You may have never heard of ‘native advertising’ but if you’ve surfed the web for any length of time, you’ve certainly run across it. Native advertising is another term for paid or sponsored content that looks and reads like regular editorial content. So those headlines on CNN.com or ESPN.com that point you to “more from around the web” are almost all paid posts.
Native Advertising is growing very quickly because it can be highly effective. A strong headline and an appealing image can draw thousands of visitors to your website almost instantaneously. Native ad networks such as Outbrain, Taboola or Sharethrough place your content on many reputable news sites as well as thousands of blogs and other sites around the web. (Here’s a list of seven of the best known networks.) You can target your content geographically, which allows you to reach Canadians, for example, even if those Canadians are surfing Australian or American websites.
Chances are that your local newspapers are offering their own versions of native advertising or featured content too. We used to call them advertorials, but technology has made them something more dynamic, ubiquitous and effective.
Native advertising is a powerful tool in the toolkit of public relations and marketing agencies. With it, we can add paid media components to our earned media publicity campaigns. In other words, we can pitch your story to journalists while also posting our paid version of your story on sites all over the world. So, in addition to your blog posts, newsletter pieces and other social media updates, you now need to add native advertising to your content editorial calendar.
Here’s the trick. Just as our pitches to media need to be genuinely interesting or newsy, so does the content you place as native advertising.
We think the most effective pieces offer real value to readers. Our goal is to tell our clients’ stories to target audiences in a way that can help influence beliefs and behaviours. A Winnipeg real estate developer may want to profile some of the sustainable features it has built into its latest development. A funeral planner can demystify some of the choices you make when a loved one dies. Those are two examples of native advertising that we pushed out to various networks recently on behalf of our clients.
If you’d like to talk about native advertising and how it can help your business, give us a call.
Meanwhile, here’s a great post highlighting some first rate examples of how native advertising is being integrated into PR.