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  • Writer's pictureLiz Hayes

Case Study: Hearst Newspapers' approach to turnkey video

We've heard it time and time again: local media organizations need affordable, effective video products to retail to brand clients leading to audience engagement, increased web traffic and revenue growth. This is why the Meta Branded Content Project was thrilled to have Hearst Newspapers' Brandon Mercer, senior director of ad product: video, content and programming and Chloe Addleson, advertising product manager, as well as Brian Albert and Lauri Blaire Schulman from VIDEOBOLT.COM on March's Big Branded Call to give their strategies and solutions to the video product space.

We know that video is the fastest-growing form of online advertising. Consumers expect and demand that brands reach them through video. Local media organizations are in the perfect position to provide effective branded content videos to clients because they know how to create content consumers desire.

"If you just tell a client that the consumers want to see video content as opposed to other forms, it's pretty much a no brainer," said Mercer. "And then, of course, the 10 times engagement on Twitter and 3 times engagement on Instagram is worth noting too."

Hearst Newspapers has four tiers of video product packages available for clients: Essentials, Pro, Pro+, and Custom, making video an affordable possibility for most brands. Addleson describes the Essentials package as a drag and drop option that can be fulfilled with platforms like Canva.

"The beautiful thing about this is you are offering clients video," Addleson said. "It may be a level that they can't get anywhere else. It's a very quick and fast paced process."

The Pro tier is fulfilled through VIDEOBOLT.COM and according to Mercer and Addleson, offers the absolute best value for advertisers (sample video here). This tier offers more benefits to the client, including b-roll, script writing, voiceover and on-camera talent. Professional quality videos are quickly generated within seven days and give brands lots of options to share their story with a call to action in 30, 45 or 60 second videos.

The Pro+ tier includes an on-location video shoot (see a sample here) in addition to everything provided in the other tiers, while Custom options are available for brands that are looking for the highest quality video production capabilities. Having multiple tiers creates a price point and option for every budget.

Mercer said when training account executives on selling video marketing, it's important to focus on the sale of three things: the campaign, the video itself, and the opportunity for the client to tell their own story through a director's lens.

"We find that all these clients are just desperate to tell people about their product. They have a great story to tell, this is their life. They're usually entrepreneurs and they're excited and passionate, so being able to tell their own story is such a selling point," he said.

This transforms the client into an expert in their field, which will give them confidence, leading to more robust video campaigns.

Mercer and Addleson are big fans of VIDEOBOLT.COM, which produces scalable, turnkey, market ready videos for Hearst Newspapers' Pro packages. The videos are affordable, flexible and extremely easy to generate through the platform's AI technology.

"We're taking technology that we've been building and providing for 14 years that's specific to newspapers and other media companies, and putting it all within one simple dashboard so that you can access the different tools that can help you better monetize video with your advertisers," said VIDEOBOLT.COM Founder and CEO Brian Albert.

He says the technology automates the video creation process, giving media companies a quick turnaround solution, with consistent professional quality at an affordable price. Scripts are created from just a few sentences or bullet points and can include an on-camera spokesperson, voiceover and branding for the media company and advertiser.

In addition, the Meta Branded Content Project has partnered with VIDEOBOLT.COM to create six unique lifestyle video series that include four videos a month for just $300 per series. The series cover topics that align with industries spending money on content marketing and include: Healthy Habits, Schooled, Legalese Please, Money Matters, Tech Time and The Listing (see a sample here).

"It's very simple," said VIDEOBOLT.COM COO Lauri Blaire Schulman. "Drag and drop interface just like the spokesperson video, and it brands the video, not just for your newspaper, but for your sponsors, and it's so easy."

Each series has a 52-week content calendar so sponsors can see what's coming up. Anyone interested in learning more about the series and other video options can request access via this link. Or you can email Julia and Liz at or

Don't miss the next Big Branded Call in April! Register here.


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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