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Idea: When to Use Native Advertising for Marketing With Content

We’ve recently been involved in a project that includes the types of advertorial or sponsored content known as “native advertising.” During the project, we’ve been asked, “Is native advertising considered content marketing?” Our reply: “Some people may argue it’s not content marketing, but no one can say it’s not content used for marketing.”

At Hammock, we have a “big tent” belief in the power that content brings to marketing. Content (or, as we define it, any form of human expression) can add value to a brand or product at any point along the journey a customer takes from first discovering your product to becoming one of your most loyal owners or users.

Before they become owners, customers are typically found far away from the content on a company’s website or its social outposts and channels. At the point a customer is still a shopper and not an owner, he or she is most often found on those media websites you can reach only with paid admission, like native advertising efforts. Even social media like Facebook and Twitter require paid advertising if you want your content efforts seen by prospects.

At this early stage in the customer’s journey, the debate shouldn’t be about the definition of content marketing, but rather which type of marketing tool is more powerful: A banner ad, or content that helps potential customers understand what they should look for in a product.

After the transaction, when customers become owners, you no longer have to depend on web media gatekeepers to reach them, which means your content delivery options expand. If you provide great content that helps them succeed at their profession or personal passion while using your product, the power of marketing with content can’t be matched.

Bottom Line for Marketers: Don’t let someone’s definition of “content marketing” keep you from finding new ways to connect customers with great content from your company and brand. Early in a customer’s journey—while he or she is still researching your product—native advertising or sponsorships can prove to be an effective use of content. Paid or earned or appearing under your own brand, content is a powerful marketing tool, no matter how you define it.

  Photo: Thinkstock.com

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