Keeping track of sponsored content on your news site

With ads flooding the digital space, find out how Stillio can help build trust between you and your clients through content verification.

Keeping track of sponsored content on your news site

Branded content is an excellent ally for news sites. Not only is it a source of income and new stories, but it's also well received by audiences. A Nielsen & Mode Media study reveals that people spend more time on branded content than traditional rich media advertisements. In addition, sponsored content increases the impact of content without making it feel "forced" and shows high rates of positive sentiment.

This strategy has been around for decades. And now, with online marketing taking over how people consume content, sponsorships are also thriving in this world. Therefore, sponsored content is your gateway if you are a news site looking to monetize your page, expand your audience, and generate quality leads. 

In this article, we'll look into the benefits of sponsored news content, why it's essential to keep track of it, and how to do so.

Why do brands choose sponsored content?

Besides monetization, there are other reasons why sponsored content works and is chosen by many brands. The most obvious is amplified reach, as making an appearance or collaborating on another site targets a new audience. In addition, the wide variety of publications available allows brands to go as niche or as broad as they want with their audience.

As for the audience itself, people tend to trust sponsored content more than traditional ads:

  1. If they like the publisher, they will associate and trust the branded content with them.
  2. Native content looks more natural.
  3. Its first goal isn't to sell but to provide something of value to the reader so they perceive the brand more positively.

Sponsored content also drives more engagement as well as more prolonged exposure. People open those branded articles or videos because they are meaningful to them. In return, they spend more time consuming them than with a regular banner that may grab readers' attention for a millisecond.

So, although crafting an entire story or producing a multimedia piece for a collaboration with a publisher takes lots of time and effort, it's worth it for all parties: the publisher, the user, and the brand.

So, these are the reasons why news sites turn to sponsored content news. Also, there is an extensive range of sponsored content formats that you can choose from. It usually varies depending on your objectives, budget, and resources. 

Check out some famous examples of real sponsored content:

1. Article sponsored by The Telegraph for Flight Center.

The Telegraph for Flight Center

Flight Center sponsored their article "Plan a gourmet road trip around Australia's top foodie cities" by teaming up with The Telegraph. The article uses vibrant images to entice readers' imagination, encouraging them to travel to southern Australia and sample delectable food. 

2. Listicle sponsored by Spotify for BuzzFeed. 

Listicle sponsored by Spotify for BuzzFeed

Spotify sponsored the Buzzfeed listicle "15 Bands That Probably Wouldn't Exist Without Led Zeppelin". The list provides several interesting finds for music lovers and a CTA to encourage readers to listen to the artist's music on Spotify. 

3. Infographic sponsored by San Francisco Travel for Good Media's website. 

Infographic sponsored by San Francisco Travel for Good Media's website

San Francisco Travel sponsored this infographic, "7 Things you didn't know about the Golden Gate Bridge" for Good Media's website. It quickly gives the most exciting statistics about bridges and cities to viewers. 

4. Video promoting Panda pop game on Jamerill Stewart's YouTube channel. 

Video promoting Panda pop game on Jamerill Stewart's YouTube channel

Jamerill Stewart runs a Youtube channel to help mothers with large families plan and cook meals. Panda Pop used her channel to promote their game app. 

In a video, she can be seen featuring plush Panda bears, and in another clip, she played the same video game. Through the brand's game, she encourages her followers to relieve the stress of being a mother.

Why you need to keep a record of sponsored content

These content sponsorships play a huge role in your site. As your network grows and more and more deals are closed, produced, and published, you need to have a way to keep track of everything. 

Keeping previous branded efforts organized and at hand is vital if you want to add examples to your site's media kit, the tool used to present your ad spaces to interested sponsors. In addition, news updates constantly, so having a clear archive of stories is key to finding the one you're looking for quickly.

Having a record of sponsored content is helpful for internal organization purposes. As you work with different brands, this record proves to sponsors that their content was published in the format, space, and time frame they paid for.

Content verification isn't only about collecting copies of your published content and analyzing it. Set time aside periodically to review sponsorships and ask yourself: are you covering the topics you aimed for? Are you sharing the opinion you'd like to? Do the brands you work with match your site's style and values? 

News editors should also look at metrics along with the text and images provided to the public. For example, did each collaboration get the repercussions you'd expected? How did the audience receive each piece of content?

You'll find substantial aspects to use to your advantage and weaknesses to work on.

Improving content verification with screenshots

Now that you know why keeping a record of sponsored content is important, let's understand why screenshots can be a good solution.

While emailing the link to the sponsor can be a good practice, you still need to keep an archive for future reference. Copy-pasting the article on a Word document is a no-no, as it proves nothing, and manually screenshotting each page is nearly impossible. But automated screenshots do the trick!

With an app like Stillio, you can automate captures for your entire site at the interval of your liking. These screenshots will be saved to your account for you to access later in case a sponsor asks for verification. In addition, you can add a timestamp with the link, time, and date of the capture for extra safety. Each screenshot has its URL hosted on Stillio, so you can share it with your collaborators.

You can set captures for each article individually or for your entire site: that way, you can forget about setting captures each time you publish a new branded article. Stillio will automatically do it for you with its sitemap capturing feature.

Stillio captures sites at full length, so you don't have to worry about content being left out. But, of course, that also proves the presence of disclaimers, banners, or any other sponsored content. Speaking of banners, Stillio can also leave out blockers like cookie banners that could interfere with visualizing text or images on the page.

This way, screenshots of your collaborations stay at hand, especially when you need verification or to analyze content results.


Supporting your content strategy with strong allies is a great option. However, when engaging in these collaborations, make sure to include a way to create content verification easier for everyone.

Screenshots are always there to help! Book a free demo with us so you can explore all of Stillio's features with one of our experts.

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