If youíre not sure what sponsored content is or how to use it, thatís okay. Weíve all seen native advertisements before. If you discovered the majority of your target market uses Yahoo Mail, it would be reasonable for you to consider displaying a sponsored ad on that website. Look at how ZipRecruiter used this strategy to promote their brand by partnering with Daymond Johnís podcast: Research shows that 75% of people who listen to podcasts take an action after hearing a branded ad. Donít get stuck in the idea that your sponsored content must be in the form of an article on the homepage of a website. These are some of the top factors to consider when it comes to how much youíll spend on different types of sponsored ads: time user spends on page word count of sponsored articles CPM (cost per thousand impressions) page rank of website lead capture engagement PPC (click-through rates) website traffic length of time ad is run quantity of ads email subscribers social media followers It may sound complex, but itís pretty straightforward. Form relationships with social influencers As I started to explain earlier, there are lots of different ways to run sponsored content campaigns. Allow your sponsored content to enhance your long-term campaigns Weíve already established that sponsored content is a type of native advertising. Research your target audience so you can figure out which types of ads they want to see and what platforms they are using. Follow these tips, and youíll be able to reach a wider audience by using native ads and sponsored content.
Today, your marketing strategy has become more important than ever before.
Thatís because the Internet makes it easy for consumers to conduct research and discover new brands. With information and other resources so readily available, each business in every industry has competition to worry about.
You may have some successful content marketing tactics. Thatís great, and you should continue using them.
That said, content marketing alone wonít be enough to reach the widest possible audience. If you want to create more brand exposure and gain an edge over your competition, youíll need to do more.
Sponsored content may be the solution to give your company the advantage youíve been looking for.
If youíre not sure what sponsored content is or how to use it, thatís okay. Itís not too late to get started.
Iíll explain how sponsored content works and how you can apply it to your branding strategy. Hereís what you need to know.
Understand the difference between native advertising and content marketing
The majority of your current promotions likely fall into the content marketing category.
Typically, content marketing is focused on the big picture and long-term goals. Marketers put emphasis on lead nurturing, resulting eventually in sales conversions. The conversion funnel is a great representation of how to tackle content marketing at each stage:
This is a continuous process. Take a look at some of the examples listed above you can apply to each stage of the funnel.
It involves things such as newsletters, guides, demonstrations, blogs, coupons, and videos. The list goes on and on. Sure, these promos raise brand awareness, but they also help drive the customer through the funnel.
Native ads are intended to increase brand exposure as well, but they differ a bit from your typical content campaigns.
Weíve all seen native advertisements before. Even if you havenít realized it, youíve definitely been exposed to them while browsing online.
Native ads are promotions mixed into headlines on a page. They are somewhat camouflaged to appear as though they are just another article.
Check out this example from the Yahoo homepage to see what Iím talking about:
Iíve highlighted the native advertising to make it obvious. If I didnít, you might have missed it the first time you glanced at the list.
Thatís because it follows the same format as all the other articles on the page. The title and subtitles are the same sizes. The colors and fonts replicate the content thatís not sponsored. The thumbnail picture is the same as well.
If it werenít for the word ďsponsoredĒ written above the headline, youíd never know it was a paid advertisement.
With native ads, you pay for your space on the screen. Think of it as a virtual billboard.
These advertisements are intended to pique the interest of potential customers. Your native ads typically wonít be circulated through your distribution channels, which is different from your content strategy.
These two marketing strategies will work together hand in hand. A customer may initially discover your brand through a native ad, but your content strategy will drive sales.
Donít be deceiving
You need to make sure your sponsored content doesnít fool your audience. It needs to be clearly labeled as a paid advertisement.
In fact, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has laws in place that force businesses to disclose their relationship with brands that pay for advertisements.
In addition to being in violation of FTC regulations, you will be misleading your customers, which is a bad idea. You donít want to get a reputation for being unethical.
This goes for the company displaying the ad as well as the brand being promoted.
Hereís an example.
Letís say your company sells athletic sneakers. Plenty of websites rate sneakers.
You pay one of them to write a favorable review for one of your products. If that review isnít clearly labeled as sponsored content, itís in violation of the FTC endorsement guides.
There is no reason to be deceptive. Thatís because the majority of consumers donít have a problem with native advertisements.
Just because youíre buying an ad space on another website doesnít mean youíre in control of their content.
Just make sure you stress the point that you want them to comply with the FTC rules. Even though itís not your website, itís your responsibility to make sure your ad is appropriately labeled.
Research your target market
To run a successful sponsored content campaign, you need to identify your target market. Figure out as much information as possible about this group of people and their consumption habits.
Youíll need to know things such as:
- what type of ads they are looking for
- the platforms they use the most
- which websites they visit
- what blogs they read
- their primary email service
This can help you properly display your sponsored ads.
For example, recall our first example of the Yahoo homepage. If you discovered the majority of your target market uses Yahoo Mail, it would be reasonable for you to consider displaying a sponsored ad on that website.
Sponsored content isnít limited to just websites.
Today, sponsored content has flooded social media. If you determine your target audience has certain social media preferences, you can use that knowledge to your advantage.
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