At the heart of native advertising, you’ll always find content marketing.
Often with native ads, you’re directing your target audience to content that a bit more descriptive than on other platforms, and provides value to your audience or consumer base. Ultimately, you’re looking to convert them, or at least saving them for future retargeting.
A large part of attracting and converting visitors is the content you promote, but the content in the article post-click plays a large role as well.
So, this begs the question: How can you improve the content in your next native advertising campaign?
We’ve rounded up 16 experts to share their best advice on creating content that converts.
Understand Your Audience
“When crafting content specifically for a native advertising campaign, you need to create something engaging that piques a reader’s curiosity.
If you’re a B2B company, make sure your content aligns with your customer’s current buyer’s journey.
For example, our customers are now deciding on their health plans and might be planning their open enrollment strategy, so we’ll create content that speaks to their present needs and change our content throughout the year.
Every industry has different pain points and buyer’s journeys, so talk with your customers and see what they’re interested in. The one thing you need to remember with native is that unlike search, they aren’t searching for your content, so write those headlines to be irresistible to click on.”
VP of Content Strategy, Aimclear Marketing
“In my experience, the most attractive content for brand discovery is often a presentation of original data that either confirms or shakes up the beliefs of your audience about something relevant to your business.
Anything where you can use words like “proves/disproves” or “confirms/denies” is something people want to know, especially if you’re hitting on a common pain point for your prospects. Having such unique data is valuable, but it only works as an attractor when you can use it to tell a relatable story to your audience.”
Chief Content Officer, AC Business Media
“The best content in native advertising is highly relevant to the audience.
Don’t mistake “advertising” for being “overly promotional.”
Make sure native advertising content is of interest to the target audience and draws them in that way. Sell by being interesting. “
Content Lead, Hotjar
“Identify what made your best customers look for a solution like yours, and use this insight to create the piece of content that will make your prospects take action.
For example, say you sell an online resume builder; the trigger is probably “I want to change jobs.”
Take the time to interview your best customers to understand those triggers and do everything you can to use their own words when creating a piece of content.”
CEO, Marketing Insider Group
International keynote speaker, author of Mean People Suck
“The best content starts with a deep understanding of your target audiences’ top questions, challenges, or concerns. It then seeks to provide the best answers.
Use insights from other, top performing content to understand what works. Only then should you promote that content on native platforms.”
Founder, Express Writers
Founder of The Content Hacker
Author of “So you think you can write” and Practical Content Marketing & Strategy
“Don’t reinvent the wheel. Using formulas makes content creation so much easier! Make your content your own, but remember you don’t have to start from square one to create the perfect piece of content.
Take the PAS formula, for example: Problem, Agitation, Solution.
To create an effective native ad campaign using the PAS formula, first identify your customer’s pain point. What is the problem or challenge they’re facing that your product or service solves for them?
Second, agitate. Stir the pot. You know the pain point well. You’ve most likely experienced that particular challenge yourself, otherwise you wouldn’t have come up with your product or service in the first place! Let your customers know that you feel their pain. Play on your own emotions, and commiserate. This step might feel weird at first, but it’s marketing psychology, and it’s important.
Finally, offer your customer a solution (that only you can provide). Why do they need your product or service? Answer that question at the end of your copy, right before your CTA. Hand over the solution to your customer’s problem on a silver platter.”
CEO and Founder, Allee Creative, LLC
“Since the point of native advertising is to not look like an ad, then they also shouldn’t read like an ad. It all comes down to understanding your audience and writing to them (not at them).
What helpful piece of information are they looking for? What are their pain points?
Can you show empathy or be relatable to them in a way that makes them think, “Yes! You get me! I’m IN!”
Be personal, approachable and authentic. The same goes for any good piece of content you create.”
Stay True to the Platform at Hand
Founder & CEO, EmailAnalytics
“If you haven’t used native advertising before, you might initially gravitate toward making your product the focus of the ad.
However, treating your ad like a press release may actually annoy users and decrease your ad’s performance. Simply put, don’t directly promote your company within native ad content.
Instead of pushing a hard sell for your product, promote a piece of content that meets the needs of your prospects at their particular stage in the buying cycle.
What content can you provide that will inform or provide value to your audience, leaving them wanting more? How can you then generate leads through that content? That should be your goal.”
CEO & Founder, Zest.is
“At Zest, we have the privilege of seeing content marketing from a bird’s eye view. Zest members collectively consume hundreds of articles each day, and we engage with tens of thousands of users each month.
