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The Content Axis of Evil: Confessions of a Content Writer Who Works with All Three

Manage expectations by learning what your content needs are, asking questions and be willing to try something new.

Because of the newness of brand content and its various forms – native advertising, advertorials, sponsored content, blog posts – many marketing directors at brands are unfamiliar with what to expect and are disappointed at the final deliverable they receive.
They believe they will be getting more advertiser-centric content than they eventually do. They expect an advertorial touting their product and are surprised when they read content barely mentioning the product.
It’s up to the publisher or content broker to make it clear what the client will be getting.

Managing expectations: Try a strategic three-way

Publishers and brands can prevent miscommunications if all three stakeholder groups (editorial, sales and client) sit down at the beginning of the process and discuss how the creation and delivery of the brand content will work and, more importantly, won’t work.
“One of the challenges with clients is for them to understand that branded content upends the normal process of leading with company information first,” says Dave Murrow, a business marketing communications consultant who’s worked on both corporate and agency sides of the fence.

Review examples

One way to ensure sales staffs and clients are on the same page is to review samples of each type of content. This should include looking at samples of a native ad for mythical company Brand X that would be rejected because it leads with information about the product, contains no external sourcing or includes a call to action. The client would then see an example of a native ad for Brand X that would be acceptable.

Education is key

Even before clients are brought into the picture, it’s important publishers and content brokers have sales staff, editors and writers on the same page. Once this is done, an initial meeting with the client will ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the creation of an optimal piece of brand content.

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