Sponsored Content – Everything You Need to Know
Nowadays, people must learn more about sponsored content and branded content. New strategies emerge due to the internet’s ever-shifting nature. Promoted listings, banner ads, and similar examples gain several million views much faster than traditional ads. This method has taken over the mainstream, so most companies now prefer online marketing.
In response, we’ve written this article as a digital marketing guide for readers. Businesses could use the information below to adapt to the newest marketing trends and add it to their web page. Other people should read too since they’re at the receiving end of marketing. As companies show ads on every corner of the internet, consumers should be aware of their strategies.
First, we’ll define content, sponsored content, and native advertising. We’ll focus on the latter by elaborating on its purpose, functions, and benefits. Then, you’ll learn how you can use sponsored content for your business. We’ll also show examples of companies that have used this type of digital marketing excellently.
As a result, we aim to help your business thrive during these rapidly changing times. Learn about the methods below, so you could derive ideas on how to further your business. For other readers, we intend to educate you on the various marketing tactics around you. In turn, we hope you can make better purchasing decisions.
Overview of Branded Content
Over the years, companies have been bombarding consumers with their marketing material. They’ve plastered the streets with billboards and blared ads across the airwaves.
Brands wanted to let everyone everywhere about their latest products and services. However, this strategy soon backfired on these expanding businesses.
Soon, traditional advertisements have oversaturated the populace, so its effects soon diminished. The barrage of ads made it more difficult to catch consumers’ attention.
Then, spinach companies in the US thought of weaving their ad into Popeye’s cartoons. This became known as the first example of successful branded content.
Companies started to incorporate their ad material into popular paid media. In turn, consumers can pay attention to their marketing while focusing on their favorite movie or TV series.
Also, it associated the brand with ideas that deeply resonate with customers. For example, spinach companies wanted consumers to connect spinach with their beloved character.
Overview of Sponsored Content
After some time, people became wise to branded content. Similar to traditional advertising, this method oversaturated itself into becoming less effective.
Soon, even great content was insufficient for marketing campaigns. Businesses needed a new strategy that’s somehow more subtle than this.
Later on, Proctor & Gamble sponsored radio programs for their Oxydol detergent. Soon, listeners associated the Oxydol sponsorship with their favorite radio serials.
As a result, people referred to these shows as “soap operas.” More importantly, this turned out to be a serendipitous gamble as the first sponsored content in history.
Nowadays, we have numerous advertisements sponsored by small and large enterprises. They’re also available in various media like podcasts and articles.
Unlike branded content, this new type of advertising didn’t promote products directly. Instead, sponsored content functioned and appeared similar to other forms of media.
What Does Sponsored Content Do?
This new form of marketing involves a collaboration between organizations to promote products and services. However, their marketing campaign must not directly promote the brand.
This method aims to pique interest and attract a specific type of clientele. It informs buyers about the problems that a certain brand could solve.
Following the AIDA marketing funnel, branded content directly addressed the call to the action stage. It explicitly urged people to pay for a specific product or service.
On the other hand, sponsored content focuses on the interest stage. It subtly educated people regarding a brand’s offerings by presenting how it solves certain problems.
For example, sponsored articles won’t ask people to purchase an air fryer. Instead, these would highlight the benefits of the oil-free utensil, then recommend certain brands.
Unlike branded content, the goal isn’t to sell an air fryer. Instead, it’s meant to improve public perception and achieve the goals of the brand.
Sponsored vs Branded
The main difference between sponsored and branded content is their source. Companies launch these campaigns by creating and publishing material on their channels.
In contrast, brands make sponsored content by commissioning publishers. They create and distribute the material on behalf of another company.
Furthermore, the former needs to be superbly produced to yield high engagement. These focus on providing recreational or educational content for viewers.
Sponsored vs Other Types Of Content
It’s different from this type of content and “non-sales” editorial content. It also shares similarities with other forms of native advertising.
Press releases announce events important to a brand, but consumers might not find them useful. Sponsored content prioritizes consumer interest in reporting these occurrences.
Content marketing involves the sole effort to create and distribute the material. On the other hand, publishers plan and produce content with little to no brand involvement.
Why Is Sponsored Content A Popular Form Of Marketing?
Companies are drifting farther away from branded media and other native advertising methods. According to a report, brands are spending more ad funds on this type of content.
Positive results are another reason why sponsored content is becoming more popular. For instance, the TUI group’s Passenger 6A team said it’s better than their other native channels.
This kind of marketing content enables companies to spread throughout the entire internet. Also, it engages consumers, so it’s effective for marketers.
What Are The Benefits Of Sponsored Content?
Content marketing usually involves sponsored content, so they provide the same benefits for businesses. Let’s take a look at each one:
#1. Improve your online traffic and SEO.
Ranking high on search engines is a priority for companies nowadays because roughly 68% of online activities start with these platforms. On top of that, you must appear first on the results.
That’s because 75% of people looking for stuff online never click past the first results page. If you’re on it, you’re more likely to increase organic traffic to your website.
That’s the number of people deciding to go to your online page. You can boost your search ranking with the help of search engine optimization (SEO).
It involves adjusting your content so that it would gain more traction on the internet. The great thing about SEO is that even small businesses can do it with the help of sponsored content.
This expands your presence on the internet since it allows you to be on several different websites. In turn, you’re more likely to appear often on the first page of search results.
Meanwhile, this makes it easier for people to find you on the internet. This eventually builds up traffic to those pieces of sponsored content.
This signals to search engines that you are a reliable source. As a result, they’re more likely to recommend you at the top of search results.
#2. Boost your brand authority.
We just touched on how sponsored content can change the way people perceive your brand. Now, we will look deeper into how this works.
