Simply put, sponsored content is an advertisement paid for by a company or business to get their message across and call the reader to action. It tells a story in order to sell a product, service or idea to a general audience.
These stories are formatted very similarly to traditional news stories, with quotes from company representatives as well as top customers. Unlike traditional journalism, however, sponsored content contains bias. For transparency, these must be marked as sponsored.
Our sponsored content specialist, Tierra Thomas, shares her process for helping clients grow their business with sponsored content.
Tierra’s time-tested steps to create exceptional sponsored content:
- Interview the client.
Find out what specific product or service the client wants to promote with this story, then ask how this product or service can improve a customer’s life. Why is this needed? What problem does it solve?
- Ask to speak with a top customer.
Request an interview with someone whose life changed in a positive way because of the client’s product or service. Who has achieved a goal or reached a pivotal moment of success through their investment? A general audience should be able to relate to and root for this person.
- Get a testimonial.
Make sure to ask questions about how the client helped this person solve a challenge or obstacle in their life. Knowing the specific ways in which their life was improved will help sell the same thing to others.
- Lay out the story with the customer as the hero.
After the interviews are complete, sit down and outline the story as a traditional tale of a hero who has a problem and needs help to overcome an obstacle will keep readers interested all the way through. Make sure 75 percent of the story will focus on the hero, and the rest can focus on the client and what they are selling.
- Write the story.
When writing, make the first and last quotes the strongest ones. Make sure the stakes are high throughout and pain points are hit on repeatedly in order to keep the audience sympathetic and interested. Finally, reward readers with a cathartic experience– a sigh of relief for the outcome!
- Publish and watch the client’s business grow.
Once the client confers with the writer to ensure the story aligns with their mission, they can sit back and relax. Paying to put their business into words that a general audience will understand will inevitably help any business to gain new customers.