Many people confuse the difference between native advertising and content marketing. While they are two different approaches to reaching a target audience, they can work together to deliver great results.
What’s the difference between content marketing and native advertising?
Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing valuable content that sparks interest in your products or services. Think about content marketing as a long-term approach to building trust and establishing your expertise with your audience. This can take place in the form of video, earned media, blog posts, social media distribution, case studies and more. Content marketing is about building an ongoing relationship with consumers over time rather than a one-and-done approach. This isn’t a way to explicitly sell to your audience, but it puts your brand at the forefront of consumer minds.
On the other hand, native advertising is a form of paid advertising that matches the form and function of its environment in a way that doesn’t disrupt the user’s experience. This is a highly targeted approach to finding your perfect match (the consumer, that is). Think of native advertising as more of an immediate approach to getting in front of the right customer right then and there. On the other hand, content marketing is about nurturing a long-term connection over time.
How do the two work together?
The combination of content marketing and native advertising is a solid strategy. The question is, how exactly can native advertising fit into your content marketing efforts? Let’s start with the problem: Content marketers are creating more and more content, but this doesn’t mean that they are gaining more attention from consumers. A concrete content strategy is no longer enough, and earned media can only take you so far. Even the best content isn’t guaranteed to reach your ideal consumer.
So where does native come in? A solid content strategy combined with native advertising guarantees that you will get in front of your target audience. Your content will appear on premium sites, so you can reach an audience who is already consuming similar content. Does this mean you should explicitly pitch your product to readers? Not quite. An effective native advertising strategy is still one that provides value to your audience and addresses their pain points.
Native advertising also provides the opportunity to determine what types of content resonate best with your audience, whether that is testing headlines, images or reevaluating your editorial strategy altogether. While you shouldn’t forgo your content marketing strategy in favor of native advertising, combining the two is a surefire way to achieve higher success in reaching your ideal audience.
To put it simply, native advertising combined with content marketing provides an opportunity to expand your content’s reach more effectively than ever before.