Is Native Advertising Even Profitable for Brands?

vintage image of a man looking at bags of gold

Desperate for new revenue streams, publishers are turning to native advertising in droves.

They are handing over valuable real estate on their web properties to brands that are looking for new ways to drive traffic and build awareness.

And they are charging a premium for this space.

Examples of these native ads run from the advertorial to sponsored content to interstitial ads on mobile phone apps. And options are multiplying. As is the money spent.

The question brands must ask (even though there is no simple answer) is: are we getting a positive return on the dollars being spent on native advertising?

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The 14 Keys to Writing Advertorials That Sell

still life image of a desk with Mac products, colored pencils, books, etc

Advertorials are native ads with a single purpose: getting specific action from the reader.

This could be donating to a cause, downloading a PDF, subscribing to an email newsletter, visiting a store, or buying a product.

An effective advertorial grips the reader and leads her to the logical conclusion — pointing her, in very specific language, to what to do next. This is the call to action.

Advertorials come in all shapes and sizes.

  • They could be lists or guides
  • They could be videos or print articles
  • They could be one page or six

Regardless of the format or medium, however, most tell a story.

This is why there are so many similarities between the essential ingredients of a blog post and an advertorial.

But there are still some specific things you must know.

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Want Copyblogger to Answer Your Specific Business Question? Here’s Your Chance

image of an old school rotary phone

We see it all the time: questions from people like you who are looking for answers to specific challenges.

Questions like:

  • What are the best business models for a hyperlocal site?
  • Do I have the right “Big Idea” for my business?
  • How can I expect a certain content strategy to affect my SEO?
  • Will my strong political or religious views interfere with my Google authorship business profile?
  • Just how can I make the time to get all this content written, anyway?

These are the long-tail questions that either we haven’t gotten an opportunity to address on the blog yet, or are so specific to your business that the only way we can answer them is during a question and answer call …

Like the one we are doing next Friday, April 25, 2014.

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12 Examples of Native Ads (And Why They Work)

Guinness Guide to Cheese advertorial

Despite all the hype, native advertising remains a fuzzy concept for most marketers.

According to our 2014 status report:

  • 49 percent of respondents don’t know what native advertising is
  • 24 percent are hardly familiar with it
  • Another 24 percent are somewhat familiar
  • Only 3 percent are very knowledgeable

So, given the lack of awareness (and people mistaking it for other things, like sponsorship), we thought it would be a good idea to walk you through about a dozen examples of native advertising — and why they work.

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Copyblogger’s 2014 State of Native Advertising Report

blog post title image for Copyblogger's 2014 State of Native Advertising Report

Native advertising is paid content that matches a publication’s editorial standards while meeting the audience’s expectations.

Think Captain Morgan’s campaign on BuzzFeed in general, their 15 Things You Didn’t Know About 15 Captains, Commanders And Conquerors article in particular.

First off, the theme of the article matches the brand’s values: Captain Morgan was a real live pirate who thrived on adventure and raw conquest — a theme not too foreign to BuzzFeed readers.

Moreover, the article matches the editorial standards of BuzzFeed: a list with big images and short, quirky copy — a format their audience expects.

Three important points need to be noted here:

  • The content is clearly labeled “BuzzFeed Partner.”
  • Nothing is being sold. The call to action is to visit the Captain Morgan YouTube page.
  • The Captain Morgan BuzzFeed author page is branded.

This is classic sponsored or branded content. Now let’s look at another example of native advertising, this time a historical one.

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3 Ways to Write a Damn Good Syllable

Copyblogger chief copywriter Demian Farnworth sits at his desk straining to write a good syllable

The list of things you need to do to become a great writer is a long one.

So long in fact, most people never make it to the end of that list.

This is why most people suck at writing.

They simply give up.

Sure, the new ones are always thrilled — corybantic some may say — as they sharpen their pencils in eager expectation of jumping into those adorable writing exercises such as “Write like you talk” or “Write yourself silly!”

Then there are the entry-level axioms that culminate in “Give yourself permission to write,” a commandment that Trendall Jynweythk, professor of liberation theology at Arizona University, claims originated in a conversation between Jesus and John when the apostle was battling writer’s block after some really bad dreams.

It is all quite overwhelming advice to you, virgin writer, what with your bubbling, flooding, and exploding energy.

You just need to sit down and write!

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