How does one go about making sponsored content that doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb? A few bold publishers are answering that question by turning to their own in-house editorial teams to get the job done.
Mashable has been writing posts for sponsors for some time, but Ad Age points out a more interesting case study: Mental Floss founder Mangesh Hattikudur’s U.S. Open live-blog/trivia session post, sponsored by IBM.
Hattikudur notes that IBM did not approve the content before publishing—and he’d planned to cover the event regardless.
The point is that content created by a publisher’s editorial staff will feel more authentic and therefore bring more value to the sponsor as readers grow increasingly skeptical of advertorials.
This trend marks a significant shift in strategy for a minority of publishers, but the sponsored content game still seems to favor the idea of establishing separate studios a la BuzzFeed. This is especially true for traditional publishers: today Digiday reports that The New Yorker, that very oldest and stodgiest of publications, has entered the world of native advertising by creating clearly marked content in the “business side of the house.”
Here’s the question: Is sponsored content somehow more credible if it comes from within a publication’s editorial department as opposed to a separate business wing—or a PR firm? How many readers grasp this distinction in the first place? Should brands rely on PR to complete this new content equation? Let us know: