sponsored Superman

The doodle above was inspired by this blog post about sponsored content by Mark Schaefer. And then the post below happened.

I’ve found native advertising to be an effective content marketing tactic in many a digital marketing strategy.

Sponsored content on blogs, websites, and even social media can accelerate visibility of a brand’s content at a faster rate compared to organic traffic acquisition. Basically you can ‘purchase’ an audience that’s a perfect fit with those likely to buy your product or service.

However, like Mark pointed out from his personal experience, the blogger and publication can also lose credibility if such content is perceived to be sneakily hauled on previously loyal audiences.

The following best practices can mitigate such negative repercussions.

Providing value and investing in long term loyalty

1. Come clear about the sponsorship right at the beginning of the sponsored/paid post. This will allow your audience to decide for themselves if they want to invest their valuable time and continue reading the article.

E.g.: “This article has been sponsored by XXX which in my research and experience I have found to provide excellent value for…”

2. Ensure that the post is relevant and helpful to the audience of the publication.

If you are a blogger endorsing a specific product on your blog for example, maybe provide researched comparisons on products that can be viable substitutes.

If the product has to be purchased, provide a couple of free/lower priced alternatives for audiences with various budgetary constraints. This will even allow you to position the added value the ‘paid’ product provides.

3. When placing your advertorial (which should ideally be written almost like it were a guest blog post) on an external publication, make sure that your article is helpful rather than sale-sy.

Instead of trying for a quick sale, invest in the relationship with the new audience and build trust.

You can always provide links to other helpful content on your own website or content hub.

The content you place should be compelling enough to encourage the reader to seek more information via the links you provide in your author byline too.

4. If you are using social media to sponsor articles, optimize the targeting options available and monitor the feedback once the campaigns are rolling.

There’s a place for native advertising in any digital marketing arsenal if the implementation hinges on transparency, respect, and value for the reader.

What else would you add to the above points?

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