Sponsored Content: Definition, Examples, and How to Get Started


On-line advertisements have gotten much less efficient.

Eye-tracking studies have proven that on-line customers are likely to ignore advertisements and head straight to the content material they’re in search of.

This habits is called banner blindness — a type of selective consideration the place customers ignore advertisements or sections of a web site that don’t have helpful info.

If guests are ignoring your advertisements, you gained’t generate as many clicks and conversions as you’d like. So, how will you attain your viewers on-line in a non-invasive method?

A method is with sponsored content material.

Should you’re not already utilizing sponsored content material in your advertising and marketing combine, you’re lacking out on alternatives to achieve and interact your audience.

On this article, we’ll break down what sponsored content material is, showcase differing kinds, and supply examples of easy methods to leverage this channel to drive measurable outcomes.

What’s sponsored content material?

Sponsored content material is a sort of paid promoting the place you’re employed with blogs, newspapers, YouTube channels, or different websites to publish promotional content material. In contrast to conventional advertisements which are usually intrusive, sponsored content material seems extra natural because it seems like extraordinary editorial content material.

Using sponsored content to promote your brand

The best way it really works is straightforward — an organization companions with a writer or content material creator who agrees to publish content material in change for fee (or one other perk).

Should you’re on social media, there’s a great probability you’ve seen sponsored content material in motion from the manufacturers or folks you observe.

Audible, a subscription service for audiobooks, repeatedly companions with influencers. Within the submit beneath, photographer Jesse Driftwood talks about utilizing Audible to take heed to audiobooks on enterprise administration and productiveness.

Sponsored content on Jesse Driftwood's Instagram

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Why trouble with sponsored content material?

Let’s face it:

No one likes advertisements.

You’re studying an fascinating story, and an advert immediately takes up the complete display screen. Otherwise you’re watching a YouTube video, and simply as issues are about to get juicy, it cuts to a business.

It’s under no circumstances stunning that 41% of respondents are sometimes irritated by promoting on the web. Over 763 million web customers use adblock to keep away from them fully.

Number of adblock users worldwide

Individuals don’t like advertisements, and lots of exit of their strategy to block them (responsible).

Sponsored content material may help you attain your viewers in a non-intrusive method. As a result of it resembles editorial content material, individuals are extra prone to have interaction with it.

This may help you:

  • Increase model consciousness
  • Educate your viewers
  • Construct belief and credibility
  • Set up thought management

If customers get worth out of your content material, they’ll probably proceed interacting along with your model sooner or later and will even turn out to be clients.

There’s usually some confusion between sponsored content material and native promoting, so let’s clear these phrases up earlier than we proceed.

Native advertisements

Native advertisements are a type of paid promoting that matches the appear and feel of the platform they reside on. They’re designed to be much less intrusive than conventional advertisements like banners and pop-ups.

Most native advertisements embrace the next:

  • Headline
  • Product picture
  • Quick description
  • Name to motion

Right here’s an instance of an in-feed social media advert:

Example of a native ad on Instagram

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The advert blends in with the encircling content material and platform (Instagram). Somebody scrolling by means of their newsfeed could not even notice that it’s an advert.

Paid search advertisements are one other instance of native advertisements.

Trying to find “small enterprise accounting software program” in Google, we noticed these advertisements on the prime of the search outcomes:

Example of a paid search ad in Google

You possibly can inform these are advertisements as a result of they’re marked as “advertisements,” however they nonetheless resemble different search listings.

Lastly, one other well-liked format for native advertisements is paid content material that seems beneath an article, as proven beneath.

Example of promotional content

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Clicking on these kinds of advertisements usually directs guests to a touchdown web page the place they’ll study extra a few product and make a purchase order.

Native advertisements can actually make it easier to generate gross sales. Nonetheless, some guests could discover it off-putting once you push them in the direction of a conversion too quickly.

Then there’s the problem of advert blindness, during which guests could scroll previous your advertisements or ignore them altogether. Utilizing sponsored content material could also be a greater possibility to achieve your viewers.

Sponsored content material

Sponsored content material is a very completely different strategy to native promoting. It takes the type of an article, video, or social media submit.

Native advertisements are created by advertisers, however sponsored content material is usually created by the writer or content material creator. Whereas manufacturers can nonetheless create their very own sponsored content material, they have to work with the writer to make sure it matches their viewers.

Sponsored content material isn’t as “salesy” or direct as native advertisements. As an alternative, it goals to teach moderately than promote. As a result of sponsored content material seems like every other submit, customers are much less prone to ignore it.

One factor to notice earlier than we proceed is that the Federal Commerce Fee (FTC) requires publishers and influencers to reveal after they have a “materials connection” to a model.

FTC disclosure guidelines

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Materials connection implies that a writer is receiving some monetary profit or perk when working with a model. They need to make it clear when their posts are sponsored (usually with a disclaimer like “Sponsored by…” or hashtag like #advert).

