How organic social fuels branded content campaigns: An interview with Narcity’s Minnie Nguyen

Paid social serves as the backbone for many branded content campaigns. However, organic social can also hold a valuable position in your channel mix. Hear from Minnie Nguyen, Head of Branded Content Studio at Narcity, as she explains how publishers can use organic social followings to further advertiser goals.

How organic social fuels branded content campaigns blog
Jacquelyn White
Jacquelyn White
Content Marketing Manager
Read time: 5 mins

The organic reach of social media content continues to decline thanks to constant algorithm changes. On Facebook, the average post reaches just 5.2 percent of its potential audience. 

However, that doesn’t mean organic social is useless for promoting branded content

Your owned social media presence:

  • Increases brand awareness. Branded content helps build a publication’s brand on social media, keeping you top-of-mind for existing readers and providing an early touchpoint for new ones.
  • Connects with your audience. Nothing feels more direct or personal for a reader than asking a question in the comments and getting an immediate answer from your social media team.
  • Creates authenticity. Your social media accounts open the conversation with readers, helping them form a deeper connection to your publication (and the advertisers you promote). 

Despite the benefits, organic social often isn’t a component of multichannel branded content campaigns. Lack of coordination between internal teams, scarce resources, and laser focus on paid channels all present challenges. However, when approached correctly, using organic social for branded content can create additional value for advertisers and readers alike. 

How Narcity’s social presence takes campaigns to the next level

Narcity is one of Canada’s top digital publishers, covering a wide range of local topics like food and drinks, city events, travel, and lifestyle. As part of their multichannel approach to campaigns, Narcity’s branded content team uses the publication’s active social media presence to drive engagement and brand awareness for advertisers. 

Minnie Nguyen, Head of Branded Content Studio, described how the team maximizes the publication’s active social channels to deliver results.

How did Narcity build such a large social media presence? 

Minnie: Narcity has deep roots on social. The publication began as a Facebook group, with the MTL Blog edition, to share nightlife photos of Montreal. It then grew into a website, which housed listicles and similar content about activities in the city. Narcity has since expanded into other cities across North America. 

Because we started on Facebook, that’s where our audience learned to find us. We’ve dabbled in many platforms over the years, and this experimentation helped us create a huge ecosystem of distribution channels to reach our audience. 

Narcity Canada's social page

Narcity Canada’s Facebook page has 1.3 million followers, providing a large built-in audience for branded content campaigns. 

What are the social platforms that you use most for campaigns?

Minnie: In keeping with Narcity’s roots, Meta is still the principal social driver of on-site traffic for our campaigns. We lean on platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn on a case-by-case basis—depending on what makes sense for a specific campaign. We also incorporate emerging platforms like SnapChat and TikTok into our distribution strategies where appropriate.  

How do you use organic vs paid reach on social media for campaigns?

Minnie: Organic remains crucial in our distribution strategy. We use organic as much as possible, then supplement with paid to hit our guaranteed KPIs. Most of our content naturally fits social. It’s the type of information and stories people go to these platforms for. Social platforms also help us reach our core audience, which tends to be millennials and gen z. 

social audience statistics

Source: eMarketer

However, some campaigns aren’t a perfect fit for us. For various reasons, the narrative or messaging advertisers want to convey might be more challenging. In those cases, we rely more on ad spend to reach the campaign KPIs. 

Many publishers struggle with organic reach in today’s “pay to play” environment. How does Narcity make it work?  

Minnie: The team puts a lot of attention into how we package our content—the tone, title, imagery, messaging, etc. When we stay close to our editorial directives, it makes branded content as attractive to readers as our organic pieces. Our goal is always to marry the client’s objectives with our existing DNA. 

What techniques do you use to ensure your content resonates?

Minnie: I coach my team to think “organic first.” Even though we’re in the advertising space, we need to consider the reader before anyone else. We only have a split second to get someone’s attention, especially on social. Everything needs to appeal to our readers in the exact same way that editorial content does. 

quote by minnie nguyen on organic social

You haven’t achieved effective content if you don’t find a way to get your audience inside your story. You can get a certain number of eyeballs on a piece of content, but the advertiser is looking for true engagement. We need to build some kind of attribution between the user and the brand. Accomplishing that hinges on remaining faithful to your publication’s DNA. 

Make the most of your campaign channels with Pressboard by

When optimizing your branded content campaigns, the solution often lies in your campaign data. Unfortunately, manual processes and cumbersome spreadsheets make finding key insights that boost campaign performance harder. 

Pressboard, part of the for Publishers suite, allows you to manage, measure, and report on your branded content campaigns—all in one place. 

Make it easier to see how your campaign channels work together to meet advertiser goals. Request a demo today.   

Stay in the know. Get our monthly newsletter right in your inbox.


You have successfully signed signed up to our newsletter. Keep an eye on your inbox...

Invalid email values your privacy.