SBM 065 : Native Advertising, Guest Posts and Brand Storytelling with Melanie Deziel

Today’s Guest

Melanie Deziel is a founder of MDeziel Media. She is also a journalist.

This is the 65th session of Smart Brand Marketing.

Melanie is a bit of an insider. She worked as a journalist for a long time and knows exactly what that side of the table wants. This is super important for anyone that wants to be featured in magazines and any larger publications. She also specializes in Native advertising… this would be the paid placement in those same news sites.

If you’re ready to level up your content… listen now


  • Works with publishers
  • Native advertising as content
  • Custom content that captures your audience
  • What the process looks like
  • The PRE content blueprint
  • How to get the readers to your own website
  • Using remarketing correctly
  • What separates great from good story telling
  • Best pitches for guest posts
  • The ways in which journalists and editors think



Native Advertising: What It Is and How You Can Use It

Content marketing has always been the bread and butter for online advertising. The goal here is pretty simple: you go to where people gather and then provide to them what they are looking for. If that happens, and if people like what you offer, then engagement with your brand can be certain.

However, there is a new term that content marketers have increasingly used recently and that would be native advertising. In more ways than one, it might just be a far more effective strategy in your marketing campaign or, at the least, goes well with whatever tools you have currently in disposal.

What is Native Advertising?

In its simplest terms, native advertising is any kind of promotion that is native to the platform that it is being promoted on. In other words, its advertising with content that is commonly used in that site or platform. To make this easier for you, let’s have an example.

In Facebook, the common kind of content being published there are stories and posts. As such, native advertising for Facebook will involve the use of promotional stories and posts. Another example will be Twitter whose native content is Tweets. As such, native advertising for that platform will involve Tweets. And so on and so forth.

Why Use Native Advertising?

So why should you consider using native advertising for your content marketing campaign? Clearly, it’s for the advantages that it can offer to any market. The advantages you can get will actually depend on the type of platforms you will advertise in as well as the content you will make but, for the sake of simplicity, they often come in three distinct categories.

  1. 1. Increased Brand Awareness

    By producing content native to that platform, you can attract the attention of your audience at a much more efficient rate. Consider this: performance metrics are essential to any marketer as it tells them how their marketing campaigns are being treated by the audience once they publish content.
    Native advertising, in that regard, tends to offer better viewing rates, faster conversions, and a generally higher level of brand engagement. As an added bonus, if you shift to native advertising, the chances that your audience will do the marketing for you is higher.
  2. 2. Better Content Relevance

    If you produce content that is compatible with the language used on that platform and with the tools it offers, the easier it is to be shared by audiences. You have to remember that the best kind of advertising is those that encourage trust and brand loyalty in the brand. When businesses create content that fit not only the preferences of their audiences but also the general culture of the platforms they frequent to, that content is easier to share and the chances of it going viral (which is always something that a lot of online marketers would want to achieve for their content marketing campaigns) is high.
  3. 3. Empowering Customers

    If there is one thing that Google’s recent algorithm updates have shown, it would be that customer behavior online has shifted from a fact-finding mentality to a problem-solving one. Native advertising is ideal as it helps the advertiser create content that can be perceived as valuable to the audience relative to the platform they view it in.

    With native advertising, you can present promotional content in a subtle way by presenting it in a manner that not only informs the audience, but empowers them to solve whatever problem they were looking a solution for.

    Simply put, native advertising can help you convince your audience that you are in the business not only to earn money but also to offer real, valuable, and tangible services. If you show to them that you care for more than their money, audiences tend to reward you with their loyalty.

Where to Publish and What?

Many brand think of online advertising as something similar to PR. Basically, they think that going to where they can be featured will ensure optimum reach. However, when you are in the business of creating unique content, you would want to be where you can resonate with your target audience the most and will actually help you reach your marketing goals.
When identifying where you should publish and what content you should publish, you need to keep in mind a few things first.

  • Who?

    Simply put, you have to identify the kind of people you want to reach. Whatever demographics they are, you just have to make sure that they are actually responsive to your brand or, better yet, your brand resonates with them the most.

    Aside from the behavior of your target market, you also need to identify what kinds of platforms these groups might trust the most. For example, teenagers frequent Twitter and Facebook a lot while artsy folk might go to Instagram. And so on and so forth.

  • What Message?

    When determining the content you will publish, you have to identify what kind of message will reach them out the most. In this regard, you would have to identify their behavior when in certain websites and platforms. Keep in mind that no two websites will ever have the same culture whether in the language they use or even the topics they will cover.

    For instance, both the New York Times and Sports Illustrated are journalistic ventures but they don’t cater to the same folk nor do they talk about the same topics most of the time. This is why the content they publish differs greatly from each other structurally and thematically, even if they can be categorized under the same label.

