Sponsored content can be a valuable addition to any marketing strategy, but only when implemented correctly. To launch any successful sponsored content campaign, you’ll first need to assemble the right people for your sponsored content team. Whenever you are paying for a placement, you’ll want to take extra care that every aspect of your content conveys professionalism.
Depending on size and budget, companies may or may not be able to fill every slot on the marketing team roster. Smaller businesses and startups might well have one person who wears multiple hats. Regardless, you will want everyone to be clear as to who bears primary responsibility for each of these roles:
Where will you find hidden opportunities to increase market share? What are the prevailing trends in your industry? How have previous marketing campaigns performed? Your campaign analyst should focus on these issues and be able to provide solid, data-driven recommendations.
When it comes to successful sponsored content marketing, the old adage stands: knowledge is power. Data analytics will provide at least one key to maximizing your return on investment. Zero in on the content that has yielded a high rate of engagement in previous campaigns and seek to replicate its success. Analytics will also tell you which platforms proved effective and which demographics responded favorably.
Be sure to give your analyst the tools needed to confirm the data you are collecting is accurate and insightful. Look for a software package that allows your analyst to spend more time analyzing and less time scouring multiple locations for data.
Creating written content presupposes a writer. Someone will need to come up with an eye-catching headline, engaging copy, and descriptive captions and make sure they all fit with your objective. Be careful here. Many people overestimate the quality of their writing skills, but your target audience will easily discern the difference between quality writing and a hack job.
If you plan to publish a significant amount of content per month, it may prove cost-effective to hire one or more full-time writers for your sponsored content team. Handing out writing assignments to freelancers is always an option, albeit one that will require a higher level of coordination. Be careful to weigh overall writer costs against the amount of management time spent keeping everything flowing smoothly.
Pay close attention to developing a consistent voice for your company. Instruct all of your writers on desired tone, personality, and level of readability. If your company has a highly visible leader (or even a corporate mascot), then your writing guidelines can flow through that filter: “Would so-and-so talk like that?”
Depending on your product line, target audience, and business location, you might consider hiring a translator to make content available to a wider audience. Pay attention whenever you get customer feedback that is using English as a second language. That might be a new market calling. Your brand could simultaneously become more inclusive and reach more consumers.
No one is above an edit. Even the best writers need a little help. The editor’s primary job is to offer a second set of eyes before written content goes out the door. They’re responsible for spotting typos, cleaning up grammar, streamlining language, and ensuring the tone and voice of the writing matches the brand.
A good editor is invaluable to your marketing efforts and sponsored content team. The best editor will convey your messages so smoothly that an audience is freed up to focus on what is being said, as opposed to being distracted by awkward phrasing or typographical errors. An editor acts as your quality assurance advisor, making sure every piece of content meets agreed-upon standards before it goes public.
An editor who oversees other forms of content — video, audio, graphic design — is more often referred to as a production director. This person reviews and revises anything that is produced by the design team.
In the digital realm, a large unbroken wall of text will scare away web surfers faster than an escaped lion at the zoo. To maximize appeal, the text should be broken up into consumable chunks and paired with eye-catching visuals. Your designer needs to be highly skilled in the art of combining blocks of text with subheadings, pull quotes, photos, captions, color schemes, and a clear call to action.
Designers can typically be hired on a job-by-job basis. Once your publications have settled on a preferred look and feel, you’ll want to make sure every designer follows the pattern. Branding effectively requires your look to stay uniform until you (not the designer) say so.
Nowadays, video is a major player when it comes to content. Consider adding a team member who is skilled with a camera and fluent with video editing software. Save video for those spots where it is most effective. You’ll dull its value if it’s used for everything.
Having the best content in the world won’t matter unless and until someone engages with it. Your team needs an individual who is responsible for getting your content out into the world. A promoter helps you make connections with influencers and publishing platforms. The best will look for unique, nontraditional opportunities where your content will thrive.
Your promoter can also serve as manager of advertising, though larger teams are likely to split these roles. Competent ad managers not only know where to place ads and how much to spend, they also know how to gauge their effectiveness through objective data. This data might be the number of promotional codes accessed, website analytics, or survey responses. Anyone can spend ad money, but an effective manager knows how to calculate ROI.
6. Project Manager
All team members need to operate with some level of autonomy, especially creatives. Still, someone will need to keep a guiding hand on all the moving parts. A project manager will be aware of everything happening on a campaign and provide needed oversight to all team members.
Without effective project management, a team member could easily develop tunnel vision. A project manager makes sure that does not happen by providing specific tasks and manageable, agreed-upon deadlines. Make sure your PM comes prepackaged with diplomacy skills.
As your team evolves, you should feel free to revisit assigned roles and play to newly discovered strengths. You may even decide to merge a few roles for efficiency’s sake.
When a sponsored content campaign winds down, be sure to schedule an informal after-action meeting with all of your team members. Solicit feedback and encourage them to be transparent with what they liked and disliked about the project. Use this information as your starting point for the next sponsored content you develop.