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How to beef up your content marketing strategy using native advertising

Native advertising is not new, but it’s still not a standard practice for many businesses. However, native advertising can generate higher brand awareness and engagement from consumers with intent to buy than traditional advertising methods, and that’s why you should be including it in your marketing strategy.

What is native advertising?

In a nutshell, native advertising is premium visibility for your brand, attached to a single piece of content. Digitally — your brand would be featured in all the available ad spots on the page. In print — your brand would be featured in a half- or full-page ad next to the story. 

The important piece of native advertising is that the content (story) matches the tone and editorial style of the publication. The native content shouldn’t look or read any differently than the organic content created by the publication. For that reason, you want to make sure you choose a publication whose audience aligns with your customer base. The broader range of a community newspaper or lifestyle magazine fits the need for most businesses.

The biggest reason native advertising is difficult to embrace is that the content attached to your brand is not about you. It’s not a story about the mission of your business, or the latest, new product you’re selling. The story is about a topic related to your business, and your business may or may not be mentioned. That’s tough for many businesses to get around. 

It’s easier to process how native advertising works if you think of made-for-TV movies. I remember watching Lifetime or the Hallmark Channel when I was growing up, and the movie was “brought to you by Folgers Coffee.” During every commercial break, there would be a Folgers commercial. But the movie wasn’t about Folgers. If they were drinking coffee in the movie, maybe there was a Folgers can on the counter — but there was no mention of Folgers IN the movie.

So, if native content is not about you, what is it about? 

Native content should be an informative or educational story that is interesting and relevant to your audience. 

  • The story could be about a topic related to your business, but it doesn’t have to have a direct connection. For example, a hair salon could use a story about the latest beauty trends. 
  • The story could be about a topic or issue supported by your business. You probably don’t want to get too political or controversial, but aligning the content to something you believe in can be beneficial. For example, if a business donates time or money to the local Boys & Girls Club, it could use a story about the community impact and programs offered by the club. 
  • If your business or brand has a very niche focus that might not have an industry-related topic to connect to, try a community-related topic. For example, a story about the neighborhood where your business is located.

Here are a few more examples of native advertising campaigns.

Why use native advertising?

Native advertising is about the connection. Readers don’t just see your ads amid all the other ads on a page or site, they form a mental connection from the content they enjoyed to your brand. 

Most readers don’t recognize the native content is paid for by a business, but they do recognize the connection between the story and ads surrounding it because of the premium ad visibility. 

Here are some stats to illustrate the benefits of native advertising.

  • More than 50% of consumers who click on native content ads do so with the intention of purchasing.
  • Native content ads increase brand lift by 82%. 
  • 45% of consumers polled say native content is relevant to them.
  • 76% of readers recall the brand name and context of native content.
  • Consumers spend an average of 90 seconds on a piece of native content.

If you want to incorporate native advertising into your marketing plan, you don’t have to come up with all the answers yourself. The Swift Local Solutions team can assist you in brainstorming content ideas to align with your brand and advertising campaign. Fill out the form here to get started.

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