Content marketing is an ever-changing game. Not only do people’s tastes and interests change frequently, but so do their browsing habits.
Right now, ad blockers are taking over, and more and more people are using them to take control of their online experience. That’s sending a huge message to digital marketers and companies, who are not reaching as many people as they would like with their advertising.
It is important that you understand all these influences when you put together your content marketing strategy to increase the impact that you make with whatever time and resources you have to spend.
The two primary options are editorial articles – those that you write on your own site – and sponsored articles – those that you pay to have featured on another site. Both have pros and cons, and both have their place in your content marketing strategy. Here’s what you need to consider about editorial articles vs. sponsored articles:
Editorial articles are any articles that you write for your own site. These are the blog posts and articles that you write day in and day out offering useful information for your readers, such as tutorials, educational guides, data reports and more.
Editorial articles can also appear on other sites, such as guest posts that are published without paying for the privilege to do so.
A big advantage of editorial articles is that they are “free” – in so much as you do not have to pay to publish them. You may have to pay a staff writer or freelancer to write them, or you may have to pay an SEO expert to optimize them, but you don’t have to pay to get them published.
The other big advantage of editorial articles is that they are seen as more trustworthy since they are organic content. Even if people know that the articles are generated by your company, they still expect a level of honesty about the content. In contrast, if the audience knew someone was being paid to publish the content, they would have cause to doubt it.
The disadvantage of editorial articles is that it can be more difficult to get exposure for them. You really have to be on your SEO game to get these articles to rank organically in search. You can use social media to promote them, but you’ll need to be at the top of your game there to get noticed, as well.
Sponsored articles can take a few forms.
You may write a post yourself and pay a site to publish it, such as a guest post that includes a link to your site at the end or that includes links to your site throughout the content.
Or you may pay a site to write a post about your brand or about a topic that references your brand or includes a branded link to your site.
The big advantage to sponsored articles is that you cut right to the front of the line in terms of exposure. You don’t have to sweat it out in SEO to get the traffic you need. So long as you have the budget for it, you can get your content or your link on a top site with a ton of traffic.
Another great advantage of sponsored articles is that they help you get around the issue of ad blockers. Unlike other forms of advertising, ad blockers do not typically flag sponsored content as an ad. That means that you can actually reach your target audience with your advertising dollars and not feel that you are throwing away money on content that is never being seen.
The disadvantage of sponsored articles, as mentioned above, is the trust issue. If readers find out that there is money behind the content they are seeing, they are less likely to trust that the content is unbiased. This is especially true for posts like reviews or those that offer potential solutions and list your product or service among them.
You can’t get around this trust issue by hiding the sponsorship. It is required to disclose when a post has been sponsored. Plus, trying to hide the sponsorship gets back to that whole trust issue.
Truthfully, there is no best option when you are considering editorial articles and sponsored articles. Both types of content have an important place in online marketing, and your content strategy wouldn’t be complete without both of them.
It is important that you find the right balance of time and resources spent on each of these types of content to get the results you want. Make sure that you are getting the best writers, the best SEO and the best sites for your sponsorship with the resources you have. You don’t have to spend more time and money to get results – you just have to be smarter about how you spend what you do have.