Effective Native Advertising Is Hard Work!

04 Dec Effective Native Advertising Is Hard Work!

178557498The local media industry is buzzing with hope for native advertising’s money-making power. But native advertising – done well – takes hard work and careful execution. Why?

As written here before, effective native advertising first and foremost must be a good read. Plus it must be original, valuable, truthful, timely and accurate.

Let’s say a local plumber is your sponsor. You could profile said plumber. That works if the plumber has an interesting story to tell, for example she is a female in a predominantly male field.

Then what?

Search rewards new and original. The appetite for content on the Web is insatiable. How many plumber profiles will your audience read? Not many before they become bored.

Your plumber needs something to set her services apart from the pack. For example, the next article might be, “Six Things to Know Before Hiring a Plumber.”

  • Are they insured and bonded?
  • Do they arrive on time?
  • Do they clean up afterward?
  • Is the work guaranteed?
  • Have they done our type of project before?
  • What do their customers say about them?

But you can’t stop there. Once a month, every two months or once a quarter, your plumber needs new content that is a good read, timely, truthful, accurate and helpful. A sampling of these stories might include:

  • Trends in bathroom renovation
  • How to choose the right faucet for your kitchen sink
  • What you need to know about filtration systems but were afraid to ask
  • PVC versus copper pipe: What you need to know
  • Etc., etc., etc.

This is hard work! How does a media company create a constant flow of original, interesting, useful content that reflects well on sponsors without pandering and also searches well on the Internet?

Content That Works is exploring how to help our partners with native content that elevates their business. Who better to create timely stories about, say, plumbing topics, than the folks who have been writing about trends in home improvement for more than a decade?

This year we added new Local Spotlights to our popular holiday issues. These are custom local stories that we produce for individual papers, profiles like the one of the plumber mentioned above.

We can also produce an ongoing series of localized articles on behalf of your sponsors. We think it’s a good marriage: Content That Works’ knowledge and expertise in a topical area and insight into what people want to read combined with your sponsors’ knowledge and understanding of what interests people in your community.

The result: Original articles that optimize in search, are interesting to read, never pander but show your sponsor in a positive light and provide useful information your readers want and need. In other words, native-advertising content that works.

I’m still not convinced that native advertising is the panacea for our industry its promoters contend. However, I am sure that native advertising done poorly will irrevocably demean and damage our reputation and the reputations of the sponsors we are trying to help.

The only way native advertising will help you increase revenue is if we approach it carefully, set high standards and create it with skill.

What do you think?