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Sponsored content is pretty hard to pin down and define because it comes in so many different shapes and sizes. So, it would be a good idea to look at what sponsored content isn't, first off.
Press releases are essentially brand announcements. Whether or not the announcement is deemed to be important by the general public is immaterial; the brand itself considers the announcement to be important.
Sponsored content is similar to content marketing in the way that it is usually intended to be entertaining, informative or to be useful (rather than just being yet another sales pitch), its key difference lies in its distribution..
Advertorials basically present advertising copy as editorial content as a means of appearing credible. Advertorials are a clever (some would say, slightly dishonest, marketing tool).
Okay, so we've established what it isn't, let's look now at what sponsored content is: It usually takes the same form as the publisher's (the brand) usual content on a particular platform. It aims to be useful, informative and/or entertaining. It aims to influence public perception of the brand (in a positive way). It is not a direct or 'hard sell' technique.
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