Subscribe
Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our 4x a week insights, tips, and best practices.
Thank you! You have been subscribed.

Free Guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Read the Guide Subscribe
Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our 4x a week insights, tips, and best practices.
Thank you! You have been subscribed.
Learning Center
Learning Center
Close

Learn

Access the Learning Center

Free resources to help you master inbound marketing and They Ask, You Answer

Access the Learning Center

Blog / Newest Insights

Jump straight to the latest inbound marketing and They Ask, You Answer insights

Access the Learning Center

Free and Pro Courses

Take your knowledge to the next level with free and Pro courses inside IMPACT+

Access the Learning Center

Recordings on Demand

On-demand recordings from past IMPACT events and livestreams

Access the Learning Center

Featured

Inbound Strategy Playbook 2022

Learn 7 foundational principles that have proven to set inbound marketing strategies up for success

Access the Learning Center

Free 5 Min. Inbound Marketing Assessment

Take this free assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales

Access the Learning Center

Blueprint for a More Profitable Agency

See why coaching, not implementation, is the key to happier clients and better profit margins

Access the Learning Center

Case Studies

See examples of companies working with IMPACT and thriving with They Ask, You Answer

Access the Learning Center
Events
Events
Close
IMPACT+ Membership
IMPACT+ Membership
Close
Services
Services
Close
Navigation_8_2021_taya

They Ask, You Answer Coaching & Training

They Ask, You Answer Coaching & Training
They Ask, You Answer Workshop

They Ask, You Answer Workshop

They Ask, You Answer Workshop
Navigation_8_2021_workshop

Inbound Marketing Services

Inbound Marketing Services
Navigation_8_2021_website design - monitor

Website Design & Development

Website Design & Development
Navigation_8_2021_hubspot implementation

HubSpot Training & Implementation

HubSpot Training & Implementation
Navigation_8_2021_virtual selling

Virtual Sales
Training

Virtual Sales <br>Training
Navigation_8_2021_swell - paid ads

Paid Search & Social Services

Paid Search & Social Services
Become a Certified Coach
Become a Certified Coach
Close
... Inbound Marketing Marketing Strategy
Close
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Free Guide:

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
Read the Guide
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
Free Inbound Marketing Playbook
View The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Free Guide:

Take your inbound strategy to the next level

  • Master the 7 principles of highly effective inbound marketing
  • Dramatically improve your inbound sales
  • Get more buy-in at your company

Is Your Sponsored Content Worth the Money? Here Are 4 Tips to Make Sure.

By Ramona Sukhraj

Ramona Sukhraj also recommends this free guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022.

Is Your Sponsored Content Worth the Money? Here Are 4 Tips to Make Sure. Blog Feature

sponsored-content.jpgAbove anything else, inbound marketing often turns heads because of its ability to deliver results on a very small budget.

But people, sometimes even the best strategy needs a leg up.

Enter sponsored content

Sponsored content is a great alternative to other forms of digital advertising and typically more efficient than free distribution, but that doesn't mean its a cure-all by any means.  

If you're going to invest money in sponsorsed content, that content better be good.

Free Guide: The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Why Should You Sponsor Content?

Many businesses use sponsored content as their only method of paid advertising and that's simply because it works. 

Unlike typical ads, you aren't leading with a call-to-action that sends prospects directly to a landing page in hopes of converting them to a lead.

Instead, you are sending them to a valuable piece of content on your business blog or resource section to build awareness and establish yourself as an expert.

The idea is to warm them up and build trust. As Gary Varynerchuk would say you want to "jab" them before going in for the right hook. 

Furthermore, sponsored content on many platforms (especially Facebook and LinkedIn) allows you to heavily target your audience, making relevance and quality more likely. 

With all these benefits, it's important to approach sponsored content strategically. In this article, I'm going to show you how to do it the right way with four simple tips. 

1. Choose the Right Platform

There are a lot of options to choose from when sponsoring content and you'll want to make sure that you choose the platform that is right for your business.

If you're in a B2B market, LinkedIn is our favorite platform to publish sponsored content as it has arguably, the most powerful distribution channel.

That doesn't mean you won't have success with promoting your content on Facebook, Twitter, or other social platforms (in fact, the release of Facebook's Instant Articles just may make that a thing of the past) but currently, those platforms are better known for targeting B2C audiences.

Two other platforms you should know about are:

  1. Outbrain
  2. Taboola

These are networks that take yout content and display it alongside related pieces on major publications like:

  • ESPN
  • CNN
  • Slate
  • Business Insider
  • Mashable 
  • Venture Beat 
  • Time 

For the purposes of this discussion, our tips will be geared towards sponsoring content on social media as this is what we do most frequently for our clients, but many, if not all of the tips, are 

2. Be Relevant

Like all inbound marketing tactics, your sponsored content should be targeted towards your buyer persona and the platform at hand. 

Most people don't like to be directly marketed unless they've opted-in to their email list or expressed interest in their product or service in some way so sponsored content is a valuable alternative. 

As always, the key here is that the content is relevant to your buyer persona and the product or service that your business offers. To ensure relevance, consider using the three-step plan below. 

Three-Step Plan for Sponsored Content That Converts

  1. Identify a problem that you persona is facing that's relevant to your business.
  2. Create a piece of content that helps them solve that problem and links to other relevant content on your website. This encourages them to stick around, get to your brand better, and see more of what you offer.
  3. Include a call-to-action at the end of your sponsored content to a gated eBook or some other premium content that's relevant to the topic.

While entertaining content may get you more initial clicks, if it doesn't solve a problem, people are likely to get their fix and leave without converting. Try to put yourself in your buyer's shoes and deliver a solution that they won't be able to turn down. 

