The organic strategies brands employ to increase traffic and notoriety without spending money on them are frequently discussed when we talk about content marketing. An organic content strategy’s drawback is that it takes time to function and produce results. To get results faster, several businesses blend their organic and paid marketing strategies. Writing sales copy for sponsored search, however, is different from writing for content marketing. Using the article you already provide for paid marketing would be fantastic, right? If you work on developing native content, you can.
Native content or article is a paid piece of content marketing that appears on a site other than your own. The content matches the look and feel of the host site seamlessly. Readers may not even know it doesn’t come from an outside brand or source unless they’re paying close attention. Native content goes by many other names like:
- Branded content
- Sponsored content
- Ad partnerships
- Paid content
- Custom content
While each one of these types of native content has its own little nuances, they essentially all do the same thing. One brand creates a piece of content and pays to share it as an integrated part of another website or host source. For transparency’s sake, most native content features a disclaimer message to alert readers that what they’re seeing is part of a paid sponsorship between two brands.
The host site dictates how the content looks, where it shares pieces, and the payment model for the partnership. The final decisions for these elements typically come from content meetings between marketing teams and management from both companies. Often, the host site recommends native content to readers and viewers based on their browsing habits. These suggestions generate based on tags or a site algorithm and show up in the footers and sidebars of the website.
Though they sound the same, and many marketers use the terms interchangeably, native content and native advertising aren’t the same things. Native advertising came first. It got its name because these ads didn’t look like the typical ones people were used to seeing. Instead, the advertisements mimicked the look or feel of the websites they were on. Native advertising includes links, banner ads, and images that take you to paid or sponsored content.
Native advertising is promotional and action-based. It encourages the audience to click, move, leave the page they’re on, and “do” something. Native advertising is also an interruption. Though it flows with the look and feel of the website, it’s still an ad. These promotions appear in the header, footer, or sidebar of a website, or sometimes intersperse among paragraphs in content. In the end, they still look like ads, even when they fit the site’s aesthetic.
Native content isn’t just clickable images or links that take you from one place to another. It includes both long- and short-form pieces of content like blog posts, articles, and videos. These pieces tell stories, provide value to the audience and do all the things traditional content marketing does. Unlike advertising, these pieces aren’t interruptive. Sharing native content is still a paid media strategy, but the goal doesn’t always have to be making a sale or reaching a conversion.
To make things more confusing, a native ad can lead to native content. For example, you may click a native ad within an article on a website and it takes you to native content from another brand. Both work together to secure conversions and increase brand awareness to round out your marketing strategy.
Why Use Native Articles in Your Marketing Strategy?
The idea behind native content is that your brand wants to integrate its message or presence into media and material people already see on a daily basis. If you can put your brand name and content in front of your target audience where they already spend time, you don’t have to do anything extra to get their attention. Here are some primary reasons to use native content in your marketing strategy:
It’s Not Intrusive
Native content takes the best parts of inbound content marketing and takes it to a channel where you can get more readership or viewership and brand recognition. Because the content integrates into the host site, it’s non-intrusive. You’re not smacking their audience in the face with your ad or cluttering up your audience’s search page with paid results. Your brand simply shares content just like it would on its own channels, but in a space made to access new leads.
Read Also: Branded Native Ad
There are likely subtle brand mentions and links throughout the content and in the disclaimers, but you’re not making a hard sell for your products. You’re simply existing in the same spaces as your audience and giving them the opportunity to notice your brand.
It’s Different From Traditional Paid Advertising
Clients and consumers get ad fatigue. They get sick of seeing ads for so many products and services every day that they start blocking them out. It doesn’t matter how relevant the ads are to their needs once they’re weary of seeing yet another hard-sell promotion. Using native content works the same way as your other content marketing. It gives your audience the chance to find your brand on their own.
You’re not trying to persuade them to do anything or push products on them. Native content proves them with information, answers, or value in another way, in places they already spend time. This helps them remember your brand in the future when they do want to buy something. They have better feelings associated with your brand because it wasn’t one of the ones clamoring for their money without providing additional value.
It Uses Resources You Already Have
If you do traditional content marketing, you already have the resources to engage in native content development. Your marketing team, copywriters, and SEO and social media specialists create and promote pieces for your brand every day. The only change you need to make is finding the right paid partnerships to host the content they make rather than putting it on your own website.
It Builds Credibility
When your content appears on a host site, that’s like getting the other company or influencer’s stamp of approval. It shows that they trust your brand as a quality resource. The host company’s audience trusts them. They wouldn’t visit that site or follow that account if they didn’t. That association helps build their audience’s trust in your company. By associating your brand with one member of the audience already like, you’re able to snag some of that credibility. Their audience may be more willing to give your company a chance, sight unseen with less research, just by the host site’s recommendations.