The previous section mentioned that sponsored content lets you be seen by more people. Instead of promoting specific brand offerings, they explain the merits of similar goods and services.
Eventually, your brand becomes a reputable source of information, so people gain a positive impression of it. As you appear on more websites, you’re likely to affect more people.
They might also share your work with their friends and family, so you may gain even more customers. Still, you will have to make sure your sponsored content is high-quality.
#3. Create brand awareness.
If you have a startup, you need people to learn about your brand. That’s the only way you can start attracting customers and gaining sales, so you can expand your company.
Sponsored content helps by making sure you appear on more websites. That increases the number of places where people can notice your brand.
If you already have an established online presence, then sponsored content can introduce your brand to niche audiences. This is another way that it can help expand a business.
#4. Get people talking about your brand on social media.
People don’t just absorb information from the internet. They also talk about what they’ve read or watched with each other. You can find the bulk of these discussions on social media networks.
This happens when people have a positive image of your brand and many of them know about it. Fortunately, you can make this happen faster with the help of sponsored content.
Online articles, videos, and similar materials could spark discussions on Facebook and Twitter. As they continue, you increase the chances of getting new customers.
This also works in your favor if you want to expand to a niche audience. Twitter and Facebook are the most popular platforms, but there are other social media sites nowadays.
For example, you may consider Twitch as a social media platform for video game enthusiasts. Influencers may use your sponsored content to promote your brand.
As a result, your company can establish a connection with a younger demographic. Twitch users may even talk about your brand on the live chat.
This provides you with another avenue for social media engagement. This means more organic traffic which leads to more customers and sales.
#5. Generate more leads.
You need to get people interested in your brand, but how can you make sure of this? You’ll need to look for specific actions from your potential customers. Those are called leads.
Companies get more of those with the help of lead generation. It’s divided into the four parts of the common sales funnel: awareness, interest, desire, and action.
Sponsored content contributes to the awareness stage as it lets more people know about your brand. In other words, it helps with lead generation on that level.
What’s more, it can help generate leads for the succeeding stages, albeit in an indirect manner. That’s because the interest, desire, and action stages rely on the first part.
Why is sponsored content crucial for lead generation?
It’s not easy generating leads for those three stages if people don’t know about your brand. Let’s use the interest stage and cold calling for further explanation.
You can say that people are in the interest stage of your sales funnel when they like your brand. They may have proven this by subscribing to your newsletter.
It’s just that they haven’t decided if they’re willing to buy your goods and services. Your brand can change their minds via cold calling. This is when you speak with them to share details about your brand’s offerings.
Try this with people unaware of your business, and your cold calls will become ineffective. They may quickly hang up, or you’ll have to spend a long time explaining your brand.
Is there a downside to sponsored content?
One issue you may have with this type of marketing material is that it needs constant attention. Your sponsored content will eventually become less effective as time passes.
That’s because of the many factors that may change. For example, search engines may change how they select results for the first page, so yours might not fit the new criteria.
People may also change their minds about your product or service. Maybe they find alternatives or they simply lose interest due to other reasons.
What’s more, expect an initial investment when using sponsored content. You usually have to pay thousands of dollars to other websites before they allow your marketing materials.
Yet, that’s worth it because it can bring many long-term benefits to your brand. Recall that sponsored content improves your brand image.
This allows you to gain more customers and sales in the long run, so your company can expand. What’s more, it helps your brand stand the test of time.
You will provide a long-term purpose to the short-term grind of marketing. Eventually, you’ll earn more than enough to cover the initial investment!
How Much Does It Cost For Sponsored Content?
As mentioned, this will involve a lot of money. That’s why you might be wondering how much creating sponsored content will cost. This would depend on your chosen media and publisher:
- Business Insider – $5,000 per sponsored post, $15,000 per sponsored slideshow or video
- Huffington Post – $40,000 per article
- Gawker – $300,000 – $500,000 per sponsored content
- Forbes – $50,000 – $75,000 a month (minimum of three months)
These estimates may differ depending on your marketing strategy and other factors. For more information, it’s best to contact publishers directly whether it be via the email address or what. Just remember to add your name, email, or contact information in the message.
Fortunately, you may outsource your marketing to the best digital marketing agencies online. Aside from creating content, these companies can manage your entire marketing campaign.
For example, LeadAdvisors have expert teams who can craft your marketing strategy. They could also create your marketing content on your behalf.
Gone are the days of spending time and effort on branded media. The best digital marketing agencies can manage your marketing, so you concentrate more on your business!
Examples of Sponsored Content
The best kinds of sponsored marketing content blend seamlessly with regular content on social media platforms. Surprisingly, it can take on unique forms not seen in typical branded media!
For instance, BlackRock’s sponsored video series with NowThis comes with a neat tag. If not for the tag, viewers may assume the videos matches NowThis quality.
Taco Bell included their taco filter on Snapchat as creating sponsored content. Just like the BlackRock example, it complements the user experience of Snapchat instead of interrupting it.
Marketing continues to shift, so your company should adapt quickly. Your brand must adopt new strategies to keep your marketing campaign competent.
The time for a traditional ad and branded content is up. Sponsored content grows in popularity each year, and it’s poised to overtake other forms of marketing.
If you want to get your first sponsored content published, you need the best publisher. Paid search all viable options online, and browse their homepages for more information.
Coordinate with them to learn their pricing rates and services. Discuss how you can create content that engages first and promotes products and services second.
You may research other companies to get new ideas for your marketing strategies. For instance, Red Bull’s content marketing may give you more insights.
Lastly, follow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines for native advertising. Adhere to their rules on how to use sponsored and branded media legally and your rights are reserved.