Embracing branded editorial content

Mar 4, 2021

Media Relations Manager | Family Features

When I was in journalism school, I learned about advertorials — articles that looked like editorial content but were paid for by companies to promote their products or services. In the world of pure journalism, this was a no-no; a “never-cross-the line” for a journalist.

These days, I work with newspapers, magazines and website editors located all over the United States and Canada. I’ve seen the industry change over the years. Publications nationwide have had their resources cut both monetarily and through limiting personnel.

Some publications use sponsored content as a vital component to their editorial package because it is well written and easy to drop into their publication.

As opposed to advertorials, the number of references to the brand and its products or services is downplayed in sponsored content. The brand or sponsor is considered the source.

Sometimes an editor might only need a recipe to fill a “hole” or create that added touch in their lifestyle or recipe pages. That’s where sponsored content is a lifesaver.

Having quality sponsored content helps provide readers with articles that editorial staffs simply don’t have time to create. At many publications, there is a staff shortage for researching, writing and finding or creating accompanying pictures.


Family Features articles are written to Associated Press (AP) standards. Journalism school graduates, content writers and designers who have experience working in the media create this content. Our team works closely with brands and associations to produce quality pieces of content that both educate and enlighten readers.

Family Features is paid by the brand to write quality articles and distribute to our editorial network via our website, editors.familyfeatures.com. Our pledge to the brand or sponsor is to have at least one mention of the brand within the article, even if it’s a company’s URL, such as “Recipes courtesy of ABC Cooking Company” or “Visit ABCCookingCo.com for more recipes.”

Including this light branding can also aid readers in finding additional credible information about a specific topic or help them know what products work best in certain recipes.

As a good journalist, I was taught to give attribution to my source. Providing the brand's name is crediting your source. Isn’t that what a good journalist is supposed to do?

Cindy Long is Family Features’ media relations manager. She works with a network of more than 10,000 editors to help fill the food, lifestyle and home and garden sections of their newspapers, magazines and websites.