Quick Tips to Help Local Businesses Write Great Sponsored Content

in Community Content Engine, Local Marketing Fundamentals

Great content has always been important but with the growth of the internet great 'advertiser' content is becoming increasingly important - for them and you, the publisher.

Do readers care to read paid placement? When done well they do!

Sponsored Content (advertorials or the preferred fad label "native advertising") is a great way for businesses to tell their story, demonstrate expertise and company values, and simply stand out from a crowded local market.

The fact is, most local businesses are viewed as a commodity and Sponsored Content helps leading businesses break out of the mold. Plus, when done well, Sponsored Content complements traditional ad buys while also keeping your (publisher) brand in front of more consumers in the process. But what happens when the sponsored content stinks?

Don't let this fear keep you from growing your business and serving advertisers in new, valuable ways. While you're free to write completely original work for local advertisers as part of their ad buy the tips below will help you create a winning game-plan that is faster and easier to follow than a strictly creative approach.

The key to compelling sponsored content is to keep it simple and informative - with pictures

We've written here on our blog about using compelling titles like best/worst/biggest/smallest and the use of lists and this works for local businesses too. Have a plumber as an advertiser? How about, "Top 5 things to look for when choosing a plumber." This can be educational for consumers and have long-lasting value and impact from a search (SEO) perspective.

We're also huge fans of before and after content

Not sure what you should write about? No problem. Take a before picture and an after picture. Compare the two, explain the goals and challenges represented in the project and what the solution was. This is true of a simple blog on a contractor's website or sponsored content. If someone is in the market for a similar service that content is gold. Extra points if you link to the business's listing in your directly or highlight specific pertinent customer reviews.

Let social provide you with inspiration and content topics

Cull social media, just because a business posted something to their Facebook page doesn't mean that it can't expand the concept to write something in longer format as a Sponsored Article. Content can and should be repurposed. For that matter, you should be repurposing your content across all of your digital channels - web, social & email - to get the most out of each piece of content while maximizing your reach.

Couple things to remember about web-based sponsored content:

  1. Clearly label sponsored content as sponsored content - it's the law, seriously!
  2. Include images and links to relevant content but make sure the links in sponsored content and off of your site are no-follow. There is no legal implication here but Google says selling links is a no-no so don't get blackballed by Google or you'll feel it in the pocketbook.
  3. If they advertise in print or online include a small call-to-action that references there sponsored content online to drive readers to their content and your website
  4. Sponsored content doesn't have to be an article, it can be a featured event or a combination of a featured event and event preview or event recap article. Remember to cross link content, just because links off of your site should be no-follow doesn't mean internal links can improve YOUR SEO.

We'll have more on Featured Events and other types of sponsored content in our next article.

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