Tips for Writing Native Advertising Articles That Converts
When writing any advertising content, your goals are to get the readers’ attention and then persuade them to move further along the buyer’s journey toward making a purchase.
Here are nine tips to help you do that.
1. Keep your audience in mind
Who are you trying to reach with your ad? Think about what tone would resonate with them and what words they find powerful.
For example, if you’re selling baby items, you’ll want to use language that implies safety, love, and warmth. But if you’re selling tools, your power words will center around ruggedness, strength, and durability.
2. Make sure your ad blends in
Your native ad should be formatted like the surrounding content in terms of headline length and layout. Readers will likely see right through it and move on if it’s not.
You’ll also want to keep in mind where your ad will be appearing. If it’s on a website, you’ll want to match the tone of the website.
For example, if you’re placing an ad on a site that’s known for its sense of humor, you’ll want to make sure your ad is funny as well. But if you’re placing an ad on a more serious website, you’ll want to make sure your ad is also serious in tone.
3. Write a catchy headline
Your headline is what will first grab readers’ attention, so it’s essential to make it count. Your headline should be clear, concise, and to the point. It should also be interesting enough to make readers want to learn more.
Some options include:
- Question headlines to pique curiosity.
- Surprising headlines to grab attention.
- How-to headlines that promise value.
- List headlines that are easy to scan.
- Controversial headlines that spark debate.
Consult lists of power words to find ideas that will give your headlines more impact. Here are some examples of power words:
For example, instead of writing a headline like “Travel to Italy on a budget this summer,” you might write “Indulge your family in Rome for less than you’d spend at an amusement park.”
4. Build your case quickly
Once you have readers’ attention, you need to make your case quickly. You only have a few sentences to do this, so make them count. Start by addressing the reader’s pain points and then show them how your product or service can help.
Use language that is clear and easy to understand. And avoid using industry jargon or padding your ad with weak language. Keep distilling your message by strengthening your nouns and verbs and eliminating excess verbiage. For example, instead of saying, “BatX offers the best solution for your bat infestation problems,” say, “Evict your bats with BatX.”
If you can make your case in a single sentence, even better. If your native ads platform limits you to a specific word count, you may feel like you need to use every letter, but that’s not the case. Shorter is better, and white space around your message only makes it stronger.
5. Write your copy from your reader’s point of view.
Notice in the example above, that the subject of the sentence changed from the product, BatX, to the reader. This is an important distinction to make.
Your native ad should be focused on the reader and what they want, not on your product or service. Write your copy from the perspective of addressing your reader’s needs.
Convert all your product’s features into consumer benefits. For example, instead of saying, “Our product is made with 100% recycled materials,” say, “You can feel good knowing our product is made with 100% recycled materials.”
6. Don’t waste your images
The right image can do the work of a thousand words. Images can capture a reader’s attention, make them curious enough to read the content and help drive them toward a purchase.
But boring photos won’t accomplish any of that. You need to think in terms of visual marketing instead of simply illustrating your content.
The best photos tell a story and complement your headline. For instance, if you’re selling a luxury car, you could add a photo of the car. Or you could show the car driving through gorgeous scenery ad with the headline, “Escape the city.”
In the BatX example above, you could show a photo of a box of BatX. (Well, not really. We made it up!) Or you could show a closeup of a horrified woman with a bat tangled in her hair. Which photo would catch your eye?
In general, images with people — and especially closeups — get the best results. But any image that tells a story and surprises the viewer can be a powerful addition to your ad.
7. Call them to action
What do you want your reader to do? Should they make a purchase, follow a brand, sign up for an e-mail list, or make a reservation? Be sure to include a call to action (CTA) that is clear and easy to follow. Your CTA should be specific, such as “Buy now,” “Sign up today,” or “Reserve your spot.” And it should be placed in a prominent spot so that readers can’t miss it.
If you study the CTAs that have been successful for other companies, you’ll find lots of ideas and inspiration. For example, you might invite your reader to download a case study, view an offer, get a free gift, or install a trial.
8. Consider your buyer’s journey
Which CTA you choose can make a big difference in your conversion rates. It’s much easier to persuade people to “learn more” than to “buy now.”
If your product is the kind of thing people might buy on impulse, at a low price point, then a “buy now” CTA might make sense. But for big-ticket items, you may want to offer an incentive to join your mailing list and develop an email drip campaign that will close the sale later.
9. Test, test, and test again
You can’t improve your native advertising conversion rates if you don’t track your results. Set up goals in Google Analytics and use A/B testing to see what works best. By testing different native ad campaigns, you can learn what works for your business.
For example, you could test different headlines or images to see which ones perform better. Or you could experiment with different CTAs to see which ones get more clicks.
You may also want to segment your audience and test native ads specifically for them. For example, if you’re selling a new product, you might want to create a different ad for people who are already familiar with your product line — those who follow you on social media or who have already visited your website.