How to get publishers to want your sponsored content

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Chances are that if you are an agency or big brand, you have engaged in some form of sponsored social. Sponsored social lies at the intersection of content marketing and native advertising — and major advertisers from Allstate to Walmart are using the tactic — but few know the secret of negotiating the best price for these engagements.

Here it is: Sponsored social isn’t like other ad units. Your contribution doesn’t just reflect on your brand, it reflects on theirs. And if you give them what they want, they’ll give you a better price.

Whether it is a sponsored blog post or a sponsored tweet from the Associated Press, the three most common factors publishers take into consideration when determining how much to charge you are the quality of the brand, the quality of the content and whether the sponsored post’s style fits the publication.

The most experienced brands understand this dynamic and know how to use it to their advantage. Leading the pack are major consumer packaged goods brands, technology providers, travel companies and anyone with a deep understanding of the social Web.

When negotiating a great price for your social content, consider playing these three cards:

The strength of your brand name

The playing field is far from level when it comes to sponsorship pricing. If you are fortunate enough to have built a strong brand that people recognize, you definitely have an advantage over lesser-known entities. Publishers crave an association with big brands, as it helps them bolster their own credibility. As a result, they will often lower their fees for the bellwether brands of today, while asking more from the big brands of tomorrow.

Killer content yields killer value

The perceived quality of an advertiser is also directly influenced by the content they are pitching to the publisher. When designing your campaign, you should focus on one goal, making the content shareable. Ask yourself, “Would I share this?” If the answer is yes, then you will likely benefit when negotiating sponsorship pricing. After all, your great content provides a halo effect for publishers that keep their audience in mind.

Entertainment companies hold a natural advantage here as trailers for movies, video games and real-life experiences are in high demand from publishers. However, savvy brands like HelloFlo and Dollar Shave Club are producing creative content that’s too great not to share, evidenced by the millions of views each video boasts.

Creative freedom

Whether you’re working with a mommy blogger or a premier publication, your content reflects on their brand. So they’ll want input. Brands that have notoriety and quality content, but require strict control over messaging or ask contributors to cover very specific angles are less likely to garner interest at a favorable price. Remember, the people you are engaging are creators and have built their audience by generating a specific style of content that keeps people coming back for more.

Sponsored Social isn’t a simple media buy. It is always bit of a negotiation based on what both sides are looking for. I suggest treating publishers like agency partners. Provide your partner them with a high-level creative brief chock-full of information about what you aim to accomplish. Embrace their approach to content creation and let them take the reins to develop something awesome on your behalf. Be mindful that there is some risk to this approach, but 90 percent of the time, it yields much better results.

While social sponsorship is in many ways still nascent, there are things you can do to tip the scales in your favor. Remember, small budgets can go a long way when coupled with quality opportunities that publishers can get excited about.

Image via Shutterstock

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