While there are some publications giving it a bad name, native marketing can be an excellent tool in any business’s toolbelt.
But, what is native marketing? Why is it so powerful?
What Is Native Marketing?
Native marketing is paid advertising that matches the appearance, form, and function of the surrounding unpaid content. You can either write that content yourself, or pay the publication (if they have a lifestyle writer) to write it for you.
You will most often see native advertising in three places:
- In your feed while scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.
- Your Google News feed will often contain native advertising.
- Directing on a publications website, either directly mixed in with other content or highlighted at the bottom or sides.
Native Advertising Best-Practices
First, we firmly believe that native advertising should never be a trick. In our minds, using this type of marketing ethically, is just as important as using it effectively. There are many bad players who use trickery or don’t make it obvious you’re reading a piece of sponsored content.
It’s An Exchange
Instead of thinking of native marketing like you’re hiding an ad in real content, think of it as a fair exchange. They give you a click, and you give them something useful, interesting, or important to read or watch. No one should ever click on an article not knowing it’s sponsored content.
The beauty of this form of marketing is that by choosing the right subject and the right publication, you can reach a very specific audience. You can also prime them to be in a certain mood or be thinking about a certain thing when they see your surrounding ads.
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Make It Worth Their While
If the content you’re providing is just a longer ad for your brand, why would anyone read or watch it? Top 10 lists, how-tos, and instructional content is always a big hit, as long as it’s actually worth reading.
Bad Example: “10 Reasons You Should Buy A Tent From -Blank-”. Incredibly transparent content. The audience will know immediately that your only goal is to sell them something.
Good Example: “10 Camping Spots With The Best Views”. Your goal is to inform and provide good content. If they’re more in the mood to camp by the end of it, then job well done!
Do Your Homework
We mentioned it briefly already, but it’s worth restating: make sure you choose the right publication for your content. You want your native advertising to reach the right audience, and for that audience to be genuinely interested in reading it.
You’re much better off putting your content on a site with less monthly visitors than one with more but has nothing to do with your business. Always remember the rifle is superior to the shotgun, especially for small- to medium-sized businesses.
Do you use native advertising? Have you seen success with it? What types of content have you seen the best returns on?