We’re passionate about helping communities and local businesses thrive. A vibrant local press makes for a rigorous local conversation, and provides a dependable platform for local businesses to reach the customers they need.
We keep our eyes open for innovative advertising techniques that could help businesses like yours get ahead, and one method that’s taken the world by storm in recent years is something called ‘sponsored content’ - find out more about how it works here.
Sponsored content is promotional material in a publication that looks, reads and feels like that publication’s own content, but features your branding and key message.
Sponsored content has taken off so quickly that, in 2017 it was found to have motivated ⅓ of millennials to make a purchase from a brand! Pairing this new format with the advertising potentials of a local paper could be the ultimate marketing formula for a small business. Here’s why:
Businesses have never had so many different ways to market themselves, but the trick to achieving the optimum impact is finding the right combination of formats - what we call a multi-channel strategy.
The bedrock of any digital campaign is undoubtedly display ads, those boxes and banners you see at the side of your screen on almost any website. However, to build on the exposure that display ads deliver, there’s nothing better than longer-form content that gives your audience something engaging and informative.
This is where the environment you’re in really matters. Placing your ads alongside quality content on local news sites is proven to significantly boost the amount of time people spend looking at them. So when you merge an ad format that already commands above-average levels of attention with a setting that keeps people looking at content for longer, you’re multiplying the chances of your message getting through.
A recent YouGov poll found that local news is now the UK’s most trusted source of information, with 74% of people expressing confidence in what they read in their local newspaper, whether in print or online.
Local news titles serve people the content most relevant to their own lives, and offer great opportunities for local advertisers to pull customers in without going for an off-putting hard-sell.
Another common name for sponsored content is ‘native advertising’ - advertising that conforms so naturally to its platform that it comes across as an integral part of the publication.
If you feature in a full-length article placed unobtrusively among other high-quality pieces in your local newspaper, you’ll reap the benefits of being seen as ‘native’ to a highly trusted and respected source of information.
Marketing comes with a price tag, and no business wants to waste cash on appealing to people unlikely to become customers. This is why businesses spend so much time and money on identifying their most promising target markets and displaying advertising to them exclusively, rather than broadcasting to all and sundry.
This is one real advantage of local media advertising for small businesses. Your local title is only really going to be read by people in your area, so placing your sponsored content there whittles your audience down to those with a genuine likelihood of making a purchase.
Even more importantly, if the piece chimes with local concerns, you’ll have effectively targeted your messaging to appeal to what your target audience wants to read.
Marketing, at its core, is storytelling, and your business needs to tell a story to customers about why they should buy your product, and why they should buy it from you.
If you’re a local business, the story you tell about yourself must find a place within your community’s conversation, and fit into the ever-developing narrative of what it means to live and trade in the place you call home. The best way to do that is with useful, informative content that resonates with local people’s concerns.
Local journalists are always looking for a story to tell, and they have the craft to weave a powerful narrative. These journalists spend their time talking to people in your community, and have a sophisticated insight into what those people want to hear.
With sponsored content in a local title, you can harness these professional storytellers’ skills to produce something that really articulates what your business stands for, and how your business should be the natural destination for local customers.
At its best, marketing is a force for good, connecting people with the products and services that can make a genuine difference in their lives. Local press serves the same purpose, so it’s little surprise that blending the two, via the powerful medium of sponsored content, delivers such extraordinary results.
Want to know more about using content in your marketing? Check out the articles below, or take a look at our sponsored content product.