Social discovery (like native advertising) happens just about anywhere.

My previous posts on social media PR have gone over specific tactics of social media used in PR or overarching themes in its usage; now, I’ll talk a little bit about both. Native advertising and social discovery are two aspects of the PR/Marketing world that have become more prevalent recently, and you may not have even noticed it.

Native Advertising is the New Khaki

Native ads are in-stream ads that blend in seamlessly with the content near them on a web page. By definition, native advertising is a method of online advertising wherein the advertiser attempts to gain attention by providing content in the context of the user’s experience: these ads match the look and feel of the existing website where they appear. Examples of this can be seen on sites like and the Huffington Post, and on increasing numbers of content-driven sites that depend on ad revenue to stay in business.   With native ads (also called “sponsored content” by some folks), companies are using what they know about their customers (which is that they both dislike and ignore ads) and trying to put a more friendly face on them. You could go one step further and call native advertising by its second alternate name, “adjacent content” – (which, let’s be honest, makes them sound much less intrusive – and that is precisely the point).

Said Kevin Gentzel of the Washington Post in a recent article, “Native products are start-to-finish collaborations between news, technology and advertising …for a better user experience and greater audience engagement.”

Here’s one example of a native ad on Huffington Post for Lowe’s and iris* (see bottom right).


Search Cleans up and Gets Social

SEO for PR

  • Google changed its algorithm in order to eliminate “keyword stuffing.” As a result, we in PR now need to choose our keywords more wisely, and place them more appropriately and sparsely.  (Google had already tightened up on press release SEO in recent years.)
  • Optimization and many new tools for it have come into play. These are third-party vendors who have made it their job to optimize your SEO and keywords for furthering your reach – applications like Moz and Web CEO are great ones to check out, if you’re looking to up your SEO game.



“Social discovery” is what happens when consumers find something they want via a social channel or application: one great example is recommendations (such as Yelp or Amazon reviews); another is your friend on Facebook “liking” a contest or promotion in which you then participate.  If you’re a marketer, these sorts of sources are great not only for generating brand awareness and engagement, but also for getting a holistic view of a topic (like your brand or your competitors); a good social listening tool will search reviews and comments. (For more on how to use social listening across your business organization, check out our social listening guide.)

Another social discovery mechanism that started on Twitter and has made its way across other social media channels is the hashtag: you know it’s a trend that’s not going away when Facebook adds search functionality for them too.

(Note: A certain skit appearing on a popular late night show, recently, didn’t do the hashtag any favors, IMHO… but it sure was funny to watch.  Note: there’s an F-bomb bleeped out at the end, so you may hashtag this one as #NSFW, depending on where you work.)


Stay tuned for our fourth and final installment on social media trends in PR, coming soon to a blog near  you.  (This blog.)


* Image via; video via: YouTube/NBC