Money-making branded content ideas media companies can capitalize on

By: David Arkin
March 28, 2024
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Every branded content campaign has a core number of traditional distribution channels that media companies use as a way to add value for customers.

It’s critical, because you need social media, newsletters, great SEO and placements across the homepage, section fronts and story pages, to get the eyeballs that advertisers are seeking.

But there is more you can do and more money you can make.

Do I have your attention now?

Here are three areas (with a few bonus ideas) I would offer as part of your branded content program that go beyond the traditional distribution channels.

1. All the ways to offer video

Video is incredibly hot and there are so many avenues you can use to offer this product to advertisers, using their branded content. Here are a few of my favorites:

• Reels: Take the themes of your sponsored content story and use Canva templates to feature the top takeaways from the article in graphics-like images that scroll through. B-roll of the advertiser is obviously great but not totally necessary to get started.

• 2-minute take: Sit down with the advertiser — even via Zoom — and get the advertiser’s expert take on a topic (related to the branded content story). Having the writer who interviewed the source for the story, do the video interview, will add more credibility to the advertiser’s response.

• Best of: If you have a Best Of contest or any contest that has a voting round, go ahead and use that as an opportunity to offer Reel-style videos to promote that the advertiser has either made the Top 3 voting round or is the winner.

All of these elements can be add ons (more revenue) to your branded content campaign in an area (video) that we know advertisers want to be active in.

2. Paid social media campaigns

Using your organic channels makes all the sense in the world when it comes to distributing your advertiser’s content. After all, the advertiser probably decided to work with your company because they were attracted to your audience.

However, providing even more avenues to reach a wider audience — or similar audience that may not be yours — can have significant upside.

Using a paid social campaign to promote branded content (whether a single article or a series of related articles) can have significant return for the advertiser.

While articles are a logical place to start, there are other avenues that you can help an advertiser with when it comes to paid social: Gathering emails you can use for a custom newsletter for their business, promoting a sale and product, getting readers to a customer form page and more.

And all of those video ideas shared above are perfectly made for paid social media distribution.

+ Bonus idea: Use third-party tools (programmatic display and audience extension networks) to drive additional exposure for your branded content.

+ Another bonus idea: Why this isn’t necessarily going to give you more revenue tomorrow, working to promote the advertiser’s content in a Facebook Group can earn you major brownie points with the advertiser, especially when it comes time to renew.

3. Build pillar pages and create newsletters

You need the volume of content to make this work with an advertiser (probably at least 4-5 stories) but once you do, having unique pages for each client can be a homerun.

Many publishers have sections where they might feature all of their sponsored content, which is great. But to drive up the value, having a page that is just their page, is fully optimized for SEO and builds and builds over time, can mean additional dollars when selling a branded content campaign.

I have found that these pages aren’t just a nice place to feature the stories you are doing for the advertiser but can be a great place to showcase more of a library of information and content that’s important to the advertiser (like their YouTube content).

Do more than feature the advertiser in your newsletter

Featuring your advertiser’s content in your daily newsletter is a good best practice, but there are many ways you can add additional revenue through your newsletter products:

• Send a newsletter (featuring the content from your branded story or a display ad for the advertiser) through a third-party that can target thousands of emails, like a Site Impact tool.

• Using a segment of your own newsletter audience, build niche-oriented newsletters that feature either recent content you have created for that advertiser (that pillar page idea featuring just their content in a newsletter) or content around their niche in a newsletter (which also features their content but also your organic content), more of a topical newsletter play.

Branded content is a huge opportunity not just because advertiser’s really want a platform to tell their stories today, but because of the many revenue opportunities that exist that go far beyond the traditional branded content package.

Let’s connect. I work with numerous media companies on building and perfecting branded content programs. Contact me at today.

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