How to Activate a Sponsorship to Achieve Content Marketing & search engine marketing Goals

It’s a content marketer’s worst nightmare.

You’re referred to as right into a meeting and requested for your input into a sponsorship agreement. Your eyes light up but quickly fade as you’re instructed. The settlement is ninety-nine percent whole.

Win More Deals: 5 Tips for Cold Calling Event Sponsors - Eventbrite

However, you have no opportunity to contribute to the rights; however, you are merely left to test over a paltry settlement to encompass a link on the backed belongings’ website.

It’s an experience that I’m certain many of you will have encountered or heard of while working on content material advertising and marketing and search engine marketing.

Working with a sponsorship partner can and must be much greater than this, so let’s dive into a way to maximize sponsorships that will help you acquire your content advertising and SEO dreams.
Research the Sponsored Party’s Assets & Access

For the website above, a hyperlink is a bare minimum. You get a hyperlink from what’s probable to be an authoritative website and one that’s impossible for your competitors to gather. But as content entrepreneurs, we want to think a long way extra expansively about the opportunity.

If executed successfully, the backside line activates a sponsorship that will offer effects at a scale that few other sports can compete with.

Before we get into the details, being a part of the team producing the rights bundle is critical to your achievement. If you’re not part of the communique, you will definately be underwhelmed by the assets and access supplied to you.

Taking every other step back, being a part of the communique requires you to continuously evangelize the virtues of content advertising so decision-makers know the blessings.

While this text gained’t passes into the element of approximately a way to try this, it’s a good example of why you must be selling your worth to the right people. It’s far handiest for many, while an opportunity passes them by realizing that promoting their paintings is profitable.

Assets and admission are the idea of successful sponsorship activation. This can mean many things depending on the type of sponsorship and the partner you’re sponsoring, but regularly, it boils all the way down to

Access to particular locations (behind the curtain, stadium usage, etc.)
Access to influential people (sports activities stars, celebrities, etc.)
Website coverage
Social media promotion

At this stage, the one largely unquantifiable factor is how many assets you may need. My advice is to seriously overestimate your wishes for three reasons:

The things you’re soliciting are relatively low prices compared to the naming rights, which are the core part of the settlement – don’t worry about your needs inflating the overall fee.
The sponsored birthday party will negotiate down from something you ask for. This is inevitable.
Anything left over after you have allocated the belongings in your advertising plan will constantly discover a correct home, whether through a team of workers’ giveaways, charity donations, or other competitions.

Alongside this tangible property, you’ll also get entry to the subsidized assets’ intangible property, namely their perception and cultural status amongst the target audience.

This turns into the premise of your positioning approach and tone of voice. More on this later.
Define & Measure Brand Communication Goals

Brand sponsors occasions, teams, and personalities because of its affiliation with the audience’s thoughts. Every successful sponsorship transfers the values and notion of the subsidized celebration onto the emblem.

This is the purpose of every emblem investing in sponsorships. Branded content material is the direction to cementing this perception inside the audience’s mind. A logo on a jersey will not suffice.

The key to activating the sponsorship from a branded content material perspective is to decide what values you need to extract from the partner. This must be part of the selection procedure, so there’s little extra work to do regularly.

Invariably, the emblem will want to transfer a selected sentiment from the companion. For example:

A new brand will companion with a straightforward status quo to confer trust.
A small logo will partner with a massive business enterprise to confer credibility.
A logo trying to make itself extra relevant to a more youthful target audience will associate with humans, activities, and agencies with a status inside the goal community.
A logo that desires to appeal to a sure way of life will be associated with properties that outline that lifestyle.

Once this sentiment is agreed upon, you’re devoted to growing content material with the assets and get admission to supply within the partnership to influence the target market to which the emblem embodies that sentiment.

A phrase of warning at this level:

When growing content thoughts, you need to live true to what is proper about the logo and find a way that the sponsorship can act as a car for conveying this message. People will see straight content that portrays the brand unrealistically.

GoPro was given it spot-on with this Real Madrid activation; their product is more advantageous to the story without being intrusive.

This is why many humans find brands like Coca-Cola sponsoring wearing occasions disingenuous. As huge manufacturers, they get away with it, but it’s not a strategy to emulate.

