Sponsored posts are everywhere these days, but what exactly are they? A sponsored post is, at it’s most simple, paid content. In it’s more common usage, it’s when an advertiser pays for a piece of content for a publication that fits into the editorial strategy of the title, but also serves the advertiser’s needs.
Also called a promoted post, the idea has been in circulation since roughly 2010. Before then, however, the lines between advertiser and publisher were often blurred in print publications as well (they were often called advertorials).
A sponsored post is called out as such in some way, the obviousness of the transparency often depending on the ethical credibility of the publication. Sponsored posts are generally shown in the main editorial sections, and not in advertising spaces. They are typically expected not to be selling something, but to be adding editorial value of some kind with their content-in fact, the content itself should be considered the most important part of the post.
In our magazine, Third Wave, we use beautiful and relevant sponsored content instead of traditional advertising. That’s right–no ads at all!
Posts are generally written by the advertiser of someone hired by them, but can also be written by the publication’s staff or a hired writer. Bloggers often give sponsored reviews, where they review a product and possibly other compensations as well. Government agencies are beginning to offer guidelines about disclosure of sponsored posts, such as the FTC in the US and the IAB in the UK.
Some people believe that sponsored posts are a panacea of sorts, generating revenue where ads have dropped off. Others believe that they compromise the editorial integrity of a website. Regardless, sponsored posts are becoming even more common-and well written, fully disclosed, sharable contest is what’s faring best. And if you’re in the content game, you’ll want to consider if they’ll work for your brand.
Feature image from Christine Schneider. Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.