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10 Steps to Excellent Sponsored Editorial for Engineers

More marketers are buying sponsored posts.  Here’s how to make sure yours are effective.

There is no denying the rapid uptake in the popularity of sponsored editorial among advertisers and the engineers who read them.  Why are they so popular? 

Sponsored posts let advertisers:

  • Bring attention to your products or events that publications might not otherwise cover
  • Speak to the audience with the credible and trusted voice of the publication
  • Get help to create outstanding content
  • Gain access to the publication’s distribution channels   image-Oct23

In an earlier post I covered whether or not you should be publishing your own content for engineers.  In this post, we’ll assume that you’ve decided to pay a publication to write about your product.  You are best to go into this with the understanding that the publisher won’t be writing a sales pitch for your product – it will be a story.  The publisher will gently (or not so gently) reset your expectations if you stray into the realm of advertorials.

Here’s how to manage the sponsored post process well:

  1. Decide the purpose of your editorial before you place a PO.  One way to think about this is to consider what you want the engineer to do after they read the story.  For example, do you want them to consider your product for a specific application? Do you want them to compare your new product to established competitors?  Or do you want to simply announce some new features? 
  1. Identify a subject matter expert and / or source material for the article.  While the publication can and will do their own research, your own engineers are usually the best source of content for your product information.  
  1. Schedule a preliminary call with the publication.  In that call you should convey your purpose, and also agree on the audience that you want to reach.  Don’t be afraid to dive into the details of industry and roles.  This will allow the publication to assign the best author to the post. 
  1. Agree on success metrics.  How many times do you expect the story to be read by your target audience in the first month?  What is a reasonable number of shares or clicks to expect?  How long will the story stay live on the site?  Even if you can’t get confirmed numbers on expected views, shares and clicks, you should be able to understand exactly how the story will be distributed throughout their web site, print (if any) and social media.
  1. Schedule a call between the author and the subject matter expert.  Provide the author with suggestions as to the overall direction that you want the story to take, but for the most part, this call should be an exchange between the author and the expert to convey the necessary technical information and application studies.
  1. Follow up on any outstanding requests, such as images or requests for customer interviews.
  1. Review and comment on the story before it goes live.  Strive to tell a good story rather than to be overtly salesy.  The publication won’t ever trade their credibility with their audience for the fees associated with a sponsored post. 
  1. When the story is published, join in the social media distribution. 
  1. If you spot an error after the fact, don’t be afraid to raise it.  The digital version can always be corrected. 
  2. Collect and analyze the metrics on the story.  Most publications can provide reporting as to how well the story has performed that you can compare to traffic on your side.

Sponsored editorial is becoming an important part of the toolkit for engineering marketers.  Let me know if you’ve had success with it, or want to talk about a specific campaign.

Happy marketing,


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