Going Native: What Makes It Work, What Makes It Fail

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An Adotas Q&A with Bryan DeLuca, Director of Content and Publishing for IEEE GlobalSpec, explores native advertising, content creation, and the pitfalls and pinnacles of moving from traditional to native advertising.

Q: What are the benefits and obstacles of traditional versus native advertising?

A: Both of these platforms have their merits. Traditional advertising, such as display ads, offer big branding opportunities to companies, the ability to geo-target, and more.

Native advertising really comes in two flavors. The first is ads that look like content, such as Google’s ad program and many others. The other is native ads that actually function as content. We see many companies blending both into their content marketing strategies.

Q: What are the best practices for incorporating native advertising into the marketing landscape?

A: The best practice and the most important piece of native advertising is to tell a story – like naturally occurring content – and build trust with a reader. Companies are not just selling products through this form of native advertising, but creating a trusted relationship. There are many studies that show buyers are more likely to purchase from a company when they have more than one interaction with the company.

Q: Can you explain the evolution of native content over time? Where is it headed?

A: Native advertising has been around for a long time, and I mean a long time. In the late 19th century, John Deere created a magazine to teach farmers how to make more money using John Deere products. Even when we look at the digital age, Google’s AdWords are native advertising.

Now it has gone one step further. Marketers are at the beginning of the content marketing journey. Companies are suddenly realizing that they are publishers. So in terms of where’s it all headed: Users are looking for more content – but not just any content… interactive content. If companies are not obsessing over an interactive user experience and content today, they won’t be aligned for what’s coming tomorrow.

Q: You mentioned that the four pillars of content are understanding, creation, editing, amplification. Can you explain these pillars a little further and how they impact the B2B marketing industry?

A: Like most things in life, you can break down the success to almost scientific detail, but as you learn more and more, the theories evolve. Native advertising content is no different. The four pillars of content break it down to the foundation of why content is successful.

Pillar One: Understanding

Understanding…While we all know what the word means, how does it relate to content creation? Well, it’s sort of simple. Anytime a piece of content is created, there a few items you must have understanding of. The first is domain expertise. The second is understanding whom the audience is and what level to address them. The third and most important is the intent of the content.

Pillar Two: Creation

Creation…Choosing the right content generator to create the piece of content is very important. They must understand the content at a deep level.

Pillar Three: Editing

Reading over an article is not editing. While this seems pretty simple, most companies who create content overlook this process. Editing involves a few steps to ensure the integrity of the content. Articles should be edited for grammar, technical accuracy and intent. We have both copy editors and engineers on our content team.

Pillar Four: Amplification

Q: What good is content if no one ever sees it?

A: Content should be distributed into as many channels as users want to interact with it and your company. By channels, I mean your website, third-party websites, social channels, newsletters, etc. It is not about users coming to you, but about communicating with them in the channels they wish to communicate.

Q: Based on the seventh annual IEEE GlobalSpec survey of social media usage in the industrial sector, what findings should B2B professionals be paying attention to if they want to increase ROI?

A: The biggest take away on ROI is amplification. The reach becomes a very important factor. You can have the greatest piece of content ever created, but without being able to reach the correct, targeted audience, the ROI will not be there.

Bryan DeLuca is Director of Content and Publishing for IEEE GlobalSpec. In this role, he is responsible for content direction for Electronics360.com, content marketing services, and other areas in the content space. Prior to joining IEEE GlobalSpec, Bryan worked at Hearst, growing some of their online properties to being number-one in their space. He also created a range of industry-wide products, including one of the biggest media content marketing programs, ecommerce experiences, and other user tools and apps. His experience spans the electronics and engineering industries in both domestic and international media. Bryan holds a BA from Hofstra University.

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