You know content marketing is an approach involving the creation and distribution of content. This content provides useful information to an audience. Although you’re not explicitly promoting your brand, product, or service with content marketing, you are attempting to establish goodwill and a bond between your brand and your audience. People occasionally confuse native advertising content marketing, a type of paid advertisement that blends in well with its surroundings, for content marketing itself.

An article paid for by Dell that looks like any other article in the New York Times would be native advertising. The truth is, native advertising content marketing isn’t content marketing strategy. It is a part of your brand’s content marketing strategy. Here’s what you need to know about native advertising content marketing.

How Native Advertising and Content Marketing Work Together

A few things seperate native advertising from other forms of content marketing. Such things could be a brand’s blog or video channel on YouTube. For one, native advertising is a type of paid content marketing. Examples of owned media content are things like blogs. There’s a third category known as earned media. This is when a third party promotes or talks about a brand because he or she wants to. They are so impressed with what the brand has to offer that they decide to promote it.

Content marketing often has a focus on owned media. Some argue an excellent content marketing strategy needs a mix of the three. That’s where native advertising content marketing can come in. When done right, native advertising can help to introduce your brand to a new audience. Often, reaching a new audience is much more efficient when you use native advertising compared to other forms of content marketing.

Native advertising content marketing can take several forms. In fact, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) outlines six different types of native advertisements. Marketers can work a few of those types into their content marketing mix.

Native advertising content marketing types include:

In-feed units

In-feed units include sponsored social media posts. They also include sponsored articles or blog posts on a media website.

Paid search units

These are pay-per-click search ads that show up on Google or other search engines. Usually, these are displayed above the rest of the search results.

Recommendation widgets

Recommendation widgets round up and recommend articles to certain audiences. You’ll usually see these widgets on the side or at the bottom of an article or blog post. Marketers pay to have their articles “recommended” to readers.

“Can’t be contained”

That’s IAB’s description of native advertising it doesn’t know how to classify. A paid-for Tumblr, a paid-for playlist on Spotify, or a branded radio station on Pandora are a few examples.

The other two categories of native advertising content marketing, promoted listings and in-feed ad units, are closer to traditional advertising in nature. These categories don’t really fit into the realm of content marketing.

The Benefits of Native Advertising Content Marketing

According to Business Insider, spending on native advertising is on the rise. In 2013, marketers spent less than $5 billion on native advertising. Specialist estimate that they will spend $21 billion in 2018.

Why are content marketers and other marketers pouring so much money and time into native advertising?

Here are a few reasons Native Advertising Content Marketing works

It has a proven track record

People are more likely to engage with native advertising than they are with traditional advertising. Audiences interact with native ads up to 60 percent more than they do with banner ads and other forms of traditional advertising.

Brands have more control

Your brand has control over the message and content of the advertising. You might be paying for the ad to appear in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. This doesn’t mean you can’t shape how you want to reach your content marketing goal, whether that goal is raising brand awareness or converting leads into customers.

Since you are paying for the privilege of a native ad, there is a greater chance it will appear in front of the audience you’re trying to reach. If you’re trying to reach people on Facebook or another social network, be aware that organic reach has declined in recent years due to changes in the networks’ algorithms. Paying to promote a piece of content might be the best way to get it in front of your desired audience.

Getting Started With Native Advertising Content Marketing

Here’s how to work native advertising into your content marketing strategy

Evaluate your content marketing goals

Consider your goals from the start. How will using native advertising help you reach your audience? Let’s say you are trying to reach a new audience or build brand awareness. Creating a native ad that appears on a publisher that connects with that audience can be the way to go.

Choose a platform

The next step is to choose a platform, network, or publisher for your native ads. Do you want to produce sponsored articles or blog posts that will appear on a site such as NYTimes.com or Buzzfeed? Are you hoping to produce sponsored content that will appear on Facebook, Twitter or another social network? Consider working with a network that will promote your content at the bottom or to the side of related articles on another publisher.

Create content

Next, you need to produce the actual advertising content. In some cases, the publisher you’re working with will take over so your content matches the tone and style of the publication. Take the New York Times and it’s T Brand Studio. They create sponsored content or native advertising on the Times’ website. If you do create the content yourself, remember the basic rules of content marketing: Don’t be super promotional. Focus on creating content that helps to solve a problem or provides useful information to your readers or viewers.

Disclose!

To avoid headache, heartache, and a bunch of legal hassle, native advertising needs to disclose that it’s native advertising. This can take the form of “sponsored post,” “paid content,” or “advertorial” appearing at the top of the content.

Track it

You’re paying for native advertising. It’s important to make sure your brand is getting its money’s worth. Track how well the ads do and whether they lead to people clicking through to your brand’s website. Track if there is some other sort of action, such as making a purchase or signing up for your email list.

Bring a breath of new life by incorporating native advertising into your content marketing. Find a publisher or platform that’s a good fit for your content. Remember to disclose that the content is paid, and pay attention to the results you’re getting from the native ads.

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