While not every activation has to bring this sentiment (say, a Twitter price tag giveaway), the general effect must be a vast and long-lasting alternate or reinforcement of the emblem notion inside the target market’s thoughts.

Too many brands waste their sponsorship rights on ‘here nowadays, long gone tomorrow’ content that may get millions of perspectives but leave zero residual brandings in the audience’s thoughts. This is a clear choice. However, it won’t assist you in acquiring the preferred change in consumer perception.

Use brand uplift and sentiment research to measure marketing campaign efficacy.

You want to find out:

Has the target audience eaten up the content material?
How did they discover it?
What was their previous impression of the brand?
Has the content material modified that effect?
How could they describe the logo to a chum – great for purchasing a true view in the target market’s logo sentiment language?

The foremost manner of doing this is a pre-and-submit marketing campaign.

Measuring the exchange in consciousness and sentiment will permit you to evaluate whether the backed assets’ beliefs and values have been transferred to your brand. Every sponsorship activation ought to aspire to this intention.

A Word on Positioning & Tone

Branded content material is not like traditional marketing. While you’ll understand this, a few colleagues will see it as much like a TV advert — merely an exercise in creating a mass focus for the logo.

Successfully branded content material is only editorial in tone and style. Working with a sponsorship companion offers you permission to enter that network. Treat it with respect by utilizing presenting content that the target market wants.

Don’t compete for interest with the companion as an alternative purpose to decorate the target audience’s experience of the sponsored associate. If you can obtain this, you will garner far greater superb sentiment and, therefore, a long way extra engagement.

Publishers will apprehend this dynamic, too. If you create content they recognize their audience will consume, they’ll be inclined to hold the content material and offer a hyperlink.
Getting the Most from the Sponsorship Demands Strong Relationship Management

Just because you’ve signed the deal doesn’t suggest the difficult paintings are over. At the same time, as you probably enjoyed the gain of inquiring about “lower value” rights, the disadvantage may become apparent.

Let’s expect the deal was executed normally for naming rights (jersey, stadium, event name). The admission you’ve secured is secondary to that.

This affords a capability challenge because your counterpart at the sponsored birthday party will constantly prioritize turning in the naming rights over and above your needs.

Added to this is the chance that you’re certainly one of many manufacturers that have agreements, and, worst of all, you could now not be in the top tier of logo sponsors.

Bottom line: Operating with a sponsored celebration can often be a battle. Throw into the mix the uncertainty created by the aid of working with celebrities, sportspeople, and live activities, and you’ve got a strong blend of factors that can disappoint even the nice-laid plans.

Here’s a way to mitigate in opposition to the one’s dangers:

Develop near links and ordinary established meetings along with your account manager.
Ensure they recognize precisely what your rights are. You’ll be amazed how often they don’t remember what’s been agreed with every brand.
Plan interest properly and remember the backed events on your calendar. It is essential to know after they’ll be busy or when they’re much less likely to offer to get admission to skills (for instance, inside the lead-up to a large sport).
Asse, ss the dangers. I changed into shooting a video with a celeb football player; however, he was injured the day before. The shoot became planned around his heritage and skillset, so we had no choice but to cancel. Always have a lower backup plan.
Make the content ideation phase collaborative. Not most effective will this engender a greater open courting. It will lessen the probability of the sponsored celebration vetoing your thoughts.
Ask about their dreams and consider how your plans can make contributions. What is their engagement approach, what content material tends to make paintings high-quality for them, how do lovers typically react, and so forth?
Ask about the network – fans may be fickle! The subsidized birthday party will recognize how high-quality it is to approach the fanbase and subjects that are probably too disappointed and enthuse them. Heed this advice.
Share the outcomes and successes. The backed celebration will need to recognize the reaction to the content material if handiest from a logo protection point of view. Share regular updates and always pitch achievements as a crew attempt.

Your opposite numbers will be defensive of their furnished belongings – and with accurate reason.

You’ll ensure you get their full aid by finding it difficult to recognize their brand and engagement desires, the pressures they face, and the intricacies of working with public-dealing agencies.

