Social Selling Courses

Podcast #91

All Native Advertising Doesn’t Suck

Melanie Deziel at Time Inc.


Director of Creative Strategy at Time Inc., Melanie Deziel is an award-winning journalist with a career that spans roles at the Huffington Post and the New York Times prior to joining Time Inc. Melanie is also the founder of the native advertising newsletter, The Overlap League. On this podcast, Melanie and I discuss the evolution of native advertising and, particularly, the importance of context in branded journalism.


We’ll explore how native advertising is produced, promoted and distributed and talk about Melanie’s award-winning piece, Women Inmates: Why The Male Model Doesn’t Work. Tune in to gain insight into the role of native advertising in the modern content strategy, and why the late David Carr, an esteemed journalist, tweeted “all brand-sponsored journalism does not suck.”

David Carr - sponsored journalism


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On This Episode You’ll Discover:

  • Melanie’s role as Director of Creative Strategy at Time Inc. and how she says it’s like being an air traffic controller over all of their content programs and different magazines including Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, Food and Wine, and others.
  • What is The Overlap League and how it got started in August.
  • How a lot of the content shared in The Overlap League newsletter comes from within the community and even includes job postings.
  • How Melanie studied journalism in college and expected to become a journalist.
  • How Melanie and the team at T Brand Studios, part of the New York Times,  worked with Netflix to create the award-winning piece, Women Inmates: Why The Male Model Doesn’t Work.
  • How the piece was written with a journalism point of view and featured native advertising for their series, Orange is the New Black.
  • How the article was a 1,500-word narrative that uncovered the shortcomings of Women in Prison and included video clips and infographics.
  • How taking a journalism stance on native advertising proved that value can be provided to everyone involved.
  • How the piece performed so well that it was in the top 2% of all content on the New York Times that year.
  • What Melanie says are the five elements to successfully creating Context-Conscious Content.
  • How the topic of your content needs to be a good fit and how voice and tone should be considered based on the platform where the content is getting posted.
  • How you can bring your content to life in different formats like print, digital, mobile, illustrations, video, etc.
  • How user experience with navigation plays into content presentation.
  • How disclosure is currently loosely regulated and differs across publishers.
  • How to approach disclosing an advertiser’s role in paid content, sponsored content, and content provided by a brand.
  • Why Melanie’s one thing is to expand your brand’s area of authority and talk about the broader context of your product and how it makes people feel.

Expand your brand’s area of authority. Talk about how your product makes people feel. @mdeziel

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Episode 91: Melanie Deziel

Bernie: Hi, there. Welcome to episode 91 of the Social Business Engine Podcast. This is the podcast where I invite thought leaders from all industries who exited to share with you the modern business executive, how to harness social media technology in your business strategy. I’m Bernie Borges, CEO of Find and Convert and your host of the Social Business Engine Podcast. On today’s episode, you’re going to meet Melanie Deziel, Director of Creative Strategy at Time Inc. Melanie is an award winning journalist with a career that’s spans roles at Huffington Post and the New York Times prior to joining Time Inc. Melanie is also the founder of the native advertising newsletter, The Overlap League.

Now, on this episode, Melanie and I discuss the evolution of native advertising and in particular the importance of context in branded journalism, as well as how native advertising is produced, promoted and distributed. You’re going to gain insight in to the role of native advertising in the modern content strategy. Now, this episode is in cooperation with Social Media Strategies Summit taking place February 9th to the 11th 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Melanie Deziel is one of about 20 speakers at Social Media Strategies Summit. In fact, I’m also a speaker at this event. I’m also emceeing this event.

Now, I have a promo code for you that you can use to get a 15% discount for this event. Just visit their website which is, it’s all one word, and then use the promo code, are you ready for this? S-M-S-S Vegas 15. Again S-M-S-S Vegas 15 when you register to get your 15% discount. Now, I know that’s kind of a long promo code. The other thing you can do is just visit our show note page for this episode at our website in and of course we’ll have a link to the Social Media Strategies Summit and this promo code.

