In July, Lindsay Harrison became Creative Content Lead for Mashable’s branded content team. To her, creating a native advertising campaign is like solving a jigsaw puzzle, and trends are something that both brands and publishers need to be skeptical of. Harrison was an official speaker at Native DAYS17.
I think of each campaign as solving a jigsaw puzzle, fitting together different shapes and pieces.
What is your most important task as Creative Content Lead when it comes to creating powerful native advertising?
Every custom campaign has to be just that — custom. As a strategy lead for Mashable Brand X, my job is to make sure that we’re pitching first to market editorially driven content executions that align the specific goals of a brand with Mashable’s voice and identity.
I think of each campaign as solving a jigsaw puzzle, fitting together different shapes and pieces, from the target audience to our content ideas to the distribution method that best leverages Mashable’s robust audiences across site and social.
To help solve this puzzle, my team uses Velocity, Mashable’s proprietary data tool to discover insights about specific audience demographics and what types of content they consume and share most widely. To ensure that each campaign is a custom and premium offering, we lead with a 360-degree content strategy, creating platform-specific content solutions on Mashable’s eleven platforms across site and social.
It’s about getting comfortable outside your comfort zone, where you’re often coming up with creative ideas.
You’ve just recently joined Mashable, but you’ve created native campaigns elsewhere prior to Mashable. What is the most important lesson you have learned about native advertising in your new role at Mashable?
Adapting to a rapidly changing market, shifting editorial landscape, and newly emerging social-first formats ensures that no two days in native advertising are the same!
Being nimble is critical, from brainstorming out of the box content executions to collaborating with other teams — from product to social to editorial — to come up with solutions that ensure we can execute the big ideas we’re pitching in a way that will seamlessly connect with Mashable’s audience of entertainment, culture and tech superfans.
It’s about getting comfortable outside your comfort zone, where you’re often coming up with creative ideas you’ve never tried before, but can nonetheless deliver because you’ve got insights to back them up and great teams to help bring the concepts to life.
Essentially, the brand has to align with the content without getting in the way of telling a great story.
How do you get brands to engage in telling “real” stories?
Brands are looking to break through the clutter with custom executions that deliver on brand awareness and lift from a perspective that feels as compelling and seamless as engaging with your go-to content on your favorite sites and social channels. Essentially, the brand has to align with the content without getting in the way of telling a great story.
At Mashable this story revolves around putting a superfan spin on trending topics across entertainment, culture, and tech. Brands leverage Mashable Brand X to create custom solutions to activate our audience of superfans, who want to obsess over the unique angle on a trend that you won’t find anywhere else.
We do this through curated editorial content, experiential event activations, custom content, creative technology, and data science targeting and distribution.
Creating a real story for a brand relies on finding the custom solution amidst our many offerings that will best reach the intended target audience, on the right device, in the right format, at the right time.
Brands and especially publishers must remain somewhat sceptical of trends to ensure that the core brand identity and authenticity are upheld.
Which trends do you see right now in native advertising at Mashable?
Native advertising is primed to go beyond custom written editorial content with formats that take users beyond the confines of traditional storytelling. From custom products with interactivity to chatbots to VR and AR experiences, it’s all about telling stories in exciting new ways made possible through technology in a world that is increasingly connected.
Beyond obsessing over new formats, we also see a shift toward brands wanting to align with Mashable’s robust social good content. Driven by a growing consumer awareness for sustainability and social consciousness, brands are eager to align with engaged audiences looking to support brands whose values align with their own.
This is a big opportunity to shift advertising into a landscape that drives measurable outcomes on world-changing initiatives with audiences who no longer want to simply consume content, but engage with it in meaningful ways. It’s all about authenticity.
Trends always come second for Mashable Brand X, however. We strive to create great content campaigns based on insights powered by human experience and data, that feel true to the Mashable voice and audience. We lead with our ideas and consider tactical trends second.
Brands and especially publishers must remain somewhat skeptical of trends to ensure that the core brand identity and authenticity are upheld.
Lindsay Harrison is an official speaker at this year’s Native Advertising DAYS – the biggest international conference on content distribution and content promotion. Here’s why she believes attendees at the conference should absolutely not miss her presentation.
Mashable Brand X is uniquely positioned to leverage data science, creative technology, and Velocity, our proprietary content insights and analytics tool, to guide the creation of engaging branded content campaigns.
My session at the Native Advertising Days Conference will provide tips and insights on creating custom solutions for brands. We’ll talk about how to create a killer story using killer data while walking the audience through case studies on successful campaigns that Mashable partnered with brands to create in 2017.