context is king. Think long and hard about the publisher you have chosen, taking into account their tone, reputation, audience and the strength of their online presence. If they aren’t known widely, the engagement you get could be fairly limited.
The major benefit of Sponsored Content is that you are tapping into a pre-existing audience. Collaborating with trusted publishers will allow you to take advantage of their strong reader base. According to new research, 64% of global consumers agree they are more receptive to branded and Sponsored Content when it appears on a trusted online news brand.
With this in mind, make sure that the audience you are tapping into is right for you. While it’s certainly important that the content is being read, it’s far more important that it is read by people who will react positively to your company.
There’s only so much you can say in a banner ad or 15-second video spot. In comparison, Sponsored Content allows for more in-depth storytelling.
If you want to shed light on a complicated subject, Sponsored Content beats traditional advertising. Rather than the usual sales pitch, audiences will read a piece of educational or entertaining content instead. For example, if you are a local hardware store, give something back to your customers through a listicle on your top 5 DIY techniques.
The major difference between Sponsored Content and traditional advertising is function. Sponsored Content is there to raise awareness of your company, not sell the benefits of your product. Looking or acting too much like an “ad” could lose your audience’s trust. Just take a look at this unsuccessful example from The American magazine, The Atlantic back in 2013.
Your content will be seen by a much larger audience so it couldn’t hurt to embrace new ways to deliver content.
If you have previously only published long-form written content then trying something more interactive such as quizzes or listicles could help you reach new audiences. Obviously, always keep in mind your company’s tone and target audience. For example, if you are a local solicitors, writing a ‘Which burger are you?’ quiz will alienate and confuse your audience.
At the end of the day, Sponsored Content should benefit the company, the publication and the customer. It is a more creative distraction than your average banner ad, with a bit more of a kick behind it than organic content.
Most importantly, through your content you can give something back to your customers, offering them a high-quality piece of content in exchange for their attention.
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