#1. Know your target audience.
Before you start writing, know who you want to reach and what you want them to leave with.
#2. Focus on thought leadership.
Top-performing native posts are not press releases or sales pitches, they are content marketing tools at the top of the sales funnel, meant to educate the reader on an issue or trend. In other words, focus on the audience’s problem, and general solutions, not your product specs.
#3. Create an engaging headline.
If the headline doesn’t appeal to the reader and explain why they want to read your piece, none of the rest of your efforts matter. Use familiar industry language, not internal marketing buzzwords. Convey your point, but don’t get overly wordy.
- Answer a question. Headlines that issue a question the reader has likely asked themselves will resonate well.
- Use lists. “Top 5 Ways To…,” “10 Tips To…,” or “6 Reasons Why…” are all good ways to show content is digestible and actionable.
#4. Keep it short.
As a top-of-funnel marketing tactic, you want to provide the information, but keep your article concise and easy to digest. If the reader wants to learn more, they’ll be a good target for the next tactic in your marketing plan.
#5. Organize your content.
Nothing is more off-putting than clicking on a good headline and seeing paragraph upon paragraph of bulky content. Use subheads, bullets, and other formatting tools to ensure your content is easy to understand and act upon.
PRO TIP: When submitting your article to a publication, make sure you know what formatting will work. Look at other pieces on the site for examples.
#6. Include (good) imagery.
Even if you are writing an article, the best content uses images to illustrate the information provided. At a minimum, provide a quality stock image for any promotions of the native content. Do not use company logos or generic icons that add no value. If your content addresses specific data points, include quality versions of the charts. Don’t go over the top, which may affect page load time, but make sure to support your content with imagery.
If you have a lot of imagery, perhaps highlighting an installation or use case, some publications allow native photo galleries which are perfect for these scenarios.
#7. Consider using video (correctly).
Video is a hot content marketing tool but can be a big risk for a native content placement if it’s not the right type of video. Your latest ad campaign is not a good native content submission (look for video advertising solutions instead), nor is your latest product training video. Keep video short, 2-3 minutes at most and highlight an issue from a “news” perspective.
#8. Have a call-to-action.
Embed hyperlinks in your content for easy ways for clients to dive deeper into the topic (and further down the sales funnel).
PRO TIP: Make sure these links are trackable, so your marketing team can see where people are coming from and track their process through the funnel. This can provide insights to optimize your future marketing plan.