Companies keep investing more money in content marketing year after year. However, without a good strategy, your native advertising won’t pay off. As a writer, you have to get to know your consumers for real and write first-rate content.
What do you like to read when you go online? Apart from your friends’ and family’s Facebook posts, of course. And this one has become a bit tricky lately (thanks, Cambridge Analytica).
You read content that is useful to you. Something that can help you solve a problem or feel better. Something that will teach you how to be more productive, richer, happier, etc. You even follow brands to make yourself better, or happier, or more successful. Nowadays it’s all about the reader.
There is no better strategy in native marketing.
If you are the one who does native advertising (not the one who consumes it), how do you know what the readers’ needs are?
Get to know them and keep the relationship going instead of shouting out loud how great your product is. Nobody likes to go on a date and just listen to their potential partner talking about how fantastic he/she is.
How do you get to know your prospects and clients?
Collect the information they give you.
Know your audience
Once they subscribe to your landing page for your lead magnet, follow what topics they read.
What pages do they spend the most time on?
How do they respond to your calls-to-action: do they read other articles on the similar subject?
Do they submit on your other landing pages some additional information in exchange for another e-book/report/webinar?
Where do they work?
How old are they?
Are they married or with kids?
What is their nationality?
What problems do they have?
What are they most interested in?
Are they thinking about buying some of your products?
What social media are they on the most?
This way you create a persona – an ideal reader which you will write your native content to. Ideally, there is only one persona which makes the whole email marketing thing easier. In practice, there is often more than one, so you segment your regular emails into as many categories as there are personas. Roughly speaking, if you sell an SEO software but you also write about marketing, you will have a persona who does SEO for a living, a persona who is a content writer, another one who is a social media manager, etc. According to the most important criteria, your emails will vary in content.
Imagine your content is so engaging that people want to read on the beach | © Maarten van den Heuvel, Unsplash
Write informative or funny content that will really engage the readers
Since you know who your followers are, you can also write content that will be more read and shared on social networks. You will have insight into their burning topics. You will know what problems your readers have. With some feedback from them on your social networks or via email, you will be able to provide them with the solution to what’s been bothering them. Or show them how something works or how it is done.
Good native ads give them something interesting to read – either informative or humorous. Beat the myth of a reader’s goldfish short attention span. In “Once upon a Digital Time“ Great Brian Solis says that people are not easily distracted, they are just overly focused. With too much information to skim read daily, they easily shift their attention to the most valuable sources of it.
This phenomenal guide also emphasizes the importance of a story. Everybody says that he or she is a storyteller, but very few actually are. Try to write your content as a story: the plot, characters, setting, and sequence of events. Inspire people with your story. Make it emotive. People will believe you.
If the content is engaging enough and the brand’s audience loves it, you don’t even have to mention what you advertise more than once as it is so skillfully done on Buzzfeed’s article about contact lenses – another example of a great strategy.
Be real when you do native advertising
Treat your readers like human beings, not one-night-stands. Be relatable. Earn their trust by trying to solve their troubles.
Don’t exaggerate when presenting your products. Advise them what’s really best for them. Decrease the marketing part and continue writing about the same thing over and over again until they see you as a valuable source of information. Without your banner popping in the middle of an article, they will keep coming back to you for more.
Be truthful and believable. Write about the troubles you had while developing the product. Everybody likes to read about someone’s thorny road to success.
Style: write like Hemingway
Concise, simple, and direct. Like a journalist, yet with such complexity in layers of the plot. Use emphasis and repetition. Reread plenty of times to get the final version like copywriters do. Have a direct and personal style. Exercise the ability to present vivid images.
Don’t complicate things – write more than 1 idea per post.
Be short, don’t write a Bible.
And repeat – write about the same topic over and over again. Give people enough time to react to your native content.
Always write a call-to-action
A call-to-action is a necessary part of a post. By putting it you increase the chances of conversion. Without it, the readers will just leave your website and go to read another tab.
Make it general – provide a link to the sponsor’s landing page or write “subscribe to our newsletter“.
Or be very concrete – “subscribe for the latest information about the performers on our summer festival 2018“. If you know what texts the readers were interested in the past, offer them the next to keep them on the website and improve the SEO rank: “Readers who have read this article were also interested in xyz“. As Hubspot’s e-book “Personalize or Perish“states, these targeted calls-to-action perform better than the generic ones, so collect on the website from your readers as much information as possible.
Your post must resemble the content of the magazine/ portal it is on
Don’t forget that your native ad must not be confused with a piece of news. It should clearly state “sponsored content“. It should be written in the same style and tone as the magazine/portal.
Optimize, oh, yes, optimize
Optimize the text, but only after you have written high-quality content. Optimize the pictures to trigger emotion and make them more memorable. Pay attention to the headline, meta tags, web pages, and headings. Look for long-tail keywords to improve your website’s SEO rank. Research the SEO of your competitors to see what keywords they use.
Help the brand be a cool person everybody wants to hang out with
Native advertising means turning to the consumers’ needs. Understanding your readers and telling them engaging stories. Think of what you are drawn to as a reader and apply the same principle. Be a medium, not a banner.
Connect the editorial with marketing: always try to write a high-quality story with insight into the audience. Put the readers in the first place, reach out to them on social media, and they will be loyal to you. With this content marketing strategy, you will see some light at the end of the funnel.
And once again, everybody:
– collect plenty of information from your readers to know how to engage them the most
– write funny or educational content, and tell stories
– don’t brag, tell readers what’s best for them
– be a concise literary writer with social media in mind
– omitting a good call-to-action is like forgetting a title
– adapt the sponsored content to the magazine/portal
– optimize all vital parts of the post but only after you have written high-quality content
– take care of your readers and market patiently