Sponsored Stories (© Argus /Fotolia.com)
Sponsored Stories (© Argus /Fotolia.com)

One of the really unique marketing methods out there is called sponsored stories. A sponsored story is a new way to advertise, sometimes on social media, and garners a high level of customer participation. But you have to know how to use this technique properly or it will yield very little success. In this article, we will be covering this topic completely and show you exactly how to use sponsored stories.

 

What Are Sponsored Stories?

Sponsored stories are a method of marketing that can be presented in a few different ways. Facebook offered users a sponsored stories option until 2006. There are still social media websites out there that offer some form of sponsored stories for users to implement with their own advertising campaigns.

However, the most common example of sponsored stories by far is with the news media. If you go to just about any news website out there, you will notice that there is a section somewhere within the actual news that seems just a little bit different. The headlines seem too pithy, and some of the stuff just isn’t newsworthy. Some of it is outright, in-your-face advertising. This makes it very easy to recognize and avoid clicking on to the detriment of the marketer behind the sponsored story.

Getting Involved With Sponsored Stories Advertising

There are so many different places out there that you can find sponsored stories advertising that you would be hard-pressed not to find it with a quick web search. Sponsored stories advertising may be combined with sponsored posts and other types of sponsored content. Although the news media is a great place to advertise, your format has to be in line with the other news that is on the site or else it is going stand out horribly. If you are going to use this practice, then you definitely need to craft your article like a real news story. But some companies don’t feel comfortable with this; because it is sort of disingenuous to make people believe that a story is factual reporting when in fact it is biased in favor of the advertiser.

However, there are so many choices out there when it comes to sponsored stories advertising date you will probably be able to find a form where you are comfortable expressing yourself without having to feel guilty that you are being disingenuous. One of the best places that you can find sponsored stories advertising is through mobile advertising networks, which you become a very popular way to buy and sell advertising these days.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Sponsored Stories

There are definitely advantages and disadvantages to sponsored stories. Let’s take a look at some of the advantages first. Primarily, these types of promoted ads can be a great way to test out your advertising techniques and methods. That’s because they are a lot less expensive than normal ads. You also be able to get links back to your company website which will help with search engine optimization. If you can advertise on authoritative websites, then you definitely will be able to get an SCO boost from the links. Finally, you are often able to get your content in front of an audience that is never seen it before and if you can create the right kind of ad campaign, they may be able to spread it further than you would have been able to on your own.

Of course, there are a few disadvantages as well. For example if you are using social media to do promoted ads, then your conversion rates are going to be a lot lower than they would if you were to advertise through conventional means. That’s because advertising on social media sites is sort of an intrusion. You also have the guilt factor if you’re using sponsored stories such as the ones that are posted on news websites, and you have the possibility of being lumped in with the spammers because of those types of stories.

Expert Tips: Finding Places to Use Sponsored Stories

Let’s take a look at some of the best places that experts say you should use to post sponsored stories and do this type of advertising.

Twitter is going to be the first place on our list that you can list your sponsored stories. The sponsored stories that use on Twitter called promoted tweets. Twitter decides who is going to be the most relevant audience for your promoted tweets and then post them on their feed, sometimes on the profile, when they search for certain hashtags or in various other places around Twitter. In this way, you are able to reach a much wider audience because you’re not just posting to people that follow you, your posting to a larger group of people, and they have been hand selected by Twitter as those who would be most receptive to your advertising messages.

Buzzfeed is another popular website for advertising. The thing about this site is that you have to come up with something interesting and creative or else it is not going to be able to compete with the other advertising that they have listed on their site. Buzzfeed is very well known for posting some of the most viral articles out there, and getting tons of traffic because of their headlines and content – as well as pictures – and so you’re going to have to step up your game if you decide that you want to advertise here.

Facebook is no longer doing sponsored stories, but they are still allowing advertising on the site and part of that advertising is sort of a workaround to the sponsored stories. They are actually going through several changes right now, and the sponsored stories part is just one of those. Marketers can post social context stories about actions that people have taken and they will appear next to the ads that are shown to your friends on Facebook. You should check out Facebook to find out more about this feature and see if it is something that you can use to make your marketing efforts more effective.

Blogs are going to be the last item that will mention. We already discussed blogs a little bit here, but they can actually be one of the best sources of sponsored stories because of the way that blogs are design. Blog posts are not news stories, and sometimes they are written about this particular product or service. This makes the readership of the blog much more receptive to messages that contain these types of endorsements.

Summary

When it comes to advertising and marketing methods, there are a lot of choices out there. But sponsored stories can be one of the most effective ones if you know how to use it properly. You should definitely research sponsored stories in more detail and look for examples of how it is done correctly. If you are able to figure out how to use sponsored stories, then you may be able to get a much better response than you would with standard advertising. However, even if you are not, there are several advantages to using sponsored stories anyway and everyone should try them out at least once.



         



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