Now, while you’re there be sure to subscribe to get our weekly updates which we email every Friday. I hope to see you at the Social Media Strategies Summit, February 9th to the 11th 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Now, here is my interview with Melanie Deziel from Time Inc. Melanie, welcome to the Social Business Engine Podcast.

Melanie: Thanks for having me, Bernie.

Bernie: Terrific. I have been looking forward to this conversation, Melanie, because you have been a branded content professional for quite some time in media property such as The Huffington Post, the New York Times and currently you’re the Director of Creative Strategy at Time Inc., a well-known brand. Melanie, let’s begin with what does Director of Creative Strategy do at Time Inc.?

Melanie: It’s an interesting question. It’s one of those titles that don’t have the description built in, but essentially my role at Time Inc. is to help act as air traffic control. Any time an advertiser comes in and they want to do a content program that spans more than one of our properties… because Time Inc. has 35+ U.S. based properties. Whenever an advertiser wants to do a content program that spans more than one way, we want to make sure those strategies are aligned, that were optimizing as much as possible and that we’re utilizing all the resources and insights at our disposal, even though they might be housed in different magazines on different websites. A lot of organizing, a lot of cross brand strategizing and really just trying to make our multi mag content program as effective as possible.

Bernie: You make it sound so simple, but somehow I want to think is not as simple as it sounds.

Melanie: Not quite. It’s one of the things that is so challenging, but also wonderful about working for a brand like Time Inc. because we have these different properties. We’ve got so many different audience sets, and so many different formats we can use at our disposal, and so many different tones and voices. It’s really an exciting proposition to have a look at single strategy and figure out how does that come to life on the website of sports illustrated or in the magazine of entertainment weekly, or may be an event for food and wine. Try to find the common threads and really sew something together that make logical sense across all those brands, is actually really exiting.

Bernie: All right. Sounds like fun too.

Melanie: Yeah, for sure.

Bernie: Melanie, you also founded the Can you explain what is it and why did you start it?

Melanie: Yeah. Let me start with the back-story because I think that would help make a little more sense. I studied journalism in school. I always thought I would end up on the editorial side of one of the publications I worked for and I quickly find myself coming in to native advertising which is really at the center of advertising and journalistic storytelling. When I found that I wasn’t alone, in sort of, having dual learning curves. Because you’ve got all these folks from the marketing and advertising world who are trying to learn the tools and tactics of storytelling, and then you have all these folks who are copywriters and journalists who are trying to learn the tools and tactics of marketing, to create something in the middle of that that really make sense for consumers and for advertisers. I found that when we would find each other, these sort of immigrants from each side of those two worlds towards the center of native advertising, we were always latching on to each other and sharing insights and sharing books that we’re reading and open jobs that we heard somewhere within our network.

I finally realized that it really made sense to me to create a newsletter that brought all those insights together to help us connect to one another, to help us share insights and recommendations from both sides of … both of those spheres, with folks who were working at the center. And so, I started Overlap League as a weekly newsletter and a lot of the content that it’s in the newsletter actually comes from the community, from these subscribers. I have folks who would reach out to me and say, “Hey, I’m speaking at this event and I think other native ad workers would love to come and join, and here’s a discount code.” Or, “here’s some news that it’s going to be impacting my business. I’m sure it will be impacting other folks who are working in this industry as well.” And, definitely the jobs. A lot of the jobs that we send out every other week, probably 10 to 15 or more jobs, and most of them are coming from folks inside the community who are saying, “Hey, I’m hiring for an editor of branded content or a native advertising producer or something similar and I would love to have it go out in the newsletter and get someone from within the community.”

It’s only been around for a few months. We started in August and it’s been growing pretty quickly and really great feedback. It’s exciting for me to be able to bring some of those insights and help unite the community because it’s a tough a industry to work in, but it’s a lot less difficult when you know you’re not alone.

Bernie: Yeah, and I find it interesting, Melanie, how you work kind of bridging these two worlds of native and story … native advertising and storytelling or journalism, traditional journalism. There’s probably some really interesting conversation taking place to the inside that community.

