Content marketing platform inPowered flips the idea of branded content, turning third-party articles about a brand into ads – and it’s opened its platform for free.
While most content marketing platforms take brand content and distribute it to third-party sites, inPowered instead goes out to find independent third-party content that mentions a brand, turns it into ad units, and then distributes those. Finally, it measures the impact on consideration that content has on its readers.
“Credible third-party content is not brand content,” says Pirouz Nilforoush, president of inPowered. “And trusted content is no longer necessarily coming through search. The bigger problem is the discovery of that content.”
While more journalistic sites now also publish paid brand content, inPowered’s system evaluates credibility by the author, rather than the site where it runs. “As opposed to looking at content, we look at the people. Our platform starts with experts, such as actual journalists who do this as a living,” Nilforoush says.
It also looks at which content has been read and organically shared.
Brand marketers can use a dashboard to get content recommendations. They can enter a brand, product, or key word, and see suggested articles, each with the number of reads and shares, plus the sentiment expressed in each. A sidebar offers a list of experts who have written about the topic, as well as suggestions for related topics.
“A lot of our clients are promoting neutral articles because it builds trust with the consumer more than beating their own chest,” Nilforoush says.
Marketers can choose to amplify the content simply by sharing it via social media at no charge. Or, they can pay to have the articles distributed as ads. The adicles are formatted to clearly show the real title and the website where they are published. Formerly, only paying customers had access to the platform.
InPowered says it’s distribution-agnostic, working with ad exchanges, content recommendation services, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. It charges for the ads on a cost-per-action (CPA) basis when someone actually reads an article.
Ad insertions are handled by inPowered and based on the content of the ad and the site it will be delivered to. For example, “We will show a Bose article to someone reading about competitive products or headphones – but not about Bose,” Nilforoush says.
It’s noteworthy that the ad units link back to the original article on the publisher’s site, not to a brand landing page. Marketers using inPowered are in essence paying to send more traffic to publishers. But Nilforoush says the trade-off is building even more credibility for the brand that’s mentioned in the article.
inPowered then measures the impact of that shared content, including the lift in reads and social shares. The company also measures the impact that those amplified articles have on readers’ consideration of the brand who shared the content by offering them a quick, one-question survey as they leave the page.
Says Nilforoush, “We’re trying to get [brands] to share stuff that actually informs people. It’s all about the credibility.”