WP BrandStudio’s Important Insights on Selling Native Advertising

Annie Granatstein, Head of WP BrandStudio at the Washington Post, and speaker at Native DAYS17 knows how to run a native ad team and how to turn a profit. Here, she pours out some of her important knowledge on selling native advertising.

 

In your experience, what are the biggest challenges for publishers when selling native advertising?

Clients don’t always understand the difference between native advertising and conventional advertising, which can be an obstacle to crafting and selling the most compelling programs that are more journalistic or native to the publication and less promotional.

There are often many stakeholders involved in approving a sale and they may have conflicting priorities and give conflicting direction.

RFPs (Request For Proposal, ed.) often don’t contain enough detail to inform creative thinking. They are too general, generic or focus on metrics. We are left guessing what the client hopes to achieve, what their message is, etc.

I train my pre-sale strategists to always put the story first.

How do you train your sales staff to sell native advertising? 

The sales team doesn’t report to the studio at WP. I train my pre-sale strategists to always put the story first. Find the most compelling story that both meets the brands’ objectives and will be fascinating to the Washington Post audiences.

Getting on the phone or better yet in person with the agency or brand is the best way to get to know them enough to develop an on-target proposal.

Stay up to speed on performance metrics and evolving production best practices to inform your content strategies.

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How do you most effectively pitch and explain native advertising to possible clients?

The best pitches are a combination of many things:

How do you create and effective relationships between the creative team and the sales team?

To encourage the relationship between presale strategists and the sales team, I advise them to call the client together and pitch together as much as possible.

On the flip side, production has access to best practices and performance metrics that should be informing the presale strategies.

Is it important that the creative team and the sales team work together?

Yes.

If what you mean is the relationship between presale strategists and sales, then it’s important because the sales team has the client relationships to gather the information that the creative team needs to craft program proposals.

If what you mean is the relationship between the presale strategists and the production team, then yes because the production must execute the programs conceived by the strategists. So those program concepts need to be checked by production to be realistic in terms of logistics.

On the flip side, production has access to best practices and performance metrics that should be informing the presale strategies.

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In your opinion, what are the most important things to consider when pricing native advertising?

 

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