Melanie: Definitely yeah and you know a lot of folks will ask if it will be more than a newsletter. If it’s something and I’ve heard folks in the community ask that. Maybe it would turn into that some day, to a real life meet up, or Twitter chat, or an exclusive online community, or we can ask questions of a forum. Who knows? I think the primary goal for me was just to make sure that other folks who were in this tiny little corner of the industry, might not feel like there’s some place out there for them to meet other folks in the same boat, and so I wanted to sort of provide that link to help bring those people together and give them a way to connect with one another.

Bernie: Yeah. Okay. You produced a multimedia piece that has received wide acclaim from many, many people in the journalism industry. This piece is titled Women Inmates: Why the Male Model Doesn’t Work. Now, what I find fascinating, Melanie, about the accolades that this piece received, is that this content is native advertising, and was paid for by Netflix to promote their show Orange Is the New Black. I would like to have some conversation around that because it really is a fantastic piece. Again, award winning and so, I would like to ask you a few questions and admittedly I’m going to kind of unload a bunch of questions on you and so feel free to just tackle them in any order and will have some conversation around them. First is, how does that piece even come together and what is it about that is native advertising? Were there any known challenges and risks that you identified going into it? And then after the fact in hindsight, which of course is always 20/20, what did you learn as a journalist and really what did the industry learn? I know that’s a lot of questions. Just tackle them in any order that you’d like.

Melanie: Yeah, so let me start at the beginning. Most projects, this one included, in a native advertising context come from a request for proposal. An advertiser, in this case, Netflix, reaches out to a number of publishers and potential partners. It says, “Hey, here is my budget. Here is my goal and how can you help me achieve that goal with this budget?” In this case, they say they knew they wanted content and they wanted something that was going to help achieve two things.

Bernie: Where were you at the time?

Melanie: I was at the New York Times.

Bernie: Okay.

Melanie: Yeah, this was at T Brand Studios, it’s the in house team at New York Times that creates all the native advertising. They reached out to us and gave us an opportunity, and said they want to achieve two things. They obvious want awareness that the second season of Oranges Is the New Black is coming out and they want people to know that it’s based on a true story. There are different audiences that will be interested in different parts of the show, but the New York Times audience, they thought, would really be interested in the true story that inspired it. What we came back with them was “listen, well the one thing New York Times readers love is they love a really good story. They want facts, they want reporting, they want something new and novel. What we proposed to them, was at the time something a little controversial or sort of unprecedented, which was we’re not going to tell you what the story is, will actually going to go out and report and then will come back to you with the story is.” That’s what happens in newsroom. You don’t set out to say, “I’m going to find a story about embezzlement.” You’re digging into weekly reports and you discover it.

We tried to replicate that since most of us on that team had come from journalism. It was natural for us and luckily the Netflix team really trusted us and said, “All right, let’s play this by ear. We’ll check in every couple days and see what you’re discovering.”

Bernie: This was before you won the business or this is…?

Melanie: This is how we won the business.

Bernie: Okay.

Melanie: Yeah. This is how we responded. We said we like to really dig into this and do something truthful and luckily they took a gamble on us and they said they were willing to do that. Once the deal had closed, and they said they wanted to partner with us in the storytelling. That team, at T Brand Studios, most us are former journalists and so we really just set out doing what we had always done. I started looking into government data. My video team started talking and filming with current and former inmates and researchers and advocates, and what emerged over the course of few weeks was this narrative that the women’s prison system is really not designed to help them get back on their feet but really in many ways handicaps them to end up back into the system again and again. Because it had been modeled off the male model of prison, which there are a lot of nuances that make that not work well.

That was a story we emerged with and we brought that back to Netflix. And again kind of controversial story not exactly what you would expect, but I think they understood the importance of authentic storytelling and that was definitely a challenge to kind out of the game and say, “Hey, we’re telling a story that’s about real women and not about the characters of the plot lines.” But the lucky thing for us is that the show is inspired by a true story. It is inspired by a book of a woman’s real experience. It was a natural fit for us to tell a true story and have that have a logical connection to the show. What we ended up with, and you alluded to this before when you saw it, it’s a 1,500 word investigative piece that I wrote drawing on my education and experience in journalism talking all about these things, speaking to many sources, people who work in the prison system and people who have been processed through it.

