Your Sponsored Content Questions Answered!


Editor Rob O’Regan chats with us about the sticky subject of sponsored content.

The concept of sponsored content and native advertising sound so promising and simple, but there are plenty of ways to screw it up. Above all else, you must preserve your credibility with readers. Keep readers #1 and you can find whole new revenue streams for your niche magazine.

We recently interviewed Rob O’Regan with some of the most common questions we hear about the ins and outs of sponsored content. Rob is Editor of eMediaVitals, an online publication that serves print media executives who are transitioning their businesses to e-media. Rob has a keen understanding of sponsored content programs such as native advertising, which can provide enormous financial benefit to both print and online properties–if done right.

Here’s the highlights of our interview with Rob:

Niche Media HQ: As the quintessential editorial guy, can you give us a real-world example of dangerous pitfalls to avoid?

Rob O’Regan: The Atlantic’s Scientology-sponsored post in early 2013 is the most infamous example of bad sponsored content execution. It missed on many levels – the lack of quality control, the misalignment with The Atlantic’s editorial mission, the censorship of comments. Anything that confuses or misleads readers about the source of the content qualifies as an example of what not to do.

Niche Media HQ: What’s the latest new frontier in sponsored content?

RO: Native ads – the concept of integrating branded content into the stream of editorial or social content. Everyone’s talking about it, a few publishers are innovating around it, but most are confused about what it is and how it works. A lack of guidelines and standards increases the short-term challenge of selling these programs to advertisers. Expectations are all over the map.

Niche Media HQ: How can niche publishers effectively measure the results of sponsored content?

RO: Many publishers are using traditional editorial metrics, because sponsored content is more about audience engagement than about clicks or conversions. So good metrics might include pageviews, time spent, and how much the content is commented on or shared. Combine those with marketing metrics such as brand lift and you’ll get a complete picture of how successful the campaign is.

Niche Bonus Question: What’s your favorite Southern food?

RO: A tie between BBQ ribs and jambalaya.

Editor’s Note: If you want to learn more, check out Rob’s session at the upcoming Niche Media Conference in Charleston: Sponsored Content on Steroids

In the session, Rob O’Regan and Kyle Walkenhorst, a publishing ad sales veteran, show you how to develop sponsored content, how to sell it, and how to measure its performance.


Diana Landau, Niche Content WranglerAbout this blogger: Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Niche Media. A former corporate marketing hack, she has now found nirvana in writing and wrangling quality content. Diana is a food, wine, art and SF Giants enthusiast……who sometimes gets carried away.



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