Guide de l’annonceur Native Advertising

When should you use sponsored articles? (Our guide for entrepreneurs)

, 22 March 2019

Shall anyone who has never heard of sponsored articles speak now or hold their tongue forever. A common element of marketing, they are used by brands to boost their digital strategies. If their primary purpose is to communicate information through another channel, sponsored articles can also be used in many other cases. We’ll explain how.

Before getting to the heart of the subject, there’s nothing like some telling figures to see more clearly. Recently, the Native Advertising Institute conducted a study on the use of sponsored articles. Far from surprising us, the data collected prove that sponsored articles are the most effective type of native advertising.

To announce fundraising

Successfully managing a fundraising campaign is already a significant and positive issue for a brand. As a consequence, advertisers sometimes look for ways to communicate effectively and share information with as many people as possible. For this, sponsored articles are an excellent way to announce the good news to the right people.

While young companies have been growing steadily for a few years now, the media don’t always report on certain fundraising campaigns.

Start-up companies in France raised 452 million euros through 55 operations in February 2019, almost twice as much as during the same period last year (Source: LeJournalduNet)

With well-targeted actors a sponsored article strategy, advertisers can:

  • Spread their message faster,
  • Reassure investors,
  • Increase the chances of generating new leads,
  • Improve their employer brand (for future recruitments following the fundraising campaign),
  • Prepare international brand expansion through influential local media / bloggers.

To announce the launch of a crowdfunding campaign

Sponsored articles can also be useful in announcing the launch of a crowdfunding campaign. To make sure everything goes as planned and that your campaign attracts the maximum number of investors, a communication plan is necessary.

A social media strategy in the form of one or more partnerships with an influencer or sponsored articles can also work wonders. Be careful, however, to respect some golden rules so as not to flop gloriously. In particular, you must:

  • Find the influencers on the media frequented by your backers and stay informed on the channels they frequent, on your targets’ habits,
  • Focus on high-engagement influencers that fit your industry. Yes, an influencer might be followed by a large community but not be concerned by what your brand offers,
  • Favour several micro-influencers to really reach your target and potential customers and investors. These influencers often demonstrate the best engagement rates,
  • Collaborate upstream on the content to be produced, to avoid – of course – blunders but especially to control the content that will communicate on your crowdfunding campaign. Confluence marketing (or co-creating content) can work real miracles …

Interested in the subject for your next crowdfunding campaign? This article is made for you.

To announce an IPO

Just like fundraising, mentioned above, an IPO is an event that deserves to be communicated to the whole world. Well, you know what I mean; if at least interested parties were reached, that would already be something!

Because they have the power to convince, sponsored articles can be seen as your boost in announcing your IPO. Especially when we see the amazing number of brands that have walked the red carpet in recent years.

The amounts raised globally in 2017 totalled 2.4 billion euros, against 900 million in 2016 (Source: Les Echos)

Some caution is required however! If sponsored articles can serve your cause for the event, it can also be counter-productive if an influencer decides to upset the nest. Many companies have hit hard times because of negative influencer marketing. Including Snapchat, Tesla… to name but a few. A trend to handle with care so as to avoid having to go into Brand Safety mode and other devastating phenomena.

To announce an international expansion

Ok, the IPO is done, the crowdfunding campaign and fundraising too … What if we told you that the sponsored articles can also help you with the announcement of your international expansion?

Influencer marketing can be a real lever when brands decide to take on a neighbouring market or not and to replicate their various international successes. Take care however! If you want to have visible (and positive) results, you have to do it according to the rules!

  • Use the skills of a translator to relocate your best content in your target country’s language. Even if English is the most common language, your potential clients / investors will prefer an article written in their mother tongue,

The bonus? You can approach a platform linking advertisers and bloggers. For example, getfluence operates in France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal and Germany… and is a crucial ally for any expansion in Europe.

  • Rely on the trusting relationship between an influencer and their community for successful communication. It’s even an essential fact to break into the codes of potential customers in a neighbouring market. Thanks to this, you associate your image with that of the influencer and gain visibility,
  • Trust influencers to create your content marketing strategy. And for good reason, they know by heart the codes of their community and are runaway successes. You can also set up a content co-creation strategy if necessary …
  • Gauge the best platforms to include in your marketing strategy. If Twitter, Facebook or Instagram are usual for you, it might not be the case in other countries. Just one tip: choose those that will maximize the reach of your campaign to your target audience.

To communicate about an event

To increase awareness and visibility a few weeks and months from an event, sponsored articles are an obvious choice. Indeed, at a time when there are more and more meeting points across the entire globe, it is not easy to differentiate from the competition. For your promotional operations, it is essential to identify your target and know the channels they use. Here again, influencer marke can be a game changer.

Many events have used this way of doing things, like the famous Californian Coachella festival and its various partnerships. Working witbh Revolve brand and its 416 influencers and their publications, the festival generated a total of no less than 4.4 billion impressions on social networks (source: Forbes).

A trend that has worked and continues to work wonders in the context of upcoming events and that can create a buzz. The only condition? Choose your sponsors and partnerships well to avoid missing the target.

To announce a new feature

First of all, the best time to promote a brand new feature is when someone is already concerned with your product, your brand and is able to use them. You can also communicate a new feature to find new customers and attract them through sponsored articles. It is possible, though a little more tricky.

If you’re using a partnership with an influencer to talk about the feature, it’s critical that they understand what it’s about. Again, you can use content co-creation to control what is shared about your brand.

Caution however, as HourlyNerd’s Colin Lernell reminded us on UserVoice:

People assume that if you publish a new, improved feature, they will use it and love it. But users develop habits. They don’t like to change their way of doing things. You must therefore prepare them.

To defuse a bad buzz

After a poorly managed communication, you find yourself in turmoil. Your customers are complaining, scandalised at what you DARED to propose and it’s panic all round! The good news since is that there’s a way to retrieve the situation. You guessed it, we talking again about sponsored articles. As you know, when a communication crisis appears, it is best to react FAST. And no, sticking your head in the sand doesn’t work and Press Relations are no longer enough.

Only 49% of Internet users surveyed trust the word of a business leader

(Source: Edelman’s trust barometer)

Once again, it is a question of choosing carefully the influencer who will defend your positions on their networks. Whether they have a strong community or not, they have to be part of the same sector as yours to make a more effective impact.

Resuming control of your natural SEO is an integral part of your “CRISIS TO DO LIST”. If your brand is at the heart of several posts, search engines are sure to push them up the rankings. On the other hand, if several positive publications manage to position themselves, the crisis can play out… more calmly.

An influential blog has in theory an important domain authority. Sponsored articles allow you to place brand-friendly content in the first page of the results.

Source : Medium

Ah, sponsored articles and their multiple powers…! You might be thinking that if you had known all this before, you would have done things differently. Well, it’s not too late! Now that you know how to use them, everything should be fine for your next digital strategies.

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