We also had a three-part mini documentary where… like I said we talk to current and former inmates and advocates. We had infographics. We had audio clips so that you can hear these women we interviewed speaking in their own voices. We had beautiful animation. It was really a completely a massive multimedia experience and the only real integration is that they were two things. At the very end of the page, we had a note almost like a standard banner ad that said, “Season two is now streaming on Netflix so check that out.” Then, we also had Piper Kerman who wrote the book that the series was based on, once she found out about the project had asked us to be a part of it and give some quotes about her experience in prison.

When we identified her we truthfully said she was the author of the book, Orange Is the New Black, on which the series is based. Other than that, we weren’t integrating plotlines, we weren’t using photos of characters alongside photos of real women. We really tried to tell them most authentic story possible and I think that’s part of why it resonated with people the way that it did.

Bernie: What do you think the industry learned? Because … I’m going to give you a little hint. In preparation for this conversation, Melanie, I saw a tweet. I don’t remember who it was, but it was somebody who was a journalist who said, “I can’t believe I’m giving accolades to a native advertising piece.” It was a guy and I remember him saying like, “This is good quality stuff.” What did the industry learn?

Melanie: I think what was incredible for us and I always joke about this. For those of us who come from the journalism world, we’re not really doing anything extraordinary, we’re doing what we’ve always done. I think what surprises people is when you’re doing it in a paid context, right. One of the tweets and maybe it’s the one you saw, the media critic from the New York Times David Carr, the late David Carr had tweeted about it and said, “All native advertising it doesn’t suck check out this piece.” And for us, that was a big win for us. That piece was sort of winning skeptics and proving that you could do it in an authentic way that wasn’t selling a product, but still was bringing value to the users and the readers to the advertisers and to the publisher, obviously creating a new revenue stream.

I think what it taught people is that if you can take a step way and think about the storytelling and not just the selling, that you can find a way to tell an authentic story that still brings out value. That you don’t have to sort of just use the story as an excuse to sell later on, but you can truly just focus on that story. What we saw, anyway, is that when we did it that way, when we relied on the authenticity of the code, the piece performed incredibly well on social network, on the side itself. It organically appeared in the most emailed module on the home page of the New York Times. It’s a module where it shows which stories are being emailed most and it hit number seven on that list and that’s not something that’s influenced. You can’t buy that spot. That’s purely based on traffic.

What we saw, and later on a report came out to say, it was among the top 2% of all content on the New York Times that year. When we create truly great content, we would react to it the way they react and it’s really great content. They share it, they engage with it, they pass it along on to friends. Hopefully, that was an inspiration for people to try to be as authentic as possible in their storytelling. To recognize that there is a lot of stuff out there and if you want to get people’s attention it has to be just as good as what they’re reading before and after.

Bernie: Okay. That’s an awesome accolade or achievement of the top 2% of all content in the New York Times. Wow, very impressive! Congratulations on that.

Well, you talked a lot about doing native advertising in a way that’s context conscious and I read an article that you wrote where you even say “try pronouncing that first five times.” I’m not going to go there, but where I do want to go is you identified five elements of what it means to successfully have context conscious content. I would like to if we could, Melanie, if we could step through each of those five elements because I think everything we’ve discussed so far, kind of sets the stage for that discussion. We’ve talked about a great example of native advertising, and what it is, and how in this example, how it had great results. Now, let’s talk about how do you do that in a way that’s context conscious?

Melanie: Yeah, definitely. I think I hinted at this a little bit when I talked about working here at Time Inc. Obviously, every publication that a brand is going to partner with has their own voice, they have their own tone, they have their own aesthetic. They have their own audience. To create a single piece of content and expect it to fit on naturally in different contexts like that is really not the best way to go. It’s not going to get you the most bang for your buck. What I advise is that whenever you’re creating content for a new place, and that could be a publisher partner or it could be on your own properties, to think about some of these five things and make sure that all of them are aligned. The five are your topic, the voice or tone, the format, the navigation and the disclosure.

