The world of content marketing is a peculiar place. It’s not enough to write for the sake of writing, and you must be sure that your content fulfills the needs of your consumers and not your own whims. And, as if the act of creating content wasn’t complicated enough, we toss about terms like sponsored content and native advertising. Both are paid forms of advertising with great similarities, but they do very different things for your content marketing strategy.

What is native advertising?

This is a classic approach to paid advertising. You give compensation to search engines to appear at the top of the page, making you more visible to consumers. Native advertising does boost profits, but many of the results are short-term.

What is sponsored content?

Sponsored content is a form of paid advertising, but rather than using a general link with the dreaded “ad” tag attached, you develop more of a partnership between yourself and another company. The aim of sponsored content is to expand your overall brand and form a connection to consumers, in the form of a blog post, editorial, video, or other form of delivery.

Which should you choose?

One form of advertising boosts views, while the other builds relationships. Both outcomes are desirable, but if you want loyal consumers, you must be engaging, and that’s exactly what sponsored content tries to accomplish. Be mindful, however, that your consumers will know if you have sold out. Don’t share content from someone who goes against everything your brand strives to represent. The content doesn’t have to be directly related, but if you’re targeting a vegan market, promoting a local cattle farm isn’t going to go over well.

Most companies that choose to benefit from sponsored content do aim for a similar target audience. Walmart will post sponsored content from Pampers, telling a story of a family that saves money on food, household items, and diapers. Other businesses will take a more unique approach: Wendy’s, for instance, asks consumers to guess unbelievable animal facts. If the content links back to the business somehow, the sponsored advertising is doing its job. In Wendy’s case, it was their meal deals that were unbelievable, too.

Of course, we would all love for our content to grow organically, and if it’s cultivated well, it definitely can! However, businesses shouldn’t neglect the benefits of a paid advertising in the form of sponsored content. You broaden your target audience, increase your views, and ultimately boost profits. Content marketing doesn’t have to be overwhelming, it just needs to be strategic. Confused on where to start? Get in touch.