This article was originally published on Entrepreneur.com in September of 2015.
Magic vs. Bird. Brady vs. Manning. Coke vs. Pepsi. These battles are as divisive as they are decisive. Fans of each side are set with their arguments and ready to defend their positions, no matter how much opposition they take.
A similar, impassioned fight is brewing in the world of marketing, as content marketing and native advertising are set to go head to head for budget funds. Companies are looking to achieve the best results while still running lean and mean, and the industry awaits to see if one strategy will deliver a knockout punch. How is each defined? Well, depends who you ask, but this should give you a good idea of the differences:
Content marketing, as defined by the Content Marketing Institute, “is the process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” This content can be social-media posts, corporate-blog entries, bylined articles and infographics distributed through media pitching, social sharing or digital ads, to name a few.
Native advertising is paid content (typically an article) written by an advertiser, but appears in the publishers form as if it was written and sourced by the editorial staff at a particular online news source or blog. To help cut through the clutter, below is a list of three questions to ask yourself before deciding whether content marketing or native advertising is the right choice for your brand:
1. What is my goal and how will I measure success?
Metrics are abundant—impressions, click-through rates, likes, shares, comments—and determining what to measure will give you a clearer picture of what success looks like for any campaign. If you are looking for widespread brand awareness, native advertising can give you millions of “potential” impressions and possible clicks back to your website, if served up to the right audience. If you are looking for engagement, however, content marketing could be the better choice.
Read more at Entrepreneur.com.