I often get asked what the differences are between working on native campaigns versus the work of an editorial newsroom. Having worked in The Globe’s Content Studio for a while now, here are three areas that have really jumped out at me:
Learning the sweet spot
The fast-paced nature of news doesn’t always translate well, especially when a goal of native is to be able to promote a piece of content for longer than a month. So how do we balance Globe readers’ desire for news with content that doesn’t easily become outdated? The best performing pieces of content are ones that have a news hook, but don’t develop so quickly that anything we write today won’t apply next week. We’re careful about what we choose to cover, and are very invested in making sure every piece of content “works.” For that reason, we often run alongside and in tandem with editorial, which is a nice place to be.
That brings us to presentation. Even in news, it can be a challenge to get more eyeballs on an important topic that readers don’t seem very interested in. Often, that involves dedicating just as much time to how an article looks as it does to the text itself. As a result, we always have to ask: What would make readers keep reading? Would charts or graphics help? Is this piece of work as engaging as an in-depth Globe feature would be? How do we make sure that a reader who clicks on this piece of content doesn’t walk away feeling cheated?
Would this work in editorial?
I’ll admit it. I still miss working in editorial news sometimes. But how I bring that into native is to ask myself: Would this piece of sponsored content stand up on its own if it was stripped of all branding and placed in another section of the Globe? The answer should always be yes, and the easiest way to make sure this happens is to brainstorm, assign and create using an editorial-like workflow from the very beginning.
Stephanie Chan is a digital editor for the Native in the Globe Content Studio. She can be reached @stephanieytc.