How to Maximize Link Acquisition Opportunities

Many of you may not simply operaten branded content material but are alsponsible for search engine marketing objectives. Let’s dive into the extra sensible method of leveraging sponsorship to generate links.

A first-rate sponsorship’s middle search engine optimization advantage is that it opens up outreach possibilities that wouldn’t rise up or would be extraordinarily hard to gain without the support.

If you’re working on a chief sponsorship with Star Electricity, you can also scale hyperlink acquisition to levels that guide outreach can never reap.

Simply put, a strategy effectively leveraging a sponsorship will deliver tremendously treasured hyperlinks in large quantities. I’d argue this is the remaining scenario for any search engine optimization practitioner.

1. Choose Your Content Formats Wisely

The scale is inside reached; however, it handles certain types of content material scale. Shareable formats are crucial (and vital for any viral effect). This lends itself to 2 essential codecs:

Video: The simplest layout to distribute at scale. Embedding video with key media companions and inspiring social media shares requires equipment in your amplification method.
Interactive content material: Place viral mechanisms on the coronary heart of interactive content material and e-mail to your buddies and proportion your rating/consequences on social media. Use other sponsorship property, tickets, and products as prizes to incentivize sharing.

2. Study How Content Usually Disseminates From the Sponsored Property

Working with a massive organization that includes a sports crew lets you see how information flows through the internet. Your goal is to apprehend how the release and dissemination of content material work for that organization and then try to mirror this pattern while dispensing your branded content marketing campaign.

Often, reporters might be assigned to specific corporations. Find out who those people are and get to recognize them.

The associate must be able to provide you with entry to those people. The same precept should be carried out to the fandom surrounding the accomplice.

Professional or semi-expert network influencers can often be constructed around the company. Take the plethora of Apple fan websites, for example.

Relationships are hugely essential. The excellent way to build those relationships and increase quid pro quo information is to provide belongings and get an admission that these influencers and reporters can’t gain access to themselves.

For example, many sports activities reporters warfare to get time with players. Offer this as much as possible, and they’ll be more willing to share your branded content when it arises.

Perhaps the associate releases all their information from their internet site, making it a “go-to” area for the audience and media to pick up new stories. If so, the associate website becomes an extraordinary place to seed your content.

3. Understand How the Audience Consumes Media

When growing the outreach method, it’s crucial to apprehend where the target market lives online.

Let’s take the instance of soccer (soccer) and esports. Football verbal exchange is abundant in massive information websites, team blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. For esports, the audience gravitates toward Twitch, Reddit, and YouTube.

Knowing that is essential to your distribution plan.

While social amplification gained’t without delay gets you the links you’re targeting, it’ll get the content in front of the proper audience, which is likely to intend reporters and bloggers wearing the content on their personal websites.

The important thing to understand here is that no one cares what the logo is doing or pronouncing; however, everybody within the community is deeply interested in what the backed accomplice/crew/occasion or humans are doing and are, therefore, much more likely to publish any applicable content material.

4. Plan Activations Around Seasonal Spikes

Interest in your sponsorship accomplice will peak and trough during the 12 months. Use these records to plot marketing campaign activations.

Campaigns should be released in and around the most important spikes in interest to naturally occur. Demand drives interest, which opens the opportunity for extra outreach and hyperlink acquisition possibilities.

For example, if you’re sponsoring a tune festival, then it’s natural so that you can spark off round price tag releases, line-up announcements, and through the competition itself (before, all through, and after).

No, remember what type of sponsorship you’re activating. There are some principles that you can comply with to comfortable brilliant hyperlinks:

Making ‘Wow moments’:

Each spike is a mirrored image of the network’s ardor. You’re in a privileged function to offer exquisite experiences to them. Consider the last enjoyment for the web in those moments, then construct campaigns around it.


Negotiate with the backed birthday celebration to permit the brand to break the news. Either launch this via your channels with exclusive content to your website for human beings to link to OR pass the unique to a media companion in return for a hyperlink.
Access: Supplying influential content material producers with direct admission that they otherwise wouldn’t be capable of getting is a surefire way to win friends and hyperlinks for a sports activities sponsorship, which could be a risk to fulfill the crew. At one brand, I negotiated for a small birthday celebration of influencers to tour with the group on an away trip. They had been simplest too glad to offer a hyperlink in return.

