The digital marketing landscape changes rapidly. What was once a useful tactic yesterday is completely ineffective the next. It’s important to keep on top of trends, but it’s also very important to distinguish broader definitions in order to adjust your strategy appropriately. Sometimes new ideas overlap and are mistakenly used interchangeably with others.
Lately, we’ve noticed content marketing has been confused with other industry terms, such as native advertising. We’d like to break down, quite simply, what content marketing is and isn’t.
- Is relevant to the target audience.
- Provides something of value to the consumer.
- Encourages engagement with your brand.
- Changes consumer behavior by forming a connection with the brand.
- Is an ongoing part of your strategy, not just a one-off campaign.
There are a variety of ways you can go about creating a content marketing campaign, including photography, blogging, and videos. Where content marketing and native advertising get mixed up is when it comes to promoting the created content. At Anchor Social, we use social media as a means to push out the content we create to have the desired impact as listed above.
Native advertising uses social media as a paid platform to promote your content.
- Is always paid
- Is usually built around content of interest to the target audience.
- Appears within social media feeds like any other post.
Many people view native advertising as “tricking” the user because a company is essentially paying to appear in your social media stream. While native advertising is in many ways an extension of content marketing, their goals are entirely different.
Regular content marketing is all about creating content that has value to your audience that they want to engage in organically. Native advertising is specifically targeted to your audience. Be aware that many may find this method intrusive, even though it appears to them “naturally.”
To make content marketing and native advertising work together, you have to fall back on making that content worthy of your consumer’s time. Anyone can pay to promote an ad or post, but to create something that fosters engagement and has value requires effort on behalf of your strategy. When they come back to your page after seeing an ad, there should be more content of interest for them to engage with.
Native advertising is also good for reaching an audience outside of your usual network. For example, we all know Facebook has become a “pay to play” market, which requires spending money on boosted posts to gain likes and engagement on your page. Sometimes in order to break that barrier to jump start a new account, you have to spend a little money.
At the end of the day, it still comes down to the content. If your content marketing strategy is creating something of value to your consumer that lets them engage with your brand, you’re running a successful campaign. How you choose to promote that content is up to you and what’s best for the account.