All of those five things vary from publication to publication and you want to alter your content fit all of those things. Your topic obviously depending on where you’re going to be with your content, you want to make sure that it’s the right kind of topic. For example, Netflix did that piece with us where they really focused on true story, but they also did the piece with BuzzFeed that was more humorous and really was about why prison might not be so bad. An investigative piece, something about the investigative piece, might not work on the BuzzFeed context because that’s not the kind of topic they would normally cover. Just being conscious of knowing what can you say about on this topic. How can you have some new perspective perhaps if people are already talking about it, and making sure that you have the right topic for the area where you’re placing your content.

Bernie: Okay, make sense.

Melanie: Yes. Voice and tone and I hinted at this a little bit already too. Voice and tone really has to do with the way the content comes across. Different environments have different types of content whether that’s education or technical. Maybe it’s conversational and humorous. It might even be, do they swear, do they not swear, do they address the reader directly? There’s a lot of different ways that a publication can talk to its audience and you want to make sure that if you’re going to be alongside their content, you want to be talking to them in the same way. Another easy example to think when people post on Facebook, they tend to leave it very conversational, all right. They use emojis, they’re very silly, they might even swear a little. It depends on their personal voice. Whereas on LinkedIn, folks tend to be much more professional, much more buttoned up and they speak in a different voice. And so, your content should do the same thing. It should be almost translated into the voice of the publication where you’re going to live in. That’s why when we did it on the New York Times, the piece that we wrote was fairly formal. It use a lot of similar language and statistics and sort things that some of the others would have used because we wanted it to feel natural in that voice and tone.

Bernie: Can I just ask a little clarification question on that, please?

Melanie: Sure.

Bernie: Did I hear you say that in other words when you’re repurposing contents, so you may share content on LinkedIn and repurpose it in a way that’s more properly for LinkedIn. Then you might share the same content repurposed differently for a different location online, is that what you mean?

Melanie: Sure. For example, when this podcast goes live, I’m going to post it on Facebook and say, “Hey, friends check it out. I was on this podcast, how exciting!” Whereas, when I post it on LinkedIn it’s probably going to be a lot more professional and say, “I sat down and had a great conversation about native advertising.”

Bernie: Right.

Melanie: It will be a different tone because the audience is different, and their mindset is different. And so, your content can do the same thing when you’re speaking in one environment. We all have our different voice of how you talk to your friends versus, maybe, your kids versus your boss. You shouldn’t doubt your content in the same way.

Bernie: Okay, got it. Thank you.

Melanie: Yeah. Format is the next one and this one I think is one of the most fun. Thinking about where your content is going to live. Is it going to be plain versus digital? Is it mobile, social? What sort of formats can you use to bring that to life? That might be text or photos. It might be a gallery or slideshow, maps, illustrations, info graphics. Now we’re talking about virtual reality and 3D video and 360 video. I think it’s so exciting to think about all the different ways that a piece of content can come to live and all the ways that are organic for whatever it is that you’re going to live. We talked about the Netflix example.

On New York Times, all of those formats whether it’s video, plain text, infographics, audio clips, those are all very organic to the New York Times. Those are the things that are showing up there anyway. But different publishers have different formats that they embrace. Here at Time Inc., Cooking Light, one of our cooking properties that we have, tends to use a lot of galleries and slide shows. That’s how they like to do that. They like to show 10 recipes we’ll cook tonight, or here are 15 recipes you can make in under 15 minutes and they’re always in the slideshow. You would want to make sure if you were coming on to the Cooking Light platform that you were also presenting that content in the slide show to make sure it’s organic. Everywhere that you might partner with or even on your blog or your properties, you want to make sure that you’re posting the right format out of context so that it lands with people in a way that’s familiar to them.

Bernie: Alright. Okay. Cool.

Melanie: Navigation is the next one. This is a little more technical and this is the kind of a conversation you might be having with your web development team, or your ad product team, or maybe something else, some other team internally… but how do people experience the content? This is one of the things that so often… I think we’ve all clicked on what we thought was a video and then you arrive on a page and it’s not a video at all. It just looks like a video, but now you’re disappointed or maybe it’s a slide show but you have to click multiple times on the arrow to get it to go to the next slide and that’s just not how we expect slideshows to work. Just thinking about how people navigate on a page, how they consume content, how do they get to the next content can we make sure that that’s a smooth experience for them to go from one to the other. Just taking the user experience into account when you’re presenting your content.