Sorts of sponsored content material (with examples)

Creating sponsored content material might be an efficient strategy to increase model consciousness, showcase your experience, and construct belief along with your viewers.

Right here’s a have a look at several types of sponsored content material. We’ve additionally offered examples of how corporations are utilizing these content material codecs to drive engagement.


Articles are the spine of most corporations’ content material creation efforts and are additionally probably the greatest methods to make the most of sponsored content material. They may help you attain and join with audiences on platforms that match your purchaser persona.

Dropbox sponsored an article in The New York Occasions, describing how three startups efficiently launched in 2020 — even with mass layoffs and report enterprise closures.

It additionally states on the prime that it’s a paid submit to keep away from deceptive customers.

Example of sponsored content published in The New York Times

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Whereas the article touches on how every startup used Dropbox to collaborate, it focuses extra on educating and offering worth.

Occupied with getting skilled long-form content material written for your small business? Get began with HOTH Blogger, and we’ll handle the remaining.


Lengthy-form content material (something over 1,000 phrases) is an effective way to dive into a subject and supply extra info. Nonetheless, some folks could choose watching movies.

Sponsored movies may help you attain new audiences and even generate gross sales. In truth, 84% of individuals have bought a services or products after watching a model’s video.

84% of consumers have been convinced to make a purchase after watching a video

Funding agency BlackRock sponsored a collection of monetary well-being movies for well-liked information outlet NowThis Information.

Invest in Yourself sponsored video

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The sponsored movies present monetary recommendation on budgeting, investing, and extra. It’s an ideal match for BlackRock because it presents funding administration options.

Social media

Social media platforms like Fb and Instagram are an enormous a part of customers’ lives.

It is smart that manufacturers are investing extra in sponsored content material for social media. In truth, corporations spent an estimated $13.8 billion on influencer advertising and marketing in 2021.

Estimated influencer marketing spending

Sponsored posts on platforms like Instagram and Fb provide the alternative to extend model consciousness and drive referral visitors to your web site.

TUMS, an over-the-counter remedy to alleviate heartburn, sponsored the next submit on First We Feast’s Twitter.

Example of a sponsored social media post by TUMS

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First We Feast produces the wildly well-liked Scorching Ones collection. The present’s host interviews celebrities whereas they eat spicy rooster wings.

Whereas comical, it’s an ideal sponsorship — spicy meals may cause an upset abdomen, which antacids like TUMS simply so occur to alleviate.


Podcasts are rising in recognition. An estimated 41% of U.S. adults have listened to a podcast throughout the final month, a determine that’s greater than tripled over the past decade.

Growing popularity of podcasts among U.S. adults

Sponsoring a podcast or a phase that’s associated to your small business may help you faucet into this huge market.

WeWork sponsored a phase on versatile workspaces on NPR’s Planet Cash podcast.

Example of a sponsored podcast by WeWork

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The podcast focuses particularly on the rising recognition of co-working areas, one thing that WeWork presents in cities worldwide. (It’s an ideal instance of sponsored content material, regardless of the corporate’s ups and downs).

The examples above are just a few content material sorts that you may sponsor. Others embrace:

  • Ebooks
  • Infographics
  • Whitepapers
  • Newsletters
  • Webinars
  • Workshops
  • Programs
  • Quizzes
  • Instruments

Now let’s have a look at how one can begin utilizing sponsored content material to attach with audiences on completely different platforms.

How one can get began with sponsored content material

Sponsored content material can drive measurable outcomes for your small business when finished proper. However like all advertising and marketing technique, you’ll have to develop a plan and allocate your sources accordingly.

Comply with these steps to advertise your model utilizing sponsored content material.

1. Set a purpose

Sponsored content material is actually a type of content material advertising and marketing — a advertising and marketing method centered on creating and distributing precious content material to draw prospects to your web site.

Step one to driving outcomes with sponsored content material is to ascertain targets. This can present a transparent path and hold your efforts heading in the right direction.

Frequent advertising and marketing targets:

  • Increase model consciousness
  • Improve referral visitors
  • Construct your fame on-line
  • Set up thought management
  • Drive extra leads and gross sales
  • Generate high quality backlinks

Defining your targets will assist present steerage on the kind of content material you must create.

Let’s say your purpose is to lift model consciousness. On this case, you’d create content material that targets the attention stage of the client’s journey. Some examples embrace instructional and how-to articles.

But when your purpose is to ascertain thought management, then you definately would possibly focus extra on sponsoring content material like whitepapers or authentic analysis.

2. Analysis your audience

Understanding your audience is essential to creating sponsored content material.

Take into consideration the viewers that you just need to attain. What are their demographics? What do they need to study extra about? What issues are they going through?

