Print media and display advertising is a thing of the past. The “product-first” traditional forms of online advertisements are also flying under the radar. Consumers are constantly bombarded with commercials everywhere they go, so they’ve developed banner blindness – the phenomenon of ignoring anything that looks or sounds like another advertisement.
Sponsored content is a crucial element to breakthrough banner blindness. Social media, websites, and blogs use this advertisement to keep their viewers interested and their platforms monetized.
In this blog post, we are going to show you how you can create sponsored content that’ll be valuable sources of revenue for the media.
What You Should Know About Content Types And Platforms
Content creation and marketing fall under a broad spectrum, so it’s easy to get the terms mixed up. You can make it easier to identify each one by asking two questions:
1. How much of my brand is included in the content?
In the spectrum, the brand can be conveyed in one of two ways: content-as-brand or brand-as-content.
Here’s a quick rundown of the two extremes:
- Content-As-Brand: Presents the posts as separate from the brand or product. Examples of this are user-generated content like Dove’s #ShowUs campaign. While it was unrelated to the product, the marketing tactic produced a high rate of engagement and allowed customers to create content and become the brand voice.
- Brand-As-Content: Content that’s created as a direct link or an extension of the brand. Victoria’s Secret is one of the prime examples of branded content. From 1995 to 2018, it generated widespread anticipation through their annual fashion show. Their use of marketing and high-profile models made this brand of lingerie synonymous with luxury.
2. What distribution model to use?
The distribution model is defined by what kind of space the content occupies. These are the differences between rented and owned media distribution and the pros and cons for each:
- Rented Media: This entails that it’s your content, but published on someone else’s platform. Examples of rented space include LinkedIn, Medium, Pinterest, and many other popular domains.
Many content creators enjoy reaching a larger audience and not have to deal with technical issues or other advertisements. However, it’s not your property, so you have to abide by the rules of your landlord. Also, if they decide to change or sell the land, you have no say in what will happen to the traffic to your platform.
The same goes for having sponsored posts on someone else’s platform. You have no control over the audience that you’re trying to reach or the domain you’re affiliating with. That’s the risk of temporary real estate.
- Owned Media: You’re the publisher and sole proprietor of your platform. Instead of having to settle with the tools and policies of another domain, you’re free to do or post whatever you want on your property. You can have a brand website, an email marketing campaign, and organic subscribers. The downside is the challenge of funneling visitors to your platform.
Choose a business model that aligns with your goals and initial costs. Many brands use a hybrid method: start to build an audience with rented media, and use the tools to draw subscribers onto your website. You can reap the benefits of reaching a wider audience and have the freedom to publish on your domain.
Sponsored Content Vs. Native Advertising Vs. Advertorials
Sponsored content is a type of promotional media paid for by an advertiser, but created and shared by someone else. It’s an agreement or paid partnership between two brands.
Examples of this can be influencer posts or articles that help generate a conversation about the advertiser brand or product.
The Native Advertising Institute has stated that native advertising is the one where the ad matches the form, feel, and function of the media’s content. It’s similar to sponsored content, except what changes are the one creating the post and what it’s centered around. While native ads are designed to center, it’s made and paid by the advertiser.
This form of paid content is much more direct than the other two; the publisher creates a post that focuses mainly on telling the story about their brand or product. The advantage of creating an advertorial piece is that you can highlight and convey specific messages and details to your audience, but being too direct may come across as aggressive to prospective customers.
Types of Sponsored Content
The first step to knowing how to generate revenue from sponsored posts is knowing what format is best suited for your brand. Sponsored content can come in many types of media, styles, or structures. As long as it’s a form of content. Ideally, the content created has to make sense and align with the brand values of both the publisher and advertiser. Examples of sponsored content include (but aren’t limited to):
- Articles (How-Tos, listicles, etc.)
- Gated contents (ebooks, white papers, reports, cheat sheets…)
- Visual media (explainer videos, photos, carousel)
- Stories (Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook)
- Sponsored posts (Twitter, Pinterest)
- Podcast episodes or series
How Can You Generate Revenue Through Sponsored Content?
There are many ways to generate revenue through sponsored content. The question is which method will work the best for your brand?
Companies will pay to have direct access to an audience. Whether they use donations, sponsored posts, subscriptions, or events, many platforms generate direct revenue from being sponsored by big-name brands. This model applies to your business if you have a service, product, or fundraiser.
Indirect revenues fall under digital marketing or creating content and building relationships with audiences to fund business goals. As long as there’s content to be made, someone can add a pitch from their sponsors and get their name out there without altering the viewer’s experience.
6 Tips for Creating Customer-Driven Sponsored Content
#1. Follow The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Guidelines
No matter where you post, be transparent by disclosing when content is sponsored and who the sponsor is. Following FTC guidelines ensures audiences are aware of sponsorships and keeps your brand from getting into trouble. If you’re not clear about what you’re allowed to do when posting or publishing, we always recommend consulting a legal professional for guidance.
#2. Make Sure Content Is Free From Any Misleading Claims
Fabricating false claims may be one of the worst mistakes you can make when producing content. Not only will it stop you from creating revenue, but it’s also illegal. The FCT Act prohibits any form of advertising that contains any unfair or deceptive content. A misleading claim can be relevant information that’s excluded or implying something unproven or proven to be false.
#3. Create A Compelling Story And Call-To-Action (CTA)
Entertaining and engaging content comes first, and pushing a product or service can come second. The best way on how to get revenue through sponsored content is by connecting with your audience on a deeper level. Use these steps to boost your CTR (click-through rates) and optimize your sponsored content:
- Write a short and attention-grabbing headline
- Use large images and other elements such as videos
- Include relevant or valuable information
- Add details addressing the sponsorship
- Be clear about your CTA
#4. Combine Your Goals And Your Audience’s Interests
Create your sponsored content with your audience in mind. One great example is Sorelle Amore, one of Iceland’s most prominent YouTubers. Her content focuses on helping creative entrepreneurs build a fulfilling career outside of being a starving artist. Some of her most viewed series is the “Advanced Selfie Challenge” or smartphone photography.
What makes projects like these so successful is that they’re inexpensive and easy-to-follow instructional videos that the general public can enjoy. You can prioritize your audience, too. Put yourself in their shoes to create content that will add value to their lives.
#5. Collaborate with public figures
Work with influencers that are in a similar niche as you. For instance, if you’re in the fitness attire industry, you can collaborate with an athlete or personal trainer to wear your gear. When an audience sees their favorite Instagram or YouTube celebrities rocking your merch, they’re more likely to trust your brand. The more you have in common with the publisher, the less likely it’ll feel like an ad.
#6. Add Dimensions To Your Content Marketing
Along with long-form blog formatting, you should also include other media. Think about what’s popular among your targeted audience, such as podcasts, videos, courses, challenges, and tools that attract more engagement from your customers. The more they have to discover, the longer you’ll hold their attention.
Sponsored content is a flexible business model that works for brands of all sizes and niches. It’s a valuable tool that can help you reach new audiences without stretching your teams too thin. You’ll find that many of the most recognizable companies have many different streams of revenue through sponsored content. As long as it aligns with your goals and core values, your content can be entertaining, educational, or community-oriented – all in one.
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About the author
Alex Lysak is the CEO of Scanteam. He has been working in online marketing for over 10 years with a specialization in SEO website promotion. Out of several niches he has worked in, he chose to focus on gambling as it’s one of the most competitive and fascinating markets in the world. Here you can challenge yourself and show what you along with your team are capable of. He aims to become No.1 in iGaming affiliate marketing.