Content marketing and advertising are sometimes presented as either-or.
Creating your own value-adding content and “channels,” some people argue, means you don’t need to “rent” others’ media to reach your target audience.
In other words, you can reduce or eliminate the need to advertise.
If you’ve taken that approach, you might have discovered that audience development is no easy task. One of the reasons marketers advertise, it turns out, is that there are a bunch of smart media companies already in the business of publishing great content. Very possibly, one or more of those media firms has already developed the audience you, as a corporate marketer, wish to reach and engage.
In other words, advertising can be an effective way to make a target audience aware of your content.
Publisher’s Online Platform + Sponsored Content = Native Advertising
If that idea makes some sense to you, then as you look for ways to jump-start a new content strategy, or to extend the reach of an existing content program, be sure you check with the media companies that serve the audiences you wish to reach. It could be they are making it easier and more attractive than ever for you to reach their audience with your content.
Some marketers are attaching a relatively new label to this idea: Native advertising.
Depending on the publisher, a native ad program might include the ability to “own” your own content microsite or stream within the publisher’s broader online editorial platform. To contribute sponsored posts to the publisher’s blogs. To benefit from a program of display advertising within their websites and e-newsletters. Maybe even to participate in the social media conversations they are creating with and among the audience.
One of the highest-profile native ad programs is Forbes’ BrandVoice, where the publisher is reported to be charging marketers a minimum annual fee of $1 million to showcase their content within Forbes’ broader online editorial environment.
Hanley Wood, parent company of Hanley Wood Marketing, serves multiple construction industry audiences with first-rate B2B trade magazines, trade shows and websites. One of those sites, architectmagazine.com, offers marketers the opportunity to sponsor an “Industry Center” and populate that microsite with content on a particular industry topic or solution category.
Here are four recent posts that provide informative looks into native advertising:
- Eric Wittlake’s post, “The Intersection of Content Marketing and Advertising”
- Digiday’s post on Forbes’ BrandVoice program, and another on what Zynga is doing in the realm of native advertising.
- AdAge’s recent post in which Buzzfeed’s native ad program gets a closer look
Evolving How We Think About and Use Advertising
Some of us never believed content marketing and advertising are mutually exclusive. Instead, content marketing lets us evolve how we think about and use advertising.
Rather than “rent” media to deliver purely promotional messages at an audience, we can leverage those channels to invite the audience to consume content we’ve created for them.
Native advertising isn’t a panacea. But if you’re a content marketer, it doesn’t hurt to see if the media companies serving your most important audience offer “native” opportunities to grow awareness and reach for your content.
And if they don’t?
Maybe you can partner with them to invent one.
This post, originally published on Hanley Wood Marketing’s Content Is Marketing blog, is cross-posted here for subscribers to Touch Point City. For more marketing ideas and insights from my colleagues at HWM, subscribe to Content Is Marketing.