This post is from Liz Perman, SmartBrief’s senior manager for association relations, who attended the IAB Marketplace: Social Media in New York.
Paul Beck, executive director of interactive marketing and advertising at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, moderated a panel that aimed to debunk the biggest myths about social media. The experts: Jory Des Jardins, co-founder of BlogHer; Riccardo Zane, president of Agency.com, New York and Chicago; and Patrick Keane, chief executive of Associated Content.
I’d like to share Des Jardins’ straightforward and convincing approach to busting the first social media myth: Sponsored conversations are a sin.
First, Des Jardins talked about several “bad apples” that give sponsored conversations a bad rap:
- Deceptive origins. When a brand blogs or tweets under the guise of a character without disclosing it.
- Paid endorsements included in editorial content. Paid reviews should be kept separate and should be clearly marked as such.
- Promotional, lacks authenticity. These won’t resonate with your audience.
Next, Des Jardins explained the stance of BlogHer, a community of women bloggers. The group set its editorial standards for content in 2006 and then used those as a springboard for commercial content standards soon thereafter. They believe that publishers and advertisers have a responsibility to enforce best practices, even if bloggers don’t. Des Jardins shared BlogHer’s standards for sponsored conversations, including:
- Transparency. You must disclose the fact that it is a sponsored conversation. BlogHer’s sponsored conversations share this right off the bat.
- Separate the sponsored review from your editorial. BlogHer has an entirely separate section for special offers and sponsored content, which Des Jardins says is very popular.
- Sponsored conversations should be marked with “nofollow” tags.
The take away? Don’t be afraid of sponsored conversations, but make sure that yours isn’t a bad apple.
Image credit, iStock