With this unique view, we’ve noticed a very significant trend: Professionals across all verticals are rejecting listicle-style articles.
Although the click-through count for listicles may still be high, users don’t scroll deeply into these articles, and their time-on-page is low. In addition, many users mark this type of articles as content that did not help them build significant professional knowledge.
Simply put, listicles hurt your brand. Instead, try producing in-depth, long-form content that delivers micro-lessons from which readers can extract actionable insights and put them straight into their team’s workflows.”
Principle & Chief Marketing Officer, CMO Temps
“The crossroads of content-based marketing and social media has become a complicated Mixmaster interchange.
In order for marketing messages to cut through the congestion and be heard by today’s audiences, marketers need the ability to tell the right story, in the right way, at the right moment, in just the right amount of time, or they risk driving their sales funnel off the road.
Having said that, I will continue to embrace and expand my use of video. Short video (very short) that evokes an emotional story has become easier to produce and is effective in creating awareness and driving targeted traffic. Remember, the story doesn’t need to be long or be directly related to your product or service.”
Content Marketing Solutions for Travel Clients, VS Content Strategies LLC
Chief Content Officer, Percepture
“The best native advertising doesn’t sell. It informs, educates, or entertains in a way that’s memorable and compelling. It’s best when designed to be shared, or, ideally, to go viral.
If it can be immersive and fun and engage the viewer to participate in some way, it will have long-lasting value––the holy grail.”
SEO & Digital Marketing Strategist, Bowler Hat
“To best understand what kind of content works best for native ads we have to get inside the mind of the fatigued, ad-savvy modern Internet user. The avoidance of ads is now something that is so well established and is an automatic process for most internet users.
Native content gets past this in some respects in that it does not feel like an advert. The content should match the style and content of the host site. Great native content is entertaining, does not try to sell, and delivers brand messages without using any kind of “buy now” messaging.
We can distill it down to three key tips:
- Create content that is fun or helpful for your target audience
- Identify relevant platforms where this content will not be out of context
- Don’t try to sell anything—your goals should be far more awareness & engagement focused”
Founder, Lilach Bullock Limited
“The most important thing to remember when creating native ads is that it’s not all about you and your brand.
If you want that piece of content to perform well, then you need to know the platform you’re posting it on. You need similar headlines, a similar tone of voice, even similar language.
Basically, your content should be indistinguishable from the rest of the content being shared on that platform.
Another important aspect that I have to mention: always offer value. Just getting eyeballs on your ad isn’t enough; if you want people to take action, then your content needs to provide them with value.”
Talk to Readers the Right Way
Blogger, podcaster and side project aficionado, ryrob.com.
“When it comes to launching paid advertising campaigns, I’d go so far as to say that highly contextually relevant native ads are the only way to go.
To me, that means developing a deep understanding of exactly where your ad inventory will be placed, how it’ll be displayed, and who will be exposed to it.
Only once you’ve gotten that base level of knowledge, can you make informed enough content creation decisions that’ll result in a positive ROI for your campaign. With that said, I still see a lot of brands missing the mark in a major way when it comes to crafting a native ad that’s relevant, unbiased, and actually delivers on the promise of the headline.
In an age of endless clickbait stories and short attention spans, consumers have less patience for content that doesn’t match their intent. My advice is to strive for creating native ads that are interesting, but also guarantee that readers don’t lose trust in you the moment they land on your content.”
“To create the perfect content to use in a native advertising campaign, a conversational tone can go a long way.
When I create campaigns with my team, we work on the content as if it were a conversation that we would be having with an audience member.
That means that it’s okay to use contractions, focus on simple language, and always steer the primary content toward a specific issue the audience member is having. Let your audience know that you’ve been listening, and that you care.
Then, you can include potential solutions in the conversation so they see the value in keeping that conversation going.”
Global Social Marketing & Content Marketing Leader, MarketingThink
“Whether your goal is to drive awareness, association, or action, focusing on the basics can help get you there. To capture your community’s attention, start a conversation with them, and get them to consider your brand by clicking through, focus on:
1) Using an informative heading and subheadings—this allows you to connect with the skimmers.
2) Articulating the key takeaways or recommended action with bullets or a numbered list—this helps your readers know what to do, adding instant value.
3) Including research to back up your assertions—this shows what you know vs. what you think.”
And, there you have it––13+ native advertising tips on understanding your audience, staying true to the platform at hand, and talking to readers rather than at them, all from industry leaders. Bookmark this page and give it a reread the next time you’re trying to create the perfect piece of content for a native ad.