Sponsored articles are one of the top performing marketing resources. However, they can also be problematic when written in a deceptive way. Here is how to write the perfect sponsored article while keeping your readers happy. So, whether you have your own magazine or want to monetize your blog, this post is for you. Keep reading.
Mark the content as “sponsored article”
Address the main potential problem from the very beginning by making very clear that your content is sponsored. Like we already explained in our previous article, sponsored content can be deceiving.
If your article is interesting, people won’t really care whether it’s sponsored or not. However they will certainly demand some honesty. It is just a question of being fair to your readers by being transparent in the first place.
Apart from the fact that this is now mandatory in most countries, this is important because it has a direct impact on trust. If you don’t make it very clear that your content is sponsored, your readers might feel like you are lying to them and you’d risk losing them.
Use your usual, natural tone
Even though this is a request from a brand or corporation, they have chosen you because your voice, the style of your magazine or blog and the content that you publish is aligned with their brand personality and their interests. So, keep in mind that following their guidelines does not mean to change any of these elements.
In other words: your article or post should feel like something you’d write without being asked for it. It should feel natural.
Also, very important, it should transmit something positive without being biased. Now, if you think “easier said than done!”, maybe you should think twice whether it makes sense to accept this collaboration. Remember that the whole point of a sponsored article is that it is in line with your own content production. Otherwise it won’t work.
Share some valuable information
Another thing that should be taken into account when writing a sponsored article is its value. Would you read something that is not entertaining, informative or, somehow, interesting? Well, neither would your audience.
Make sure not to use nice, empty, biased sentences, but to offer valuable information instead. This way you will keep your readers attention from the beginning until the end. Also, just listing the great advantage of product X won’t look very good. Your audience is looking for something different. If you don’t meet their expectations, this will have a negative effect on the way they perceive the brand or product and your content production itself.
Tell a story, place the brand, the product, the service in a logical, credible context and work on something that people and yourself would like to read.
Work on a clear and logical structure
Planning the structure of your text is going to help you understand where to insert all these elements the client wants to include or highlight. It will also be helpful for formatting purposes and to control the length of the article.
Imagine that there is one main idea and two or three secondary ones that should be highlighted. Depending on your structure, you might be able to use titles, for example. Or you might realize that you need to change something for them to drag the reader’s attention.
Also, if you have to include specific images, they need to be connected to what you are talking about, right? So you will need to use a few paragraphs or sentences to create the text that goes with those pictures. And maybe not all of them are equally important, so their position matters too. This affects the structure of the whole text. That’s why you need to plan it a bit before you start writing.
Make sure you are following your client’s guidelines
Yes. Always double check! Before you send your article to the brand you are working with, you might want to make sure that you are compliant with all the guidelines they provided.
There is nothing wrong with asking if you are not sure whether you should say this or do that. You are not part of the Content Department of that corporation, therefore you cannot be as familiar as they are with their own rules and guidelines. So, in case of doubt, it is always better to ask them directly.
You should go rule by rule and identify where and how you implemented them exactly. See it that all makes sense or the text still needs some editing to adjust things in a more natural way. Also, if you are linking your article to another page, make sure all the links work too.
Distribute your sponsored article
So, after you’ve sent your text for approval, there is one last thing to do apart from publishing: distributing your content. With so many media channels publishing on one is not enough anymore. This means that e.g. even if your online magazine has a lot of readers, you should also try to get people’s attention by posting about your article on social media too.
One of the reasons for brands to publish sponsored content is to increase their perceived value. The other is to reach more people within their target audience. That’s where your media and your distribution plan become important to leverage the full potential of your publication’s multichannel content.
What are the risks of sponsored content?
If sponsored content is not well written and developed, it can be interpreted as a blatant cash grab from publishers. That’s why being transparent, genuine and clear is crucial so the content is not deceiving.
How can publishers create a good sponsored article?
First of all it is important to mark the content as sponsored to avoid being deceiving. Also, it’s important to use a natural tone, share valuable information, be clear and have a logical structure, adapt to the client’s guidelines and promote it correctly.