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  • Writer's pictureHannah Rodosky

The Publisher's Guide to Sponsored Content

The Publisher's Guide to Sponsored Content on Media Intercept

Sponsored content is a huge revenue stream for publishers, and for good reason.

Sponsored content is native advertising that looks like regular editorial content but is paid for by an advertiser. It's a great way to reach new audiences, and it's also a win-win for both publishers and brands. For one thing, sponsored content helps publishers monetize their sites by extending their reach beyond what they could achieve with ads alone. It's also great for brands as it allows them to build credibility through association with quality publications--and get in front of an audience who may have never heard of them before.

The secret to success is having a strong understanding of your audience, your partner, and knowing how to execute sponsored content.

  • Know Your Audience: You should always start with knowing who your target audience is, and what they want from you. This is where having an analytics tool like Google Analytics comes in handy--it'll give you actionable insights into who's visiting your site and how often they visit it. You can also find out more by conducting surveys or asking friends/family members.

  • Know Your Partner: If possible, try working with an organization that has similar goals as yours. This will help both parties reach their respective objectives without sacrificing quality or integrity along the way.

  • How to Execute: Sponsored content should be well-researched and well-written, and offer value to the audience in the form of unique insights, timely advice or newsworthy information. It should also have a promotional strategy behind it; otherwise it's delivered into a vacuum and is a waste of talent, effort and money.

1. Find your brand's voice that resonates with readers

Finding your brand's voice is about finding the intersection of what you want to say and who your audience is. You can measure successful messaging and optimize by looking at metrics like opens, clicks, and unsubscribers.

2. Define your goals and guidelines

Defining your goals means prioritizing the most important things you want to accomplish, then executing on them. It's also important to define your brand guidelines before developing content. Your brand's voice and format will help determine how sponsored posts are created, so it's best if these two elements are clear from the start.

3. Choose your promotional methods and cadence

The third step is choosing your promotional methods and cadence. This is where you decide how you're going to promote your content and how often, which will help determine the success of your campaign.

  • Promotional methods: The most common promotional method is email marketing, which can be used in conjunction with your social media platforms. You can also have different sections on your website that preview the content.

  • Cadence: Cadence refers to how often you publish new pieces of content during a given period--for example, twice every week. It's important to test this because posting too often or not often enough will both result in pushing more subscribers out than you bring in.

4. Reach out to relevant partners

Once you've identified the right partners and determined how to reach them, it's time to get down to business. You'll want your outreach efforts to be as personalized as possible. Your goal should be finding something in common with the brand you're reaching out to so that they feel comfortable responding and working with you on your campaign. Be sure to also include how you plan to execute the campaign and inquire about their goals.

5. Develop content that resonates with your audience, while also keeping the partner in mind

Sponsored content should educate, engage, and build trust. Each post should be custom enough that it looks and feels like the rest of the content on your site, but it should also include strong call to actions that lead to your partner's landing page(s).

6. Collect data & optimize

This is one of the most important parts of the process. You've got to know what works--and what doesn't--if you want to keep up with your competitors. It will also help justify any price increases as your grow as a publisher. The good news is that there are tools available that can help you do this, including various email marketing tools and Google Analytics.

7. Outsource the work to an agency for scale

A good agency will have a team of writers and editors who can help you scale your content marketing by creating new pieces of content on a consistent basis. They'll even be able to take care of the creative aspect of it, so you don't have to worry about coming up with ideas or writing them yourself.

Most importantly, they're experts at finding new brands who might be interested in working with you on sponsored posts--which means they know where they should be looking and what kinds of organizations would make good partners (and which ones won't).


If you're a publisher looking to monetize your content and grow your audience, sponsored content is an excellent option. It's a great way to build relationships with brands that align with your readership, and it can be executed in a variety of ways that will suit any budget or schedule. If you follow these steps, you'll be well on your way towards creating successful campaigns.


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