Native Advertising: Value Your Content
This article originally appeared as part of Native Advertising: Soap Opera For The Digital Age in the December issue of Publishing Executive.
Andrew Davis, marketing expert and author of Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships, is determined that content providers can have a bright future and don't necessarily need native advertising. "I think it's worth asking yourself why your advertising clients are interested in creating content on your platform. The answer? You're not covering the editorial content they think will actually increase demand for the products and services they sell. Which means, there might be a better way to capture this revenue than 'sponsored' content."
Davis thinks publishers should pursue business models that value the content and look to the past for inspiration. "Before you glom onto some new-fangled revenue stream, maybe there's something in our past that's just as powerful, effective and intelligent." Davis encourages publishers to question why they're experimenting with native advertising. Below are the questions he thinks they should be asking.
3 things every publisher should ask themselves before selling native advertising:
1) Are our journalists actually ignoring our audience's interest in the kinds of things our advertisers want to create sponsored content about? If so, your journalists need to focus on addressing the market's need for information instead of inviting your sponsors to do it for you.
2) Is native advertising just another revenue stream we're adding to the convoluted lines of business we're offering to our partners, or are we willing to hinge our entire business model on native advertising in the next five years? If you're unwilling to bet the farm on native advertising as the future of all your revenue, don't waste time working on it. Your time will be better spent focusing on revenue models you believe chart the path for a publisher's future.
3) Where, in a CMO's budget, are we going to secure additional revenue for native advertising? CMOs are inundated with new opportunities to leverage their finite budgets against new ways to reach their audience. Native advertising is just the latest in a long line of media innovations designed to secure bigger and bigger buys from our advertisers. However, if you're pursuing native advertising, perhaps it is best to target a piece of the CMO pie we traditionally don't go after: the PR piece. If you're going after the $8 billion a year spent on PR, is native advertising the best use of that money?
Related story: The Marketer's Perspective
Denis Wilson was previously content director for Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, and Book Business, as well as the FUSE Media and BRAND United summits. In this role, he analyzed and reported on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aimed to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.