Bernie: Sure. Okay.

Melanie: Yeah. The last one is disclosure and I think this applies more so to publisher partnerships in native advertising, like what we’re talking about, then it would do a brands owned properties. This is important in especially in native advertising because it loosely regulated, but I’m sure those things will change as we grow and mature as an industry. But how exactly, so you disclose the advertiser’s role in the content and this differs. Unfortunately, right now it differs for every single publisher. Some identify as sponsors, some say content provided by, some say sponsored content or paid post is the terminology that the Times uses.

You have to take that into account and make sure that it’s very clear. Another thing is maybe part of disclosure is sourcing. If you’re writing a piece, say partnering on that piece with Netflix, do we have to disclose for example that someone is associated with the station or with the advertiser in a certain way that they ever worked for them? Or if they’re not associated with them, maybe it’s the opposite. When it comes to the byline of the piece, do you say who wrote it? Should you say that the advertiser wrote it or the freelancer that you hired wrote it or it’s someone in-house that the New York Times or a Time Inc. wrote it? Those are all things that just have to be taken into account to make sure they’re most organic to the way that brand is doing already.

Bernie: What you’re saying, Melanie, because it’s one of the five elements, that there should always be some disclosure of the sponsor.

Melanie: Oh, yes. Yeah, of course. And I think most of the study shows that and the Netflix example we talked about shows too that when content is good quality, folks don’t necessarily have an adverse reaction into the fact that it’s sponsored. When they feel like something is gone wrong is when they feel tricked. When you scroll all the way down to the bottom and all the sudden you see tiny print and you’re like, “Wait a minute. I didn’t sign up for that.”

Bernie: Right.

Melanie: I think it’s really important to be clear with your audience, and just the way that you’re clear might depend. Someone like BuzzFeed, they tend to let the advertiser have the byline. When you’re reading a piece it says, “By IBM” or “By Netflix” and that’s how the disclosure is done there. The byline of the person who wrote it is the advertiser. That’s their way of disclosing it whereas somewhere else like here, will say “sponsored content” or “content provided by.” It depends. Every publisher has a different way of doing them.

Bernie: Right. Okay. Cool. All right. Those are the five elements of context conscious content, which I’ve noted very carefully.

Melanie: Very good.

Bernie: Okay. This is a great segway where I now attempt to summarize what we discussed and then I ask you for my final one thing take away. First Melanie, here’s what I’ve got as my takeaway notes for the listener that has been maybe a little distracted along the way because you’re jogging or whatever. We’re going to summarize here in about a minute or two. Your role as creative strategy director at Time Inc is to be the air traffic control person overall content programs and it sound like a really fun job. You’re managing content project across different magazines, different brand properties like sports straight people magazine, Cooking Light and many, many others.

You’ve got a journalism background and you talked about how you came into it thinking you’re going to do a lot of storytelling as a journalist, but then you got into native advertising. That’s inspired you to start a newsletter called to kind of bridge these two together and allow people to have a conversation around, and better understand, the evolution of it. And it’s still new you mentioned it launched the summer of 2015, but it’s even including job posting. And I think is very cool that you’re doing that as a service as well as building a great community.

Then, Melanie, we talked about this award-winning piece that you created, this native advertising piece, Women Inmates Where the Male Model Doesn’t Work. It was sponsored by Netflix, and how you were at New York Times at the time with T Brand Studios. You took a little gamble, you and your team, and you posed it as “we want to do this as a true journalism story.” And you got the business and that’s exactly what you did. You conducted a bunch of research, government data, conducted interviews and then, in the end, created a multimedia piece that included a narrative that really uncovers the shortcoming of women in prison… 1500 word narrative, video, infographics. Again, multimedia and the only mention of the Netflix brand was, if I got this correct, that season two of their program Orange is the New Black is now available. That was the only mention of the brand of the sponsor brand.

