What NYPA attendees said about David Arkin’s branded content and audience growth sessions

By: Jordon Egelston
May 1, 2024
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The New York Press Association held their spring conference last week with Founder and CEO David Arkin giving two presentations Friday morning at the Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs.

During the presentations, Arkin covered a variety of ways media companies can leverage branded content, focusing on how to define it, create compelling content, package it for distribution, and how to monetize it effectively. He emphasized that even small publishers can generate significant revenue from branded content.

 Arkin said it’s important to define branded content as an experience aimed at helping readers achieve something, rather than a straightforward advertisement. He stressed that while advertisers benefit, the content should be reader-driven and reader-focused.

And maintaining editorial integrity by separating the sales function from the newsroom is critical, he said. Doing so creates a clear division that helps uphold credibility.

Stories that effectively propel a brand with branded content campaigns

These are the kinds of stories that work best for branded content, Arkin said.

  1. Showcasing Expertise: Feature experts who can highlight their knowledge and experience. Arkin said once you create enough of the content for an advertiser, you will then have a library of valuable content that enhances SEO and establishes credibility for the expert.
  2. Targeting Specific Audiences: Identify specific types of advertisers or businesses that could benefit from branded content campaigns. This includes those with captivating stories, trending topics (like cannabis), or those who have solutions to common issues that audiences are seeking answers to.
  3. Solving Audience Problems: Creating content that addresses audience needs and provides valuable information or solutions can make branded content shine. For instance, featuring an insurance agent who explains why rates are rising can be highly beneficial for readers.
  4. Case Study Example: Arkin shared a case study about a company that transformed its business by creating honest and informative content that addressed common questions about their industry. This approach not only improved search visibility but also generated meaningful leads and business growth.
  5. Shifting Focus to Helpfulness: Shifting from traditional self-promotion to providing helpful content that genuinely benefits the audience is what makes for great branded content. This approach can significantly impact advertiser engagement and lead to meaningful interactions with potential customers.

Overall, Arkin’s first presentation highlighted the importance of authenticity, local relevance, and community engagement in creating effective branded content that resonates with audiences and delivers meaningful results for brands. 

Jeanne Straus, President & Publisher of Straus News, who attended the session said she thought the first presentation was “insightful, helpful, real world, terrific.”

Mark Vinciguerra, President of Capital Region Independent Media after the presentation said: “I’m a big believer in multimedia storytelling and, that means not only the different ways that we consume it but the type of stories we do. In the ways that we bring our audience to advertisers.”

How to grow your audience

Arkin’s second presentation provided innovative approaches to traditional content topics like education and real estate.

He discussed the significance of search traffic (SEO) and Google’s E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) criteria for content visibility in search results.

Arkin encouraged incorporating personal experiences into stories to enhance engagement and visibility. These practices align with Google’s current emphasis on high-quality content and user experience, rather than outdated tactics like keyword stuffing. He suggested that these principles not only improve search visibility but also contribute to core journalistic values that can drive increased traffic and audience engagement.

Key strategies for enhancing content quality and SEO effectiveness

  1. Incorporating Personal Experience: Adding personal insights and experiences to content, such as event round ups or providing practical tips based on firsthand knowledge is important. This approach adds authenticity and credibility to the content.
  2. Source Validation: Arkin stressed the importance of not only linking to sources but also clearly identifying and validating them within the story. This practice contributes to trustworthiness and authoritativeness.
  3. Transparency in Reporting: Be transparent about the reporting process by including details on how the information was gathered and verified. This transparency reinforces the quality of the content and your process.
  4. Highlighting Updates: When updating articles, Arkin suggested explicitly stating the updates made and the process behind them. This transparency signals to Google’s algorithms that you have a quality process.
  5. Keyword Optimization: Arkin discussed the significance of keyword research using tools like Google Console and SEMRush to identify popular search queries. Aligning content topics and headlines with these keywords to improve search visibility and user engagement, works.
  6. Strategic Headline Creation: Concise and specific headlines that incorporate relevant keywords at the beginning are most effective, Arkin said. This practice not only improves SEO but also makes headlines more engaging and effective.

After listening to Arkin’s second presentation, Emily Sachar, founder/editor of The Daily Catch said: “ I loved this presentation, it was very actionable, it related exactly to what we (The Daily Catch) have been thinking of, which is that nexus between really good content and making money.”

David Arkin Consulting specializes in branded content creation and audience growth strategies. We’d love to help you through any of these strategies. Contact us at david@davidarkinconsulting.com today.

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