28
Nov

4 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Potential Sponsored Content Partners

Posted by: Brian Eng in: Media Relations -

Brands are always looking for new ways to connect with their target audiences, and sponsored content is becoming an increasingly popular addition to the marketing mix. Content partnerships with publishers allow brands to gain readers’ attention and trust by providing something of value – either information or entertainment – in a credible context.

But even the best content won’t perform if it’s placed in the wrong medium. So how do you determine which outlet is right for your content? Assuming the publication offers a package that matches your budget, here are four questions to ask yourself:

Does your content fit with the publication’s focus and style?
While sponsored articles must be clearly marked as such to avoid misleading readers, the content should still appear native and fit in with the reader’s overall experience and expectations. Whether your piece is a lighthearted listicle, an infographic-heavy explainer or an in-depth think piece, you’ll want to pick an outlet where it will seem at home. The content should feel organic and brand right when coming from the publication under consideration.

Does the publication reach your target audience?
Dig into the publication’s audience data to ensure that the audience aligns with your brand’s target, both demographically and psychographically. Demographics (age, gender, family composition, household income, geographic location, etc.) tell who the audience members are, while psychographics (values, concerns, interests, lifestyle, etc.) explain what motivates them. The more data you have about the publication’s audience, the better you’ll be able to determine whether you have a story to tell that will be of interest to these individuals – and that will get them to click, listen or watch.

Does the collaboration align with your campaign goals?
Consider the purpose of the overall communication campaign. Is it creating brand awareness, generating leads, driving traffic to your own media channels or establishing thought leadership, for example? The publication, content format, distribution strategy and timing will all need to support those goals.

What measurement tools does the publication offer?
You’ll want to know how effective your campaign is, so be sure to educate yourself about the measurement tools – performance reports, live metrics dashboards, etc. – that the outlet provides. Once you’ve collected the data, you can assess what you’ve learned from the campaign and how you can apply your findings on audience insights, content performance and other metrics to improve the next campaign.

Studies show that readers respond positively to sponsored content if it is relevant to their needs. When the quality is high (it does need to match the journalistic standards of the publication) and the content provides real value, paid placements can be an effective component of an integrated communications campaign.

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