A Very Good Day: Guest Speaking at Wesleyan University about Branded Content

Well, this is great news. Based on feedback on last year’s presentation, Dr. Rachel Besharat Mann asked me back to Wesleyan University to educate students about branded content. Last week, I led a 90-minute interactive session for Dr. Mann’s Contemporary Literacy class. The students were fantastic — prepared, engaged, and eager to ask questions and share their thoughts on sponsored storytelling.

Topics covered in the presentation included:

  • The marketing purpose of branded content
  • When branded content works and when it doesn’t
  • Fantastic branded content examples, including a few of my own projects
  • How branded content differs from editorial content
  • The role branded content plays in publishers’ monetization strategies
  • How readers can spot branded content, and what publishers and marketers can do to make branded content easier to distinguish from editorial

At the end of class, I took an informal poll to see who was in favor of branded content and who had reservations. The vast majority of students were “Team Branded Content,” with one student noting he appreciated publishers being transparent about who / what is funding the content readers are engaging with. Another student noted he liked content marketing best when the sponsor isn’t heavy-handed with the sales pitch. Amen, sir!

Jacqueline Lisk breaking down the marketing purpose of branded content at Wesleyan University

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this experience, and how impressed I was by Dr. Mann and her students. At the end of our time together, we all agreed that the content marketing industry needs to raise awareness about branded content so everyone understands its purpose, and how it differs from traditional journalism.

Branded content can be a win-win-win for marketers, publishers, and readers, especially if we educate audiences about the important role it plays in the media ecosystem.

To learn more about the presentation or to inquire about Jacqueline speaking to your company or class, contact info@jrlisk.com.

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