The number one problem with ads in any medium is that they feel like, well, ads. Native advertising is a concept that aims to change all of that by creating content which looks, feels, and reads like the rest of the content on the publication you’re reading.
For example, Jeep might sponsor an article – which is posted to a popular automotive site – that explains why off-road capabilities are valuable in an SUV. Though these articles are required to mention that they’re advertising content, most readers will find them more informative and less intrusive than traditional ads.
In this article, I’ll explain how you can write better sponsored content that captivates and informs.
1. Make It Entertaining
The entire point of native advertising is to market your brand without the audience feeling like they’re being sold something. For that reason, it’s crucial that you put out content that is not just informative, but also entertaining, readable, and conversational.
When it’s done right, native advertising is indistinguishable from the rest of the content on the platform. It should fit in seamlessly in terms of voice, length, and subject matter. The only difference? When you write about a good solution to a problem, your business is the one providing the solution.
Don’t just write up long-form ad copy and press send. Before posting any type of native ad content, ask yourself, “Would I enjoy reading this?”
2. Know the Audience
Of course there are exceptions, but for the most part, when people talk about content marketing they’re referring to sponsored blog posts or articles that live on a website which covers the industry of the business. Car and Driver, for example, might host sponsored content from Auto Zone, a well-known aftermarket retailer.
First and foremost, it’s your job to identify which websites your potential customers are browsing regularly – these will be the sites that you should be utilizing in your strategy. From a marketer’s perspective, one of the best aspects of content marketing is that your ad is surrounded by content that people are already going out of their way to view, which means they’re more receptive to all types of content, even sponsored articles that feature the benefits of buying from your brand.
Just about every website or blog page has a demographic which visits the site at the highest rate. If this group is also likely to be interested in what you’re selling (or simply what you’re writing about), you’ve eliminated a large percentage of the friction that slows down campaigns.
3. Include a Next Step
So you’ve written an entertaining article that audiences are sure to love…now what? If you don’t lead your audience to take action, you could be leaving a lot of potential sales on the table.
Strictly speaking, you could say that it’s important to have a call-to-action (CTA) at the conclusion of your content piece, but this can make your article feel much more “advertisement-ish” and audiences may not respond as you would hope. Do your best to lead your readers in the right direction but do it in a way where they aren’t exactly feeling pushed.
Most business exist to solve problems. The focus of your article should be why your business’s products or services are the answer to the problem that led to them clicking on the article in the first place. Before you conclude your content piece, pave the way for the actions readers can and should take such as visiting your website, contacting a sales rep at your company, or explaining why you should be chosen over your competitors.
At the end of the day it’s important to instill a sense or urgency into your readers. Let them know that the problem you’ve presented to them in your blog post can be remedied by the services your business provides.
4. Create a Specific Landing Page that Aligns With Content
In all likelihood, after reading your content piece, the next step you want readers to take will involve visiting your business’s website. Even if you aren’t an e-commerce brand looking to make a sale online, a visit to the site can reinforce the relationship that you’re trying to cultivate.
With this in mind, design a landing page that is specifically relevant to what you’ve written about in your sponsored post or article. This is extremely valuable to readers who do actually want to move forward and learn more about your company by giving them a resource which expands upon what they’ve just read.
For example, let’s say you’ve posted an article, written for parents, explaining why online safety is so important when it comes to their children. At the conclusion of the article, linking to a page on your site that explains how parents can purchase privacy software is the logical follow-up that provides a roadmap for the solution to the problem you addressed.
5. Fit In With the Site’s Other Content
To reiterate a point I made earlier the article, I’ll mention again that the purpose of native advertising is to not feel like advertising at all. With that in mind, it’s crucial to write your piece in such a way that it seamlessly fits in with the other content on the site.
When I say “fits in,” I’m talking about length, voice, and topic. If the rest of the articles on a site are lighthearted and fun, your sponsored content should follow suit. If every article on the site is between 500-1,000 words, yours should fall in this range as well.
Your audience is going to be able to tell that your article is “sponsored” because labeling it as such is required. Still, your goal should be to have them forget all about that while they’re enjoying what you’ve written.
When it’s done right, native advertising can create the rare win-win situation between advertiser and audience. When I say that, I mean your content is welcome and appreciated, not just tolerated. This positive connection will likely be more effective in building the consumer-brand relationship that every business is looking to cultivate.
If your business needs help in putting together a content marketing strategy that informs, entertains, and ultimately drives real business results, get in touch today to schedule a free consultation.