One of the top three topics at the recent Advertising Week conference was native advertising and I’m not surprised. A question I often hear bandied about – is native advertising a new term for advertorials? In my book, no. Advertorials were mostly about fluff, little substance and I frankly always wondered who was reading them. In an article on the topic in PR Tactics, Joe McCambley, founder and creative director of The Wonder Factory summed it up well: “Native advertising, at its best, is indistinguishable from good journalism. It’s created with the intention to be as helpful to a reader as possible,” he said.
A more apt synonym is probably sponsored content. Whatever you call it, here’s a great guide to three general categories of native advertising courtesy of Brian Conlin from Vocus :
- Paid syndication: When a brand produces stories, videos or infographics that appear alongside regular news
- Paid integration: When a publication inserts a brand’s messages into a regular news piece
- Paid co creation: When a media outlet receives money to produce content on a specific topic or theme
For low cost/no cost sponsored content, one of the best vehicles is the service piece, tips and advice from a company executive, department head, or just a service provider, for the consumer or industry colleagues (B to B).
We recently sent out a series on tips for travel with baby from the baby concierges at Grand Velas Resorts in Mexico. The most recent one was a page and a half article on Tips on Baby’s First Vacation, how to travel. The news release which we sent out through paid distribution garnered 58 million readers and appeared everywhere from Reuters and the San Francisco Chronicle to the Boston Globe and LA Daily News.
One of the best examples of sponsored coverage I’ve seen, albeit at a very comfortable budget, is Netflix’s coverage of women’s prison issues in The New York Times, tying in to the release of the series “Orange is the new Black”.
Whatever you do, be relevant, be authentic and be substantive.