While we all know that the MAT release is an incredibly powerful way to secure media placements and connect with consumers on a large scale, it’s just as important to continue to push your brand to revise and evolve your MAT creation process.
According to Ascend Integrated Media, 70% of consumers say they prefer to learn about products through content. In our opinion, it’s a marketer’s job to make this content as engaging and interesting as possible. As sponsored content becomes more integrated — and welcomed! — into our daily online lives, that content needs to increasingly blend being informative with being entertaining.
There are so many ways you can tell your story in a MAT release beyond a text-only article. And while we firmly believe there’s still a time and a place for traditional MAT release distribution, 2020 has only proven that we need to be willing to experiment with the content we create and put out into the world.
Here are a few ways to strengthen your MAT release’s story by including a variety of different assets all in the same article.
1. Include plenty of high-quality images
Want to know the secret to make your MAT release exponentially more memorable? Images.
According to Brain Rules, a person will remember 10% of information they hear when asked to recall it three days later. However, adding a relevant image to that same information will lead to people retaining 65% of the information three days later.
However, not just any photo will do. Thanks to smartphones, easy-to-access photography tutorials, and tricks of social media algorithms, photo quality expectations have skyrocketed, and “real” photos will win over basic stock photos any day.
This branded article on the Washington Post melds journalism with advertising in an article promoting one of Canon’s professional cameras. By showcasing amazing photos taken with the camera, the article shows off the capability of the product, while still engaging and inspiring the reader.
Source: The Washington Post
Showcase what makes your brand’s message so exciting. If you’re writing about travel, feature frame-worthy photos of the outdoors or cityscapes. If you’re writing about entertainment or holidays, look to social media trends to see photo formats of top-performing posts. Think “thumb-stopping” for these photos — what would make you stop scrolling through an article to get a closer look?
2. Invest in video creation
Whether you have an in-house team of videographers or are looking to an agency to assist, it’s definitely a must to include this visual component in your sponsored content.
A video can help elevate your MAT release in a few ways by:
- Adding a layer of personalization: We all know that face-to-face time with your consumers is at a low in 2020 (and 2021 probably won’t be so different at first), so featuring real people in your content can help bring that human element back to your message.
- Making information easier to digest: If you have a lot of information that you want to get out, having someone explain it in a video will make it easier to understand and remember later.
- Showing, rather than telling: Got a recipe for an amazing holiday dish? Create a video of someone preparing it! Have some home DIY tips? Include a short video of the project’s details.
3. Try including interactive surveys
Let your audience tell YOU what they’re interested in! With our Premium MAT release, you have the ability to include a small survey to get an idea of what your consumer thinks.
In this example of sponsored content, the brand includes a multi-question survey that reads more like a back-of-the-magazine questionnaire for readers to answer and then see real-time results. The creative way that the questions are asked keeps the consumer engaged, almost gamifying the experience.
Source: The Washington Post
By adding a survey — whether it’s as advanced as the above example or a simple HTML-based version within your MAT release — you are inviting the consumer to take an active role in the article, keeping them on the page longer and giving them more of a chance to remember your brand’s message.
4. Experiment with social media integration
Another way to keep consumers engaged while scrolling through your MAT release is to include social media in your article. A few ways:
- Feature widgets that show a carousel of topical Facebook or Instagram posts. This can help drive consumers to the brand’s other platforms to learn more.
- Include user-generated content. If your brand has a strong influencer marketing presence, put a few of those images in the article, as well, as long as they’re relevant.
- Make it easy for consumers to share on their social media, too. Maybe the survey results would be something they’d like to tweet, for example. Another idea is to integrate high-quality images with Pinterest, so readers could pin straight from the article.
5. Provide infographics to help clarify complicated topics
MAT releases are an effective way to get important information about your brand’s product, but in a lot of cases, that information can be a bit dense, especially in industries like healthcare or finance.
Infographics help readers visualize datasets or statistics that you use to enforce your brand’s message in a MAT release. As with high-quality images, including infographics with these facts will help consumers remember your message longer.
When you’re including an infographic as just one part of your main MAT release, keep length in mind. While some can be substantially long, they don’t have to be! You can create a smaller, more succinct version to get key info across without taking over the entire article.
For example, here is a mini-graphic showing data that would be too tedious to write out paragraph-style. By inserting these smaller graphics throughout, readers are able to distill information at a glance rather than being bogged down by numbers and text.
6. Don’t forget the basics: Text!
No matter how many additional assets you include to tell your brand’s story, you can’t forget the basics! Strong copy, enticing headlines and exciting CTAs are the core of any MAT release, and even with social media and surveys or extra media, you need to have that foundation there.
In 2019, we surveyed editors who help us secure placements for brands all over the country and compiled their feedback into this post: 10 Proven MAT Release Writing Tips. This post gives writing tips, as well as insights from editors on what they look for when deciding to include a MAT release in their publication.
2021 is the year to experiment with multimedia in sponsored content
The Premium MAT release lets you incorporate some or all these assets in a single digital MAT release. If you’re looking for ways to tell your story and add a layer of sophistication to your sponsored content in 2021, Brandpoint would love to help. As marketers, we need to continue to evolve to meet our consumers’ needs and habits, and modernizing your MAT is a perfect place to start.