Whether you aim to drum up brand awareness or increase inbound leads to drive more conversions, native advertising can play an integral role in helping you meet your 2014 marketing goals. Native advertising is exciting in a lot of ways, and as public relations professionals, marketers, writers and designers, we can get creative. It’s an opportunity to work with the publications, blogs and communities that we are constantly pitching. But with all of this excitement, it’s important to keep in mind a few things:
1) It’s Not (Always) Obvious)
In Mike Stelzner’s book “Launch,” he suggests working with other industry members to help grow your business. Sponsoring blog posts and articles on other sites or popular industry publications is a great way to build awareness for your company name, products and messaging. You don’t have to write it. Instead, underwrite content that your customers already engage with.
2) Get Real (and/or) Make Fun of Yourself
The Onion’s article “Please Click On Our Website’s Banner Ads” is a perfect example of how to poke fun at your company in a playful way that engages consumers. Brands that have a sense of humor (especially about themselves) can win big with native advertising. Authenticity and a good laugh go a long way toward becoming likeable.
3) The Devil is in the Details
The whole point of native advertising is to be relevant in the environment you’re in, but don’t blend in too much. Forgetting to disclose that your content is actually an ad can turn into a big problem (like a problem with the FTC kind of problem). Whether you label the piece as “sponsored by,” “featured by” or “in partnership with,” make sure it’s clear who is behind the content.
Several examples have occurred highlighting the need for transparency. New York State just prosecuted 19 companies at more than $350,000 in fines for failing to disclose sponsorship of online media. Big brands are not immune. The Atlantic learned this the hard way when their mismanaged advertorial for the Church of Scientology received negative feedback.
As native advertising begins to make up a larger part of your marketing strategy (and budget), it’s important to make sure that you’re crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s. Work with your advertising vendor to make sure you are optimizing your programs for maximum brand impact and with full disclosure.
Want native advertising programs that deliver the best results for your PR and marketing initiatives? Download Vocus’ The Comprehensive Guide to Native Advertising for free today.