If you’ve thought about doing sponsored content to build your brand recognition, lemme direct your attention to this recent story from Marketplace. It’s a great lesson on how to do sponsored content right.

The piece discusses a blogger, Joy Cho, who is doing sponsored content so well on her style and design blog Oh Joy! that she’s actually phasing out her banner ads in favor of using only sponsored content.

Cho has built a pretty impressive reach. She reports 550,000 page views per month on her blog, a whopping 13.5 million followers on Pinterest, plus over 200,000 followers across other social media outlets.

What Matters Most

So why dump the ads? Cho says that brands and bloggers have found new ways to work together, and that sponsored content “is much more meaningful, much more interesting, and much more creative … and a way to work with a brand in way that benefits everybody.”

In addition, Cho clearly views sponsored content as another way to serve her audience, rather than just a means to line her pockets. “Obviously [brands] have a motive and an end goal.” Then Cho says she likes to find a way to present it so that it “still feels the content is authentically me … and that my readers will enjoy.”

Example: When working with a bottled water company, she might feature the water with fruit-filled ice cubes and talk about refreshment.

The take-home for marketers:

Relationships are key. Make sure you’re partnering with the right media outlet.

  • Create a win/win. Trust the blogger or media outlet to know how to best reach their audience.
  • Create something that serves the audience.
  • Dump the hard sell. There’s a time and place for that. Sponsored content is about creating engagement and adding value. If you can do that, sales should eventually follow.