Here are some tips, best practices and processes we’ve used to set up a scaleable, direct native ad sales business that works for publishers, advertisers/sponsors, and readers:
Editorial Content Hurdle:
The most important point is that the editorial staff has final say over what gets covered and published. It needs to be a product they believe in, a fit for the audience, and in the style and tone of the rest of the content on the site. Reject products that will reflect poorly on your site’s authority.
- For SEO purposes it should be original and exclusive content.
- Integrate content into the typical flow of how the reader uses the site.
- Posts or articles should be marked as “sponsored” so it is clear to the reader that it is paid content.
- Try to show the product in action solving a problem or being used to build something vs. a straight product review.
- Get agreement up front on the topic and outline of the content. Some advertisers will want to be more thorough and involved with input up front, others will trust your site’s understanding of the market and audience.
- Get payment up front as there are hard costs with creating content – lining up and paying authors/writers, editing, etc. Advertisers understand and expect this.
- Allow final review for the advertiser. This can be a bit tricky but especially if it’s a technical or complex article, accuracy and catching any errors before going live is essential.
- Sponsored content is a great way to break through clutter on the web and for an advertiser to get their message across. Goals can be around branding/awareness, engagement, education, thought leadership around a topic, and
- From ad/publisher perspective, it makes sense to bundle in other ad products that may have a more direct call to action (trial download, some sort of lead magnet like a webinar/white paper, etc.).
- Try for a series of sponsored content where it makes sense. Consider charging a premium for a sponsor to own a particular category.
- Report on metrics like unique page views, time spent, social media shares, comments, click throughs to advertiser site, etc.
These are some of the ways to set up and run a repeatable, scaleable native ad sales business. A great way to ensure there is good audience feedback and alignment is to proactively reach out to brands that editorial is already considering covering or have covered at a high level but could drill deeper into. If you don’t have a direct ad sales team, Contact TechCrowds for representation.