Native content advertising is a complicatedly artistic science.
Anyone who tries to argue that point either has no idea what he is doing or passed the complex job off to someone else.
Effective native advertising is complicated. It’s complex. But when done well, the payoff is high. This is why so many companies are incorporating native content into their advertising portfolios.
Native advertising is almost entirely customized. Making this style of advertisement work means approaching the complexities with careful planning and clear communication. Here are the preparation steps industry experts like advertising executives from Forbes, the Economist, Quartz and MXM recommend for a successful native campaign.
#1 – Develop Native Content Guidelines and Teams
Native advertising crosses many lines in a traditional company. A solid native advertising campaign will need insight from legal, sales, marketing and editorial teams as well as input from the product developers. This means a native ads task force or team would be an excellent first step before any additional tasks are developed.
Once developed, the native ads task force can determine guidelines and standards for each department within in the group to specify roles and responsibilities regarding development, approval, sales and publishing.
One area in particular to consider is the role of the editors. Native content written as an editorial blurs some lines between departments. Identify the role of the editorial staff immediately – will they be writing and overseeing the development of this style of native ads or will advertising take sole responsibility for development and the editorial staff merely approve?
Keeping editorial-style native content at the same standard as traditional content on a publisher site not only maintains credibility with the audience, but increases buy-in from editorial staff as well.
#2 – Establish Clear Lines of Communication on Native Ads
There are many players involved in native campaigns, which is why a task force is a must. Within that task force, an account management representative or team should develop. Experts at Quartz recommend establishing an account management team at the advertiser’s company to ensure that all communication is clear and executed quickly to bring all parts of the task force and native ad development team up to speed.
The Economist helps establish clear communication with infographics outlining the project at a high level so that all members of the team understand the project, the steps required and the end goal.
#3 – Begin with Goal and Audience
Native content can be great fun to plan and design, but without keeping the goal in mind, you may be wasting time. Determine what your end goal will be. What do you want your native advertising to do? This means also determining who your native advertising will be speaking to – that critical audience you’re trying to reach.
This is not always a cut and dried part of native advertising as your audience may be hard to pin down based on your goals. Promoting an event will have a different audience than building brand recognition, for example.
Another hiccup may be finding a match between publications that accept native ads and publications that reach your desired audience. Native advertising is becoming increasingly popular, however, allowing more options on where you place your relevant and targeted advertisements.
#4 – Developing Native Advertising Content
Once all of the structure and goals surrounding and defining the native campaigns are in place, it is finally time to develop some native ads. The development of the native content is the role of the content marketing team, an area you may need to develop within your company, on a contract basis or in conjunction with the publisher.
Native content can be as simple as a series of tweets or as complex as full-length editorial pieces and infographics. Some companies film, direct and produce lengthy videos. Unless your company has a diverse marketing team in place already, this may be an area you elect to farm out to a freelancer or an agency.
Some forms of native content can be created in tandem with the publisher as well, alleviating the need for a third party. There are many resources available online as well including instructional videos and articles that may be enough to start and even finish the development process in-house.
#5 – Build the Necessary Relationships with Publishers and Their Technology
You should seek out publishing platforms that will effectively reach your audience. The nature and reach of the publisher is tremendous here, but so is their technology and CMS.
The technology needed to support native advertisers on the publisher’s end can be dramatically different. Forbes, for example, invested heavily in a new CMS which they expanded to selected advertisers. The advanced technology along with best practices and guidelines have streamlined the development, acceptance and publishing of native content on the Forbes website.
Publishers who have invested in the necessary technology are a good fit for advertisers. Not only does the right publishing CMS save significant amounts of time, but also provides clear direction and approval processes for advertisers, limiting inefficiencies in the design and publication process as well.
#6 – Investigate Platforms for Native Campaigns
The native advertising platform is where the advertiser and publisher come together to make native advertising magic. Once you’ve developed content, it’s time to push that content forward and publish it. Many advertisers seek out open platforms to allow use of the same content with different publishers.
There are many platforms offering varying levels of support for native campaigns. Native Ads Inc. is one of the platforms offering end-to-end support for native ads with options for how to start, deploy and then effectively manage native advertising as well as options for different devices including mobile and desktop.
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