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Editorial vs Sponsored Content: What’s the Difference?

The Key Differences of Editorial and Sponsored Content

Published: May 12, 2021
Editorial vs Sponsored Content

Chris Porter

The media landscape has evolved drastically in the last few years.

Today’s companies have so many ways to connect with their audience, investors, and future partners. Thanks to the age of digital transformation, printed content in newspapers and magazines isn’t the only way to get people talking about your company. You can raise awareness online, through press releases, sponsored content, blog posts, and display ads.

The only problem? There are so many kinds of content marketing available today, it can be difficult to know where to start. The first step is often defining what certain kinds of content mean.

Today, we’re going to be defining editorial, and sponsored content, and discussing the major differences between them.

What is Editorial Content?

One of the oldest forms of content marketing in history, editorial content is earned media. In other words, it’s promotion that you earn by sharing valuable, engaging information, rather than paying for a slot in someone’s publication.

Examples of earned editorial content might include a press release that a company showcases because it highlights information relevant to their audience. Editorial content can also include guest posts, published, and promoted by a company with a direct connection to your consumer base.

The biggest benefit of editorial content is that it’s free. Although you do need to invest time and effort into creating something that other people want to publish, there’s no fee to think about.

At Today Digital, we promote tons of editorial content sent to us by companies who have valuable stories to share about their brand or industry. We can showcase this information and encourage word-of-mouth growth for the brand. The only downside is a lack of control.

With editorial content, you’re not guaranteed a spot on a publication, nor will you have control over the amount of promotion you get. It’s up to the company you pitch your content to whether you shine at the top of their blog, or not.

Similarly, companies publishing editorial content can decide how much they want to promote it on their social channels, email newsletters, and elsewhere. The demand is mostly on the company that wants the promotion to do their own advertising, and approach the editorial content company in the first place.

What is Sponsored Content?

Sponsored content is the other side of the marketing coin: paid media.

With sponsored content, you pay to place your content in a specific location, such as on a company’s website, or within a video. Similar to old-fashioned adverts and advertorials, sponsored content gives you a chance to reach your audience in an authoritative way, by partnering with industry thought leaders and influencers.

At Today Digital, our sponsored content comes with access to a lot of extra help and support to help you thrive. We can help you with planning and shaping your content strategy over the course of a long-term package and ensure that you get the right attention from a targeted audience.

Our sponsored content also gets a premium level of SEO treatment, to drive more focus to the customer in question.

The biggest benefit of sponsored content is that it gives you guaranteed coverage. You’re not hoping that someone else will deem your piece worthy, because you’ve paid for a position already. There’s no risk of someone else’s marketing assets being lumped in with yours either. You have full control over where your content shows up, and how you connect with your audience.

At Today Digital, we give our customers the option to choose what kind of sponsored content they want to create and send them drafts to approve before it goes out. This means that you can add backlinks to boost your SEO, include personal quotes, and more. You also get an advertisement displayed in the centre of each article, to drive people back to your website in the long term.

Depending on the package you get, there’s also less pressure on you to do your own promotion with paid content. While we can showcase editorial content on our social media pages and newsletters, we’re not obliged to do so. When a customer pays for a sponsored content package, however, they get a full strategy dedicated to improving brand awareness and reach.

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to choosing sponsored or editorial content. Many companies use a selection of both, which is why we work so hard to maintain a good balance between earned and paid media here at Today Digital.