One of an association’s missions is to educate and inform their members. They not only do this at their conferences and trade shows, but also throughout the year via newsletters, webinars and more recently, podcasts. To help offset the costs of producing all this content, they turn to sponsors.
However, sponsors do not do this out of the kindness of their hearts. They expect to capture your audience’s attention and get a return on their investment. It’s not enough to just get their name in front of an audience of prospective buyers; they want to create a lasting and meaningful connection.
In order to ensure a content sponsorship creates those lasting and meaningful connections, associations need to up their game a bit. Let’s take a look at how we can improve sponsorship for three common content platforms.
Think about the newsletters you read that have sponsors’ ads embedded into them. Your eyes just skip over that ad as you proceed on to the next chunk of content. For a sponsor to consider the money they spend advertising in that newsletter worthwhile, they expect people to click on that ad and perform some call to action.
To encourage more of your readers to click through on your sponsors’ ads, work with them to create pieces of content your readers want to read. That might be a whitepaper, e-book, or infographic that is relevant to your audience.
Many organizations are trying their hands at podcasting. A 2014 Edison Research Report found that 39 million Americans have listened to a podcast in the past month. If you are a podcast listener, you are probably familiar with the sponsored ads that go with them. They all sound pretty much like “This week’s podcast is sponsored by ABC Company. ABC Company allows you to…” Not terribly exciting is it?
I have recently been listening to a podcast called Startup. They create mini-documentaries giving the listener a glimpse into what makes their sponsor tick. They interviewed call center reps about some of the common calls they get from customers. They interviewed the HR rep about whom they hire. They even interviewed the company owner about why he made the decision to sponsor the podcast. Instead of just telling their listeners what their sponsor does, Startup podcast told them why their sponsors do what they do. I remember every sponsor story in that series. That’s the lasting impression your sponsors want your audience to have.
Let’s do away with webinar introductions such as, “we’d like to thank XYZ Company for sponsoring our webinar” followed by a blurb about what it is XYZ Company does. Instead, let an XYZ Company representative introduce your webinar and tell the audience why they think the content they are about to hear is important for the listener. Have them talk about why they, the sponsor, think it is relevant and why they think the audience should sit through the entire webinar.
It might sound something like this, “When Your Organization asked us to sponsor today’s webinar we couldn’t say no. Our clients often turn to us for secure cloud computing solutions. However, cloud security is not the only data security you should be concerned about. This webinar is going to address the most common data security threats and how to go about protecting all your company’s data from those threats.”
You could easily adopt this type of format to sponsors’ introductions at live events as well.
Sponsors want the attention of your audience and these types of sponsorships will do that by creating a deeper connection between your audience and your sponsor. That’s what sponsors are looking for when they sponsor your content. Not only will sponsors stay committed to your organization, but the sponsorship opportunity will increase in value as well.