Research your target audience

Listed here are some methods to analysis your viewers:

  • Gather and discover demographic information: Google Analytics presents loads of details about your web site guests, like age, gender, pursuits, and extra. You may as well discover this information by means of Fb Viewers Insights and Twitter Analytics.
  • Conduct buyer surveys: Top-of-the-line methods to find out about your viewers is to ask them immediately. Ship out e mail surveys and even organize face-to-face conferences along with your present clients if attainable.
  • Analyze your rivals: Chances are high your rivals are utilizing platforms like Fb and Twitter. Analyzing their pages may yield precious insights into your audience. Take note of the content material their followers are participating with and take inspiration from it.

Use the knowledge you’ve gathered to create a purchaser persona — a profile that describes your audience intimately. This can turn out to be useful as you begin creating sponsored content material.

3. Determine on a content material sort

Select a content material sort that aligns along with your targets. For instance, if considered one of your targets is to drive extra natural search visitors, you would possibly think about sponsoring long-form content material.

HubSpot discovered that articles with longer phrase counts generate more traffic on common than shorter articles.

Word count length and organic search traffic

Serps worth content material that goes into nice depth a few matter, one thing that’s exhausting to do with brief articles. Sponsoring long-form content material can drive extra visitors to your pages.

In fact, don’t simply restrict your self to 1 content material sort.

Should you’re solely sponsoring weblog posts, you’re lacking out on a portion of your viewers who could choose watching movies or listening to podcasts. When you arrange a course of for sponsored articles, think about increasing into completely different codecs.

4. Analysis and select a writer

The subsequent step is to decide on an organization, influencer, or writer to distribute your sponsored content material.

Listed here are some issues to think about:

  • Viewers: Select a writer with an viewers that aligns with yours. For instance, for those who’re a journey company, you would possibly attain out to journey magazines or blogs. Analysis the platform to find out about their viewers.
  • Visitors: Creating sponsored content material takes plenty of effort and time, so that you need to make it value your whereas. Use our free web site visitors checker device to estimate how a lot visitors a writer receives a month.
  • Value: Discover a writer that matches your finances. How a lot you may count on to pay will rely upon components like demographics, attain, engagement, and content material format.

When you discover a promising writer, attain out and request a media package — a doc that accommodates details about its viewers and different particulars like engagement metrics.

In fact, don’t neglect about social media influencers on social media. 61% of customers belief product suggestions from influencers.

61% of consumers trust product recommendations from influencers

Working with the appropriate influencers can have a optimistic impression in your backside line.

5. Create your sponsored content material

Typically, publishers and creators will need to create the sponsored content material themselves. For instance, T Model Studio is a department of The New York Occasions that works with corporations to create branded content material (just like the Dropbox content material we noticed earlier).

Nonetheless, if it is advisable create your personal sponsored content material, then hold the next in thoughts:

  • Present worth: All the time deal with offering worth it doesn’t matter what writer you select to distribute your content material. In case your content material is just too promotional, readers could merely tune out, or the writer could reject it.
  • Embrace multimedia: No one likes to learn massive partitions of textual content. Embrace multimedia like pictures and movies in your article to extend engagement. Bloggers who embrace a minimum of ten images report stronger outcomes than those that use fewer pictures.
  • Comply with editorial pointers: Many publications have strict pointers of what they’ll and might’t settle for. Just remember to stick to those editorial requirements to get your content material accepted.
  • Optimize for search engine marketing: Don’t neglect to optimize your sponsored content material to enhance its rankings within the search outcomes. Use our free Google Key phrase Planner Software to establish key phrases you may goal.
  • Match the content material to the platform: Readers of most publications have preferences and expectations about new content material. Whenever you’re creating sponsored content material, just remember to match its voice and tone to the platform you’re publishing on.

Should you’re seeking to get professionally written content material, then take a look at HOTH Blogger.

6. Measure your outcomes

The outcomes you may count on will rely upon the content material and platform you publish on.

For instance, sponsored posts on social media can drive engagement and referral visitors nearly instantly. However these outcomes will begin to drop off as soon as a content material creator posts new content material.

In distinction, it could actually take a while for sponsored articles to realize traction. However they’ll drive extra visitors to your web site in the long run.

Use instruments like Google Analytics to measure your visitors. Give the writer or creator a hyperlink with a novel UTM tag to trace your outcomes. You may as well use instruments like BuzzSumo to trace social media exercise and mentions of your content material.

Collect as a lot information as you may about your sponsored content material. This can make it easier to resolve which publishers and content material sort you must proceed investing in.


Shoppers immediately are bombarded with advertisements.

It’s gotten to the purpose that many web customers ignore advertisements on internet pages and even set up software program to dam them totally.

Sponsored content material may help you attain your viewers in a non-invasive approach and even enhance your model’s credibility. Comply with the steps laid out right here to incorporate sponsored content material in your advertising and marketing technique.

Need assistance creating sponsored content material in your firm?

Schedule a name with our digital advertising and marketing specialists to study extra. We’ll make it easier to analysis subjects and create professionally-written content material that builds your authority on-line.