For Social Sponsorships, Content & Brand Are Integral To Driving Cost

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, November 7, 2013

Chances are that if you’re in entertainment marketing, you’ve dabbled with sponsorships at least once. That concert series, the traveling event and product placements all fall in that bucket, but have you dipped your toe into social sponsorships? 

One of the most dramatic changes in the sponsorship space is the rise of sponsored content via social media influencers. Sponsored social, which typically includes bloggers, YouTube sensations, celebrities and the like, has evolved to now include mainstream media. Big media brands are adopting sponsored posts in response to the Native advertising craze. BuzzFeed, Gawker and even Forbes now offer the creation of custom sponsored content as part of their brand exposure packages.

If you are considering social sponsorships, you’re not alone. However, be sure to do your homework, as many entertainment marketers have struggled to determine how to appropriately structure these types of engagements. Most brands assume that compensation is the most important factor, but increasingly this assumption has been proven wrong. Whether it is a sponsored tweet from People magazine or the Associated Press, the most common factor in determining the price a publisher charges for a social sponsorship is the quality of the brand, product, or content they are being asked to promote, along with the relative fit with their audience. 



The most experienced brands who participate in social sponsorship understand this dynamic, and know how to use it to their advantage. This is particularly true of major entertainment properties, as well as consumer packaged goods, technology providers and anyone with a hyper focus on consumers. 

Bigger in this Case is Better

The playing field is far from level when it comes to sponsorship pricing. If you are fortunate enough to have built a strong brand that people recognize (or leveraging a well known franchise), you definitely have an advantage relative to lesser known offerings. Publishers want an association with big brands, as it helps them bolster their own credibility. As a result, they will often lower their fees for the bellwether brands of today, while asking more from the big brands of tomorrow.

Killer Content = Killer Value

The perceived quality of the advertiser is as much about the content you are asking the publisher to promote as anything else. Whether you are a movie studio or a Broadway show, you should always put content first. Savvy content marketers outside of the entertainment space such as HelloFlo and Dollar Shave Club demonstrate that good content goes a long way. These guys are selling tampons and razors. Most entertainment marketers have much more to work with, but often still fail to miss the mark.

When designing your campaign you should focus on one goal, making the content shareable. Ask yourself: “Would I share this?” If the answer is yes, then you will likely benefit when negotiating sponsorship pricing. Entertainment companies hold a natural advantage here as trailers for movies, video games and real life experiences are in high demand from publishers.

Creative Freedom Increases Demand

Social sponsorship is taken personally by mommy bloggers and editors at mainstream publications alike. Brands that require strict control over messaging or ask for very specific angles to be covered, are less likely to garner interest at a favorable price. Remember, the people you are engaging are creators and have built their audience by generating content that keeps people coming back for more.

When pitching an influencer, it is best to treat them like an agency. Give them a high-level creative brief chock-full of information about what you aim to accomplish. Embrace their approach to content creation and let them take the reins to develop something awesome on your behalf. Be mindful that there is some risk to this approach, but 90% of the time it yields much better results.

While social sponsorship is in many ways still nascent, there are things you can do to tip the scales in your favor. Small budgets can go a long way when coupled with quality opportunities that publishers can get excited about.

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