Native content needs to speak to the reader and meet their expectations. But even the cleverest native buy will fail if it doesn’t drive ROI for the advertiser.

I’ve seen a lot of native articles out there that are head scratchers, with content peripheral to the featured party. Format and tone are easy enough to mimic with the right team in place, but creating content that engages your audience and digs into a brand’s central themes can be a challenge.

As an example, at Mashable you’ll find a native ad for Volvo titled “This Woman Is One of the Earliest Pinterest Users.” The headline alone is enough to confuse, as it’s difficult to connect the dots from point A (Volvo) to point B (Pinterest). The piece just feels irrelevant to the brand, even if the goal was clear (reach the Pinterest demo). The connection is forced.

If native advertising is to succeed, publishers need to find that sweet spot where the content is entertaining and relevant to the reader, but also aligns with brand goals. That doesn’t mean it has to be a glorified sales sheet, of course; that would defeat the purpose of native content. It just means it has to engage readers while layering in relevant messages.

By: Antoine Boulin, President, Media, TechMedia Network

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