Get in the Game of Native Advertising

Business.com / Marketing Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Should you start using native advertising? The better question is: why haven't you already? Here's what you need to know to get started.

Native advertising is a type of online advertising that matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears. When content is designed to match the style of the publication, it provides a tremendous boost to your web traffic. When you see a sponsored or featured post on a blog, magazine or newspaper site, the post is most likely an example of native advertising.

In addition to sending leads to your website from a trusted and valuable source, native advertising gives you high-quality inbound links to your domain. Inbound links from a high-authority website to your domain significantly improve your search engine presence.

At its best, native advertising is a partnership. It helps both you and the publisher meet certain marketing goals. Creating your content with your own business in mind, but never forgetting to provide value to the publisher as well. It can be the beginning of a beautiful friendship—and an ongoing revenue stream.

Native ads are taking the marketing world by storm because of their effectiveness. Studies show that people respond well to seamlessly integrated content that adds to their user experience. Current studies show 57 percent of millennials will visit engaging content even if it is sponsored. Native ad spending is projected to hit $7.9 billion in 2015, and experts estimate the number will shoot to $21 billion by 2017.

Related Article: Native Advertising: What Is It Exactly?

Clarify Your Goals

Establish clear marketing objectives before you start researching potential publication sites. Know your target market and decide what you want leads to accomplish after reading your native advertising content. 

Who’s Your Target Market?

Consider demographic characteristics, such as age, gender, income level, education level and geographic locations. Also, think about psychographic characteristics like hobbies, job positions, usage rates and the way customers want to perceive themselves. 

Brand Awareness vs. Lead Generation

Your placement site should serve two purposes for you: Improved brand awareness and lead generation. A niche, low-volume publication with highly engaged readers could become an excellent source of quality leads, even if it doesn’t refer a significant amount of traffic to your landing page. 

At the same time, a prestigious, widely read publication might send a lot of traffic your way, thus increasing the public’s awareness of your brand, yet not necessarily referring leads that are ready to form a business relationship. Choose publication sites that will help you achieve the right objective. 

Related Article: From Lead Generation to Lead Engagement

Research Publication Sites

The right publication site caters to your target market, helping you accomplish your brand awareness and lead generation goals. According to Revcontent.com, a leader in native advertising, this marketing medium is taking off. It’s important only to work with sites that emphasize quality over quantity or else you will get lost in the noise. 

In addition to finding out who visits potential placement sites, investigate the following elements:

Traffic

Big publications with wide audiences might send a lot of traffic your way, but those visitors won’t necessarily become leads. If brand awareness is your goal, then high-traffic placement sites will quickly earn more impressions for your content.

An engaging, well-formed comment on a blog or in a forum can give you 17.4 visitors to your site, according to Neil Patel. Comments are a great way to leave quality linkbacks to your content.

Promotion

Check the publication’s social media feeds to find out how assertively the publication promotes native advertising content. Also verify the number of followers the publication has, to determine whether you’ll attract the right kind of traffic to your website or blog.

Authority

Publications with high domain authority tend to have well-established traffic and high-quality content. It can sometimes be tougher to place native advertising content on a site like these because they have higher editorial standards. Meeting those standards, however, offers rich organic search marketing rewards for your business. The publication also becomes a direct source of referrals for your website. 

Links

 A publication that links back to your website or a landing page gives you a valuable inbound link, improving your search presence. If the publication refuses to link back to your business or requires a no-follow link, you’ll have to decide whether the pros of being mentioned on the publication outweigh the loss of the inbound link.

Making Your Pitch

Before you pitch a native advertising piece to a publication, make sure you observe these best practices:

  • Review the publication carefully. Notice which topic categories, columns or regular features that might be a good fit for your content. Mention those as suggested placements when you pitch your content to the editor.
  • Read some articles published on the site to get a feel for the tone. If you approach a serious site with a humorous topic, the site is more likely to reject your pitch.
  • Always review a publication’s submission guidelines before pitching your topic. Follow guidelines without exception. If you don’t see submission guidelines, look for a “Contact Us” page and submit a pitch to an editor via email or through the Web form. 
  • Keep it short. Explain your topic, your marketing goals and how your post can benefit the publisher while keeping your query as short as possible.
  • Be easy to work with. When the editor accepts your topic, be sure to follow the publication’s style guide and formatting suggestions to the letter. Submit your work on time and provide revisions as requested.

Keep Asking

Editors don’t always accept your first pitch, so don’t get discouraged by rejection. Listen carefully to what the publisher wants and either submit your topic again, incorporating their suggestions or pitch something new. 

Once your content gets published, promote it using email marketing and social network outreach. But don’t stop there, talk to a marketing agency about syndicated content platforms and other ways to amplify native advertising.

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