Do you dream of being featured in TechCrunch, or having your story told in VentureBeat? You want to be seen as a thought leader in an emerging space, but breaking through the noise can be difficult. After all, you’re competing with everyone else who wants that spotlight, too. It’s a tough place to be in – you know you have something valuable to share, but you can’t get the right people to help amplify your message. Fortunately, there’s a fix.
Sponsored content (sometimes confused with native advertising) can be a great way to get your message out there, especially for young companies that haven’t received a lot of press attention. People tend to be dismissive of sponsored content, but this is short-sighted. After all, it’s just another type of advertising – and one that’s arguably more effective than a traditional ad buy. Because it doesn’t feel like an ad, users are more likely to engage; studies have shown that people remember branded content twice as long as traditional ads. But this is also what makes sponsored content so difficult to get right: it needs to serve as an advertisement, without appearing to be one. Think of it as stealth marketing.
If you want to maximize results for your sponsored content ad spend, you need to be able to think (and write) like both a reporter and a marketer. This is a tough needle to thread, but that’s where we come in. Our team is filled with former journalists and marketing professionals, with backgrounds ranging from games to tech to TV news. And that means we are uniquely positioned to help. Here’s how:
Options, Options, Options
Sponsored content comes in all shapes and sizes. There’s the kind the company writes, and there’s the kind the publication writes. Some pieces go live for a month before they retire, others live on-site indefinitely. Some publications will work closely with you, others will give you vague instructions and make you figure it out yourself. There’s a lot to consider – and that’s before you realize that every publication requires a fresh, unpublished piece of content. Try submitting the same piece to Fast Company and Forbes, and you’ll get blacklisted fast.
We do all that work for you. We’ll identify ideal targets, communicate with editors and staff, give topic recommendations, help you craft your message – and, of course, ensure we stay within your budget. Because at the end of the day, we want you to get the most bang for your buck.
The Perfect Topic
Ultimately, all any publication wants is content that will get clicks, engage readers, and make them come back for more. If your expertise doesn’t mesh with what their readers care about, there is simply no point. Good things to think about are: Is there a hole in the market that your work can fill? Or a hot topic that you’re perfectly positioned to offer perspective on? In sponsored content, you are generally not allowed to “sell” your company, product, or service. Rather, the ideal piece will position you as a thought leader, an expert voice, and a source reporters can come to in the future.
We produced a series of five sponsored articles for TurboSquid, which well outperformed the usual viewership stats for all five publications. Their board was thrilled. Then a reporter for Inc. saw one of those pieces and reached out to TurboSquid for expert commentary on a related topic, further boosting exposure. Now, they are positioned as a go-to source for any writer working in those topics. That’s what we call “the snowball effect.”
To Write, Perchance to Dream
There’s a big difference between good sponsored content and bad sponsored content, and it all comes down to understanding how different publications work. What’s their writing style? What are their readers looking for? What are their rules around sponsored content? Too often we see companies try to leap forward without this knowledge and end up with a story that falls flat (or, more often than not, is rejected outright).
We get it. Writing is hard! And creating a 1,000-word “ad” that doesn’t read like one is even harder. Sponsored content takes a calculated approach. But guess what? When it’s done right, the results pour in. We’ve been there, done that, and would love to do it again – for you.
Want to start a conversation? Reach out.