You’ve seen it. You’ve probably found it useful or informative, and it has likely influenced your opinion on something – more than once. I’m talking about sponsored content – that is, content that appears to be editorial and often mimics the look and feel of the digital environment it  appears in, but has actually been paid for and provided by an outside company with an agenda.

This type of content initially started appearing 7 or 8 years ago thanks to new (at the time), edgy media companies (think Mashable, BuzzFeed) that favored sponsored content over traditional display advertising – and it’s definitely something to consider having in your company’s communications arsenal in 2017.

In years past, PR was focused on “earned media” where editors are pitched a story and they write about it. With the progression of all things digital, the landscape for public relations has expanded from earned to “paid” media.

Today, to get reach and expose your message to broader audiences – you might want to consider pay-to-play. More commonly known as “sponsored content,” it’s found a home under the umbrella of content marketing. In the past, we all came to know paid opportunities as advertising. But now paid opportunities come packaged with the same look and feel of traditional earned article coverage.

As content marketing and PR increasingly go hand-in-hand, consider the benefits of including sponsored content into your programs.

 

Pay-to-Play Benefits:

  • Sponsored content is packaged as an editorial piece and thus is educational in nature - providing a persuasive forum to get your message out.
  • Because it is sponsored, you have complete control over the copy.  
  • It costs a fraction of what traditional advertising does but has all the benefits of guaranteed placement.
  • These articles also make for quality additions to your sales collateral and can be great lead nurturing content.
  • Additionally, you can share this content on your social channels, via email marketing and through other communications.

 

Sponsored content can be in print or digital and can take multiple forms – but at the end of the day, you’ve paid for a piece that is published and looks editorial in nature. You’ve probably come across sponsored pieces but didn’t realize it. Research indicates that content marketing impacts more key performance metrics and has a higher overall ROI than advertising. This is because sponsored content is not brand-biased. Its goal is to inform the audience, not convince them to purchase.

One of the most impactful qualities of PR is building trusted relationships through continual reach. Why not expand your reach with sponsored content where you can control the message and showcase thought leadership?

Try it, you might just like it.