3. Act Like a Native (Optimize Your Formatting for the Platform)

The best sponsored content feels native to where it's being posted (i.e. a beautiful image on Instagram or a clever list on Buzzfeed).

You want your piece to fit seamlessly into your audience's feed so it doesn't stick out like a sore thumb or appear spammy as traditional banner or sidebar ads would. Here are a few examples:

Sponsored-Content-LinkedIn.pngExample of LinkedIn Sponsored Content

Sponsored-Content-Instagram-Netflix.png Sponsored-Content-Instagram-HomeChef.png

Examples of Instagram Sponsored Content

Sponsored-Content-Facebook.png

Example of Facebook Sponsored Content

While this will vary depending on the network, you want to fully optimize the format of your content to ensure the best results. 

Here are the three main areas that you will have to tackle on most platforms:

  • Content length -- Since your sponsored content is likely to take people away from what they were doing initially, you want to keep your message as concise as possible, but don't cut it so short that you aren't providing any real value. When it is an option, link to more in-depth articles on your blog to provide additional value and to keep readers on your website longer.
  • Type of post -- Need ideas for what type of post to create? Here are 30. "Listicles" are great options for platforms like BuzzFeed or Facebook, but the posts that convert most highly are those that solve a problem immediately. 
  • Imagery -- The image and headline in your sponsored content will be the biggest determining factors of how many clicks it gets (especially on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook), so be sure to choose an eye-catching, high-quality image. It's always best to go with an original photo or graphic, but if you must use a stock photo here are 10 free websites that don't suck.

Overall, make sure that you know the platform you're sponsoring on, inside and out. You want your content to make the medium's unique features work in your favor, not against it. 

Also, don't be afraid to think outside the box and sponsor video content, webinars, podcasts, or any other format that you and your persona enjoy. Breaking out of the typical written mold just may give you the edge on your competition that you need. 

4. Don't Ask For Too Much Too Soon

Unlike typical PPC ads that sends people straight to a landing page, you want to take a more subtle approach with sponsored content.

The content should be primarily focused on providing value to the reader and building awareness, not necessarily making the sale. 

Remember, one of the reasons that sponsored content works so well is because people don't want to feel like they're being sold to. They don't want to be sucked into a sales pitch or cheesy ad. They want to feel like they've gotten something in return for their actions. 

With that in mind, instead of outright promoting yourself in sponsored content, plant seeds. Briefly mention how your product has helped a business out or share how your business accomplished a respectable goal by showing the reader how to do it.

There's a time and a place for the hard sell, but this isn't it.

By giving more upfront, you allow your persona to become more comfortable with your brand, return to it in the future, and slowly be more receptive to promotion. Think of the big picture and in the long run, you'll be more likely to see an immeasureable ROI from your sponsored content. 

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022
The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Free Guide:

The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Strategy Playbook 2022

Take your inbound strategy to the next level

  • Master the 7 principles of highly effective inbound marketing
  • Dramatically improve your inbound sales
  • Get more buy-in at your company

Topics:

Marketing Strategy
Published on March 7, 2016

Recent Articles

Video Marketing: What Your 2022 Business Video Strategy Must Include
January 17, 2022 • 10 min read
8 Crucial Elements Every Homepage Should Have [+Video]
January 15, 2022 • 6 min read
5 Organizational ‘Cleanses’ To Start Your Year Off On the Right Foot
January 1, 2022 • 6 min read
What Should a 2022 Content Marketing Strategy Include?
December 30, 2021 • 9 min read
17 Business Blog Topics Your Audience Wants You To Write
December 24, 2021 • 11 min read
Brutally Honest Pros and Cons of They Ask, You Answer for Digital Marketing
December 7, 2021 • 10 min read
The Step-by-Step, 12-Month, DIY They Ask, You Answer Implementation Plan
December 2, 2021 • 16 min read
‘The Big 5’ Best Business Blog Topics That Drive Traffic, Leads, and Sales (+ Video)
November 26, 2021 • 9 min read
Why Trust Is the True Currency for Any Business
November 16, 2021 • 5 min read
How To Get Started With They Ask, You Answer: Your First 6 Months
November 11, 2021 • 11 min read
How a Lack of Sales and Leadership Buy-in Is Killing Marketing Morale Worldwide
November 9, 2021 • 6 min read
Free Inbound Marketing Courses and Training
November 5, 2021 • 5 min read
What is the Value of a Digital Marketing Consultant?
November 4, 2021 • 6 min read
Benefits of Online, Peer-to-Peer Learning for Digital Marketers
October 30, 2021 • 8 min read
How is IMPACT Different From Other Agencies?
October 27, 2021 • 5 min read
Why You Might Want to Hire a Marketing Coach Instead of an Agency for Your Business
October 26, 2021 • 7 min read
How To Become a Better Coach (for Business Consultants, Sales Coaches, and Marketing Strategists)
October 20, 2021 • 8 min read
How to Get Your Whole Team to Buy in to They Ask, You Answer
October 19, 2021 • 4 min read
Get Clients To Seek Your Approval, Not the Other Way Around (Podcast)
October 13, 2021 • 1 min read
Why Your Business Always Needs to Invest in Marketing — in Bad Times and Good (+ Video)
October 7, 2021 • 8 min read
How to Grow a Digital Marketing Agency (with Coaching Services)
October 6, 2021 • 6 min read
36 Eye-Opening Inclusive Marketing Statistics That Prove Its Power for 2022
October 6, 2021 • 6 min read
Hire Freelance Writers with Caution (Read this First)
September 27, 2021 • 10 min read
5 Key Elements of a Winning Inbound Marketing Strategy
September 14, 2021 • 14 min read
How to Get the Most Out of Your 2-Week HubSpot Free Trial
September 13, 2021 • 5 min read