Want to get the word out about what your brand can offer the world? While you have likely used traditional advertising to do this very thing, there’s another, often overlooked way to tell your brand’s unique story: through sponsored editorial content such as mat releases, infographics and listicles.
Here are 5 things to keep in mind when crafting your story for such a campaign:
- Be customer-centric: While the purpose of an advertisement is primarily to extoll the virtues of a product or service, a mat release, infographic or listicle intended for editorial distribution is meant to be of public service and follow a journalistic format. Think about ways you can tell your brand’s story while also giving the public useful information that will be of benefit to their families, households and everyday lives.
- Don’t sound like a press release: Break free of the press release mindset. You are not writing to the media. You are writing for consumers, who are savvier than ever before. So, when discussing your brand, avoid superlatives, boilerplate language or any content that would not play in a typical media outlet.
- Be interesting: In today’s world of online publications, social media, and news apps, consumers have 24/7 access to limitless content and can afford to be picky about how they spend their time. Put yourself in the shoes of an average reader encountering your story, infographic or listicle and ask yourself whether it contains information that would catch your attention and maintain your interest.
- Be flexible: For those using a sponsored editorial content service for the first time, the particular benefits relative to advertising may not be immediately apparent. After all, you are probably used to being able to talk up your brand with few limitations, if any. What’s all this about toning down your brand’s virtues? Well, beyond securing thousands of editorial placements in local media outlets that your press department unlikely has the bandwidth to target on its own, you’ll be building brand awareness in an organic way that positions your brand as a thought leader and trusted expert. Remember, a good mat release service is staffed with an editorial team that has your best interests in mind. You may have a particular direction in mind for your content that the editorial team believes should be tweaked a bit in order to build its credibility or expand its audience. Being flexible is the best way to guarantee your story will get as much media traction as possible.
- Think like a newspaper editor: Editors of media outlets have a certain mindset about what content they run and when — and it is largely based on the calendar. Think about how consumers engage with your brand, product or service at different times of year. Let’s say you are marketing educational toys. Think about the very different story you can potentially tell around the gift-giving holiday season as you might during the back-to-school season. To get a better sense of the ideal time to push any given story, it is helpful to check the editorial calendar of some major publications for guidance. Remember, these annual celebrations, events and more should never come as a surprise to you. Create your own editorial calendar so you can leverage seasonal hooks to the best of your ability, giving yourself the necessary head start you need to organize your messaging, and then get your content produced, reviewed, approved and distributed.