UBM Tech calls it Create. Forbes Media dubs it BrandVoice. And Time Inc. refers to it as Watercooler Live.
If you’re a publisher, a native advertising service is the hot thing to have in your portfolio.
I’m all in when it comes to the attraction, credibility, influence and sales metrics a company can achieve through the production and distribution of high value, thought leadership content.
In fact, the alignment of content creation and measurable sales outcomes was the topic of my keynote address at the Inbound Marketing Summit this past October. You can see a brief video of my presentation here.
Do you need a publisher though to realize these benefits?
It can certainly help because organizations like UBM, Forbes and Time are very much in the business of content creation. They also bring access to a community of readers which can accelerate interest in a content-rich campaign.
My issue with publishers getting into the marketing services business is related to the two Cs – cost and conflict.
Let’s look at cost. I question whether the value and ROI delivered by a publisher is worth the premium they tend to charge for association with their brand and access to their readers. Targeted content distribution can be achieved through home grown search, social and digital channels.
Moreover, there is an inherent distrust and dislike in the news room for anything that strays from the core journalistic mission of the publishers. That’s the conflict.
A publisher will produce content for an advertiser, yet it sure isn’t coming from the well respected and prized journalists who adorn the masthead.
My take is that it’s a more effective and cost efficient model for a company to lead its own content marketing initiative. Plus, the tie-in to critical ROI metrics — such as demand generation, lead nurturing and deal capture – is easier to achieve through a close interaction with sales reps.
Use publishers as an advertising channel. That’s probably what they prefer anyways.
Note: My consultancy provides integrated content marketing and sales enablement services that compete with native advertising offerings from publishers.