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Try googling what a sponsored content article costs, and you might wind up frustrated. We know we did! Finding rates for publishers is tricky. And when you do, they're scattered — as low as $250-$750 and reaching into $1,500-$6,000+ realm.
Behind those numbers are a lot of "it depends." But we're here to help unravel that. At Zoe Marketing & Communications, we've run thousands of successful sponsored article campaigns. If you're focused on a targeted audience and impactful content that moves the needle, we can help you understand the actual costs involved.
Whether you choose our services or not, our goal is to help you become more educated and confident about buying "spon con." In this blog, we'll address:
Let's untangle what sponsored content articles cost — and why.
What drives price points for sponsored content?
A lot of work goes into creating sponsored content that gets results. Keep in mind these factors that affect cost:
1. Powerful, informative topics
You want to create quality content that resonates with your audience and provides good information. This requires strong keyword research and an ability to tease out topics that matter.
2. Getting in front of the best audience
What publisher are you partnering with for your sponsored content campaign? If they have a coveted audience you want to reach, that'll increase your costs. It's less with broader audiences (e.g., a general daily newspaper), but not as targeted.
3. Long-term commitment
Spon con takes time to be effective. You won't be able to show your expertise — which is the goal — in one article. You have to let that knowledge shine over time. Prepare to invest in at least four months when partnering with any publisher.
What are the actual rates for spon con articles?
OK: Let's get real. Local publishers may set the cost at $250-$750 per article for a basic rate. That's according to Broadstreet, a popular ad manager for news and magazine publishers. Some may also offer packages at different rates.
This doesn't always include the full in-house development costs and production fees, however. Professional topic development, writing, editing, art selection, promotion and other essential tasks increase costs.
Also, keep in mind: Publishers often require (or highly recommend) a certain amount of articles. After all, spon con works best in "flights" of at least four months.
For a high-quality, full-service rates, it's not uncommon to expect to pay:
$1,500-$2,750 per digital article (often with minimum buy of 4-6 months)
Another $1,000+ for that piece to run in the print magazine
Another $6,000+ per month if you choose to "own" a topic on the publisher's website with a "pillar page" (a deeper strategic investment)
Be sure you know what development services you'll get before you commit. Understand that what isn't included, you might wind up paying for later.
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How can professional writing and brand alignment affect costs (and results)?
These two factors are top cost drivers — and quality generators. In each case, you're spending more for higher quality, broader clout and better results.
You're the expert in your field. But it doesn't mean you're an expert in writing about that field to reach and resonate with your ideal audience. Yes, you can write your own articles. But investing in professionals helps in three key areas.
They're experts in writing for their audience in the right tone and language. Often, field experts can use jargon or acronyms that go folks' heads. Publishers know how to boil it down in an engaging, reader-friendly style.
If you write it, it's you tooting your own horn. But when it's written by a source who uses you as the expert, it's implied you're a top, trusted source. That boosts your brand and credibility as a premier source.
It saves you time and helps keep your campaign on track. Sponsored content takes a lot of time. It's easy to lose momentum or bog down your already-busy staff. Entrusting it to the pros increases consistency and speed.
Working with a trusted publisher is also an investment that can pay off. Your content campaign should work mutually for both brands — theirs and yours. A few things to consider:
Publishers with engaged audiences are influencers (they were just around before that term was born!). They draw people who pay attention to what they post. If they do it well, those people think highly of the products and people they feature.
Publishers are selective (which can make you look great). They're careful they don't squander their audience's goodwill by coming off too promotional. They also don't partner with companies that could ding their reputation.
Publishers partner with other companies, too. Find out who else, to ensure it's a group you're proud to belong to. Feel free to ask, "Have you ever turned down a business that wanted to do a sponsored content campaign with you? If so, why?" If the answer is "no," it's a red flag that they're not protective of their own brand.
Why do you need to ensure your costs include promotional efforts?
Promotion is essential. You can create great sponsored content, but if you're not pushing it out to the right audiences, it won't work. Costs can also increase for these key factors:
1. Organic promotion
Your article should connect with what people want. This includes selecting a targeted keyword phrase. That helps them find your article through a Google search, for instance.
2. Paid promotion
Publishers often promote sponsored content in social media posts to their followers. Another standard method is to include it in enewsletters sent to dedicated subscribers.
What are the next steps to discover if spon con is the right choice for you?
Sponsored content articles with publishers are an investment. It's also a marketing strategy that can have a big payoff in building your reputation as an expert in your field.
This blog covered some of the rates, as well as the reasons. Costs can range from $250 to $1,500 and beyond for a single article. Driving factors include professional writing, brand alignment, promotions and other in-house development costs and production fees.
If you're interested in partnering with a publisher on sponsored content, always ask what's included — from who writes the story to where it's posted and how it's promoted.
For 17 years, Julia Elliott crafted strategies and stories for Zoe, along with its sister companies, Metro Parent and Chicago Parent. A deep background in journalism helped her create customized content marketing to drive client success.