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Sponsored Content 101: Exploring Advertising’s Newest Opportunity

All successful businesses need an advertising plan. However, not all businesses’ advertising plans will look the same. What works for one business might be a complete waste of money for another. That’s why it’s incredibly important to find a medium that works for your product, audience and budget. Luckily,you have a lot of options to choose from!

From print to digital, advertising opportunities are truly endless. While traditional options like newspaper, magazine, television and radio advertising are still prevalent, there are a few new options that have become popular over the past few years; one of those being sponsored content.

What is sponsored content?

Sponsored content is exactly what it sounds like: content that has been sponsored by a brand, group or individual.

This new form of advertising is almost exactly like public relations (or PR), except that it’s paid, not earned. That essentially means a brand will pay an outlet to incorporate its products into tutorials, articles, reviews and social media posts.

Head over to any of your favorite websites, from Popsugar to Cosmopolitan, and I guarantee you’ll find a handful of posts on the homepage that have a “sponsored by” tagline under the title. With the rise of social media, and the decline of traditional PR, digital media outlets and magazines have been faced with the task of finding ways to create seemingly native content while still promoting well-loved products to readers. Thus, sponsored content was born.

What are the benefits of sponsored content?

The pros of sponsored content are truly endless, while the cons are far and few between.

Sponsored Content is an Endorsement 

Firstly, unlike traditional print and digital advertising, sponsored content allows you to essentially buy an outlet’s endorsement. Think of how many brands use celebrities to endorse their products; sponsored content is extremely similar, except instead of being endorsed by a celeb, your brand is endorsed by a well-known, trusted media outlet. 


Sponsored content is a great way to engage with a young, digital audience.

For example, say you’re a shopper looking for a new pair of yoga pants that can withstand your toughest workout. You’d probably log onto a website like Self, Shape or Women’s Health to see what those outlets recommend. They’re trusted experts in the world of fitness, so by default, they must know the best products.  

Now, say you’re a brand and you sell yoga pants for tough workouts. You want to reach the right audience, but you also want your customers to know that your product can be trusted. In the past, you may have employed a public relations agency to pitch your product, and hopefully get you into outlets like Self, Shape and Women’s Health. In today’s world, great PR is hard to come by, and it’s never guaranteed. However, you now have the option of using sponsored content to put your brand directly in front of an audience that is looking for exactly what you have to offer. Plus, your product is seemingly endorsed by an outlet that your audience trusts. It’s a win-win situation.

Sponsored Content is Guaranteed 

Unlike traditional PR, sponsored content comes with a 100 percent guarantee that your product will be featured. You’ll also be able to steer the direction of the content created, from timing to themes to product(s) featured. This allows you, the brand, to have better control over the publicity your product is receiving, while still allowing your product’s benefits to be shared and promoted by trusted sources.

Sponsored Content can be Trusted 

This brings us to the last benefit that we’ll discuss in this article (although the benefits are truly endless): sponsored content can be trusted.

Print and digital advertising are great because they help place your product in front of an interested audience. However, how many times have you found yourself looking at an advertisement, wondering: can I trust this product? Is this product really good? Sponsored content takes those questions out of the equation.

For an outlet to write a sponsored piece, the writers must genuinely like the product, and feel that it fits well with the outlet’s audience and beliefs. Paid or not, outlets won’t hesitant to turn away brands and products, unless they truly feel they are beneficial to their readers and audience.

Who can use sponsored content?

Sponsored content is for everyone! From beauty to baby products, there’s an outlet available for every brand and product. To see the best results, make sure your target audience matches the demographics of the outlet you’re working with.

It’s also important to make sure that you select the right form of sponsored content. Sponsored content can include sponsored newsletters, articles, videos, e-blasts and social posts. It’s essential that you research which form of content will be best for your brand prior to beginning a campaign.

If you’re interested in sponsored content, please email your H2O sales rep or send us a message at info@h2omediainc.com.