Making Native Ads Work for You
Imagine buying your way onto the front page of The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal with a long editorial story about yourself or your company.
The type style and look are identical to the real thing.
The only difference: a small notice that says, "Sponsored Content."
This is native advertising—creating editorial content to hook readers and bring them into your world.
Here is the offer from POLITICO—with 7,900,000 monthly unique visitors:
"Sponsor-generated content is content produced or curated by an advertiser that lives on POLITICO and is promoted alongside POLITICO's own editorial content. The content will be identified as 'sponsor-generated content' anywhere it may appear on the website. POLITICO's editorial department has no involvement in the creation of this content. Advertisers interested in sponsor-generated content can learn more here."
What a magnificent opportunity, to be included in the editorial content of a major influential publication!
What caught my eye was a JPMorgan Chase paid story on April 2, 2015.
[See the first and second images in the media player.]
The actual story is a bore, the headline obscure:
"The Subway That Connects Two Continents"
Written by a bank executive, it aimlessly wanders—jumping from JP Morgan Chase to San Diego, to London and to the Brookings Institution.
Celebrating Earth Day: An Advertiser Bought POLITICO's Front Page
[See the third image in the media player.]
POLITICO's entire home page/landing page was dominated by BR/Business Roundtable with messages of conservation:
- The top headline Amid Earth Day green:
"America's Companies are Conserving Resources
LEARN MORE BR/Business Roundtable"
- At right on a huge Earth Day Green Panel:
"This Earth Day see how America's top business leaders deliver sustainability.
LEARN MORE BR/Business Roundtable"
- At middle-bottom:
Do CEOs care about sustainability?
By Business Roundtable"
For one day, BR/Business Roundtable owned POLITICO.
If The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal front page looked like this, readers would be right to question the integrity.
POLITICO, on the other hand, provides free content. With 300 on its payroll it can certainly use the loot.
Takeaways to Consider
- Native advertising is PR—your chance to tell your story journalistically without the in-your-face hype of advertising copy.
- This is news/information—NOT an ad in drag.
- Two Decisions at the outset:
- Whose readers are the most logical for your message?
- What do you want to accomplish?
- Downloaded material
- Website traffic
- Financial contributions
- All of the above
- Let's say you decide on POLITICO.
- Start by reading two months of POLITICO. Study the style of the top writers.
- Get inside the heads of the readers and write to that audience in the POLITICO style.
- Five times as many people read the headline as the copy. Thus the headline represents 80¢ out of every dollar you pay POLITICO.
- "Your headline should telegraph what you want to say—in simple language. Readers do not stop to decipher the meanings of obscure headlines." —David Ogilvy
- "Headlines are the hot pants on the hooker." —Bill Jayme
- The lede also must a grabber.
- "Upset a bucket of gore in the reader's lap and spend the rest of the piece cleaning it up." —Bob Scott
- Don't wander off topic.
- "Specifics sell. Generalities do not." —Andrew J. Byrne
- If you send a reader to your website, create a satellite landing page that picks up on your native ad.
- A reader who lands on your general home page will stumble around wondering what to do next.
- On the Internet we are all a mouse click away from oblivion." —George Wolff
- Hire a pro to write it.
Denny Hatch's new book is WRITE EVERYTHING RIGHT!
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