Due to a confluence of disruptions to the classic advertising and subscription revenue streams, many publishers are now open to turning content that’s created or curated by corporations into a new form of advertising. To be clear, these paid, rather than earned contributed articles, information graphics, videos and more are not editorial. Further, no sponsored content program could ever supplant credible coverage by an independent, free press. Yet, these ads do closely resemble the adjacent journalistic content. Additionally, they are often slotted in the news section - once-sacred ground. Therefore sponsored content, with care, can amplify earned or owned messages in a prominent way.
The primary job for PR remains building and maintaining trusted relationships with journalists. To do so, the industry must continue to ensure that it meets the news media’s high expectations as well as the public’s. There is an opportunity for PR professionals to now add a new dimension to their long relationship with the news media. This opportunity is centered in advertising and it combines paid and owned programming across a spectrum of publishers.
That said, there are major ethical hurdles to address too if sponsored content is to provide any value for the news media, marketers and, above all, the public.
Steve Rubel will break down the new opportunities and issues associated with sponsored content.