The Do’s and Don’t’s of Sponsored Content

Its no secret that sponsored content is nearly everywhere in the modern digital landscape, but the question still stands: What, exactly, is it? Moreover, why is it essential for your marketing strategy?

According to the American Press Institute, sponsored content is defined as:

“Sponsored content/native advertising appears in many ways. There is no single form, but rather a continuum from banner ads to social media content to large microsites with articles and videos. It is better to define sponsored content by what it does than by what it looks like.”

Yet, Digiday goes a step further to differentiate sponsored content from other categories of online promotion into several different categories, listed below:

  • Native Advertising

    Instagram sponsored posts, YouTube in-video shopping ads., and ad units that can only be bought and displayed on one platform.

  • Sponsored Content

    Denoted with phrases including, “brought to you by,” “presented by,” or “sponsored by.” Content that is not produced by the brand.

  • Advertising Content

    BuzzFeed listicles, Forbes BrandVoice. Advertising in the form of content but not display advertising. They are often labeled as sponsored content.

  • Brand Content

    Red Bull YouTube channel. Content brands produce on their own and run through their own distribution channels. Thus, brands are functioning as publishers.

  • Content Marketing

    “The catchall phrase that encompasses all of the above.”

Sponsored Content Header

This can all seem like a lot, and the overlap between types of content can be tricky to understand, and differentiate between.  Simply put, sponsored content refers to a specific form of content marketing where advertisers pay to have their campaign materials inserted into the host medium’s normal format.

Here are some Do’s and Don’t’s when it comes to Sponsored Content to help you make the most out of your campaign.

Do: Identify Audiences and Buyers Personas

Developing and identifying a strong buyer’s persona will help focus and fine-tune the messaging for your content.  Plus, most sponsored content gives you cool targeting options on the back end, which means that having a well-established buyer persona ready to go can ensure your content is landing where it needs to, and nowhere it doesn’t.

Don’t: Confuse Sponsored Content with Native Content

True, the definitions vary, but keeping Sponsored Content more closely aligned with media and editorials via an informative approach goes a long way in ensuring success. You should leave the sales-y language and the obvious calls to action for the Native Advertising.

Do: Develop Your Message/Voice

In line with identifying your audience and buyer’s personas, developing your messaging is key. Strong brand identity and focused messaging are ideal for engaging audiences, and the development of a meaningful voice for your brand will be useful in more than one area.

Don’t: Hard Sell or Appear as an Ad

The primary goal of sponsored content is to blend in with the local content. Presenting the material as an informative editorial, or some other form of site-ready media gives the content a more organic feel and less like a hard sell.

Let us wrap this all up for you.

Sponsored content refers to a form of content marketing in which advertisers pay to publish their material on a website, in a publication, or over broadcast media with the intention of closely resembling editorial content. In other words, sponsored content features paid campaigns, promotion, or content consistent with the medium’s normal format (a blog post, Instagram post, YouTube video, etc.) on an external publisher’s site or channel. This puts sponsored content in a different category than advertorials, which often interrupt users’ online experiences through overt and distracting ads.

Sponsored Content

This kind of content is incredibly beneficial because it offers something so important when compared with traditional advertising: the opportunity to be truly informative and establish a brand voice. Great sponsored content needs to offer audiences something of value, seem native to its publishing space, and represent a brand with style and editorial clarity.

Need help crafting some great sponsored content for placement across the country, or the world? Just reach out, we’re always happy to help.

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