Digital Magazine Publishing

How to Write Native Content Advertising for a Magazine Sponsor

Learn how to write more effective native content advertising for a sponsor and start getting paid more for content

According to Business Insider data, the amount advertisers are spending on native advertisements has risen from $4.7 billion in 2013 to a projected growth of $21 billion by 2018.

Consumers have always disliked ads that are disruptive to their user experience, which is why native advertisements are the user-friendly alternative to banner ads. While many advertisers are new to native advertisements, they’re completely old hat to legacy publishers.

If you’re an ad-driven legacy publisher, native ads (also referred to as advertorials) have been a part of your business model as long as you can remember. They occupied the 16-20 page “special advertising section” of your publication.

Mequoda strongly recommends bundling native advertising into your sponsorship packages. Mequoda also recommends that publishers keep native advertising in-house, i.e., publisher and advertiser agree on the content of the native ad, and the publisher executes it and publishes it to their website.


How to write native content advertising for a sponsor

Create sponsored content that’s as good as your editorial content.

If you’re developing content for an advertiser, you’re now a content marketing agency. The best part is that you don’t need to sacrifice the content you’re publishing on the altar of “marketing” because the entire goal of this content is to attract and entice readers. That’s why sponsors come to you, you’ve got this whole content writing thing down, more so than any other marketing company they could hire to write it for them.

Optimize for search so the advertiser sees the return on their investment

Your sponsor’s native ad is going to benefit from being attached to authoritative pages on your website. Using strong keywords is also important to drive organic traffic.

Write subtle links back to the advertiser

Since subtly is so important when writing a native ad, be careful with the amount of backlinks used. Good practice here is similar to that of optimizing a blog post, but with much more discretion. If you want links, the best practice is to make them helpful to the consumer and write them in organic ways. However, a polite call to action at the end is fine.

Advertiser and author’s bio section

Keeping in mind that a native ad, no matter how relevant, is in some way an imposition to the visitor who wants to read your content, getting them to scroll down is the main goal. Don’t hard sell on the advertiser. Keep it to two or three (hyperlinks included) lines: name, position, company. Don’t make a pitch. Let the content generate the interest. It’s important to note that many publishers now choose to state that the content was written in-house, in order to attract more advertisers.

Make native ads accessible for all

Place it in front of the website’s paywall, so that non-subscribers and users who are logged out can see the native ad, too. Because they’re ads on the Internet, it can also be promoted on social media and in email newsletters, making it even more beneficial to your sponsor. If you hide it as a special advertising page in your digital and print magazine, it will be limited only to your subscribers.

Don’t go for the direct sell

A pitch, a hard sell, or anything remotely sales-y is going to bounce visitors away. They’ll stop reading, and they won’t be mad at the advertiser, they’ll be mad at you, the publisher. This hurts both the sponsor and the publication in short- and long-term ways. Compel your audience to take their own action. And as mentioned earlier, if they offer the consumer helpful content, links can be used to drive traffic to the advertiser.

Do keep style consistent between native ads and editorial content

According to Polar, “native campaigns that are subtle and visually cohesive with the publisher perform far better. A subtle label font color performs 79% better than a strong color. Fonts that blend with the publisher’s style perform 64% better than those that don’t. Native ads with light shading perform 57% better than ads with high-contrast back grounds.

Do include the logo of your sponsor

All this blending isn’t to deceive the reader, it’s simply to let the reader know they’re still on your site. In fact, also according to Polar, including the logo of the sponsor increased the CTR of the native ad by 12%.

What tips would you share for writing and selling native ads? Leave a comment below.

If you’d like to learn more about creating robust advertising and sponsorship packages that incorporate native ads, please schedule a time to talk with us. 

By Don Nicholas

Founder & Executive Publisher

Don Nicholas serves as Executive Publisher for Food Gardening Network and GreenPrints. He is responsible for all creative, technical, and financial aspects of these multiplatform brands. As senior member of the editorial team, he provides structural guidance, sets standards, and coordinates activities with the technology and business teams. Don is an active gardener whose favorite crops include tomatoes, basil, blueberries, and corn. He and his wife Gail live and work in southern Massachusetts surrounded by forests, family farms, cranberry bogs, and nearby beaches. Don is also the Founder of Mequoda Systems, LLC, which operates and supports numerous online communities including I Like Crochet, I Like Knitting, and We Like Sewing.

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