Back in 1996, Bill Gates coined the phrase, "Content is king." In 2014, the word content reigned supreme as companies, brands, and organizations looked for strategic solutions to get their messages out through new content-heavy communications streams across earned, owned, and paid channels.
?In an industry where the definition between church and state has reigned supreme for decades, a new type of content emerged that was poised to challenge this standard: Native.
Heralded by some as the solution to effective mobile advertising, others believe this new format is nothing more than the digital equivalent of an advertorial. Yet some of the most prestigious publishers have launched native offerings, and more continue to follow suit.
One thing all sides agree on is that regardless of the form native content takes, it must always be labeled "sponsored" or publishers run the risk of losing their credibility.
Native is a highly effective tool to drive content discovery and long-form storytelling, and it is yielding a degree of "earned" publisher credibility to consumers. It is especially useful for thought leadership, product promotion, and even lighter subjects such as favorite recipes or organizational tips.
The bottom line is that navigating this complicated and still-developing world of content marketing and native advertising requires original thinking and strategic communications innovation.
At a SXSW panel on Monday morning, Mark Howard of Forbes Media, who is responsible for Forbes’ native platform, and Sebastian Tomich, VP of advertising and branded content for The New York Times, will discuss the ideal strategies for brands to win in this new environment. MSLGROUP’s Stephanie Agresta will moderate the panel.
Erin Lanuti is SVP, paid media and cross channel strategy, MSLGROUP.