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 percentage whole.

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

However, you have no opportunity to make contributions 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 during your time working on content material advertising and marketing and search engine marketing.

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

For the aforementioned website, a hyperlink is a bare minimum. You get a hyperlink from what’s probable to be an authoritative website and one which’s impossible for your competitors to gather. But as content entrepreneurs, we want to think a long way extra expansively approximately 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, the importance of being a part of the team producing the rights bundle is critical in your achievement. If you’re now not part of the communique, you definately’re possible to be underwhelmed via the assets and access supplied to you.

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

While this text gained’t pass 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, whilst an opportunity passes them by realizing that promoting their paintings is profitable.

Assets and get admission to 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 human beings (sports activities stars, celebrities, and so on.)
Website coverage
Social media promotion

The one largely unquantifiable factor at this stage is how a lot of eveassetets you may need. My advice is to seriously overestimate your wishes for three reasons:

The things you’re soliciting for 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 this is left over after you have allocated the belongings in your advertising plan will constantly discover a correct home, whether that’s thru 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. An emblem 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 regularly, there’s little extra work to do.

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 associate with properties that outline that life-style.

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

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 via content that portrays the brand unrealistically.

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

This is why such a lot of 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 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 tens of 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 have a look at.

Measuring the exchange in consciousness and sentiment will permit you to evaluate whether the backed assets’ beliefs and values have been transferred for 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 material that they recognize their audience will consume, they’ll be way extra inclined to hold the content material and offer a hyperlink.
Getting the Most from the Sponsorship Demands Strong Relationship Management

Just the fact you’ve signed the deal doesn’t suggest the difficult paintings is over. And at the same time, as you probably enjoyed the gain of inquiring for “lower value” rights, the disadvantage may now start to become apparent.

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

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

Added to this is the chance that you’re certainly one of many manufacturers which 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 with 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 recognize what’s been agreed with every brand.
Plan interest properly in advance and remember the backed events personal calendar. Knowing after they’re going to be busy or times, when they’re much less in all likelihood to offer to get admission to skills (for instance, inside the lead up to a large sport), is essential.
Assess the dangers. I changed into shooting a video with a celeb football (football) player; however, he was injured the day before. The shoot becomes planned around his heritage and skillset, so we had no choice however to cancel. Always have a lower back-up plan.
Make the content ideation phase collaborative. Not most effective will this engender a greater open courting. It’s going to 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 paintings high-quality for them, how do lovers typically react, and so forth?
Ask approximately the network – fans may be fickle! The subsidized birthday party will recognize the way to high-quality 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 how the reaction to the content material, if handiest from a logo protection point of view. Share regular updates and always pitch achievement as a crew attempt.

Your opposite numbers will be defensive of the belongings they’re furnished – and with accurate reason.

By running difficult to recognize their brand and engagement desires, the pressures they face, and the intricacies of working with public-dealing with agencies, you’ll make certain that you get their full aid.

How to Maximize Link Acquisition Opportunities

Many of you may not simplest be operating on branded content material but additionally responsible for search engine marketing objectives. Let’s dive into the extra sensible method of leveraging sponsorship to generate links.

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

If you’re working on a chief sponsorship with star electricity, then you definitely also have the possibility to scale hyperlink acquisition to levels that guide outreach can never reap.

Simply put, a strategy that effectively leverages a sponsorship will deliver tremendously treasured hyperlinks in exceedingly 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 handiest 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 shares on social media needs to-have equipment in your amplification method.
Interactive content material: Place viral mechanisms on the coronary heart of interactive content material together with e-mail in your buddies and proportion your rating/consequences on social media. Use other sponsorship property along with 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 enables you to see how information flows thru the internet. Your goal is to apprehend how the release and dissemination of content material work for that organization and then try and mirror this pattern whilst 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 getting entry to those people. The same precept ought to be carried out to the fandom that surrounds the accomplice.

Often professional or semi-expert network influencers can have constructed up 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 a quid pro quo information is to provide belongings and get admission to that these influencers and reporters can’t get admission to themselves.

For example, many sports activities reporters warfare to get time with players. Offer this as much as them, and they’ll be a long way more willing to percentage your branded content material whilst the time arises.

Perhaps the associate releases all of their information from their internet site as a consequence, making it a “go-to” area for the audience and media to pick up new stories. If that is the case, then the associate website becomes an extraordinary vicinity to seed your content.

3. Understand How the Audience Consumes Media

When growing the outreach method, it’s far crucial to apprehend wherein the target market lives on-line.

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

Knowing that is essential to your distribution plan.

While social amplification gained’t without delay get 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 in the course of 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 thru 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 too 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 enjoy for the network 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 very own 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 get admission to that they otherwise wouldn’t be capable of getting is a surefire manner to win friends and hyperlinks. For a sports activities sponsorship, that 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 among 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 a long way extra powerful to no longer embed in the interview article. Instead, we but placed video inside these social microsites because the content reached the right audience and could obviously 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 their own video, so that they’re reliant 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 don’t 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 tales and submit their personal variations.

7. Follow Up on Media Coverage

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

Secondly, if your content material is successful, it will evidently be picked up with the aid of reporters. Without previous touch with those journalists, you won’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 and consist of this new line of outreach into your regular techniques to extract even more link cost.

8. Maximize Link Equity

Many sponsorship activations are seeded from a touchdown page in the brand area. This is a realistic method, but it does go 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, make sure the web page hyperlinks to the target commercial pages (that is 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 a way greater 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 proper, and you will attain each emblem and SEO dreams.

Be important to the contract negotiation. Plan ahead to make sure you’ve got the property and get admission to you to need.
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 approximately 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 approximately the subsidized birthday celebration disseminates and wherein it’s miles ate up.
Build relationships with assigned newshounds and key network content material producers to seed your content material.
Leverage the belongings and get entry to grow your outreach fulfillment fee.
Measure alternate in awareness and sentiment pre and put up campaign.

By using this listing as an excessive-level tick list, you could make certain 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.