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John Hayes
By
April 02, 2015

Why “Credible Sponsored Content” is Not an Oxymoron

Warning – unlike most of my posts, this story will talk about a marketing service offered by ENGINEERING.com.

There are two great truths of content marketing:

  1. Creating engaging content is one of the top challenges for engineering marketers
  2. Getting the right eyeballs on your branded content is even more difficult

OK, these may not be “great truths”, but you get my point.  And it’s not just my point.  Here are a few quotes from experts who agree:

Your technical audience of engineers will use targeted organic search to find your branded content

Marketers often forget the importance of promoting their content – people don’t find content by mistake, or by accident. Every content plan needs a complementary promotion plan that combines paid, owned, and earned media,” says Matthew Gratt.  

Angie Pascale echoes that thought, “Just creating content doesn’t mean users will come consume and engage with it. You must draw attention to the content through owned, earned and paid content amplification methods.”

Although the percentage of marketers who use “newer” paid methods such as native advertising and content discovery tools isn’t very high yet, 36% of those who use them say they are effective. This is a higher confidence rating than marketers give for the more established (and more frequently used) methods of “print or other offline promotion” and “traditional online banner ads.” 
This is from the Content Marketing Institute’s 2015 B2B Content Trends report

 

Most engineering marketers who stay abreast of trends in B2B marketing have invested heavily in content creation. However, many neglect the follow-through: making sure that great content gets seen. 

The chart below shows that technical professionals rely on technical web sites for information, news and trends.

 

Technical audiences rely on third-party resources like tech sites and blogs to find information.
Source: Pulse's Content Distribution Strategy Insights

 

 

A Sponsored Post and Amplification Service

To address marketers’ needs to create and distribute engaging content, ENGINEERING.com launched a Sponsored Post and Amplification service.  It’s doing really well.  Customers say things like:

“The sponsored article we purchased [was] right on the mark….We have had a considerable amount of positive feedback on the piece from our customers”

“Our webinar went smoothly. It had a great turn-out and the audience was very responsive and interactive. We got a lot of good questions.”

“The sponsored article content was very accurate and emphasized the key points for our positioning. It portrayed our story perfectly.”

Sponsored content and content distribution to engineers didn’t happen so much in the days of print media.  Instead marketers typically purchased advertising and hoped that the magazine would cover their product.  In the digital world, so long as we are responsible about saying that a post is sponsored, we have found that our sophisticated audience of engineers responds to them well.

 

What is a Sponsored Post and Amplification Service

Marketers typically purchase one or a series of posts from ENGINEERING.com.  They then work with their internal subject matter experts and our editorial team to develop the story-lines for the posts. 

The ENGINEERING.com editorial team takes responsibility for researching and writing each post, complete with links to the desired landing pages.  The customer marketers review and approve the story before it gets posted.  Once it goes live, the story is woven seamlessly into ENGINEERING.com’s regular editorial stream as a sponsored story, and is recommended to our visitors while consuming similar content.

Our editorial recommendation engine suggests relevant content to engineering readers.

The stories tend to do very well in terms of audience and engagement.  They are distributed and shared on social media.  And they are easy to read on mobile devices. 

Together with our customers, we have been very pleasantly surprised by the positive reception that these stories have enjoyed with our audience of more than 1.8M monthly visitors. 

The broad appeal of these offerings for top of funnel awareness, thought leadership and even early stage lead generation has led marketers to many repeat purchases.  As a result, many engineering publications now offer some form of sponsored editorial in text, webinar and video formats. 

I would be curious to hear about your experience with sponsored posts and amplification. You can also click here to see what kinds of things we can do with your content:

ENGINEERING.com can help you tell the story

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