“Sponsored content” (a.k.a. native ads) has become the scarlet letter, err, phrase, of the digital age. One glance at those words, and readers will instantly liken a piece of content to a desperate and disconnected advertisement. Needless to say, they’ll be less likely to interact with it as a result.
In the good old days (and by that I mean a few years ago), brands were able to connect with loyal customers and reach new audiences in a novel, intimate way through Facebook, and it didn’t cost a dime.
Then they introduced Sponsored Stories as a way to make money and help organizations broaden their reach by highlighting specific posts among targeted demographics. Although it was an enticing extra perk, brands could trust that the “free” content they posted would at least continue to appear in the newsfeeds of their followers.
Today, however, it’s practically impossible for business pages to get their posts viewed organically. And unless you’re a major organization such as Starbucks or Coca-Cola, you’ve got to pay to get noticed. Lame.
While creating a Facebook ad last week, I thought not only about the ways in which Facebook was making it more difficult for brands to communicate with customers (which, as we all know, is the bread and butter of developing relationships with target audiences), but about how it takes the right piece of quality content to be successful. I thought, at the end of the day, no matter what channel you use, it all comes back to content.
Whether you spend a few hundred dollars or thousands, your content better be good if you want people to read it. And in order to do that, you need to know your audience.
If it doesn’t appeal, they’ll see “paid post” and keep on scrolling through their newsfeed for content that they actually want to engage with, such as cat memes or pictures of their friend’s new baby. But if what you’re presenting your reader with is entertaining or educational content, then they’re going to look past the label and interact with your brand.
Although shelling out a few hundred dollars on a questionably reliable tactic may not be worth it to everyone, it’s important to keep on creating that quality content. Or get started if you aren’t doing it yet. Because everything is pointing to awesome content that human beings love and share.