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  • Writer's pictureLiz Hayes

How to earn $200,000 or more in branded content revenue this year

Updated: May 24, 2023

Recently the Meta Branded Content Project participated in Local Media Association's Accelerate Local How-To series educating local media professionals on how to earn $200,000 or more in branded content revenue this year. Here is a breakdown of what we shared!

Our goal was to provide examples, best practices, and new ideas for building a successful branded content program to bring in new advertisers and new, recurring revenue for your organization.

According to research from Borrell Associate's 2022 local advertiser survey, content marketing continues to be a major priority for small and medium businesses, particularly because it is a meaningful way to connect with consumers. It was estimated that SMBs spent $80 billion on content marketing in 2022, with even more projected this year. Check out more on the research here.

In order to provide paid content opportunities for local advertisers, you must create a content studio. This may seem daunting, but it can be as simple as determining a name and mission. Select a name that builds off a brand you already have in place. Incorporate your media company name or your digital marketing services division into your new studio name.

Next, decide your mission. What do you stand for? How will you help your clients with their content marketing goals? Who will you take on as clients? Your team must answer these questions so everyone has the same expectations for your branded content strategy.

In today's dynamic marketing landscape, utilizing various assets and channels is crucial for creating impactful content marketing sales packages. While content remains a focal point, it is essential to explore additional assets that can enhance your campaigns.

Social media amplification on channels like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest extends brand reach and engages with users in a personal way. Other assets you can use include: email campaigns, newsletters, event sponsorships, special sections and microsites, videos and multi-media content. Also use your digital space to include banner ads and programmatic advertising to increase exposure of your sponsored content.

When it comes to building content marketing sales packages, it is crucial to think like the customer and consider all available assets. By understanding the diverse needs and objectives of clients, you can create comprehensive packages that provide value and meet the specific requirements of any advertiser with any budget. We recommend offering a good, better and best package which can tailor to advertiser needs.

Because branded content is a brand awareness play at the top of the sales funnel, it takes some time to see tangible results. This is one reason why it is always an advantage to sell annual packages to advertisers. We have seen success with organizations offering a free month if they sign up for 12. This also ensures a steady stream of income for a year!

In order to get the most engagement from your branded content, it must be seen! We recommend placing content in high-traffic areas on your owned and operated sites, where people will see it and engage with it. Homepage and section front placements are ideal so readers can interact with the content without being directed away from the site. This is also where social media amplification comes into play.

Utilizing content calendars is highly recommended to ensure the success of a branded content campaign. It benefits both the client and the seller. Your content calendar should include seasonal and engaging topics, providing clarity and expectations for the client. This can take some time and thought, but it ultimately streamlines efforts and makes everything easier in the long run.

Being proactive and staying ahead of deadlines eliminates panic and allows for seamless collaboration with clients. They also generate excitement for the client as they anticipate upcoming themes and campaign possibilities.

We've discovered the perfect mix of a media advertising package combines the strength of a sponsorship plan with the important message of storytelling via custom content. We call it the peanut butter and jelly plan, combining sponsored content, which is designed to inform and engage a reader with custom content, which is developed for an advertiser featuring its brand or product or services. In some ways it helps the sponsor tell their story through your unique distribution channels, and it helps the brand achieve their content marketing goals, while allowing you to increase your rate because you're providing that custom element.

An example of this would be selling a sponsorship to one of our weekly lifestyle series (or one of your own!) and including one custom article featuring the advertiser's services or products.

Connecting with clients through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals can be a win-win situation. It's not only a lucrative opportunity but also a chance to make a positive impact on the community. Before your sales call, take a peek at their "about us" page and social media channels to better understand their focus. If they have active partnerships with nonprofits or community organizations, even better!

Align your media outlet's values with their cause when presenting content marketing sales packages. This can be very effective and may open doors to new funding sources, since some companies have public relations and marketing budgets in addition to advertising (check out our cause marketing sales product here).

We consistently hear how important and necessary it is to provide training to sales teams who are selling branded content. We have so many options! The Branded Badge Certificate Program is a video training curriculum available on our website for anyone to take for free. We recommend anyone who is new to branded content to take the course. It only takes about an hour and will arm you with knowledge to get started.

Additionally, we have informative videos that you can share directly with your advertisers, explaining the benefits of branded content and offering testimonials. Feel free to share with prospective clients!

Speaking of video, have you included video products in your sales packages? If not, the time is certainly now. When it comes to online advertising, we are in what Borrell Associates' Corey Elliott considers the third wave. First came search engines, then social media, and now video. Video is what consumers want, so local advertisers are looking for ways to deliver. As a local media company, you are in the perfect position to create, distribute and monetize video content.

According to research from Borrell's 2021 advertiser survey, small and medium businesses that use content marketing are using video for the following kinds of ways:

  • Live videos - 43%

  • Broadcast TV - 39%

  • Digital/Streaming/OTT - 36%

  • Reels - 29%

  • Cable TV - 24%

Furthermore, advertisers that use content marketing are more likely to use video to connect with audiences. The research also found that businesses that use content marketing prefer to distribute their videos on their own social media pages first, followed by their YouTube channel, website, traditional TV spots, as pre-roll ads within streaming apps and within emails.

We have turnkey video series available through our partnership with VIDEOBOLT.COM, which can be accessed here.

Finding and empowering key evangelists within your organization is the secret ingredient to a thriving branded content initiative. These individuals are the cheerleaders who understand the importance of branded content and will go above and beyond to ensure your program's success. And guess what? You might just be the perfect candidate to take on this role and keep the flame of excitement burning within your organization.

As a branded content evangelist, you have the power to keep leadership excited, you possess the knowledge and expertise to educate the sales team and serve as the go-to expert, constantly highlighting the benefits of branded content. Imagine being the driving force behind a movement that elevates your organization's marketing efforts to new heights.

The Meta Branded Content Project offers several ways to train your sales team for free!

  1. Branded Badge Certificate Program: Are you new to selling branded content or in need of a refresher? Look no further than our Branded Badge Certificate Program. This free online training course offers short videos and one-question quizzes to enhance your knowledge and understanding of branded content. Perfect for beginners and those seeking to brush up their skills, this program provides a solid foundation for success.

  2. Quarterly Sales Training Boot Camps: Mark your calendars for our upcoming Mini Boot Camp focused on presentation skills, starting June 20th. Our quarterly Sales Training Boot Camps are intensive sessions designed to equip you with the essential skills and strategies to excel in selling branded content. Don't miss out on this opportunity to enhance your abilities and deliver impactful presentations that captivate your clients.

  3. Monthly Big Branded Calls: Join us for our monthly Big Branded Calls, where industry experts and peers gather to discuss successful branded content campaigns, strategies, and the latest trends in the local industry. These insightful sessions provide a platform for knowledge sharing, fostering growth, and staying up-to-date with the ever-evolving world of branded content. Be part of the conversation and gain valuable insights from the best in the field.

  4. Weekly Branded Buzz E-Newsletter: Stay in the loop and never miss a beat with our weekly Branded Buzz E-Newsletter. This informative newsletter showcases all the exciting training opportunities, industry insights, and updates you need to supercharge your branded content expertise. From upcoming events to success stories and more, the Branded Buzz E-Newsletter is your go-to resource for staying informed and engaged.

That's it! Twenty steps may seem like a lot, but anything worthwhile takes time and effort to create success. We hope these steps will set you on the path to a successful, lucrative branded content strategy for your local news outlet.

Need more help? Reach out anytime!

This post was written by a human with assistance from ChatGPT.


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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