Using sponsored content is one way that organizations can modernize the way they reach scientists, clinicians, and the science-engaged public ‒ demonstrating with quiet authority the organization’s commitment to scientific excellence, and sincere dedication to supporting ongoing advancements in science.
To decide whether sponsored content can help with your organization’s goals it’s useful to better understand how sponsored content works, how it differs from similar strategies, and why it’s an important marketing tool.
What is sponsored content?
Sponsored content is a creative partnership between a brand and a publisher, in which content aimed at expanding the brand’s audience is created by the publisher’s editorial team―and hosted on the publisher’s site. Described simply, sponsored content is paid for by an advertiser, but written and hosted by a publisher.
This creates synergy between a brand and a publisher and allows brands to tap into a new audience using a creative voice that is familiar and credible. The content should be high-quality, engaging, and valuable. It isn’t salesy because it isn’t advertising in the classic form.
The right partnerships can help a brand build and maintain a reputation for excellence and position them as a thought leader on the global stage.
Sponsored content vs. branded content vs. native advertising
It can be easy to confuse sponsored content, branded content, and native advertising, so let’s take a closer look.
With sponsored content, the brand has limited involvement in content creation. Whereas with branded content, the brand really drives the content and sometimes creates the content.
Native advertising is a broader term that refers to ads that match the look and feel of the online setting in which it appears. Rather than feeling intrusive, native ads appear as a natural extension of the content the viewer is already viewing.
If that’s what sponsored content sounds like, that’s because it is! Sponsored content is a form of native advertising.
But while all sponsored content is native advertising, not all native advertising is sponsored content. Native advertising can include search ads, promoted listings, custom ads, and more.
How sponsored content can make an impact
Since the goal of sponsored content isn’t strictly to sell a product, the payoffs can be more diverse. Here are some of the benefits of a sponsored content campaign:
Editorial independence brings trust
One of the signature features of sponsored content is that the advertiser doesn’t create the content. This not only keeps the content free of marketing, and looking like a natural extension of the webpage that it lives on; far beyond that, it means that the content provides genuine and valuable information with a credible voice that can create respect, trust, and authority.
Topic alignment and thought leadership
For organizations in the science and health space, the right partnership can help connect their brand with a specific science cause or topic and burnish their reputation as a thought-leader on that subject. A strategic collaboration gives them a larger stage and brighter spotlight to discuss issues they care about, boosting thought leadership in areas of importance to the brand.
Access to the publisher’s audience
A strategic partnership can also expose a brand to a like-minded audience that may be especially receptive to the brand’s vision and product offerings. By hosting content on the publisher’s website, the partnering brand can expand its reach by engaging with a larger group of followers.
Examples of sponsored content
Sponsored content can come in many formats, here are a few examples from us here at Springer Nature.
Sponsored video content
The human body is home to trillions of microbiota, a diverse community of bacteria, archaea, viruses, and fungi. When our editorial team published a historical perspective on breakthroughs in human microbiota research, Yakult sponsored our video, timeline, and article content, placing their brand side-by-side with groundbreaking research.
Ahead of the Olympic Games in 2021, Lonza sponsored our ‘Sports science’ article Collection looking at the science behind the athletes. From developing training techniques to protecting sporting integrity, never before has science been so important in elite sport.
A first draft of the human genome sequence was published in 2001. Since then the development of technologies and the ever-sinking cost of sequencing have made it possible to assemble virtually gap-free genomes and to map different types of genetic variation in tens of thousands of individuals. To discuss where the field is going, Illumina sponsored our editorial webcast that brought together experts in human genome sequencing.
Engaging new scientific audiences with your brand can be hard to do. Sponsored content is one way that organizations are communicating their commitment to scientific excellence and becoming respected, quietly influential, thought leaders among a growing audience of scientists, healthcare professionals, and science-engaged consumers.