Three Reasons to Consider Sponsored PR & Content
Public relations, like any other business function, continues to shift and evolve – particularly in the post-COVID era of uncertainty, what works in PR continues to look different on a month to month basis.
While we’re strong proponents of the power of organic PR and media relations, targeted outreach, understanding journalists and serving as resources to them, and “low-and-slow” campaigns that merge PR, content marketing, and social – we also understand and respect that the media have to be profitable as well.
It has become increasingly difficult for media groups to make money on readership alone – sponsored content is just another part of the larger cycle of effective PR strategy. It takes more time, effort, and resources to land media opportunities, particularly those that are considered top-tier media outlets. Your news or message has to be timely, and you have to be able to respond and work quickly, as media are often on tight deadlines (even tighter now with the news cycle changing so much, hour by hour). Media are inundated with hundreds to thousands of pitches a day and it’s easy to get overlooked — even with a good pitch or news that you think they’d be interested in.
That’s where sponsored content, podcasts, SMTS, advertising, social influencer work – can all help lend a hand. They can provide yet another PR support system that ensures that your brand, message, or product can shine through to the audiences that matter most, or even new audiences that you’re looking to explore.
Here are three reasons why you should consider making a little room in your budget for sponsored PR:
- They can expand your message, news or brand to new audiences
One great benefit of sponsored content is that you can reach new, targeted audiences that can sometimes be difficult to connect with via organic content or social alone.
For example, for one client, we wanted to help maximize exposure and reach for a new promotion that their internal marketing team was working on, specifically targeted at parents – an audience that their legacy as a B2B company who created a B2C line of business had little experience reaching. We had already developed an organic media outreach plan for news-sharing and thought-leadership, but we knew that to really expand the PR footprint, a few well-positioned sponsored opportunities were worth exploring to help gain traction and momentum. We signed them up for an SMT (satellite media tour) that took place virtually due to COVID-19, engaged with a popular social influencer in the parenting sphere to share a sponsored post, and worked on a sponsored contributed article in a popular consumer tech site that appeared like native content.
When you’re helping a brand grow, it’s critical that they become a natural part of the content stream of their key audiences. Sponsored content can give your PR, marketing, and social arm that extra reach.
- They allow you to be in control of the messaging and positioning while generating targeted, measurable content
When we’re pitching the media, we always carefully construct our pitches to follow the client’s intended narrative and the strategy that we think will resonate. But sometimes, even with our best intentions, media choose to focus on a certain perspective or component of a product, and the full message may just become a quick quote (which are still valuable, too!).
With sponsored content, you’re generally in complete control of the message you’re putting out. As a rule, overly promotional, salesy content generally doesn’t resonate with many audiences, but if carefully crafted so that it appears native to the rest of the content on a site or social stream, it can be a powerful tool. And for targeted campaigns or goals, like a virtual event that you’re hosting, for example, sponsored content with unique backlinks or offer codes can be a way to measure your content’s effectiveness, which can be less direct with thought-leadership based content.
- Added bonus: You might just strengthen media relationships
One interesting benefit that we’ve seen from working on sponsored opportunities is that they can actually help create media relationships that you can later leverage for organic opportunities. Several of the influencers and media groups we’ve worked with for sponsored opportunities have now become brand-evangelists for our clients, sharing news when they have it or chiming in on social with mentions, retweets, etc.
You don’t have to sponsor to create media relationships (we’ve certainly made most of ours without it!), but it can certainly help add to the roster of media in your brand’s corner.
It’s important to reiterate that with an awesome PR team (like Caster ?) you may not need very much budget dedicated to sponsored content. But think of sponsored opportunities as a set of training wheels for your bike as you’re learning how to ride – they support and build confidence so that after a while, you no longer need the additional support. Sponsored opportunities help make the job of building a brand just a little bit easier and more effective and are worth setting aside a little extra budget for.
Learn more about the bespoke programs that we offer at Caster via https://castercomm.com/services/.