You got some really wonderful accolades in the industry, including “all native advertising doesn’t suck, check this out,” by the late David Carr which is really, really a powerful statement. Then, you got the top 2% performance of all content on the New York Times from this piece that year. That’s really, really impressive, Melanie. Then, we wrapped up our conversation by discussing the five elements of context conscious content and they are: start with the topic and make sure that the topic is the right topic for different channels you want to be, what the voice and tone are, and how the way the content can come across. Whether its education or humorous and translate the voice and tone to where the content going to show up and then think about the different formats the third elements is format is it print, digital, mobile, social. Are you using text, illustration, or video and bring that content to life in these different formats? Understand how it’s going to be how the user navigates the content and that’s a conversation with your tech team. Make sure that people are having a good experience and really focus on the usual experience and then the fifth and final element is disclosure. Make sure that it’s disclosed properly and that can vary from one advertiser to the next but those are the five elements of context conscious content.

Melanie, two question. One is did I leave anything out? And if you want to segway to my final question, which is what I call my one thing question. Feel free to weave your response into both of these and my one thing final question is, what is the one thing that you would like to leave my listeners with on this topic of context conscious content in native advertising?

Melanie: I think you managed to capture all of that very well and to say context conscious content several times. I’m very impressed. I think my one thing is I often hear advertisers ask, “What’s the value of content that’s not directly selling my product and is there value in doing that? Shouldn’t I just say the five reasons to buy my product?” I love to encourage people to sort of expand their area of authority. You shouldn’t just talk about your product and your services, but talk about the broader context in which they’re used and the way that people feel and I think having a good mix of content that talks about your services, but also about those two other things. How people use them and how it makes them feel, it allows you to have a much deeper relationship with your audience. Whatever channels you use and whatever stories you decide to tell, just don’t be that guy at the bar who only talks about himself. Nobody likes that guy. Talk about the things that are important to you, the things you believe in, the thing that you’re passion about and really have a conversation with your audience and you’ll have a much better relationship.

Bernie: Yeah, I totally agree with you on both points, by the way. Nobody likes that guy. And yes, the broader context of how it makes people feel and like you said, “Build a deeper relationship with your audience.” Fantastic. I love your response. Melanie, where can we send people to learn more about you and the work that you’re doing?

Melanie: Where you can learn more about me at my website at You can sign up for the newsletter if you’re interested at

Bernie: We’ll have that linked up in the show notes.

Melanie: Sounds great and anything else, find me on Twitter @mdeziel and I’m happy to answer any other questions.

Bernie: Terrific. Melanie, thank you so much for joining me here today in the Social Business Engine Podcast. It’s really been an intriguing conversation about context conscious content in native advertising. Boy, I think that I’ve been challenged for the day on that one.

Well, everyone knows that this episode is incorporation with social media strategies summit because I talked about it in the introduction, so I’m going to mention it again here as we close it out. It is taking place February 9th through the 11th, 2016 in Las Vegas. Melanie Deziel is a speaker. I’m also a speaker. In fact, I’m emceeing the event which I thoroughly enjoy doing and I’ve got a promo code that anybody can use, anybody listening to this podcast that is, for a 15% discount. Just visit and use the promo code SMSVegas 15 and you get your 15% discount. Or, you can take the easy way and just visit our show notes page at and we’ll have all of that linked up, including the promo code.

While you’re there be sure to subscribe to get our weekly updates which we email every Friday and this way you won’t miss a future episode. I do hope that I see you at the Social Media Strategies Summit in February in Las Vegas.

Hey, if you’re a regular listener to the Social Business Engine Podcast first, thank you. I really appreciate you listening. If this is your first time listening to this podcast, well thank you as well, and I hope you enjoyed it. And I hope that you pushed the subscribe button on your podcast player so that you don’t miss future episodes.

If you’re an iTunes subscriber, I’d be very grateful if you’d write a review for this podcast to help others discover it. We have a link to this podcast in iTunes at and lastly, I invite you to engage with me on Twitter. I am @bernieborges and our podcast Twitter handle is @sbengine and we also have a Facebook, which is appropriately named You can follow our hashtag #sbeshow. I want to thank my guest again, Melanie Deziel, Director of Creative Strategy at Time Inc. This is Bernie Borges of Find and Convert, wishing you continued success on your social business journey.

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