In marketing, it’s vital to have an arsenal of tools at your disposal. You can’t expect any one tool to carry all the weight. One tool that has picked up surprising momentum in the marketing industry is native advertising. Have you fully harnessed the power of this robust marketing tool?

How does native advertising fit into your marketing toolkit? How can it be combined with B2B PR to make a truly powerful and effective weapon in the marketing field? Let’s take a look.

What Is Native Advertising?

Maybe you’ve had this experience — you’re perusing your favorite news or entertainment site, when you stumble upon a captivating article. When you look for the author, you find tiny print that reads, “Sponsored Content,” and possibly a brand name. This is just one example of how native advertising works, and why it is so effective at reaching people.

According to Sharethrough, “Native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.”

Many companies have begun to used this tool with high levels of success. Many noteworthy websites have begun to offer this marketing option, including The New York Times and Time magazine. (To find out more about native advertising and the important reasons why you’ll want to make it part of your marketing arsenal, click here.)

Native Advertising – A Friend or Foe of B2B PR?

When native advertising first appeared on the scene, it was regarded as a threat to the very existence of PR — would businesses still need public relations professionals when they can easily pay to have their content featured and promoted? Yes!

People are generally pretty skeptical of native advertising in theory, which should be welcome news to PR professionals.~ Jim Dougherty

PR professionals are in the best position to create and control native ads. As time goes on, people become more skeptical of company-sponsored content. Yet, PR professionals, with their honed expertise, business relationships, and a long list of well-deserved earned media mentions, are in a position to use what they know to truly make native advertising work.

A mistake that many make with native advertising is creating content that looks sponsored. With the right eye and skills, a PR professional can truly blend sponsored content into its surroundings so that many read it and trust it as if it were a part of its environment.

The Possibilities Are Endless

Native advertising is all about content, which requires a level of skill.With the creativity and finesse that some B2B PR professionals bring to the table, they can make killer content for native ads that get results.

It allows agencies to offer reach and scale to their client in a way that simply wasn’t possible previously.” ~ Dale Lovell

In the online world of pop-up ads and flashing side banners, many people have learned to ignore and distrust the advertisements that cross — and are ready to interrupt — their internet path. Companies who create content to be used in native advertising are flying under this radar, so to speak, and seeing a great deal of success.

True, between earned media and paid media, earned media wins out every time. While your brand may already have a thriving audience in earned media, what about the other audiences that you haven’t reached yet? By using paid media creatively you can cast your net further, and gain a larger audience. (Click here to see how you can use native advertising and other paid media without breaking the bank.)

For years, brands have been tapping into Facebook’s sponsored posts and Twitter’s promoted tweets as a way to get their brand into people’s feeds. Yet brands can also create content to be posted on targeted sites where more people will see it. Regarding native advertising, you’ll want to know what audience you would like to attract, and what website already has the best access to that audience.

Let’s consider a few examples of how this has been done effectively.

1. Buzzfeed


You see right off the bat that the brand publisher is Cancer Research UK. This brand is able to get its message across in a fun and interactive way that perfectly matches the form of Buzzfeed’s other articles. And nobody really minds the presence of the brand throughout the article because of the important message that it carries.

2. Time Magazine


Look at how well this article fits the general form of Time magazine’s articles. From the banner on top you can tell it’s sponsored by Ryder, but the subject matter (transportation for small business), fits in well with other subjects that Time covers, so it doesn’t look out of place.

3. The New York Times


Netflix cleverly uses a newsworthy subject matter, women in American prisons, to promote its show, Orange is the New Black. If you took out the Netflix symbol over the top, this article would blend in very well with The New York Times format, making it a very effective example of native advertising.

All of these examples show clearly how advantageous native ads can be when done properly. If you haven’t already, prepare to jump on this fast-moving trend, and use it to expand the reach of your brand.