Today's New York Times reports that Harper's Magazine is "joining the growing list of media properties whose publishers are supplementing more traditional forms of advertising with sponsored content". With the help of public relations professionals or advertising agencies, companies will be able to write the news stories, features and product reviews that appear in magazines and on-line that look like it is part of the magazine (which it is), but is actually an advertisement. It is a new era in how we purchase goods and services. With advances in technology at our fingertips and on our desktops, we do our own research into what we purchase and what solutions it solves, we seek advice from our friends, read the reviews and compare prices before we ever step into a store or office, if we ever do step inside.
As a result, a company's marketing strategy should have, at its core, a content marketing strategy, to create content that is engaging and informative, humorous if appropriate and timely given the news cycle. How that content is distributed will depend on a company's budget and a company should do its own due diligence to determine the best media or channel to distribute that content on. For example, do your customers read Harper's, The Atlantic, New Yorker, Forbes or even the plethora of trade publications that only include native advertising opportunities for its content.
This is all part of a strategic planning process that your public relations counsel or marketing agency should take you through during your initial kick off meeting.
With the right content you can sell a product by selling solutions and in crafting the right messages, advertorial or branded content, you can take your message directly to those who you want to see it. However, depending who you want to read it and how you want them to see it will just depend on how much you want to spend.