The Same or Different?
Content marketing and native advertising might seem like the same two concepts, but there are important differences to both strategies that are essential to building a strong brand online. Both of these strategies have their own strengths and weaknesses, and understanding what makes each different will ensure that your business can take advantage of either approach.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a popular term that might be more familiar to most business owners. Content marketing is a marketing strategy that’s based on consistently creating and distributing relevant, influential, and eye catching content.
Okay, but what is content? Well, content marketing can incorporate blog posts, videos, entertainment, e-books, and webinars. Each of these mediums utilize different delivery systems in an effort to reach out to a target audience with the shared goal of created trust, credibility, and boosted sales.
There’s a reason they say “content is king,” and it’s because nothing in the digital space does as great a job of raising a business’s voice.
To distribute all of this content, content marketing relies on owned media. Owned media are personally owned places to share content: websites and blogs. Using privately owned spaces, like websites and blogs, allow business to create an active, personable attitude.
What is Native Advertising?
Wikipedia describes native advertising as a type of advertising that matches the form and function of the platform upon which it appears. This can be either an article or a video, produced by an advertiser with the intent of promoting a product or business. Native refers to the coherence with the other media that appear on the particular platform.
Native advertising is based on paying for other outlet’s media space. It may sound like traditional advertising formats like banner ads, but the big difference here is that native advertisements should blend right in with the rest of the content on the website. A famous example is an article published by the New York Times about women in prison that was in fact promoting Netflix’s Orange is the New Black.
The Pros of Content Marketing
Content marketing isn’t plain advertisement. Advertisements have become harder and harder to push in the digital world with the rise of ad blocker, but because content marketing is just that, content, it isn’t going to get blocked. In fact it will help your business get discovered.
Content marketing and great SEO go hand in hand. Adding new content to your website on a regular basis shows search engines that your website is active and worth clicking on. The longer people are on your site, the more Google will recommend you to other users, and there’s no better way to capture attention than with strong content.(read about dwell time here)
Content marketing helps build your business’s culture. A consistent blog with insightful articles will show customers that the business is lively, that they’re passionate, and that they’re engaged. Content marketing allows customers to engage with your business without being in person. Your business becomes tangible, not just another result on Google.
Proof that you’re the experts. Just opening and running a business isn’t enough anymore, consumers want to hear from the businesses around them, and content shows them that your business is one to trust. For example, a blog post about how your service genuinely changed someone’s life with details and follow ups is better than a post saying you can change lives.
The Pros of Native Advertising
Appear where your audience is. Native advertising puts your content exactly where it needs to be. There’s no need to try to build an audience if you can just piggyback off of a media source with a dedicated audience. Your content will be highly clickable, and blend in seamlessly with the consumer’s typical media consumption.
Native ads work. Native advertisements are effective; they attract far more attention than any traditional banner ad.
Native advertising boosts recognition and outreach. With your content appearing on popular media sites your business will greatly increase its outreach and brand appeal. It’s important to get into the minds of the consumer, and native ads are the fast track to that goal.
Native advertisements don’t feel like ads. This is so important, because the function of the native ad is the same as any typical ad, but it doesn’t appear that way to the customer. It isn’t a force fed “buy this now” approach, it’s about being relatable and fitting right in with the rest of the content.
The Cons of Content Marketing
Content marketing can seem like a lot to handle. Whether it’s the frequency of the posts or the content, this kind of marketing can seem like an intimidating endeavor. It’s a lot of work, that’s true, but it’s worth it. Content marketing makes your business stronger in so many facets, and your customers will see the effort put into your business and value it.
Content marketing is a long term process. Slow and steady wins the race. Content marketing is built around that old adage. Content marketing is a long term process by design, it takes a long time to build a brand.
The Cons of Native Advertising
Native ads can come across as forced. This is only true when the wrong content is on the wrong media website. As long as there isn’t a conflict between the two and everything feels organic, this should never be a problem.
Native advertising is expensive. The whole allure of native ads is getting your content on big name media outlets, but that comes with a big price tag.
What’s It All Mean?
Content marketing and native advertising are both important strategies for any serious business in our digital era. Understanding the differences and similarities between the two will help you understand how they can be implemented to help your business grow and standout online.