Do you ever finish writing a press release and think, everyone need to see this? While press releases are a powerful way to get media coverage for your story, even the most compelling brand stories can fall through the cracks. From cultural events dominating the news that week to journalists being far too busy to cover your story in a timely manner, there are a lot of factors at play that can get in the way of getting your brand's story the coverage it deserves. Fortunately for you, there's another way to generate much deserved attention for your news: Sponsored Placement.
Sponsored Placement, otherwise known as native advertising or sponsored content (or "sponcon," if you're cool), is editorial content written and paid for by a third party that appears as a native article in a publication. Sponsored content appears everywhere from online-only sites like Buzzfeed and HuffPost to venerated publications such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
Marketers have long used native advertising to boost their brand and generate buzz, and social media strategists often leverage sponsored social posts for the same reason. But for many PR professionals, sponsored placements are uncharted territory – and potentially significant opportunities. With comms professionals under increasing pressure to demonstrate the ROI of their efforts—like their marketing and social media colleagues—sponsored content can be a viable solution to help PR and comms amplify their story in front of the right audiences.
Why should comms use native advertising?
You might hear "native advertising" and think it's solely the purview of marketing. However, because the impressions generated through native advertising help communicators demonstrate ROI, native advertising provides PR pros the opportunity to expand the reach of their messages.
Specific benefits of native advertising include:
# 1. Saving time and resources
Pitching your story to journalists can be time-consuming, and even the most compelling press releases do not always result in the level of coverage you're looking to get. These days, there are around six PR professionals for every journalist, and they can't cover every story that comes their way. While there's still value in pitching, for those situations that are out of your control—lack of time, overscheduled journalists, unforeseen events or news stories taking priority—etc. sponsored content is a viable, time-saving (and brand-boosting) opportunity.
# 2. Trust and credibility for your message
According to Digital Content Next, 81% of consumers say they trust content that appears on publishers' websites. Brands can leverage the credibility of publications their customers trust by advertising their editorial content on sites their customers are already visiting. The seamless format of native advertising allows brands to reach their audiences in a format they prefer, which increases engagement with a brand's content.
# 3. Increased visibility of your news
Even if your story receives substantial media pickup, choosing to place your content in a native ad will always increase the number of views your story receives. On the other hand, if you are struggling to obtain coverage for your story, you are ensured to receive impressions with native advertising. Native advertising is a simple way to increase your impressions for a modest price.
# 4. Multichannel messaging is more effective
According to marketing expert Dr. Jeffrey Lant, a customer has to view a message seven times before they notice it or are convinced to buy what the message is advertising. This is why marketers choose to distribute their message across multiple channels in an attempt to capture a customer's attention. PR pros can use the same tactic to expand the reach of their message and increase its impact by sharing it across paid channels in addition to earned media. /p>
# 5. Control your brand's story
While earned media coverage is typically the top goal of PR professionals, its biggest downside is the lack of control over your brand's narrative. Journalists write with their audience in mind—not yours—so they may overlook or not prioritize the key messaging you want to emphasize. When you publish your story as sponsored content, you have complete control over the messaging and aren't at the mercy of anyone else getting it right.
What types of content work best as native advertising?
This all sounds great, you might be thinking, but how do I know if my content is suitable for native advertising? It's a great question (whether or not you were thinking it), so let us help you decide if sponsored content is right for your message.
Your story includes multimedia. Readers are more likely to click on your content if an image or video is accompanying it. They are also more likely to remember visual content than text, so reinforcing your message with relevant and compelling content will make a greater impact.
Your message is educational and informative. Thought leadership pieces like original research reports or expert insight on industry trends are perfect candidates for sponsored content. Readers visit publisher websites to learn new information, and research has shown that sharing valuable content is one of the most effective ways to engage customers.
You have big news to share. Whether you're launching a cool, new product, merging with another company or unveiling a rebrand, big news deserves wide dissemination. Because you control the narrative of your sponsored content, readers will get all the important information you want them to know in the way you want to share it.
Of course, this is by no means an exhaustive list. In short, if you have a reason to send a press release, you have good content for a native ad. Keep reading to get started.
See how you can turn your story into a native advertisement:
Cision PR Newswire can supplement your comms strategy beyond the press release through our Sponsored Placement offering powered by Nativo. Through this exclusive partnership, PR Newswire customers have the opportunity to turn their press releases into nativeready sponsored content that will appear on websites relevant to your audience.
When you choose PR Newswire's Sponsored Placement, we convert your press release into editorial content that fits seamlessly into a publisher's news feed by matching the visual design and format of the website. Readers click on your content to read the full news article directly on the publisher's website. From there, you can drive the reader back to your website through a clear call to action.