On the surface, native advertising and content marketing seem different. However, they simultaneously aid in creating the same results -- growing audiences and increasing revenue, which are both important goals for publishers and brands.
For publishers that once relied on premium CPM banner ads, content marketing and native advertising represent additional revenue streams. For brands, these tools provide cleaner paths for participation in conversations with their audiences, as opposed to disruptive banners, which have little chance of being clicked.
While seemingly different tools, content marketing and native advertising are not separate marketing strategies. Here's why.
Good content marketing fuels good native advertising
The tenets that apply to good content marketing also apply to good native distribution strategies. Good content marketing allows brands to provide interesting and entertaining content that aligns with what audiences are already looking to read. Native advertising offers the promise of syndicating quality content that matches the expectations of the platform on which it runs -- distributing brand and/or publisher content on other relevant sites. In both cases, the content will be best received if it aligns with what readers expect to see when they visit the platform.
Simply distributing repurposed creative in a premium ad position is not enough. There must be an emphasis placed on the originality of the content being distributed. Native placement or appearance means little if the content itself isn't native to the site experience.
Native advertising scales content marketing programs
The old knock on custom content was that it didn't scale. Content marketing and native advertising used together underscores the idea that sponsored content doesn't have to be limited to the size of a particular site. Great content can be created and then scaled across outside environments where its appearance not only makes sense contextually, but would be welcomed by the readers.
Brands like Hyundai and Levi's have chosen to work with publishers to create original sponsored content. These companies then distribute the content across an even wider network of sites that align thematically with what is being presented. This strategy works not only because the brands appeal to the audience, but also because the content itself, while remaining 100 percent transparent, matches what readers expect to see.
Native advertising forces brands to keep content marketing fresh
Cohesive content marketing and native advertising programs work well together because they naturally encourage brands to keep sponsored content fresh. We all need to agree that good content marketing -- and good native -- means providing the reader with compelling content that matches the expectations of the platform. The sponsored content that is being natively distributed across the web must be held to the same standards as any publisher content. That means putting new and fresh content in front of readers on a regular basis. The shelf life for any piece of content is not long, no matter how well it's done.
Content marketing and native advertising coincide in a single digital marketing strategy that results in audience growth, increased engagement, and more revenue for publishers. On a cautionary note, when brands and publishers develop content marketing plus native strategies, they must ensure that what's being published is consistently fresh and desirable to readers. Otherwise, despite the buzz, they risk suffering the same fate as the banner.
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