We all know what native means, right? We're all from somewhere. But what about native advertising? Got a good handle on that one? If so, congratulations, because even the best-of-the-best seem to be getting confused on this one lately. One form of native advertising is publisher-produced brand content - a far cry from what those of us doing content marketing are trying to accomplish. Nothing wrong with different methods. It just helps to get the terms right, especially when the field is exploding.
My former colleague, Rich Stoddart, who now heads up Leo Burnett Advertising, just struck a deal with Huffington Post to coordinate editorial content published by Huffpo. You can read about that here. It's a great deal, especially since, as Rich told me, Huffington was already writing about the topics Leo's brands cared about. Why not cooperate to make it better (without hiding the connection, of course).
But the above is not the kind of content marketing many of us are talking about with our clients. In fact, even the Content Marketing Institute is up in arms about recent stories, including one in the Wall Street Journal that equates content marketing to the case "in which brands create content that is closely integrated with editorial content on publisher sites."
What we're all talking about is closer to "owned content" we push out and share with stakeholders, in hopes of adding value and building relationships. Is the end goal sales? Sure, we're all in some business - even non-profits. But the immediate goal of content marketing is not immediate sales. That's called advertising and promotion.
Dix & Eaton, a communications firm based in Cleveland, where I'm now a managing director and lead the content marketing efforts, has a great little white paper on the subject. It's basic, but the concept shouldn't be complicated. Truth is, you and your organization have probably been doing some form of content marketing for a long time. The trick now is to expand it and leverage new distribution tools (media) to reach your stakeholders.
Is there anything wrong with native advertising? Nope. Totally legitimate approach that should be used in coordination with content marketing. But to get things going on our end with the channels we control (owned media), like our websites, our email lists, and our social media...we need to organize our information...with personas and buying cycle stages (more on that in future posts). Until then, think about where your content was born and remember - there's no place like home!