Sponsored content, advertorials, branded content, or native advertising: they are all a type of paid advertising where an advertiser works with a publisher to promote their content, service or product. Unlike traditional ads, sponsored content appears more organic as it looks like ordinary editorial content. A company partners with a publisher or content creator who agrees to publish content in exchange for payment (or another perk).
We always give the example of tax season. It’s the perfect time for a local CPA to give tax advice in return for a premium spot on your station website. The news post (blog post actually) benefits you as well as them.
Here’s why offering local sponsored content on your radio station website can be a win-win situation for both your radio station and the business the content is promoting.
The Benefits of Sponsored Content
1. Increased Revenue to Both Parties
The most apparent benefit of offering sponsored blog posts is the potential to generate additional revenue. Obviously, the radio station should generate revenue from these posts in exchange for them being published and promoted on the station’s website.
Local businesses can generate income by featuring their products or services in their informational posts. Think of the local CPA offering a post on the 10 most forgotten tax breaks but touting their service for finding more tax breaks than anyone else.
2. Exposure to a New Audience
This is a win-win situation for both parties because the radio station gets fresh content, and the business gets exposure to a new audience that they may not have access. Local businesses may have a hard time reaching new customers, especially if they don’t have a strong online presence. By partnering with the radio station website, businesses can gain access to a new audience that comes to the website for other local information.
3. Builds Relationships with Local Businesses
Offering sponsored posts can also help radio stations build stronger relationships with local clients. Clients that may not have the revenue for a lengthy spot schedule, may be willing to share their knowledge for a much lower fee. The station gets great local content and the business taps into a bigger audience. This connection can only grow from there.
4. Adds Value to Your Website
Every website owner faces trouble generating new and fresh content on a consistent basis. Sponsored posts can diversify from your typical content and keep your audience engaged with your station website longer.
5. Increased Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Sponsored posts can also provide SEO benefits for both the station website and the business. By featuring content that includes links to the business’s website, we can help businesses improve their search engine rankings. At the same time, the station website can benefit from backlinks from the business’s website and social sharing from their followers. These can help improve the radio station’s search engine rankings. When done correctly, sponsored blog posts can provide a mutually beneficial relationship that improves both parties’ online visibility.
Sponsored Content Pitfalls
While there are benefits to offering sponsored content, there are several pitfalls that radio stations should be aware of.
1. Lack of Transparency
One of the biggest pitfalls of offering sponsored content is a lack of transparency. When a piece of content is sponsored, it can be difficult to tell whether the content is genuine or whether it is a paid advertisement. This lack of transparency can lead to a loss of trust between the brand, the publisher (you), and your audience.
To avoid this, it is very important to clearly label sponsored content as such. This will help ensure that readers are aware that the content they are reading is an advertisement and not an impartial editorial.
2. Ethical Concerns
Another pitfall of sponsored content is ethical concerns. For example, if a brand is paying for content to be created, there is a risk that the content will be biased in its favor. This can lead to a loss of credibility and trust for both the brand and the publisher.
It is important to ensure that the content is accurate, balanced, and meets the standards of journalistic integrity. It is also important to ensure that the content is relevant and useful to your audience.
3. Audience Disengagement
If the content is not interesting or relevant to the audience, they may simply skip over it or ignore it altogether. This can lead to a waste of resources for both the brand and the publisher.
Avoid posting anything solely because it’s paid for. All content must be relevant, engaging, and informative to your audience or you do them a disfavor. Conduct research on your audience and create content that speaks directly to their needs and interests.
If your site offers too much-sponsored content, it can overwhelm the audience and lead to a loss of interest. This can also lead to a decrease in the perceived value of the content, as readers may start to feel that the content is more about advertising than providing value.
Strike a balance between sponsored content and editorial content. This can be achieved by setting clear guidelines for the amount of sponsored content that can be published, and by ensuring that the sponsored content is of high quality and relevance.
In 2014, the famous British comedian and political satirist, John Oliver, took down native ads in an incredibly witty episode of his show. Oliver’s stand was pretty clear: the editorial side and the business side of news need to remain separated, and ads must not be camouflaged in news.
Offering sponsored content on your website can be a valuable tool for generating additional revenue, building SEO, and helping your clients build exposure and reach new audiences. It is important to be aware of the potential pitfalls though by ensuring transparency, maintaining ethical standards, creating engaging content, and avoiding over-saturation, brands, and publishers can create sponsored content that adds value for both themselves and their audience.
Do not accept sponsored content from just anyone. Conduct deep research on any agency that contacts you regarding writing sponsored content for your station website. If you do accept content from third parties, we advise placing your guidelines and any/all restrictions you may have on a web page that you send to them when they inquire.
Rather than relying on third-party services, we highly recommend seeking out locally sponsored content because it builds deeper relationships with businesses in your community.