The Branded Content Project today announced that local media outlets working with the Project have sold more than $1 million in content series sponsorships in just over four months. This significant milestone comes following a recent survey that found content marketing will be more of a priority for small businesses in 2021.
“Hitting this significant achievement within such a short period of time, particularly during such a challenging moment for local media, illustrates how effective branded content is for news outlets regardless of market size or location,” said Branded Content Project General Manager Julia Campbell. “We are excited by these results and confident that branded content will be a valuable resource for local media as they look for ways to boost revenue now and in the future.”
Branded content, which can include native advertising articles, social videos, live events or paid video segments, uses the strength of storytelling to provide a valuable benefit to advertisers while increasing audience engagement and revenue to local media publishers.
Advertisers and Publishers Reap Branded Content Project Benefits
The Branded Content Project, a joint project between the Local Media Consortium and the Local Media Association and funded by the Facebook Journalism Project, is a full-service branded content product development, content creation, education, distribution, and monetization resource for local publishers. Since it began as a pilot project in October 2020 and launched in January, it has helped over 80 publishers define, develop and grow branded content revenue strategies.
“Because of the Branded Content Project’s content series, we’ve already secured over $125,000 in new revenue that we would not have sold otherwise,” said Chris Bennett, editor and publisher of Seattle Medium, which was the first to secure sponsorship through the Project. “In addition, the branded content concept allowed us to bring something different to the advertiser beyond traditional ad buys, and that enabled them to justify spending money with us because our competitors were not offering a similar product.”
The Branded Content Project storefront, powered by Distributed Media Lab, provides a marketplace for local media companies to easily access branded content campaign creative assets, sales kits and distribution options, plus training and best practices. Currently, four content series categories are available to members of the LMC and LMA at no cost. An additional six categories were recently added and are available to any publisher for a fee. Media outlets can visit brandedcontentproject.com to preview the categories. The site also recently added sponsored videos for CTV and OTT formats.
Read the full case study highlighting the success stories of the local media outlets who sold more than $1 million in content series sponsorships through the Branded Content Project.
BIPOC Winners Announced; Set Sights on New Revenue Models
The Branded Content Project also announced today the winners of its Branded Content Sales Bootcamp. The application for this free 24-week bootcamp, which begins this week and runs through the summer, was open to Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) publishers, and will provide state-of-the-art sales training and consulting to help publishers – many from communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic – to develop successful and sustainable branded content offerings. These 33 publishers were selected based on their willingness to apply strategic focus and resources to growing innovative branded content initiatives. The winners are:
Al Día News
Amigos in Business – Nuestra Voz
Arabic Media Company LLC – Chicago In Arabic
Black Voice News
Corinth Communications, dba The Dallas Examiner
Current Media & Magazines
Harlem World Magazine
Houston Defender Network
New Digital Press, LLC DBA Nuestro Estado
New York Amsterdam News
OTV | Open Television
Precinct Reporter Group
Substantial Media, LLC
The AFRO American Newspaper Co.
The Atlanta Voice
The Charlotte Post Publishing Company
The Guam Daily Post
The Florida Star
The Oklahoma Eagle
The Sacramento Observer
The Washington Informer Newspaper
Tiloben Publishing Co., Inc – The Seattle Medium
“We are excited about participating in the Branded Content Bootcamp,” said WURD Radio CEO Sara Lomax-Reese. “Developing new revenue-generating products is absolutely essential in a market that is constricted by the economic realities of Covid-19. We are looking forward to learning from the program creators, coaches and the cohort.”
“Our team is honored and grateful that a media company on a remote island in the Pacific has been afforded this opportunity to learn from the best in the industry and develop sustainable strategies that deliver results for our clients and adds value to our readers,” said Mindy Aguon, CEO and editor-in-chief, The Guam Daily Post. “This training couldn’t have come at a better time as media publishers around the world recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and look for innovative ways to generate revenue, serve our clients, and engage our readers.”