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What is Sponsored Content on TerraWatch?
TerraWatch's approach for featuring sponsored content on this platform
Why am I doing this?
Getting paid to write content about something that I am passionate about sounds wonderful, but there are obvious conflicts of interest. This is even more relevant as my core business is providing advisory services i.e. consulting projects that require independent analysis and insights without any skin in the game. Typically, I work on strategic assignments including market studies, business plans, go-to-market assessments, commercial due diligence work, EO adoption strategies etc. most of which require the highest level of objectivity.
But, I also have mouths to feed - I cannot afford to run TerraWatch as a charity. So, I need to find a way to monetise the work I do and offer something of value to the organisations in the realm of Earth observation (EO) - who, in my unbiased view, are desperate for more exposure, more awareness and more reach, both within and outside the EO sector.
I realise I have built a unique community of people like you through this newsletter - readers that include EO industry stakeholders, end-users, decision-makers, enthusiasts and other professionals interested in EO. You trust me enough to read what I write every week, the analysis I share and the deep dives I write. So, the most important thing to me is continuing to earn your trust and your time.
So, here is what I have decided: I want to be fully transparent about how Sponsored Content works, how I go about writing about it and more essentially, what you get out of it. So, here we go!
What is Sponsored Content?
Sponsored Content is any resource, in the form of a long-form thought leadership article, that ticks both the following boxes:
evangelise and educate the audience about a topic on EO
enhance brand awareness for the collaborating organisation
Typically, I think there are two types of content: thought leadership and marketing.
Sponsored content, created in collaboration with a sponsoring organisation and featured on the TerraWatch Space blog, sits in the middle between independent thought leadership and classic marketing.
The aim of Sponsored Content is to make sure that the readers learn about the selected topic while making sure that the sponsoring organisation is represented appropriately to improve its reach and brand identity.
What are some examples of Sponsored Content?
Sponsored Content is usually one of the two categories:
Case Studies: Applications of Earth Observation
One of my favourite ways to showcase a company (or its product) and its capabilities while educating the audience about the differentiation of the technology and its impact, with an independent analysis by TerraWatch;
Example: Applications of Earth Observation: L-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar for Mining, together with ASTERRA
Market Overview: Earth Observation-Related Segments
An efficient way to introduce a topic related to EO or an application of EO, along with the emerging trends and the overall commercial landscape, through an independent analysis conducted by TerraWatch, while positioning the sponsoring organisation appropriately.
Example: The State of the Ground Segment and Ground Software as a Service
There is potential to explore other kinds of content, especially as the adoption and use of EO continue to grow and evolve. Do you have other ideas? Let’s talk!
How is Sponsored Content selected?
I have this 3-step framework to figure out if I want to collaborate with an organisation.
Am I genuinely excited to do a deep dive on this topic and feature it on the TerraWatch blog?
This is the most important criterion as I am not keen on putting out content that I am not keen on exploring and diving deep into;
Is this something the audience would be interested in reading?
I don’t know all my readers, but over the past year, I have developed an understanding of what interests them and which type of content works;
Is the organisation keen to evangelise and educate the audience about EO?
I want to make sure that I work with organisations that aim to educate and evangelise their product, not just market and sell. I strongly believe an evangelising approach works better for an industry like Earth Observation than a traditional advertising model.
How will I work on Sponsored Content?
Here are the things I will do, as part of the Sponsored Content writing process:
Consultations with the organisation for an in-depth understanding of the company / the product / the innovation that will be featured on the blog;
Independent research on the company / the product / the innovation that will be featured on the blog to validate my understanding and assumptions;
Review the content with the organisation to make sure the outcomes of the activity are met and nothing that is written is inaccurate.
Here are the things that I will not do, as part of the Sponsored Content:
Competitor bashing or any kind of competitive analysis that makes me benchmark solutions against others;
Writing about a product or an innovation that lives only on slides, without concrete examples of the innovation used by real customers;
What can you get out of Sponsored Content?
If you are an organisation, here is what you can get:
Reach an audience that really matters - whether it is investors, decision-makers, policymakers, end-users or scientists, the TerraWatch community provides you with a diversified set of readers;
Receive marketable assets for the future - the deep dive will include analysis, visuals and infographics that can be leveraged in the future for your own marketing purposes.
If you are a general reader, here is what you can get:
Learn about an interesting new area of EO, whether it is an emerging innovation, a new market segment or an innovative application of EO;
Understand the dynamics of the EO industry - the type of customers using EO, and the real value of EO through case studies and market overviews.
When will Sponsored Content be published?
Sponsored Content is already being published on the blog. There will be a new post published every month, created in collaboration with a sponsor.
My goal is for any Sponsored Content published on the blog to equal or exceed the quality bar I set so far for all my other analyses and deep dives.
Now that my working process is public, let me know if you don’t think I’m sticking to it. Thanks for the support. Cheers!