Contact Us
Quick guide to branded content for research audiences

Quick guide to branded content for research audiences

Branded content translates our partners’ research and messages into compelling articles that Nature Portfolio audiences will read and enjoy. Nature Research Custom Media (NRCM) is a content creation and marketing service that is distinct from Nature editorial. NRCM works directly with partners to create high-quality content (print and online) that adheres to Nature’s editorial standards; meets our readers’ needs and expectations; and supports our partners’ goals.

The aim of branded content is not to sell products or services, but to raise awareness of our partners’ research and capabilities, educate our readers on new advances in research, methods and instrumentation, and stimulate discussion. In essence, we work to associate our partners with ideas and information that our readers find valuable.

This Quick Guide to Branded Content contains specific information about how the process works, what the limitations are, and how to create content that Nature Portfolio readers will value and share. Customers will receive the more comprehensive Publisher’s Guidelines for Branded Content upon booking.

On this page:

  • Overview
  • Specifications
  • Requirements
  • Workflow
  • Responsibilities
  • Promotion & Marketing
  • Additional Services
  • Further Information


Branded content is conversational in tone and written for science-literate audiences reading outside their area of expertise. It is modelled on Nature front-half content, not primary research, reviews or application notes. No matter the subject, the goal is to create content that is valuable and relevant to specific Springer Nature audiences.

All content is produced by the NRCM editorial team. The global team of science writers, editors, designers, project managers and social media experts represents decades of collective experience and has earned content marketing awards the world over.


Whether in print or online, most branded content articles run between 500 and 1500 words, depending on the needs of our partners. They accommodate images (including multimedia), and will be supported by quotes from interviewees as well as references from published literature. The word count, which corresponds to print page equivalents, defines the number of images, references and interview sources included in a given article, as outlined in the Publisher’s Guidelines for Branded Content.


  • 500 words (one-page equivalent): brief, high-level news, profiles or interview-based articles, or a digest of a published paper.
  • 1,000 words (two-page equivalent): An easy-to-read length, suitable for in-depth news, trends or interviews, or an event summary.
  • 1,500 words (three-page equivalent): Deeper feature articles, including history and context, to give a broader picture of a field or advance, or a more complete overview of an event.


  • Branded content will be clearly labelled as ‘Advertisement Feature’, as will any pointers to the content, and does not carry an author byline.
  • Branded content will clearly include the name and/or logo of the partner organization, with space for one partner logo in print and up to three online.
  • Branded content cannot include results, data or figures not yet published in a peer-reviewed journal.
  • Branded content cannot describe benefits associated with unapproved medicines and devices. Approved medicines and devices can only be mentioned in HCP-only Clinical Custom Content, which follows separate guidelines.
  • Branded content cannot include results from ongoing clinical trials, even if they have been published. Peer-reviewed results associated with approved medicines can only be published in HCP-only Clinical Custom Content, which follows separate guidelines.
  • Branded content will appear in NRCM branded content design templates. Custom design incurs an additional cost and must conform to NRCM requirements for legibility and suitability for the platform on which it will appear.


The creation of branded content takes 8-12 weeks, depending on the format, length and adherence to timelines. It is a collaborative process, where the partner reviews and approves the article at several stages. At the start of a project, the publishing manager, who serves as the point-of-contact for a partner, will supply a detailed timeline to guide the process. We advise that senior partner stakeholders who will sign off the project are made aware of the stages and provide input at the appropriate stage.

  • Project initiation – A branded content project begins when a partner submits a completed briefing form that details the desired article, objectives, messages, interview sources and audiences.
  • First draft review – NRCM commissions and edits articles from Nature-standard science writers; a first draft is then delivered to our partner for review. At this stage, partners can request or offer substantive changes and edits, if necessary, using comments and tracked changes.
  • Revised draft review – Depending on the need, NRCM may submit to our partner a revision for review and approval, along with proposed images. Minor text edits and corrections are permitted, though substantial changes are not.
  • PDF/web review – NRCM submits a PDF layout (print) or HTML preview (web) for review. Partners can request or offer changes to presentations and images, along with minor text corrections and proofreading.
  • Final PDF/web review – NRCM will submit a revised layout for approval. Marketing assets will be created and a promotional campaign arranged.
  • Launch & marketing – Launch occurs on a date of our partner’s choosing (or a print issue of choosing). For digital branded content, launch initiates a promotional campaign to ensure readers engage with the article.
  • Reporting – At the conclusion of the marketing campaign, we provide information on the reach and engagement that the branded content achieved.


While we expect to undertake the bulk of the work, a few responsibilities lie with our partners.

Nature Research Custom MediaOur Partner
Develop content direction from the briefing formSubmit briefing form detailing key concept, messages and background material
Commission & edit contentProvide images and their rights and, if requested, figures
Arrange interviews, both sourced and partner affiliatedFacilitate introductions to affiliated interview subjects
Source images if needed; redraw figures if appropriate; assemble layoutsAdhere to timelines for approval
Promote article to target audiencesSuggest target audience
Report on reader engagement

Promotion & Marketing

Nearly all online branded content articles have a companion promotional campaign. These campaigns are defined by specific marketing packages and frequently include native advertisements on, social media promotion over NRCM channels, and display advertising, all of which are targeted to relevant audiences.

Campaigns are concluded with a brief report that describes reader engagement for a specific article or set of articles.

Additional Services

NRCM offers valuable paid-for add-ons for branded content

NRCM will redraw a partner-supplied figure to give it the NRCM look and feel. Our editors and designers optimize redrawn figures for clarity and readability in both print and online presentations. NRCM will not produce original figures nor merge multiple supplied figures unless negotiated separately.

Scientific figures are most popular with our readers, whether pathways, mechanisms of action or diagrams. Certain types of images are unsuitable for Nature Portfolio options, and will not be accepted. These include organization charts, corporate strategy diagrams, cartoons, mascots, additional logos, and figures with low informational value.

The Publisher’s Guidelines for Branded Content contain more information and detailed specifications.

PDF layouts and reprints
For partners interested in reusing their articles on their platforms or in their collateral, NRCM offers PDF layouts, for online-only articles, and reprints for partners that would like them. Timelines range between three and four weeks. Shipping can extend delivery time.

For partners who want to extend their branded content to non-English speaking audiences, NRCM has a team of skilled scientific translators, who specialize in Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Korean. We can translate the branded content, as a paid service, and deliver it in a PDF or in print.

Further Information

For additional information on branded content, along with examples, please visit:

To learn more about other NRCM product and services, please visit:

If you have additional questions, please contact your account manager.

{{ bookmarkCount }} {{ productText }} Saved Bookmarks