Sponsored tickets have already – and still are – debated on the web. Between Internet users who regard this practice as a vicious form of advertising, those who see it as a legitimate source of income when, in agreement with the editorial line and defenders of freedom of expression and of “anti-capitalism in a network”, there is no shortage of arguments. But it is clear that the “blogpost” is back in fashion among marketers and communicators …

For marketers aware of the news that you are, there is no need to remember what inbound marketing is and the role of SEO and content marketing. The latter two are in the process of merging with Google’s announcement (Panda) of wanting to analyze the content more precisely in their hunt for “artificial” and / or paid backlinks for the purpose of SEO optimization.

Sponsored links: really “artificial” links?

The reiteration of the tracking of paid / paid links by Google has worried more than one, netlinking being the basis or important component of many business models. But is google right to place the business of inbound links at the same level as the practice of sponsored tickets? Nothing is less sure. Sponsored links have so far often been used for the sole purpose of natural referencing and we can in this case consider that the search engine adopts a legitimate position. The case of Interflora UK demonstrates what dramatic consequences a sanction could have in terms of visibility.

But what about companies that have produced engaging, useful or entertaining content for readership? In this case, the primary purpose of the sponsored ticket is much more of a communication action as part of a real attraction marketing strategy. And bloggers are also delighted to receive fresh content to animate and maintain their audience.

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Is content marketing the new SEO?

In any case, the Silicon Valley search engine decided to counterattack. The purpose of Panda’s improvements would therefore be to identify and penalize sites abusing SEO techniques. One of the answers to this is a meticulous analysis of the content related to the link. For content marketing, it seems to be good news, since this announcement does not mean more or less a rapprochement of the two disciplines, or even a merger? At least that’s what appears to be looming if Google continues down this path and manages to make its algorithm so powerful that it would be able to replace any literary critic to rate editorial content.

Almost two years ago, a concept appeared to complete this measure:author rank which, when integrated into the algorithm, would allow Google to trust certain authors more than others in content analysis. But as we do not lose good habits to promote (or acquire users by force), it is of course necessary to have Google + to be able to benefit from this advantage.

Hubspot: blog post is a new “advertising unit”

In an early April article, inbound marketing pioneer Steve Hall (Hubspot) posted a blog post that strongly resembles advocacy for (re) considering blogging in brand marketing strategies. The re-emergence of the popularity of blogs is due precisely to this new imperative of content is king. The author then draws up a list of 13 reasons justifying this assertion, which we will summarize in 10 – for the love of the round number.

  1. Blog posts are optimized “naturally” for research and this in a sustainable way, since the editorial content provides the keywords that a brand wants to see associated with its product. Content creation is much more profitable than a long-term banner;
  2. Bloggers have a significant reach in terms of social networks and the blog post is easy to share and share;
  3. The blog posts have a permanent link (permalink);
  4. A blog post can be enriched with other forms of communication (visual and audio);
  5. The blogpost brings you prospects and leads by placing the reader in context;
  6. Your blog post will provide you with the opportunity to add to your list of recipients for your newsletter, proving that you have interested them and that they are potential customers;
  7. Editorial content will naturally bring more involvement on the part of the client than a form of outbound marketing, readers being encouraged to comment and participate in the conversation, which can be very instructive;
  8. Attractive and successful content posts will automatically bring you inbound links and increase your traffic and SEO;
  9. You can gain a new audience by writing / participating in guest (or expert) posts on other blogs. Done well, it will bring you new interested readers;
  10. Tickets will never get lost as they will always be a backlist; that is to say a combination of editorial offices which will always be indexed in search engines, favorites, etc.
by Maël Roth via easel.ly
Diagram – sponsored articles vs. infomercials

Value interaction and co-creation

Let’s finish this post in our turn by bringing a precision, a fundamental nuance. In the context of the importance of content, the sponsored post is fundamentally different from the infomercial. The latter represents a unilateral communication going from the brand to the blogger, limiting the latter in his role since he “is content” to relay information to his readership and in this sense it is a simple communication tool. The sponsored ticket also consists of transmitting information to the editor, with the difference that it is reworked, put into perspective and “digested” and / or commented. So this is content to which the blogger adds value and a look, a input fresh.

Many voices announced the decline of the blogosphere, but it seems that it has not yet said its last word. It is her dynamism and activism that pushes marketers today to take an interest in her again, the challenge to be met is not to make the mistakes of the past and to include them in a win-win communication process, blurring the lines between businesses and individuals even more.