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  • Writer's pictureLiz Hayes

Boost revenue with branded content advertiser videos

Updated: May 24, 2022

A January 2022 report from Reportlinker shows that by 2026, video will account for an eye-popping 89% of all mobile data traffic. Panelists from Local Media Association's Accelerate Local 2022 workshop shared bright ideas on how to monetize this amazing opportunity with branded content.

Panelist Salim Michel Makhlouf, of Penn Studios ( at PA Media Group, discussed how Penn Live was able to secure alternative sources of funding to underwrite its long-form video series based around local breweries.

"The Department of Agriculture in Pennsylvania, we found out through our news coverage which was great, they give out marketing funds for wine marketing and malt beverage marketing," he said.

Makhlouf won a grant to market beer, which would cover the cost of production while leaving room for profit. His team also found a sponsor to cover the marketing costs to successfully launched Cheers PA!, a brand that delivered two digital shows: Beer Talk and Beer Tours.

Cheers PA! Beer Tours was a series of 13 videos that featured a behind the scenes look at local breweries as well as nearby family-focused tourism opportunities. Other unique elements included a Brewer's Choice segment which gave local brewers the chance to highlight their favorite beer.

Content was delivered on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube and immediately resonated with audiences, with 7 million impressions on Facebook and over 100,000 views on YouTube in 2021. Because it was successful, the sales team looked at ways to bring in more sponsor opportunities with multiple levels of sponsorship packages as they pushed the series forward.

"We learned that we could probably get more than one sponsor if we structured the show a little bit differently," Makhlouf said.

Additional deliverables included social media promotions, co-branded promotion of the sponsor and Cheers PA! show in print and digital, sponsored articles, co-branding at beer events, newsletter promotion and custom videos.

Before developing the video series, Makhlouf sought current advertisers to gauge what kind of programming they'd be interested in sponsoring and recommends focusing on the creative process.

Videos are increasingly part of all ad spends for news organizations, and rightfully so. They outperform other digital advertising formats and present the quickest and most effective means of distributing information in a digital setting.

Charles Runnette, of The Seattle Times Content Studio understands that focusing on video will give advertisers the ROI they're looking for and bring in a steady form of revenue for local media.

"We probably are now currently making for our clients 4 or 5 videos a quarter, video series of some sort. It's a big part of our strategy. We are making not only branded content but advertiser videos as well," Runnette said.

SEO ranking has a lot to do with webpages that have video on their webpages. Runnette says they also talk extensively with clients about video best practices including:

  • Create compelling videos that people want to watch (ideally until the end) and that are worth linking to.

  • Create videos that lead to people wanting more video.

  • Leverage playlists that people want to use to guide their viewing.

  • Be thoughtful about how you implement the metadata for the videos you create.

  • Embed the video on your own site and get others to embed and share your videos to drive more views.

  • Consider paid campaigns to drive more views and promote the video via multiple channels.

When you do get a client on board with a video strategy, Runnette suggests asking them what they want to do with their video, who is the audience they are trying to reach, if they want to use their own voice or outside talent, and where they would like to promote the content (YouTube, OTT, etc).

In the Seattle market, clients should expect to pay from $500 for editing a simple video up to $20,000 for a video shoot on location over multiple days and post production. This all depends on the scope of the videos and the market size.

An amazing example of a beautifully produced, highly engaging video series was the Content Studio's travel and tourism series sponsored by Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism and hosted by Rick Steves, a known travel writer and expert.

No matter what kind of video you're creating for a client, it better be engaging. Liz Hayes of Meta Branded Content Project breaks down advertiser videos into four categories: Explainers & DIY, Solution Providers & Experts, Cause & Community, and Audience-focused.

"There's so many ways to market a business these days, but if there's no video strategy, local advertisers are really missing out. Media companies can provide that video solution because you're the experts at storytelling and creating this engaging content for audiences and advertisers," Hayes said.

Hayes highlighted successful advertiser videos from media companies that have worked with the Meta Branded Content Project. Make It With Menards is a video series that pairs the home improvement store with area builders and DIY experts. In this video, Tribune Publishing's Studio 1847 featured a designer and craftsman from Nebraska.

The next example comes from Graham Media Group and their Houston Texas TV station's Wine Club Wednesday segment which featured wine experts and the perfect Easter brunch wine pairings.

Finally, here is an example of an audience-focused video from ABC's Localish. The video features a young entrepreneur and small business owner who was nominated to be featured on the series underwritten by an insurance company. The Secretly Awesome series gave her a chance to promote her barbecue sauce to a larger audience.

Whether you have a large content studio or are a small, independently owned publisher, videos must be a part of your advertising strategy. The Meta Branded Content Project is here to help. Reach out anytime!


The Meta Branded Content Project is designed through a strategic partnership between the Meta Journalism Project, Local Media Association and the Local Media Consortium to help facilitate additional growth, engagement, and revenue success for more publishers of all shapes and sizes.

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