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What is sponsored content? 

Do you use sponsored content to attract new users to your website? You should, and there are several reasons why. Sponsored content looks like a regular web page or blog post on your website, but its purpose is to tout a particular brand, product or publication. This type of native advertising does several things for your website if you use it properly. Discover how to use sponsored content effectively as you try to increase your website's user count to bring in new revenue streams.

First, take a look at some definitions. Sponsored content contains useful information and is not strictly an advertisement. It is a form of native advertising, which is a type of ad that blends in with your website. Sponsored content most often shows up as an article, blog or written piece that looks like one of your own posts. For example, BuzzFeed ran a listicleabout 12 Twitter posts about being hungry. That article was sponsored by Wendy's, even though it looked exactly like an ordinary BuzzFeed piece.  Often, sponsored content displays the word "sponsored," "brought to you by," "featured" or other such label. This wording may appear subtly and innocuously off the side or near the title.

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Websites use sponsored content to bring in new users to their brands. Going back to the BuzzFeed/Wendy's promo, the inherent goal was bring people who follow Wendy's into BuzzFeed's sphere of influence. Wendy's and BuzzFeed do not generally have much in common across their brands, but sponsored content served as a way to get each other's users to notice both properties. Supposing some Wendy's users start following BuzzFeed and some BuzzFeed readers go check out Wendy's offerings, both brands win with an increase in user counts.

Sponsored content lets your website bring in a seemingly disparate brand that has a loyal following. Your publication may focus on the latest recipe using a trendy food item or appliance. When you bring in a sponsored article or post, you create a different kind of page that expands your website's offerings that may have a fringe relationship to food. Consider topics for food as art, personal finance and budgeting for meals, composting your food waste or making homemade pet food. The more differentiated the subject is from your own material, the better it may be when it comes to improving your website statistics. You just have to find the right fit and interest level for your publication to help improve your numbers.

As many as 70 percent of individuals would rather learn about a product or service through reading an article as opposed to a simple advertisement. That's because an article has actual, helpful information in it as opposed to just a few taglines and images. Nearly two-thirds of publishers, some as vaunted as the Washington Post, use some kind of native advertising as part of their offerings. Of that native advertising, 65 percent involve blog posts, 63 percent are articles and 54 percent involve Facebook. Moving forward, one-fifth of brands plan to increase native advertising on their own websites as they look to expand their brand awareness.

Time-Spent-Viewing-Sponsored-Content.jpg"The New York Times claims readers spend the same amount of time on sponsored articles as traditional news stories.This is backed up by a study from Sharethrough and IPG Media Labs." via moz.com

The benefits of sponsored content are numerous. Blog content continues to rise, as the use of posts increased 20 percent from 2015 to 2016 among brands who draw users through blogs. Sponsored content is high-quality, professionally made material with appropriate visuals and sources, You don't have to spend time writing it, all you have to do is find the right fit to put it up on your website. Here's some ideas. You even reap some advertising revenue from the content. Once you have the sponsored content in place, put your metrics to work and track what happens. Then it's a snap to reel in more fish in the big sea of the internet.

Sponsored content is a way to shake things up a bit and diversify your interests. Consider a strategy that includes sponsored content once or twice per quarter to start You don't want to overdo it and de-emphasize your own work, but once you get this process going you can optimize your offerings. If more sponsored content works in the future, stick with that until you find your sweet spot. There are plenty of marketing websites and writers out there who can product high-quality sponsored content, whether you want a blog, listicle, video or other type of web page.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NEXT  BIG THING IN SPONSORED CONTENT

Maranda Jones

Marketing Director at SquareOffs #OnwardandUpward

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