Native Advertising

Sponsored Articles: Why and how to use them

, 19 February 2018

Content Marketing has become essential and almost all brands with a marketing budget are using it. They most often have a blog on which articles are published regularly. But it is increasingly difficult for this content to stand out among the 17.75 million articles published every day. Also, many industries are experiencing a “content surplus”, so much so, that supply far exceeds demand. As a result, the sponsored article is an increasingly popular solution for placing content in view of a large and qualified audience.

What is a sponsored article?

Sponsored content is a specific type of native advertising. It can take the form of an article, a video, or graphics, as long as it fits naturally into the flow of content of the site that publishes it.


Sponsored content can takes various forms. It can even be an insert in a popular newsletter, or a short intervention in an influential podcast (Credit photo : Joe The Goat Farmer, Flickr)

A sponsored article is a weapon available to Press Relation Officers, alongside conventional prospecting (sending a press release) and the guest post. The latter is another way to see ones own content published on external sites. In short, it is about pitching an article to an influential media figure who accepts to publish it, depending on the real added value for their readership. But the most influential sites will most often refuse to publish anything for free. The time spent writing, prospecting and negotiating can ultimately prove to be more expensive than direct recourse to a sponsored article.

Considerations on content creation

The content may be created by the advertiser directly or by the site publisher, or as part of a collaboration between the two. Of course, leaving the media figure in charge of writing an article means a little more cost to the advertiser. But it’s the guarantee that the content will fit perfectly into the editorial line of the media on which it’s posted.

Sponsored articles sometimes attract the criticism that they raise suspicion among Internet users, since it is a form of advertising. Yet, numerous studies on the subject show the opposite, even with highly educated audiences. For example, a survey carried out among senior executives showed that 84% of them are open to sponsored content as long as it is of high quality and useful, and is clearly indicated as such. What’s more, the New York Times revealed that its online readers spent as much time on regular articles as on sponsored articles.


The secret for a successful sponsored article is to ensure that it offers real added value to the intended reader. Therefore opt for longer articles, with innovative  content. (Credit photo : Rawpixel, Pexels)

Of course, the article must subtly incorporate a call to action, most often a link to the advertiser’s homepage or product page. Just make sure that the advertising aspect doesn’t overshadow the utility of the content itself.

Unparalleled benefits

Just after the publication of a sponsored article, a brand usually sees a peak in sales on the product or the promoted offer. Of course, this peak doesn’t last forever.

However, there are many other long-term benefits to publishing a sponsored article:

  • Increased brand awareness.

  • Perception of the brand as an expert in its field (brand authority). Your brand thus increases consumer confidence in the information published.

  • Increase in the number of followers on social networks, once a reader has found the content useful and wishes to be informed of future publications.

  • A favourable impact on SEO: A backlink to your domain on an influential site is a positive signal for Google and boosts the authority of your domain and therefore your average rankings in the search results.

A sponsored article allows you to show up on the radar of consumers who didn’t know the brand existed before. (Credit photo : Jeremy Bishop, Unsplash)

A partnership with a major site can however cost a fortune, up to 100,000 euros. ‘s network of influential medias gives advertisers access to a massive audience for a fraction of that price— a sure way to test the potential of the sponsored article.

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