Can you recall the last ad you saw on social media or television and what it said?
If not, we completely understand!
Each day, we are bombarded with thousands of ads, which often leads to advertising overload.
Yet some types of advertising draw attention to brands and create long-term brand recall better than others.
But there is a catch (isn’t there always one?): Producing and distributing branded content costs money.
There is, however, an extremely cost-effective option, and that is sponsored content.
What is Sponsored Content?
A sponsored post is a promotional piece of content that is paid for by a sponsor and posted on another person’s website, blog, social media platforms, or other publishers’ platforms.
There are times when sponsors provide content. On the other hand, some sponsors leave it up to the publisher to come up with ideas and create them while specifying the general topic, keywords, and linking scheme.
How does a Sponsored Post work?
A sponsored piece of content will include three elements:
– A Sponsor: An outside company that produces or distributes content on behalf of the brand.
– A Partner: Publishing platform (such as a website), or the influencer (Instagram or Pinterest account), based on where the target audience is located and how sponsored content is distributed.
– An Asset: The original sponsored content – post, video, image, or podcast.
Here’s a pretty standard, classic case of sponsored content, as found in the India Times.
The purpose of sponsored posts like this one is to build credibility and position the brand as an authoritative source -a “thought leader,” but in a less intrusive way than an advertisement.
Sponsored content must be long-form and thorough.
A reader should always be aware of sponsored content, and it should blend in with the site’s other content while providing some value to readers.
Difference between Sponsored Content and Native Advertisement
To put it simply: Sponsored Content falls under Native Advertising.
The term “native advertising” refers to a variety of types of advertising intended to blend in with regular content on their respective platforms.
In most cases, users can immediately recognize it as an ad, as it appears somewhat similar to a traditional ad.
The problem with native advertising is that it doesn’t build an audience, nor does it provide the kind of value that high-quality content does for the audience.
Sponsored content, however, may not seem like a commercial.
Although it may be, it should, too! — to be disclosed as sponsored content.
Even if you remove the reference to the sponsor, it does not reduce the value of the content to the audience.
Formats of Sponsored Content
Since sponsored content isn’t restricted to any format or style, it can be anything that you can think of.
Content and sponsored content are only distinguished by sponsorship!
No matter if your brand is a Fintech brand, an Edutech brand, or some other niche, Sponsored content will include:
1. Sponsored Content on Influencers’ Social Media Profiles
Influencer-sponsored content appears a little differently on social media.
At the top of the post, it says “Paid partnership with [sponsoring brand].
Image Source – Shehnaaz Gill
2. Sponsored Articles
Sponsored articles usually consist of long, in-depth posts that mirror the look and feel of the website or app as a whole.
3. Sponsored Videos & Images
It’s no surprise that marketers rely on videos and photos for sponsored posts since social media is mostly visual.
4. Sponsored Podcasts
From being a niche obsession for tech bloggers, recording artists, and avid audio enthusiasts, podcasting has become a popular trend.
They’ve also become excellent platforms for sponsored content campaigns, as they should be.
Sponsored content formats are common.
Content is presented in a new way on each platform.
There are millions of daily users on each social platform. Social media feeds are therefore an excellent medium for sponsored posts.
When people see content that appears to have been created by an advertiser, they may scroll past or tune out, so sponsored content from a trusted source makes more sense.
How Content Agencies can help with Content Distribution Services?
How can you maximize the return on investment from a sponsored campaign?
Take a look at the best practices used by Content Agencies to promote and distribute sponsored content.
These two basic rules should be followed by both sponsors and publishers to use sponsored content ethically that benefits everyone:
- Create high-quality content.
- Distribute that great content
Let’s understand LexiConn’s Content Distribution process.
Whenever a client approaches LexiConn for Sponsored Content Services (Content Distribution Services), we start by assessing the client’s requirements and end goals.
Among our clients is a company based in France specializing in transactional services and international payments.
The client approached us with a need for a Content Creation and Distribution Strategy, and this is how we started the process and developed the best solution.
Conduct Audience Research
With our in-house build databases and premium tech platforms, we discovered their target audience’s favorite content formats, and where they hang out online.
Designers, for example, enjoy watching YouTube videos or checking out Instagram posts more than reading lengthy articles.
As part of our process, we consider how best to deliver your message and how audiences respond to it.
This allowed us to come up with the perfect format and narrow down the number of distribution platforms they could have at the beginning.
Research the Platform or Publishers
We then verify that the platforms or publishers we are considering are true as reliable as they claim to be.
Our team requests the publisher’s media kit to learn more about their audience, tone of voice, messaging, and engagement, so we can match them with your campaign.
In addition, we also consider:
– What kind of audience you are targeting and if it aligns with the publisher’s audience
– Measure unique monthly visitors to the platforms
– Formats currently available for sponsored content
– Editorial guidelines and requirements
– Other brands advertise with success stories if any.
Align Your Goals with Your Audience’s Expectations and Platform Specifications
Last but not least, we clearly state your expectations so that we can measure how well the publication performs.
Identifying your goals and KPIs helps us estimate how much money you have to budget for sponsored content, including monitoring the right metrics, to earn maximum returns.
In the above case study, we suggested our client create and edit their existing content to publish it on the recommended platforms leading to a traffic boost.
There are no limitations and no restrictions on which channels can publish your sponsored content, but you should consider three major factors when making your choice.
There is the audience, the platform, and, most importantly, your goal.
Do you plan on getting a long-term relationship? – Invest in sponsored articles and blog posts
Do you intend to get results quickly? – Invest in Sponsored Content on Social Media Platforms
This depends entirely on the sponsored campaign’s goals.
Sponsored Content Examples
Here are some examples of brands that are doing it right.
This article, published by the Telegraph and sponsored by Trailfinders, seems to target travelers and wildlife lovers, as it tells about different views and wildlife around Australian cities.
While it uses attractive visuals, it may be able to attract the target audience to visit those places.
By doing this, a new audience can be brought to the platform to watch shows recommended by their favorite content creators.
With consumers expecting free content, brands are finding it increasingly difficult to charge for premium content.
Sponsored content provides publishers with an opportunity to make money and give their creators more money in return for high-quality work.
Sponsors gain exposure to their brands and products.
As long as the content is of value to that audience, and the brand sponsor provides products and services that are relevant to that audience, they gain as well.
Sponsored content provides value to all stakeholders if it is produced with care and integrity.
To be successful, however, you must always follow two key rules:
Create quality content. Make sure to distribute widely.