With these in mind, the kind of content you will publish will fall somewhere in the middle. Basically, it should be content that is highly relevant to the people that will use them, compatible with the site or platform they will be published in, and is effective in reaching your marketing goals.

What is Quality Content?

This can be a loaded question at times since quality for content is often divided into two different schools of thought online. First, we have the SEO standpoint where quality is based on how that content meets the standards of the algorithms. Second, we have the creative writing standpoint where content is judged on how well it engages with the audience.

Regardless of what philosophy you align yourself with, quality when it comes to content always boils down to several aspects.

  • RelevantFirst of all, stop thinking of storytelling as a means to sell something because readers right now are smart enough to know where the “genuine” story ends and where the hard sell begins. The content you publish has to serve a need for the audience. It should solve a problem, answer a general query, or simply provide something of value that the audience can use somewhere in the future.
  • Credible

    The content you create also has to be backed up with sources that can prove its credibility. Genuine information is a big concern nowadays and Google is pushing for content creators to find ways to keep the information they provide as credible as possible. Whether this is through linking to reputable sources or linking to your other existing content, the point here is to make sure that the content you create fulfills a purpose or farms part of a credible narrative.

All in all, quality content nowadays should possess one notable characteristic: the Human Element. Simply put, whatever content you make must serve a purpose, is written with the perspective of the audience, and is backed up by sources that are reputable and credible.

The Blueprint for Content Creation: P-R-E

There is no surefire scheme for content creation since this process should be treated as an art, not a science. Plus, the many forms that content will take can vary which means that there is exactly no uniform process to content creation.

With that said, however, content can be categorized into 3 different categories which are as follows.

P – Product

These are basically the content that focuses heavily on the product that you sell. They often have the requirement to push for a hard sell somewhere in the end so it is best that you be as subtle as possible when selling your products with this content. The less blatant you are, the lesser chances your reader will be disengaged with the content once the hard sell starts.
R- Role

Content built with this scheme tend to go or a problem-solving route. Basically, the creator here plays a “role” relative to their audience and that role is of a provider of solutions.

This content scheme relies a lot on making a connection with the reader. Emotion-based content are often made to help a person change their mindset or provoke some sort of emotional reaction from them.

So which of these three content creation mindsets are the best? Neither. All three have their own pros and cons which only means that the best content created feature a balance between products, the creator’s role, and emotion.

Having too much one either tends to create imbalance which, at most times, does not help in engaging with the reader. For example, too much Product-focused content creates for a rather blatantly ad-heavy experience which can turn off the audience right from the start.

On the other hand, emotions-focused content will quickly resonate with your audience but will leave them confused as to what was the entire point of whatever you just published.
Simply put, your content should fulfill your marketing goals (Product), is written with a problem-solving angle (Role), and forms a strong emotional content with your reader (Emotion). The PRE scheme for content creation should allow you to create content that will not only be relevant to your readers but will actually help you as far as your marketing campaign as concerned.

What is Great Storytelling?

As far as content marketing is concerned, storytelling simply involves the way in which you write the narrative of your content. If you consider everything that has just been discussed, then great storytelling can be summed up in a few words: it serves the audience.

In most cases, effective storytelling can look daunting but, to make things easier for you, we need to identify what good storytelling is and what it does.

  • 1. It Makes the Audience Care

    Simply put, storytelling answers that one question that audiences often make subconsciously: “what’s in it for me?” or “why should I care”. The content you make should be able to answer these questions right from the start since the attention span of audiences are notoriously short. Write your content in such a manner that it sounds relevant, compelling, and consistent.
  • 2. It’s Original (and If not, then Creative)

    Standing out from the competition can be a tall order in any marketing campaign but it is often easier if you can do something that nobody else in the market has ever done. Providing an original angle to your storytelling not only catches the attention of your audience but it can also provide a trend that other competitors can follow, making you a trendsetter of sorts.

    Since originality is becoming a rare commodity these days, then the best that you can do is to provide a creative spin to the same narratives and plot lines. The point here is to make your offer as distinct as possible every time you publish it.

  • 3. It’s Empathetic

    Creating that strong connection is a must if you want to sell something online. The way you write your content should be in a manner that connects to the audience on an emotional level since empathy inspires action. Simply put, if you want them to do something, you must get them hooked right from the start.

To Wrap Things Up…

Native advertising does have its demands in order to be effective but if you do meet them, the results you will yield are quite considerable. The best part about this is that this form of advertising is easy to transition into regardless of the current marketing campaign you are employing. With proper planning, you can start creating content that is relevant to every audience you have across all the platforms you market into.

Have you tried native advertising before? What do you think quality content should be also? Let us know in the comments below!





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