How to Avoid Pitfalls That Threaten Sponsored Content

Personalized Content

Sponsored content is on the rise. In fact, more than 2.73 million blog posts are published every day, not to mention other forms of sponsored content. Marketing teams looking for their next big campaign will be wise to include sponsored content in their strategy. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself, though. Sponsored content can go horribly wrong if you’re not careful. Before publishing your next piece, look out for these sponsored content pitfalls:

Influencer Blunders

One of the increasingly popular forms of sponsored content involves working with influencers. These pop culture icons have thousands — and sometimes even millions — of followers who line up just to see their content. Brands can partner with these influencers to reach a massive audience.

Unfortunately, influencer marketing can hurt a brand as much as it can help. One influencer blunder can take down an entire campaign. Whether it’s a personal scandal screaming from the headlines or a piece of content that didn’t sit well with followers, being associated with an influencer who’s getting bad press isn’t the way you want to go. 

To avoid potentially disastrous scenarios with influencers, be sure to do your research before partnering with one. Look at their past content, their comments, and any news regarding their actions. An influencer with a spotless reputation and a smaller following is a safer bet than a more popular yet controversial one. 

Controversial Copy

Mistakes can arise that aren’t the fault of your influencer of choice. Copy — the words you use in your content — can be one of the most impactful parts of your marketing campaign. This is for better and for worse. The right copy can get you sales leads; the wrong copy can get you a lot of negative online reviews.

Carefully edit and re-edit every piece of content before it goes live. You won’t intentionally post something offensive on social media, but a piece of copy could slip right by you and be taken the wrong way by your audience. Have a diverse set of eyes scrutinize your copy to keep that from happening.

Another thing to look out for are hashtags. Make sure the hashtag you want to target isn’t already being used by another campaign, or you will create a lot of confusion. 

Lack of Transparency

Transparency is very important in 2021. Even though sponsored advertising is supposed to mesh with the content around it, it should be clearly labeled as sponsored content from the get-go. A study by the University of Georgia showed that even when sponsored content was labeled, 60% of readers couldn’t recognize it when accessing news sites online. 

Consumers who feel like they’ve been misled by your content will be quickly turned off by your brand or the site that published your content. If your campaign gets negative reviews, you could also have a falling-out with your publisher. Either way, this sponsored content pitfall will lead to a big flop.

Start by making sure you clearly disclose when content is sponsored. Use clear and concise language, as beating around the bush will only confuse consumers more. Many platforms will tag sponsored content, but don’t assume that’s enough. Add your own mention to make sure the sponsorship aspect is clear. 

More Sponsor, Less Content

Don’t get too lost in the sponsorship aspect of marketing that you fail to produce quality content. Sponsored content is a chance for you to share helpful information on a topic related to your field, not just plug your company name throughout social media. Be sure to put time and effort into the actual content, and the sponsorship aspect will take care of itself.

Also, be careful not to oversaturate feeds with sponsored content. Your native advertising strategy should include plenty of other types of content to build trust with consumers. This is especially true when working with a small handful of influencers. If they only post sponsored content, they’ll lose a handle on their followers quickly. 

Poorly Targeted Content

The point of sponsored content is to insert your brand into places where you can easily reach your target demographic. If you target the wrong platforms, you’ll miss the mark entirely, wasting a lot of time and effort. Make sure you’re looking at the right places before launch.

Influencers provide yet another instructive example of how this happens. Let’s say you’re planning to launch a new clothing line for kids, and you want to get the word out. While a popular teen musician might have a lot of followers, they won’t appeal to the demographic you’re trying to target. Instead, look for parenting bloggers who have smaller followings but promise a higher conversion rate on content due to their relevance to your intended audience. 

If you want your sponsored content to win every time, watch out for — and sidestep — these all-too-common sponsored content pitfalls. Take a thoughtful approach, and you’ll find that quality will win over quantity and speed every single time.