Video killed the radio star, and the pop-up blocker killed the traditional method of online advertising. People crave authenticity, and this need for authenticity has led to a rise in branded content from advertisers. Branded content is defined as editorial or entertainment content that also contains brand-specific messaging. Branded content outperforms pre-roll advertising in various categories, including brand recall and lift. Sponsored content is the most authentic of the branded content options, making it a top choice for marketers.

What Is Sponsored Content?

Sponsored content refers to content that the brand pays for but doesn’t create or host. Influencers, publishers, and other brands create content for the company and then host it on their websites or social media channels.

If you want to get in on this trend, you need to find a company or influencer that aligns with your brand. You can hire the company or influencer to create a photo, video, podcast, social media post, or article. The material will provide value to your customer base, and the brand mentions will be kept to a minimum.

This can sound a little confusing, so let’s look at how this works. Tastemade constantly makes videos that show people how to make dishes. Michelob sponsored the company and asked it to highlight Michelob Ultra in one of the videos. Tastemade chose a recipe that required beer, so Michelob got a natural plug.

Sleep Number also got into the sponsored content action with sponsored articles. The company sponsored the Huffington Post. A Huffington Post journalist created a quiz about sleep. The quiz was meant to be fun and educational, and it only mentioned the brand a single time. The quiz contained information about the sponsorship at the end.

Capital One has also joined in on the fun. It hired Forbes to create sponsored content. The partnership makes sense because Forbes and Capital One are both interested in financial topics. A journalist created an article titled “Great Family Summer Road Trips Across the USA.” The article is informative and engaging, and at the end, it mentions Capital One.

How Does It Differ from Native Advertising?

At first glance, native ads look just like sponsored content. Native ads are designed to fit in with the host website. However, the brand creates the content for native ads. If people click on the ad, they are redirected to the brand’s website.

Native ads come in various forms. You can create social and search native ads, as well as recommended content. “Recommended content” ads show up on websites next to other content. For example, if you go to a news site that has a list of articles, you will likely come across a native ad or two. You will initially think it’s part of the website, but when you look closer, you will see “Advertisement” on top of it. If you click on it, you will be redirected to another website.

Essentially, native ads look more like advertisements than sponsored content does. Also, native ads are used to make a quick sale, while sponsored content is meant to build brand awareness and recall. Think of sponsored content as a long-term marketing strategy that can put your company on the map.

Develop Your Sponsored Content Strategy

As with all marketing endeavors, you need the proper strategy to build a hit campaign. You are busy enough as it is, so the idea of adding one more thing to your plate might be overwhelming. Instead of staying up all night hammering out the details, schedule a chat with Ironmark. We can put our heads together and develop a killer strategy.

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Written by Reid Broendel

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