Sponsored content is rapidly changing the media landscape, allowing new businesses to emerge to service this market and existing firms to make better use of their marketing budgets, as Vogue’s former beauty editor, Sigourney Cantelo, has discovered.
Ms Cantelo, a long-time beauty and lifestyle journalist, launched her online business Beauticate two years ago, having identified a gap in the market to help educate consumers about beauty products.
“I felt that there wasn't a beauty website out there that really spoke to me, both from a content perspective but also in how well it was researched and edited – there were a lot of blogs, but not a lot being done by journalists that were credible and authoritative,” Ms Cantelo told My Business.
“So I wanted to create something that was trustworthy for the reader and credible.”
The result is a site that provides reviews, insight and analysis to a journalistic standard.
According to Ms Cantelo, online publishing has allowed her to better connect with her readers, in turn increasing her ability to deliver highly targeted, bespoke content.
“For so many years in print, I'd be putting something out there and thinking 'who is this reader, where are they and what do they think?' and now it's just so rewarding to get emails and comments on social media and hearing exactly what women are interested in, because it allows me to tailor my content and make sure that I give them what they want,” she said.
“We do a lot of sponsored content for brands, so we create custom content that is 'how to' [and] we create video how tos.”
Ms Cantelo said there are many benefits of sponsored content, as businesses benefit from the power and integrity of quality, bespoke content while readers learn about new products in an interesting and entertaining fashion.
“The site design is all about keeping it quite clean and minimal and not … shouty, so I don't want people to feel bombarded by ad messages. That's why sponsored content works so well, and brands are increasingly interested in that kind of native content that doesn't feel too in your face,” she said.
“I don't want to ram some product message down [my reader’s] throat; it's more about inspiring and entertaining them, and if there's some kind of message in the background there about a product, then that's OK. But at the end of the day, it has to be interesting, clever content for the reader.”