5. Negotiate Access for Distribution

When I labored on a main sports activities sponsorship, one of our move-to techniques when launching content material campaigns turned into a barter with publishers to take the content (and a hyperlink) in alternate for distinct get right of entry to the group’s gamers and bosses.

Initially, we embedded the movies in the resulting interview; however, as our strategy evolved, we realized that many national publishers had bespoke website sections for social-media-orientated audiences. Often, this will be a place to view contemporary viral movies.

It becomes too powerful to no longer embed in the interview article. Instead, we placed videos inside these social microsites because the content reached the right audience and could reap far greater social attainment.

6. Target Top-Tier Press Publications

Securing countrywide press insurance is very viable. These titles are content-hungry because their sales model is predicated on it. This is to your advantage.

They’ll need to post the video because they can serve pre-roll advertisements and attain higher ad quotes than standard show advert placements.

Most media courses don’t produce video, so they rely on brands to supply and proportion content material. They’ll host the video on their own video platform to permit them to serve commercials.

Don’t let this prevent you from sharing the video. It will not have any negative impact on your desires. If something, you can use this as leverage to secure that all essential link.

Lastly, don’t underestimate the cascading effect of seeding content material to top-tier publications. Smaller websites will allow speedy pickup of tales and submission of their personal variations.

7. Follow Up on Media Coverage

Asking publishers to convert mentions to links is critical to a nicely carried out search engine optimization campaign. This is especially true for sponsorship activations because the logo mentions will spike because the partnership is publicly introduced.

Secondly, if your content material succeeds, it will be picked up with reporters’ aid. Without previous touch with those journalists, you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to ask for a link.

There are many offerings along with Brandwatch or Mention that will provide an everyday record of all current emblem mentions (don’t forget to encompass the call of your branded content marketing campaign and the subsidized birthday celebration, as publishers will regularly omit the emblem call).

Run the file daily with this new outreach line into your regular techniques to extract more link costs.

8. Maximize Link Equity

Many sponsorship activations are seeded from a touchdown page in the brand area. This method is realistic but goes away with a few things to recollect.

Clearly, the goal isn’t to rank the campaign content material. The goal is to leverage the hyperlinks generated to improve scores of commercially essential pages.

Do no longer use a microsite on a new domain or a sub-domain – many brands still make this error.
Sit the content material on the foundation area, e.g., instance.Com/high-quality-content-marketing campaign/.
Link for your business page(s) with appropriate anchor text from inside the web page’s frame.
Often, emblem-led campaigns generate homepage hyperlinks – as above, ensure the web page hyperlinks to the target commercial pages (a tactic that should be permanently used irrespective of whether you’re actively constructing hyperlinks).

By setting those easy, however essential movements in the area, the campaigns could be way more effective at enhancing rankings and producing a business go-back.

Key Takeaways

Successfully branded content activations depend on the proper emblem-associate positioning and a clever distribution strategy. Get each good, and you will attain each emblem and SEO dream.

Be important to the contract negotiation. Plan ahead to ensure you’ve got the property and get admission to your needs.
Be bold together with your needs. They’ll be low price and excessive effect.
Ensure your content messaging leverages the associate’s values and cultural status to tell a story about your emblem. Think of it as ‘branding with the aid of osmosis.’Create content that the backed party’s audience wishes, not content that leads with a promotional emblem message: Editorial, no longer advertorial.
Research how content the subsidized birthday celebration disseminates and wherein its miles ate up.
Build relationships with assigned newshounds and key network producers to seed your content.
Leverage the belongings and get entry to grow your outreach fulfillment fee.
Measure alternate in awareness and sentiment pre- and put up campaign.

Using this listing as an excessive-level tick list, you could ensure that your method extracts the most from the sponsorship settlement and offers you the potential to cozy brilliant “money can’t purchase” insurance and links.


I have been working in the field of SEO and content marketing since 2014. I have worked with over 500 clients and more than 100 websites. I started blogging in 2012 and have now made my first steps into the world of freelancing. In my spare time, I like to read, cook or listen to music.